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Monday, October 19, 2015

Free Will in the Old Testament

From eternity past, God has given all beings the gift of free will.

Satan and the angels could have chosen to obey God or to revolt against Him. Apparently, Satan was one of the most beautiful creatures. In Ezekiel, he’s described as a cherub. Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. . . . Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee (Ezekiel 28:12b-15, 17). Apparently, he was proud because of his great beauty. Note that this passage clearly puts him in Eden, where he deceived Eve.

Satan’s fall, his choice, is lamented. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)

Jesus, being God, was there when Satan made his choice. Jesus said, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18).

Not only did Satan have the freedom to choose; the angels did, too. Consider these verses about Satan’s judgment—along with those angels that decided to follow him:
  • Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
  • For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment (2 Peter 2:4).
  • And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day (Jude, verse 6).
  • And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:9).

Then, when God created Adam and Eve, they could choose to obey God—Who only gave them one prohibition—or to disobey. Unfortunately, Eve was deceived by the subtle serpent. Then Adam—who was not deceived—disobeyed along with his wife. (1 Timothy 2:14) And, sin and suffering entered into the world. What was it they desired? And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:4-5). It was the appeal to be gods. It was an appeal to their pride. The blatant lie, Ye shall not surely die, was Eve’s undoing. She believed the devil instead of God.

And so begins the story of humanity. Every person can choose to serve God or another god—listening to the subtle murmurs of the evil one. The wonderful part is that God guarantees a blessing to those who choose to obey and follow Him.
  • A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known (Deuteronomy 11:27-28).
  • And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:15).
  • If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers (1 Samuel 12:14-15).

God knows everything, past, present, and future. So, He knew when He created Adam and Eve that they would sin. Why didn’t He make them without a free will—little robots that would say yes, yes, and obey all the time? Wouldn’t that have been simpler? Why did God allow the devil and some of the angels to rebel against Him? Why didn’t God make them submit to Him?

C. S. Lewis said:

“Why did God give them free will?
Because free will, though it makes evil possible,
is also the only thing that makes possible
any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

God wanted people to choose Him out of love. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Let's choose God. Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified (Psalm 70:4).



  1. Great post, Lou Ann. I totally don't understand people who believe God hasn't given free will to people. I see it all over the place. Why would God have so many appeals throughout the Bible to people to repent and choose His ways if they can't?

    1. Thank you, Barbara. I've been thinking a lot about this. To me, there's choice all through Scripture. God bless you!


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