Freedom is an illusion. At least – physical freedom is an illusion. We’ll talk about spiritual freedom later.
Physically, we are all slaves. Slaves to the consequences of our (and other people’s) actions. For example, I am ‘free’ to eat what I want, when I want to. And believe me, if I did (be quiet over there…) exactly that, I would get fatter and fatter until I could no longer waddle over to the fridge. Then where has my freedom gone?
Another more serious example is freedom of speech. Yes, we indeed should be able to say what we want, how we want, when we want. And people exercise that freedom all the time. Until they say something to someone bigger than them who gets angry and beats the cheese out of them.
Life itself places limits on our physical freedoms. That is a lesson everyone has to learn, and if they don’t – they will probably die young or end up in jail.
We cannot escape the consequences of our actions. We are NOT free, at least not in the ultimate sense.
So what has this got to do with my previous post that posed the question “How can there be a loving, perfect God when the world is full of pain and suffering?”
Simple. God created us with the freedom to choose, but He made it perfectly clear that poor choices would have poor consequences. God is not a supernatural Puppet Master, tugging on our strings and making us dance to His tune. I would not want to have anything to do with such a god.
So God gave us free will (yes, my reformed, Calvinistic friends – we DO have free will) but He also allows us (and everyone else) to suffer the consequences when we use our free will to make stupid, hateful, dangerous, murderous choices. Again – God HAS to allow that, otherwise He could rightly be accused of playing galactic toy soldiers with us.
Now we are approaching the realm of spiritual freedom. Let’s have a look what God tells us about this gift of free will:
The Lord God put the man in the garden of Eden to care for it and work it. The Lord God commanded him, “You may eat the fruit from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat the fruit from the tree which gives the knowledge of good and evil. If you ever eat fruit from that tree, you will die!”
(Note: So you don’t believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God? Leave a comment and tell me why not! The Bible is a miraculous book that contains prophecy after prophecy that have been perfectly fulfilled. But don’t take my word for it. Read, study, search…. Truth hurts, but it will set you free!)
Here we have the (in)famous Garden Of Eden scene where God tells Adam that he will die if he eats the fruit of a specific tree. What DOES this all mean? Why would God do something so apparently trite and meaningless? After all, fruit is good for us – full of natural chemicals, rather than the synthetic stuff that tastes good! In the next post, we will answer this question, and then conclude this initial study of freedom and consequences.
Bad stuff happens because humans do bad things.