Will Power

Wikis > Will Power

Volition refers to the ability to choose. Humans have the power of choice. Since humans have inherited a sin nature yet are created in the image of God they can choose either good or evil. The exercise of choice that occurs when a person is using discipline and trying to force themselves to change is usually called will power.


The fact that humans can choose both good and evil is amply proven by individual experience and by history. There are many questions about the extent to which we must limit or qualify the power of the will. In general, all the questions about volition fall into 2 categories: the “freedom” of the will, and the ability to actually choose good.


          Some people say that although humans appear to have free will they actually cannot choose anything unless is has been predetermined, and so it is not really free. This philosophy of “determinism” can stem from either secular considerations or theological considerations. Secular determinism follows from a mechanical or molecular scientific view that states that even an enormously complex “machine” like the human brain must still follow scientific law. Thus, if choice has a neurochemical basis it is determined. Theological determinism stems from the truth that since God knows all things then He must know the future, and so the future is determined, so choice must be an illusion.


 The answer to scientific determinism is that human choice is not physical but spiritual. That is, God made humans with the ability to choose and choice originates in the human spirit. The answer to theological determinism is that God can say that 2 things are true even if they appear contradictory to us. That is, God says that He knows all things and God says that humans can choose. Just because humans cannot reconcile these 2 paradoxical truths doesn’t mean that one of them is false.


          Other people say that even if humans can actually choose they can only choose evil. This idea stems from the truth that humans cannot be justified by choosing to do good. That is, the bible is clear that humans cannot be good enough to “earn” God’s approval and gain entrance to heaven through “good works”. While it is true that humans cannot be good enough, it is not true that they cannot do anything good at all.


          Finally, the bible reveals that while humans can freely choose, and can choose good, they cannot consistently choose good without God’s help. That is, the unaided will cannot produce sanctification. Even born again people need help in the exercise of the will. Humility, confession of sin, trust in God’s promises and a willingness to receive grace must aid a person in the exercise of volition. Another way of saying this is that “will power” alone cannot bring about the holiness that God wants to develop in us.


Eventually a person who is progressing with God will come to the place where they must learn to want God’s will more than self will.