The short answer to this question is “Yes, man has a free will for God created him with the ability to make choices.” Genesis 2:15-17 confirms this: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.  And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (NKJV). God tested Adam’s obedience and in doing so He was also allowing him to exercise his free will to choose to obey God or disobey God. We know that Adam made a fatal choice, for in Genesis 3:6 we are told that Adam’s wife “took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”

The consequences of Adam’s choice affected not only him, but the whole human race. Consider these solemn words in Romans 5:18: “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (NKJV). The moment Adam sinned he became a sinner; that is, he acquired a “sinful nature” and this nature has been passed on to all men. Because of man’s fallen nature he continually makes “bad choices”; he succumbs to temptations and sins. He still has a free will, but his sinful nature gives him the desire to sin instead of obeying God. The apostle Paul spoke of this in Romans 7:15-17: “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For WHAT I WILL TO DO, THAT I DO NOT PRACTICE; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.  But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Notice, Paul’s WILL was to do good, but his sinful nature (“sin that dwells in me”) caused him to commit sin.

This is the problem with man’s “free will.” He still has the power to choose, but he chooses evil over good. This is clearly seen when it comes to the subject of God’s free gift of eternal life being offered to man. In John 10:24 Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In John 6:35-36 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.” Jesus was offering them the gift of eternal life if they would simply believe in Him. Did they make the right choice? No, for Jesus had to rebuke them by saying “yet you do not believe.” Why did they choose not to believe? We have the answer in John 5:40, “But you are NOT WILLING to come to Me that you may have life.” How solemn! Man’s WILL is against God and thus they refuse to come to Christ in faith and accept the precious gift of eternal life!

Thankfully that isn’t the end of the story. In John 6:44 we read, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” Ah, here we see there is hope for man, for God’s grace can come in and work in man’s heart to “cause him to want to come.” He uses the Word of God and the Spirit of God to draw men and to bring about the miracle of New Birth (see John 3:3-8). He doesn’t set aside man’s will, but makes it possible for man’s will to conform to His will. Philippians 2:13 declares, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” So, when a sinner does come to Christ and believes on Him, he learns that his salvation is all of God. We will close our meditation by quoting John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, but of God.” (256.7) (DO)