Did Jesus — Does God Have Free Will?

“9And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10And straightway coming up out of the water, He [Jesus] saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him: 11And there came a Voice from heaven, saying, ‘Thou art My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased’. 12And immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness.” (Mark 1)

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.” (Matthew 4:1)

“Led” is a poor rendering. Mark uses the Greek word #1544 ek-bahl-lo, “to eject” and the KJV properly renders it “driven”. In Matthew the Greek word is #321 ahn-ag-o, literally, “to sail away”, its root being # ahg-o, “to drive, bring, carry”. By way of comparison, ahn-ag-o #321 is the same Greek word used in Luke 2:22 Joseph and Mary “brought” Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised; in Luke 8:22 in which the Disciples and Christ “lauched” their boat out into the water; in Acts 7:41 in which a sacrifice was “offered”; in Acts 12:14 in which Herod imprisoned Peter, and intending for Peter to be “brought forth” from prison after Passover (not “Easter”, which is a mistranslation); in Acts 15:21 in which Paul “sailed” from Ephesus; in Romans 10:17 in which it is asked Who had the Power to descend into the belly of the Earth and “bring again” Christ from the dead; and in Hebrews 13:20 in which God “brought again” Christ from the dead”. This is not a “passive” leading, in which the one(s) being led can “choose” to follow or not to follow.

Concerning “free will” consider that Christ declared of Himself:

“The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him...” (Matthew 26:24)

“And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined...” (Luke 22:22)

Thus, the simple question is: Did Jesus have “free will”...? Well, neither angels* nor humans have “free will” — that is, a will independent of the God’s Will. Why then would the “Son of Man” have “free will”...?

The next logical question, therefore, is: Does God have “free will”...?

Well, before that can be answered, one has to understand all of Creation’s relationship to it’s Creator, as actors in God’s Drama that God wrote and directs, from which no creature deviates. God is the Absolute Authority over everything that He created. It is the duty of all creatures to obey God; however, those that were created “vessels of wrath” cannot obey, for it is not in their nature to obey — which nature God gave to them. If obedience is not an option, then their disobedience is not a “choice”. They are in some places called, “children of disobedience”.

[* I Timothy 5:21 mentions, “elect angels”. God ordained which angels would remain true, and which would defect and follow Satan — and by His Will God controls both; even as He ordained and controls all individuals, all creatures, and all matter and energy in the universe: all reality. See also my books, God and Evil, 280pp., pb., 18.00 + P&H and What the Devil...? — What the Hell...?, 798 pages, pb., 40.00 + P&H.]

This has been established in many books and articles of mine (see my book, Does God Repent...? — Can God Change His Mind...?, 506pp., 25.00 + P&H). So then, all creatures (the very word “creature” presupposes that it was “created” by the “Creator”) are under God’s Absolute Authority and fulfill His Will, whether they realize it or not. God holds in place every electron in every atom of matter and energy and orchestrates as a symphony their spinning and bonding in the micro-universe (inner-space), even as He does all planetary bodies in the macro-universe (outer-space). Again, God is Absolute Authority; and He created all that exists, and nothing exists except that He created it. Therefore, He has no Authority above Himself to whom He must answer; He has no Power above Himself who controls His Being. So, since God has no Authority whom He must obey, or who controls Him, the question then is, does God “obey” or “control” Himself...?

The answer to that question “loosely” (a matter of perspective or semantics) is YES, but more “strictly”, NO.

One must understand God’s Nature to understand this self-relationship. God is Perfect. He is Holy. He is True (Scripture clearly says that He cannot lie; which I explain more in depth in my book, God and Evil). He is Immutable. Therefore, God cannot, by His Very Nature, deviate from that Nature / Divine Attributes. Therefore, God has no “free will”; and thus strictly speaking, God does not obey or control Himself, for deviation from Perfection, Holiness, Trueness, and Immutability is not a choice. Loosely speaking, God, in a sense, obeys Himself, which is what His being Perfect, Holy, True, and Immutable is. Obedience is actually a demonstration of love and self-sacrifice; sacrificing what “self” may want, to do what is required. With God, it is His Being True to His Nature, Will, and Plan, and to His Decrees, Law, Covenants, and Promises.

However, God cannot “do anything”, which is a misconception. God cannot do that which is in violation of His Own Nature and Will; neither can God do that which is logically impossible,* for God is Truth and Logic, and a God of Order, not a God of disorder and chaos; and because God is not a Schitzophrenic psychotic that lives in an impossible irrational fantasy state of altered awareness of reality. God is Reality.

[* as Dr. Gordon H. Clark explained, God could not make a triangle with any fewer or any more than three sides: for a triangle, by its very essence and definition, is “a geometric shape with only three sides”. I add: If it had 4 sides, it would be a square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus, kite, or trapezoid. If it had only 2 sides it would be nothing, for it takes a minimum of three sides to enclose space. Even a carpenter’s framing square, a large “L” shaped flat, metal ruler has more than 2 sides, though it’s thickness is maybe only 1/8th of an inch; anything that is real is three or four dimensional; an “L” drawn on a piece of paper is not “real”, but a representation; and even then, though incredibly thin, the paper on which it is drawn has a thickness, as does the graphite pencil mark itself.]

Thus, the answer to common question asked by those with tiny minds, “Can God make a rock so big that He cannot lift it?”, the answer is, “God is under no obligation to enter the foolish delusions of His confused, irrational creatures”.

However, God is not as He is because He is “stuck” that way. God is not passive; but deterministic in all things — He is Master of His Universe; not absentee landlord, permissive parent, or sleeping caretaker. God’s Name is Yahweh, meaning literally “I Am that I Am”, or more emphatically according to the inferences of His Nature, “I Am as I Will never changing”. Yahweh means, “I Am that I Am”, not “I ain’t what I was or what hoped to be”. Therefore, God is as He is — Eternally and Immutably because He so wills to be. Therefore, His inability to do that which is contrary to His Nature and Will is not a “weakness”, but a strength. His immutably being the way He is, is indeed of His Will — and deterministic; but it is not by “choice” as humans think of their mundane lives as being full of a nearly endless amount of choices: shall I wear blue or green today? shall I have oatmeal or eggs for breakfast?, etc. God is Perfect, so there can be no other alternative or option other than Perfection; any change from Perfection would be to imperfection. God’s Immutability is the “glue” that permanently cements all of His other Attributes as Constants.

God is One God in Three Persons (not merely three “roles” nor three “offices”). God is also Ineffable — we can only understand Him to the limited degree that He self-discloses / self-revelates. Faith to believe that self-revelation, itself, is a Gift of God via the Holy Spirit whereby the elect of His people believe unto salvation, and whereby they live unto sanctification through an understanding of (and subsequent obedience to) the Law of God; likewise, so empowered by God’s Spirit even as the wind fills the sails of a ship and moves the ship.

“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceedeth out of the Mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4) Bread alone will sustain life (for a time), but a person will not be strong and healthy, as he would be with a well-rounded diet (full of varied nutrients) of all that God declared to be clean to eat. It is food that the body burns, as calories for fuel, that power the body. Thus, the Word of God imparts to us all that we need to know in order to live godly in Christ Jesus in this life — that Word being empowered by the Holy Spirit that commandeers the elect child of God to obey. Once time, when the disciples talked about going out to seek bread to eat, Jesus Himself said, “My meat [food, daily meal] is to do the Will of Him that sent Me” (John 4:34).

As an unrelated, but interesting topic, in the same chapter with which we began, on a different note, Scripture records,

“16Now as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17And Jesus said unto them, ‘Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men’. 18And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed Him.” (Mark 1)
In another Gospel it is recorded:

“29The next day John [the Baptist] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a Man which is preferred before me: for He was before me. 31And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water’. 32And John bare record, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. 33And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the Same said unto me, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the Same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34And I saw, and bare record that This is the Son of God’. 35Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36And looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ 37And the two disciples heard him [so] speak, and they followed Jesus. 38Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, ‘What seek ye?’ They said unto Him, ‘Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest Thou?’ 39He saith unto them, ‘Come and see’. They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. 40One of the two which heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, ‘We have found the Messias’, which is, being interpreted, ‘the Christ’. 42And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, ‘Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, ‘a stone’.” (John 1)

There is no discrepancy here between the Gospels. Here in the Gospel of John, Andrew, being a follower of John the Baptist (Christ’s cousin; as were James and John [the sons of Zebedee], and others) saw John point to Jesus and indicate that This Man was the Messiah and Redeemer...! John basically passed Andrew and the other unnamed disciple into Jesus’ care (as John himself was not too far from being martyred), with the inference that they should follow Him — which they did. On the way, Andrew takes a quick detour and finds his brother Peter, shares the news with him, and then Andrew and Peter caught up with Jesus and the other disciple. They spent the rest of the day with Jesus. However, nowhere in the Gospel of John does Scripture say that Christ at that time called them and said, “Follow Me!” Furthermore, nowhere in the Gospel of Mark 1 does Scripture say that Andrew and Peter had never met Jesus before. Thus, from their meeting Christ in John 1, they were already “primed” to follow Jesus, so when, in Mark 4 Jesus commands, “Follow Me!” — they did so.

The other unnamed disciple of John the Baptist, it would seem, was either James or John [the sons of Zebedee*], for immediately (in Mark 1) after calling Andrew and Peter from their fishing boat, Christ then called James and John from their fishing boat, with the same order: “Follow Me!” —and they did, leaving their father and the other hired laborers.

[* —whom Christ, tongue-in-cheek, named Boanerges, literally meaning, “sons of rage”, but in the same passage, indicated that the intention was, “sons of thunder” — for their fiery (though, like Peter, often misguided, immature, undisciplined) zeal.]