Is “Free Will” a Part of The Image of God?

This young man is very bright – and I have learned from him just over the short time of my subscription to his channel.
But he takes a position that I find confounding (and it seems to come across my path somewhat frequently of late: that “free will” is a part of what it means to be made in the Image of God. I guess it all boils down to how you define and understand “free will”….)

What follows is a comment I left for this video:

“(edited: just want to say up front I genuinely appreciate your pursuit of the Truth – I’ve watched a few of your videos [and subscribed!] so far and have enjoyed and benefited from them – so keep up the good work!)

Is “free will” a part of the “image of God”?

If you mean a libertarian free will – an analytically cold, abstract – somehow “neutral” ability to choose either good or evil – then, no – I think not.

I think that such a conception of the “freedom” to choose either good or evil is not essential to what it means to be created “in God’s image”.

For one thing – how would such a thing image God? Is God “free” to be not God (e.g. to sin – to NOT Love)? The very question is (upon some reflection) nonsense.

For another – to “freely” choose sin is not freedom – but bondage.

Adam and Eve had freedom – as we all do – to move toward God – into deeper relationship with Him – to mature.

But their choice to eat of the forbidden fruit was not simply a “free” choice: Eve saw that the fruit was (in some sense) “good” – for food – and to make one wise. But she only came to such a conclusion after being deceived by the serpent.

But the ultimate paradox of “free will” as it relates to “the image of God” is this: Jesus Christ IS the Image of God – and it is He that exemplifies the purpose for our freedom: to say to the Father, “not my will – but thine be done” – to not grasp – but to empty oneself out in Love… our God-give freedom is not simply a test – it is the ability to move toward God – to mature in our actualized likeness of Him – to be conformed to the image of His son, Jesus Christ.

Another issue you bring up is that somehow eternal damnation can be reconciled with the reconciliation of all things. I’m sorry but that is patent non-sense to me.

You draw from Lewis on this topic – I love C.S. Lewis – I distinctly remember the first time I saw “Mere Christianity” in a bookstore as a freshman in 1973 – and had up to that point never heard of him – what a blessed day it was!

But this is the one place (The Great Divorce) where I think Lewis was just plain wrong:

First it was wrong of him to completely misrepresent George MacDonald (as he does in the quote you gave): MacDonald was a resolute – even dogmatic – Christian Universalist.

But even on a more fundamental level – I dare say that Lewis was wrong about God’s attitude towards the “eternally” damned. Lewis has God say to the damned, “Not my will – but thine be done”. How can  God come to a place of such indifference to these “damned” creatures – made in His image – His very offspring? This is to *infinitely* underestimate the reality of God’s Love: it is passionate with a fiery desire – strong as death – “set on fire with the fire of Yah!” (Song of Solomon 8:6) It will NEVER let go – it “believes all things” – “hopes all things” – “love never fails”! Indeed, as MacDonald clearly affirmed, “Our God IS a consuming fire”! And, again as Macdonald confessed, that fire will burn away all from us that is not of love’s kind…

In the end HIS will WILL be done – and the prayer Jesus taught us to pray WILL be answered – “Thy will be done”! (He is not willing that ANY should perish)

“For God was pleased to have ALL his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself ALL things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Col. 1:19-20 (NIV)

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17 (NIV)

“so is my WORD that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and  achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

“In the beginning was the WORD – and the word was with God, and the word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world…” John 1:1, 14, 29

“By Myself I have sworn; truth has gone out from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow before Me, every tongue will swear allegiance.” Isaiah 45:23(NIV)

“I declare the end from the beginning, and ancient times from what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and ALL My good pleasure I will accomplish.’” Isaiah 46:10 (NIV)”

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