Saturday, August 15, 2015

Free will? Our passions vs our will

The following is an excerpt from an article I had read somewhere online. Unfortunately I did not save the link and do not recall the original source or author.



“Choosing God’s will over ours makes good sense to me,” he said. “Anybody who has ever tried to change anything significant about themselves has to know how useless the human will really is. We are not losing much by giving it up.”

(The excerpt continues with the following apparently in response to the quote above)

"I was completely taken by surprise. I had assumed my friend lived by the strength of his will. But as we talked more about it, I came to see that he was right when he said his passions directed his life much more than his will. He drew his energy from the causes to which he was fervently committed. His will was in the service of the basic allegiances and directions of his heart—the things in which he most passionately believed and to which his life was devoted. His will, he said, could help keep him on track with things he already deeply valued but was quite useless for getting him things he merely wanted."

My thoughts/comments…

"..his passions directed his life much more than his will..."

Passions and will are not necessarily opposite each other. We choose what we are passionate about. To separate the will from passions is not truly possible as indicated by the following… 

"...His will, he said, could help keep him on track with things he already deeply valued but was quite useless for getting him things he merely wanted..."

Again what we value and what we want are not necessarily separate. That which we value most we desire/want most.

However we can want things simply because we "know we should" and not necessarily because we truly value them i.e. They don't really hold value for us, we only say they do because God (or someone else) said they should. So we don't truly want them. We only think or pretend we do.

And of course none of us as his children, wants to admit openly that we disagree with God. So we disagree "quietly" instead i.e. we hid our true feelings and beliefs from ourselves (though not from God) and others thinking by so doing we can avoid dealing with them i.e. We don't have to look at and address our unbelief/distrust in God and our subtle/hidden commitment to valuing something more than God.

"..his passions directed his life much more than his will..."

This is true for both positive and negative passions. Fears are a kind of passion as well as anxiety and anger. And they are all rooted in a broken value system (we value [worship] created things rather then the Creator. Rom 1:21-23). 

These passions are what drive our actions. We choose to go after what we value most; and we value most what we believe will best give us what we need i.e. what we value most is what we are most passionate about. And what we believe is valuable is obstructed by our spiritual inability to see what is truly valuable above all things; God himself. 

When all is said and done, we are driven to act by our passions, which are rooted in our beliefs, whether right or wrong. Our wills do not "lead" in this process but are subject to our passions, which are tied to our beliefs. 

Our will is not free in the absolute sense, it is the servant of our passions.

Or to quote from the above excerpt, "...His will was in the service (or slaves) of the basic allegiances and directions of his heart..."

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Grace to you
Jim Deal