Free will and God

Hello Catholics and others,

I need help understanding this issue because it is one I ask myself and usually get into debates with protestants and it is on the topic of free will.

The way I understand it is man has free will…therefore we can fully choose to accept Christ and strive for holiness or reject Christ and live a life according to our relative feelings where we decide what is right and wrong. Free will results in hell and the fall of humans and angels but it is God’s love for us that He allows us to choose, otherwise we would be mindless zombies loving God not because we truly do but because we are forced to.

My question is do we truly have free will if we are taught that God uses us as instruments and even plans things for us in our best interest, even when we do not fully understand it at the time? If we are made anew as St. Paul says in Christ, is anything we do truly our own? Most protestants I know will say God takes over after we accept Christ…which pretty much means we lose our free will doesn’t it? Isn’t there always free will in everything we do? If there is, why do teach that God uses us as instruments and parts of plans and other things that go beyond what we control?

I might answer my own question but if I had to guess I understand this way. God has given us complete free will in choosing but as far as our life and what we experience (places and others) that is God’s doing. Help me better understand and thank you for your thoughts.

As I understand it, we do have free will but we can submit our own will to the will of God.
I disagree that God ‘takes over’ when we accept Christ.
I think of it as more that when we accept Christ we use our free will to do the will of God.
I wouldn’t say it’s inaccurate to say that God has a plan for us but we do have a choice.
It’s like a fork in a road: say the fork to the right is the one God plans for us and the one He wants us to take but we can still take the left if we choose to.

Welcome to the forum!

As I understand it, we do have free will but we can submit our own will to the will of God.
I disagree that God ‘takes over’ when we accept Christ.
I think of it as more that when we accept Christ we use our free will to do the will of God.
I wouldn’t say it’s inaccurate to say that God has a plan for us but we do have a choice.
It’s like a fork in a road: say the fork to the right is the one God plans for us and the one He wants us to take but we can still take the left if we choose to.

You are right. We have a long series of choices which culminate in a final choice - which is apparently between love for God and for ourselves. In reality loving God is the only way we can fully love ourselves. If we constantly put ourselves before God we are heading for hell!

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