God’s Precious Gift of Free Will

August 28, 2023

Last week I referenced a four-year-old video by Dr. James Tour on how Origin of Life Scientists are not even close to understanding how to create life in the laboratory. Interestingly, this week, Dr. Tour issued a challenge to ten leading Origin of Life Scientists to answer any one of five questions about how to make a cell. They have two months to respond. If anyone of the scientists can do it then Dr. Tour will remove all his posts, articles, and videos from circulation. If they can put up, he will shut up. Otherwise, he will continue to dispute their claim that they are even close to figuring out how life began on our planet.

I have followed Dr. Tour for about a year now, and he knows he is right to doubt the current research into the origin of life. He has certainly convinced me that only an intelligent designer could have created life on this planet. Of course, I believe that intelligent designer is the God of the Bible. But why? What makes me think that, with all the problems of sin, death, and evil in this world there can be any God at all, much less a good God who loves us? I plan on following the origin of life challenge over these two months, and will report what happens along the way. Now for the next few weeks I want to explore the idea that God could have created the world better than He did, as atheists through the ages have declared.

My starting point is to share my absolute belief that the Bible is true, without error, and literally the word of God. With that as my starting point, I make some interpretive claims about what the Bible says about creation. I do so with the full knowledge that I am quite limited in my knowledge, and may be incorrect in interpreting some scriptures. For example, if I lived before Christopher Columbus, I would interpret Isaiah 11:12 to support my belief in a flat earth. Isaiah writes, “He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.” The phrase, “four quarters of the earth” is no longer understood to support the idea of a flat earth. It is a metaphor for the whole earth. It simply took humanity a long time to figure that out, but that does not diminish the truth of the Word of God.

From my starting point, I accept that Adam and Eve were real people and that the Garden of Eden was a perfect place. It was the way God designed creation to be – PERFECT. There was no death, no illness, and no suffering. Adam and Eve’s DNA was perfect. God gave them everything they needed and only had one rule for them to obey. They could eat from every tree in the Garden, including the Tree of Life, but they could not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2-3). Thus, God gave Adam and Eve His most precious gift, the gift of free will. In doing so, God gave some of His authority and power to us. This allows us to make the most important decision of our lives, whether to love God or not.

Love is not love unless it is freely chosen. A parent can force a child to respond in a way that resembles love by brow beating, coercing, and covering the child with guilt. None of us would consider a child responding to this treatment by saying, “I love you, mommy,” to be a meaningful expression of love in any way. The same is true of God who created us, gave us everything, and wants us to express our thanks with heartfelt love. Any other form of love would not be meaningful.

Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Adam and Eve had one commandment to obey to show their love for God. They chose the idol of the knowledge of good and evil over their love for God, and all of creation has been broken ever since. Paul writes in Romans 8:22, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Thus, sin, death, and evil entered into the perfect world a good and loving God created.

Could God have created everything different so that we had free will but no sin, death, and evil? What would that world look like? Next week I look at whether the gift of free will is worth the consequences of evil that it brings.