God’s Love Gives Freedom

It is worth stating up front that I am a firm believer in free will. Recognizing God’s omniscience, I believe that he knows what will happen, but I also believe that he does not necessarily force certain actions on our part. Foreknowledge does not mean that God dictates our actions. I believe that God gives us free will because he wants us to choose to follow him, rather than being mindless automatons.

We are free to worship him in a wide variety of ways, to do with our lives what we will (provided we do it for his glory), to go where we will… God is like a true father who is pleased with our actions, whatever they may be (again, with the caveat that those actions should/must fall within the boundaries of goodness). We don’t all need to look the same, go to the same church, or do the same things.

There are certain similarities we, within the Church, must have. God is the One True God, Jesus is God who died for our sins, and the Bible is the Word of God. You cannot worship Vishnu and claim that his is just a different face of God, for the faith represented in Hinduism is mutually exclusive with Christianity due to the message of Jesus. But within the parameters laid out within the Bible, we have freedom.

G.K. Chesterton compared this sort of freedom to living within a keep upon a high hill, circled by steep drops and cliff faces. Outsiders might look at the walls and wonder at how one can be happy to live such a confined life, but the truth is that these walls give us freedom. Without them, we would be huddled in the center of our home, afraid to move for fear we would stumble or fall off the cliff. The walls protect us so we can run around and have fun without concern. So long as we stay within the walls, we are free to do whatever we like without fear. God protects us.

I have been told that a person might quite like the freedom to fall off the cliff if they prefer. That is possible, I suppose; a person can go outside the walls and toss themselves over the edge if they wish; God gives us that freedom. Personally, though, I think I quite like not being dashed upon the rocks. I prefer a life not lived in fear any longer.

As we westerners have come to live in cities without walls, we have forgotten the comfort those walls can bring and we see them as prisons. We have forgotten that the castles that once preserved life had walls, and that those walls represented the strength of the lord who lived there. But I suppose, should one wish to not study and remember their history, and instead live in fear, they have that choice.

Someday, you may have children, and/or you may view doing so as a very foolish undertaking. Your children might grow up, rebel, spit in your face, run off with the wrong crowd, dishonour or destroy you and your family, and get killed. Though this is a possibility, would you rather have children or not, recognizing that your child might grow in grace, beauty, and intelligence, bring honour to you and your family, become a leader and a servant to their people, bringing peace and joy to many?

God has created all of humanity, with all its breadth and wonder, all of the good and bad people, and he loves us all. He created us, knowing that some would be completely vile, just as there are some humans who are truly amazing. Out of love, he lets us live and make our choices, and the most important is this: Eternity with God, or without. He gives us the freedom to be happy, and that recognition of the frailty of life. That frailty forces the recognition of beauty and joy upon us (the old saw that one cannot recognize joy without knowing pain), and such knowledge would not be possible without the freedom God gave us in his love. Personally, I think I prefer it.