June 27, 2015
Of all the distinctives of man in creation, his ability to “choose,” what philosophers and theologians call “human volition,” is man’s greatest attribute and God’s sacred gift. The exercise of human volition, “the right to choose,” is and must remain our most cherished and protected right. It is what democracy seeks to preserve, and dictatorships impugn, and eventually restrict.
In creating man, God made a being in His image, a being, which could reason and could respond with emotion, but in man, He also created a being, who like Himself, could “choose” his responses, a being which was not driven merely by instinct.
It is this ability to choose which is at the core of what separates us from all other creatures moving upon the earth. Human volition therefore is part of the divine nature, which is reflected in man, and identifies us as being made in His image. Indeed it is our ability to choose which elevates us above all other creatures.
When our actions are driven by emotion alone, when we live unbridled, unrestrained lives, doing what “feels” good, rather than what the Bible defines as good, we not only more closely resemble animals than God, but we have rejected God’s gift, the gift to choose the better way.
Throughout the scripture, God calls us to choose: to choose life not death, light not darkness, righteousness not evil, grace and mercy not revenge, and above all love not hate. It is God’s sincere appeal to us to exercise our freedom, to live as the highest creation He has made, and not as mere animals; to choose to live free.
The freedom God offers is the freedom to choose: to choose mercy, to choose grace, to choose forgiveness, to choose love. The choice is indeed hard and many times seems nearly impossible, but God has promised us through His Son, that we, mere mortals, can reflect the nature of the divine; we can choose… Him. C.S. Lewis noted that, “God has made it a rule for Himself that He won’t alter people’s character by force. He can and will alter them – but only if the people will let Him. He would rather have a world of free beings, with all its risks, than a world of people who did right like machines because they couldn’t do anything else.”
Choosing to do right, choosing to forgive, choosing to love, denying ourselves, exercising restraint and self-control, these are the opportunities, nay the privileges of the free, the ones made in God’s image, in His likeness.
The question for us, for all humanity is, “How will you choose to live?”