Finney: The Undeniability of Free Will

I’ve posted a couple of times comments by C. S. Lewis on free will. Charles Finney also is strong on this doctrine. From his Systematic Theology, he makes the following salient points:

Finney's Systematic TheologyMoral agency implies the possession of free will. . . . Free will implies the power of originating and deciding our own choices, and of exercising our own sovereignty, in every instance of choice upon moral questions. . . . That man cannot be under a moral obligation to perform an absolute impossibility is a first truth of reason. . . . Unless the will is free, man has no freedom; and if he has no freedom he is not a moral agent, that is, he is incapable of moral action and also of moral character. . . .

In theory, the freedom of the will in man has been denied. Yet the very deniers have, in their practical judgment, assumed the freedom of the human will as well, and as fully, as the most staunch defenders of human liberty of will. Indeed, nobody ever did or can, in practice, call in question the freedom of the human will without justly incurring the charge of insanity.

By a necessity of his nature, every moral agent knows himself to be free. He can no more hide this fact from himself, or reason himself out of the conviction of its truth, than he can speculate himself into a disbelief of his own existence. He may, in speculation, deny either, but in fact he knows both. That he is, that he is free, are truths equally well known.

The bottom line here is this: theory is one thing, practice is another. No matter how you may slice away man’s freedom to choose in theory, you cannot escape the reality that all mankind makes choices, and those choices are not forced by God. He has given us the capacity to choose. When we choose in accordance with His love and laws (and they’re not really at odds), we are blessed; when we rebel against Him, we suffer the consequences of our sins.