Freewill or not?


*God and moral evil[edit]

The free will theodicy justifies God by ascribing all evil to “the evil acts of human free will.”[80] At the same time, the Bible teaches that God “rules the hearts and actions of all men.”[81] The Bible contains many portrayals of God as ruling “hearts and actions” for evil. Following are a few examples:[82]
God said, “I will harden [Pharaoh’s] heart, so that he will not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21).
Isaiah asked, “Why, O Lord, do you make us stray from your ways and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you?” (Isaiah 63:17).
God said, “If a prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet” (Ezekiel 14:9).
John writes that those who “did not believe in [Jesus] could not believe,” because, quoting Isaiah 6:10, “[God] has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart” (John 12:37-40 abr).
God “hardens the heart of whomever he chooses” (Romans 9:18).
“God sends [those who are perishing] a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, so [they] will be condemned” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
“Those who do not believe . . . stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined [by God] to do” (1 Peter 2:7-8).*

The above I copied from wikipedia because I was thinking on this. Maybe attempts have been made on CAF to answer or at least ponder and discuss how to believe that, if God can make us go astray, harden our hearts and lead us to believe in false truths so we can be condemned, how then does our freewill work?

The passages above seem strange about the God I have come to know. If I have freewill, I choose to do good or evil. Choosing good brings me closer to God, but the choice is there as with evil.
If we can be destined to disobey the word, then we have never really had the freedom to will otherwise. And that makes no sense because anyone, even the most “evil” of people can be given mercy and forgiveness from God if they choose to with their own will.


There are two things we must remember: 1) God allows evildoers to go astray as a punishment for their infidelity and sins; he allows evildoers’ hearts to harden as a punishment for their infidelity and sins; and he leads evildoers to believe false truths so they can be condemned as a punishment to them for their infidelity and sins. 2) God has mercy on whomever he wills, he owes none of us salvation; he can give a big evildoer the grace of conversion upon his death, like he did for Dismas on Mt. Calvary. I’m not saying, however, that this is the rule for evildoers and not more of the exception. Theologians and saints have spoken of Dismas as more of the exception than as the rule.

Let us pray and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, for many go to hell because they have nobody to pray and offer sacrifices for them. God bless you.


It is good to read and ponder Luke 7:29-30 when we doubt that we have free will.

Luke 7:29-30 Knox Translation

It was the common folk who listened to him, and the publicans, that had given God his due, by receiving John’s baptism, 30 whereas the Pharisees and lawyers, by refusing it, had frustrated God’s plan for them.

If we have no free will, then the Pharisees and lawyers could not have resisted God’s will. It is clear that God’s will was for them to submit to baptism, but they refused. They chose poorly in their exercise of will, but nevertheless demonstrated their free will.


So this :

Those who do not believe . . . stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined [by God] to do” (1 Peter 2:7-8).

Doesn’t mean it literally, that God doesn’t have a certain destiny for certain people, that all can choose to obey and be saved.

Peter must have thought it out wrong then.:shrug:


But, Peter did not address their final destination in this verse. They have the free will to repent and believe, as the prodigal son did.


I thought of the verse as stating that God has indeed chosen to have some believe and obey and some not. Also like the other verves in the OP, hardening hearts, if God is harding hearts of people they won’t be believing in Jesus, their freewill is violated because it’s Gods will that they do not believe…:hmmm:


God grants to all who ask Him, the graces of repentance and salvation, but we must cooperate with that grace.


Those who obey the word are destined to go to heaven. Those who disobey the word are destined to stumble. Each individual can choose for himself his destiny based on whether or not he/she chooses to obey the word. God does not make the choice for us, we choose our own destiny by our willful actions. God bless you.



I get that we can choose to obey etc. The verse’s suggest that God wills some to not obey is how I read them and which is confusing.

Thanks anyway :slight_smile:


Of course, it can be confusing because first the context of Divine Revelation needs one’s personal affirmation, especially in regard to the Catholic teachings on human nature per se and the fundamental goal for human beings. CCC 1730-32 would be one starting point. Other starting points would be in CCC 355-421.

Unfortunately, I am not in the position of doing other person’s homework. :o


I thought of the verse as stating that God has indeed chosen to have some believe and obey and some not

I believe this to be a good analysis. Take a look a Jonah. He decided he wasn’t having any of it and tried to get as far away as possible from the place he should have been going to. Everyone knows what happened next. Where was free will on that day? Free Willy perhaps (the whale, :rolleyes:)

Believers have been given their path, and atheists theirs, and it is very difficult to change sides. I suppose it is all in the interests of balance and equilibrium. Then again, I could be completely wrong.

Best wishes,


Jewish Bible commentator Nahum Sarna says :When it comes to Pharaoh’s hardness God is utilizing the innate hardness that Pharaoh already has.
He does come across as a bit of a jerk.


But the Scriptures say that God wills the salvation of all men. This is true, as are the contents of the whole Bible. God only wills people to stumble and get deceived as a PUNISHMENT to them AFTER THE FACT that they have been obstinate in sin and hardened against His word. In other words, He wills that all men be saved, but those who refuse His graces and remain obstinate in sin He wills to punish by means of allowing them to stumble and be deceived. God bless you.


It is all in the context of the reading. Whatever you derive from one or two verses, it must be understood in light of verses such as these (bolding mine):

Sirach 47:22 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
22 But the Lord will never give up his mercy,
nor cause any of his works to perish;
he will never blot out the descendants of his chosen one,
nor destroy the posterity of him who loved him;
so he gave a remnant to Jacob,
and to David a root of his stock.

2 Peter 3:9 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
9 The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Titus 2:11 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
11 For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men,

1 Timothy 2:3-4 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
3 This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

A God who sends His Son for those permanently lost is an irrational God. As well, a specific scripture regarding a specific situation or person may be intended only for that person or situation. However, it does teach a universal principle. Think: those who persist in their hardness of heart will perish by a rebellious act of their own will - not by any act of God. Consider the Pentecost: Peter addressed those who were ampng the crowd which had demanded the death of Christ - yet, they were “cut to the heart” by Peter’s words, repented and were baptized. Repentance is a grace available to all - for the asking. Those who ultimately perish, simply did not ask for the grace.

Those who persevere in hardness of heart are actively losing themselves - but only through the fulfillment of God’s promised justice to those who reject Him. Those who persevere in faith are actively saving themselves - but only by asking for, and cooperating with the saving grace of God.



I see how Peter’s teaching changes in 1st letter and the 2nd letter,


Those who do not believe . . . stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined [by God] to do” (1 Peter 2:7-8).


2 Peter 3:9New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

The verses regarding a persons destiny seem to contradict what Jesus taught, and what our church teaches about free will. All can “have a change of heart”, is what I have always thought, so reading that God has “planned” some to ask forgiveness and others not was confusing.

Thanks again :thumbsup:


No but your good at giving people homework!:wink:

I wasn’t looking for what the CCC says as such, it was more about the verses in the Bible that (to me) suggest that our paths are set out and God has determined who will ask for his mercy and forgiveness and who won’t. So then freewill can not be if God has already destined people to disobey.

Of course I will go with freewill and the choice to obey or not :thumbsup:


Glad to know you will go with free will and the choice to obey or not.:thumbsup:

For general information.

Here is a tiny secret about the Catholic Church. Not every verse in every chapter in every book in the Bible automatically becomes an individual Catholic doctrine. That is why, when in doubt or confusion about some Scripture verses, it is best to check Catholic teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition. The Index of Citations, starting on page 689, can be very useful.

Links to Catholic teachings


Im not so sure about our free will…mainly because there seems to be punishments for making the ‘wrong choice’ as in choosing NOT to include God in your life, or to worship him, IMO, as long as a person is a good person, does not harm others, helps other people, and generally does good deeds, that person should not be sent to hell just because they chose not to have a relationship with their creator…if we have true free will, that should be fine if thats the way they want to live.

Plus, when God created us, we are immortal beings with immortal souls, so when he gave us free will, this is eternal as well, there would be no reason to give someone free will that is immortal, but then say, oh, btw, you can only use this for a very short time, then once you die, you dont have it anymore.

I also ponder why God is so demanding about him being worshiped by mankind, this trait does not sound like the God/ Jesus in the bible, it sounds more like a power hungry ruler who desires everyone to bow at his feet, or they get sent to a terrible place for eternity. Where is the love and grace in that?


21st century thinking on “destiny” is something along the lines of unavoidable, or inevitable, or even ultimate. Not so in earlier times. One stumbles only until they remedy the situation and stop stumbling.

Deathbed conversions are a classic example of the exercise of free will. But, that person’s destiny looked rather grim even the day before. This is why we are saved by our hope, as Saint Paul wrote in Romans 8:24.


Because we have been given free will we ourselves cause our destiny: our going to heaven or to hell. God gives us free will, our proper use of free will causes us to go to heaven and our abuse of free will causes our stumbling and our going to hell. God works all things in His Providence so that we will be saved, not damned; to the deserving He gives efficacious grace, to the undeserving He at least gives sufficient grace. God does not truly abandon us unless we first forsake Him. After we forsake Him He punishes us, as He did Pharaoh whose heart became hardened by God as a punishment. If Pharaoh only had repented after his abuses of free will, he would not have been destined for hell. The disobedient are destined for hell; the obedient are destined for heaven – they, not God, determine their destiny, though God has mercy on whomever He wills. God bless you.

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