When asked about the problem of suffering in this world, and why an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnieverything God would stand by and do nothing in the face of so much human misery, Christians often use the phrase “free will” as a sort of catchall justification for their god’s foibles.. The Christians I have spoken with have informed me that one of the most wonderful gifts God gave humankind (apart from the gift of his son) is the gift of free will. They go on to say that without the ability to choose between good and evil or to choose whether or not we wish to love him, we would be nothing but robots. With the exception of the Calvinist sect, all Christians I have spoken with seem to agree that God does not want robots because robots are not capable of genuine love. God, the Christians tell me, wants people to love him because they choose to love him not because they are programmed to do so.
The problem I have with this view is that it begs the question as to whether or not there will be free will in heaven. When asked about this, I have noticed that Christians are divided.
On the yes side of those saying there will be free will in heaven, almost all say that even though there will be free will, there will not be any sin. I don’t see how this is possible. If free will means the ability to choose between good and evil and/or the ability to choose whether or not to love God, how is it that no one can sin? I have received a WIDE variety of answers to this question. The favorite seems to be that it will be impossible to sin because there will no longer be any evil since Satan will, at long last, be out of the picture. This solution to the problem, however, does not add up. If Satan’s presence is needed for there to be sin, then who made Satan/Lucifer sin? Furthermore, if it is only the presence of Satan that causes people to sin, then why didn’t God, who is allegedly all-knowing and all-powerful, simply destroy Satan before creating Adam and Eve?
I have heard many Christians say that the reason there will be no sin in heaven is because sin is limited to the flesh. They say that we can’t sin unless we are in the flesh. This response, obviously, is easily seen as incorrect since most of the people making this claim also believe Satan/Lucifer was not flesh, and yet, he sinned or chose to rebel against God.
It seems to me that if one admits to a belief that there will be free will in heaven, one must also believe that there is no such thing as the oft quoted doctrine of “once saved, always saved” or “eternal security” since free will would imply that even in heaven, people would have the choice whether to “sin” or “not sin” or whether to continue to love God and to wish to be in his presence or to decide that they do not find God lovable or worthy or good and wish to depart from his presence. Without the ability to choose whether or not one loves God, there really isn’t free will.
On the other side are those Christians who come right out and say they do not believe there will be free will in heaven, since there will no longer be “a need” for free will. Since most Christians not only agree but frequently emphasize (when it suits their particular argument) that without free will, we’d only be robots, then such a stance would cause one to wonder why God does not want robots in this life but he does want robots for all eternity.
I have heard many Christians say that the reason there will not be sin in heaven will be because God will have perfected them, i.e. they will no longer have a sin nature. This response has caused me to ask Christians whether or not Adam was created with a sin nature. Most Christians to whom I have posed this question reply that no, Adam was not created with a sin nature, but that he was created perfect. What is Holy Vible
If Adam was not created with a sin nature, and yet he sinned, then we know that people who do not have sin natures CAN sin, and therefore, not having a sin nature in heaven will not be insurance against sinning and “losing one’s salvation”. If, on the other hand, one posits that Adam WAS created with a sin nature, then one would have to question the wisdom, worthiness, and goodness of a God who creates people with sin natures and then gets mad at them for having what he gave them. To me, this would be like punching someone in the face and then being irate and punching them again when you saw that you had given them a black eye.
And one final thought, if it is true that God is capable of creating people who have free will but who do not have the ability to sin, as many Christians claim, then why wouldn’t he have simply done this to begin with? If, on the other hand, one believes that this IS what God did when he created the Garden of Eden (i.e. if God set out to make a “heaven” for his creation but that this “heaven” got botched up when Eve ate the fruit) then how can one be sure that God’s second attempt at Paradise won’t become as botched as his first one did? Trust is earned, in my opinion. If God couldn’t get it right the first time, why should we believe, have faith, or trust that he will get it right the next time around?