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Will there be Free Will in Heaven?

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

A question was once proposed about the nature of God's sovereignty and the free will we as humans clearly have. Do we have free will? Will we have free will in heaven and if so, does that mean evil will exist in heaven? If you can't choose to love God, then why be there? It hardly seems like real paradise. If we are robots in heaven, doing whatever God makes us do that doesn't seem like heaven. For those who are actively in a relationship or have ever been in one know that the beauty of it is the choice. What are we to make of this?

This is an interesting topic. When we are sanctified and with God for good, we will be perfectly sanctified (1 John 3:2) and will be present in the new Heaven and Earth (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1-2), essentially Eden recreated, but better, with wholly sanctified people and a sanctified world. I don’t believe this is quite the same thing as Heaven as it stands now, where we imagine heaven as the domain or realm where God or heavenly beings exist. John describes the future as the merging of a New Heaven and New Earth. We won’t be in a permanent trance but will be like Adam and Eve once we’re, but recreated and sanctified (2 Peter 3:13). How is this different than original Eden though? Eden, to me, can best be thought of the potential humanity had rather than being perfect as we traditionally think, otherwise sin would not have entered. Right? There was perfect order and God making “good” is putting everything right where it needed to be for good order and man, given the responsibility of managing the earth, sinned and unordered creation (Genesis 1-3). Things are evidently out of place and not right. The new creation will be better. Adam and Eve were sinless but susceptible to temptation unlike our future sanctified selves. If you're more interested on reading on this subject check out, "A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology" by J. Richard Middleton.

Second, I think the idea of free will is misconstrued which confuses this. Often time the discussion of Calvinism and Arminianism comes into play. While a whole different post would be necessary to discuss this in its entirety, a brief description will be provided. If you are an individual who wants to learn more about this subject I would highly suggest purchasing, "CALVINISM VS ARMINIANISM: The Bible Answers" by Edward D. Andrews. Continuing, Calvinism presents the belief that we are predestined by God to be saved, and generally Calvinist believe that if we are predestined, we will become saved in this lifetime. However, some Calvinists go to the extreme of believing every decision from how we wake up and tie our shoes all the way to our death is predetermined. Some believe our choices are our own, but our eternity is decided. Armenians believe that we are presented with the choice of free will and our choices affect our salvific outcome. I myself believe somewhat in the middle. I believe free will is a layered concept. We have free will to make choices but not true and absolute free will. Our free will is molded by sin, family, friends, culture, state, country, the time in history we are brought into the world, etc. all molded by sin. Someone born during the Italian Rennaissance would have an entirely different view of free will and what that means because of his culture, time, existing philosophy their world, their family and friends, and more. This is not entirely free will but the freedom of choice with the draw, urge, captivating us to sin as sin pollutes everything, our decisions included. Within the biblical narrative there are certainly characters that God chose to use such as the patriarchs, the prophets, the kings who would lead Israel, the New Testament prophets and there is no reason to think this does not happen today. Some people have crazy testimonies that are true. However, I think the most of us can agree that most biblical characters seem to be presented with a choice, and many of us are presented with a choice. When someone does something to us, we have a choice of how to react. We are dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:1) and whatever your view is of freedom and sovereignty it takes God's grace and a supernatural working of the Holy Spirit to draw us to faith and repentance.

With all this perspective we can confidently say that God is the only one who is truly free in that he is bound by nothing other than his righteousness, holiness, goodness, love. He’s bound and influenced by nothing other than his true nature acting however he pleases in accordance with it. When we are perfectly sanctified our free will look more like that. It is important to say we will of course not be God but be like him. Because we will be sanctified the bondage of sin will be gone (Revelation 21:4) and we will act in accordance with God who is perfect and unaffected by the pollution of sin. We will be like Christ. Though we will not be robots we will make choices. And freedom is not necessarily the absence of restriction but the removal of sin’s bondage which makes us unable to act in our perfectly sanctified manner. When we are free to the slavery of sin, we are brought to the one who is perfectly good and the source of life so we may experience true life. That’s freedom. Choice that has been purified and centered around the life and goodness God brings and not the fallen world.

With this said, it is very brief and this is a humble attempt a explaining something complex in a very short post. There may be some gaps in explanation or discussion. Thank you for reading. Lastly, if you like what you see and are interested in supporting the ministry then be sure to check out our store!

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