At one of my regular discussion boards, I have been asked a set of questions on free will.
1. If God is in charge of changing people’s hearts so that they believe in Him, why doesn’t He just change everyone’s hearts?
2. Why does God make close-minded people, so that they won’t believe no matter what evidence is presented?
3. How does free will work with God’s sovereignity?
Those are good and valid questions. I previously wrote about the nature of the human will.
Freedom of the Will
The questions are a good follow-on to that, so let’s answer. This post will address the first question, and I will answer the others in subsequent posts.
1. I think we can safely rephrase this question as “Why does God not just save everyone?”. Let me start by stating the obvious, we don’t know why God chooses to save some and others not. We know He does it according to His purpose.
Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
Eph 1:5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
The rest of the answer looks at the issue slightly deeper, and relates to good and evil. If there is no evil, we cannot know what good is, as they stand in contrast. In a similar relationship we can state that we cannot know what belief is if there is no unbelief, not love if there is no hate. For every positive trait we necessarily have to compare to the negative of the same trait.
God commands us to love Him,
Mat 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
Mat 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the great and first commandment.
yet He knows that some will hate Him. Should He choose to make everyone believe and love Him, how does God know that He is truly loved? God does not need our love and adoration, but we were created for His purpose, and His purpose for us is that we manifest His glory. How can God know that He is truly being glorified if He forces everyone to believe? This may also lead us to conclude that some unbelief will show God’s glory as the negative contrast to belief.
In summary then, we don’t really know why God chooses not to save everyone. There is no requirement that if God does it for some, that He should do it for all. It should be reason enough to state that it is so because that is what God chooses to do. Secondary to that is the fact that God created man for His glory, so a manifactured glory will not do, it has to be real glory, born out of the redemption that God chooses to grant through His grace. We trust in God’s character in things that He has not yet fully revealed to us.