An Arminian Dilemma
Last week our church looked at the difficult doctrine of election as we were going through Ephesians 1:4. Therefore, I wanted to piggyback on that teaching with a thought I believe should be greatly problematic for Arminians.
Let me start with one of the key beliefs held by the Arminian. The Arminian holds that the freedom of the human will is so central and vital that God gives the human will the power to make the decisive decision about one’s eternal destiny. A human can accept God’s grace or can override God’s grace and calling, and therefore bring judgment upon himself.
This is where I would like to assert a problematic reality for the Arminian. Let me frame it as a question. “Is there ever a time when God brings an end to the absolute freedom of the human will?”
If the Arminian says “no” then that would mean some people who are sent to hell would then later give their hearts and lives to Jesus. Since their will is still free after judgement, some would realize the folly of their choices and turn from their sin even while in the flames of God’s fury. There would be Jesus-loving worshipers in an eternal wrath. How could this exist? On the flip side of this, you could have the redeemed people of heaven exerting their free will and choosing to rebel against God after a couple billion years, just as Angels did before creation. What happens then? Another fall of the heavenly host? Another judgement seat? Doesn’t this evaporate all our hopes of eternal security if it could end even when we are in heaven? Thankfully, nothing of the sort is ever alluded to in the Scripture.
But if the Arminian says “yes, free will ends at the judgement seat”, then you have to ask how something so central and vital could be overturned. Additionally, If God puts an end to free will at the judgement seat, doesn’t that make love in heaven inauthentic forever? The Arminian says that free will is the only guarantor of true love and true relationship and without it a person is just a robot, so we must ask how there could be love in heaven without it!
The Arminian’s position of the absolute freedom of the human will creates huge problems. The only will in Scripture that is absolutely free is the will of God. “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Psalm 115:3 The will of man is always bound to something. It is either a slave of sin or a slave of righteousness and Christ. Our choices are real, but they are always made in the sphere of what we are enslaved to. Praise God he can change our will so that we choose him. Those who receive him and believe in his name are those who “were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13