In another thread, I heard a bit of a discussion concerning the "will" and one wondered if it even existed. The question arises "what is the will?" and "how should we understand it?"
Obviously, the word "will" is used countless times throughout the new testament and specifically by Christ several times. Although, I have yet to discover this idea in the old testament, and have understood the concept first arose in greek philosophy. Thinking of this, it seems odd that Christ should then speak of such things though it was never before addressed in scripture previously. I do believe this is because God is greater than all things, and to explain Him to a human being bound by language and other limitations requires explaining things in the context of their life and experiences. When Christ came to earth, He spoke the language of the day, and likewise, He comes to each person on the terms of their own understanding and level.
As such, when speaking of the "will" of God, we must understand that is encompasses something greater and more than human language can contain. This means "knowing" and "doing" God's will is not as simple as understanding mentally by way of reason and understanding. I can explain what a will is to you, but having this bit of information will in no way make it applicable to you. The above also means that a "will" is not simply a "will," meaning that if we must be careful of the word "will" itself which can misleading. A "will" is not a thing but rather a concept to explain something abstract. Even still, it does bear characteristics that can help us understand other abstract things like love.
So what is a will? I have heard it said that a will is a verb and not a noun. I think that it is both and I will explain this further as we go on. I have also heard that a will is a choice, and this is a half-truth that often confounds people. Let us start here, though, with a will being a choice.
It is said that humans have "free will." This is true, but don't think people fully understand what this means in truth. They interpret this statement as humans having "free choice." As I sit here and think of all things I have to do tomorrow that I don't want to do, or even desire to do, I think, "How is it I have free choice?" When I think of a rape victim, I also think, "How is it they have free choice?"
We as humans do not have "free choice". There are so many things in my life that I have yearned to do, and have not been able. To this day, I have yet to be able to jump off the roof of my house and fly away like a bird. My choice is to fly and every time I fall.
I also think of all the rules and regulations, things you might call "controls" that govern my life. If a "law" tells me not to speed and I do not speed because I fear recieving a ticket, then have I honestly made a free choice? My choice is to speed, but fear restrains me.
I also think of animals who don't have "free will" and yet they can choose all sorts of things. How is that?
From the above then, we can see that choices, desires, and wants all play into the "will" but there must be something more. A "will" cannot be simply defined as being a "choice." Likewise, it cannot simply be defined by the word "desire."
Desires come in droves. In me, I many desires and many of them conflict. Desires do not last. They change over time. Does this describe God? Is God's will governed by something so shallow? Additionally, don't animals have desires? Do they have a "will"? There is something deeper and greater to a "will" than mere choices and desires.
A "will" is the core or essence of a being. A will is not merely a choice, it is the thing behind all choices. A will is the purpose for which a thing does all things. You might call it an "intention" but it is much more.
In humans, the will is the choice or reason being all our choices and behavoirs. In humans, we have the ability to give our will to whom we will. Our will may be directed toward a person or a thing. In a sense, you could say that our will is that which we choose to be our God.
Humans were created as empty vessels that have needs. Some say it like this, "We have an empty hole that needs to be filled." We were not created as complete creatures. God looked at Adam and said, "It is not good for man to be alone." Adam was not alone, as God was there. Was not God enough? Why did God say Adam was alone?
Adam's will was not for God. And so, God created Eve so that Adam could join to her in a marital union. However, God knew this union would only be temporary because humanity was created to have a union with God. However, God wanted humanity to make this choice through faith in love.
When Adam was created, God could not force Adam to love God. In the beginning, Adam loved God much like a child loves a parent. But God wanted more. God wanted a bride which is a marital union of love. Adam was alone because He was not united as one with God. This is why Adam fell. He lived in God's glory and in His presence. But inside, Adam was yet empty. However, because God satisfied Adam's every need, how should Adam ever know of this? And so, God created Eve, not as a substitute, but as a companion until all things were complete. Adam and Eve exemplified the relationship we are to have with God. In marriage, two become one. This is the ultimate purpose of God for all humanity, that we become one with God.
Back to the "will." Our will the reason behind our choices. It is that which we give our life and our selves to. We have the freedom to give ourselves to anything.
Here are where faith, belief, and love come in. They are all tied to the will. We have the freedom to put our faith into whatever we wish. We have the freedom to believe in whatever we wish. We have the freedom to love whatever we wish. At the core, we have free will. We can choose the reason for which we exist and the reason why we do the things we do.
Think of your "will" as the real you. It is that thing inside. It is a part of self in that it dictates what self is. However, it is not your entire self because you are more than your will. You also have a word, which I'll explain in a minute. A will is something you can give. I think it is best expressed in parents. A parent will often give their will to their children. They choose their children for their reason behind their choices. They rise in the morning, attending a drudging day of work, all because they "will" for that child.
Here is another example. I say, "I will goto the store." The word will here does not imply the ability. It does not consider the ability or limitations. Someone might respond, "You can't, because you can't walk." However, it is my will.
But it doesn't stop there. "Why are you going to the store?" There is a reason behind this choice or will. It might be a response to the flesh. "Because I am hungry." This might seem like the will is simply to serve the flesh, however, if we keep digging and digging, we can see that at the core is a heart. The person has a core reason for going to the store. What is that core reason? What motivates them? What have they given themselves to?
Scripturally, this was expressed by Christ in this verse: Matthew 12:35 (NAS) "The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil."
This also brings me to another explaination. The "will" can be either good or evil. A will can be directed toward a person for the good of that person or for the evil of that person. I could direct my will toward you hoping the best for you, or the worst for you.
In this case, the "will" takes on an active pursuit. It coincides with the word "seeking." What are you seeking? When our will is directed toward someone or something, we then seek a result for that person or thing. In the case of good, I seek to give you life and to help you grow and flourish. In the case of evil, I will to see you destroyed.
A will can be good or evil. This bring us closer to a definition of love and hate. For love is a good will, and hate is an evil will. If I love you, I seek to see you have life. If I hate you, I seek to see you die.
As a quick aside, I wish to explain a few things. All living creatures have a will. Animals and angels do not have free will. Before you get all your tail feather in a ruffle, here me out. It is true angels can fall and sin. However, theirs is not like ours. We have complete free will. In fact, the Lord has blessed us with the ability to believe in lies. We can believe in a false God. The angels cannot. They know God and cannot deny the truth of Him. This is quite obvious when Jesus encountered demons. They knew who He was. There was no question for them. Angels do not have this freedom. They do, however, have more freedom than animals. They can choose good or evil. The will of the angels is directed toward God. They cannot help this or change it. However, they can choose whether or not their will is good or evil. A good will toward God means they love God. An evil will means they hate God.
When an angel falls, it is because they have turned their love to hatred. And because of this, they feel hatred deeply. When the Devil fell, his hatred burned as deep as God's love. His seeks to destroy God. However, God has no weaknesses, so what can He possibly do to attack God? Hurt the ones He loves. The Devils hates God with such a passion and fury unknown to any human being that he will seek after God's destruction even fully knowing he cannot.
If you remember, a will does not consider it's limitations. The Devil's will is solely and firmly planted in bringing and end to God. There is nothing that will stop him. This is true hatred.
Humans, however, have free will. And because of this, hatred is not the top problem on our list. We are capable of hatred, but not like the Devil. Rather, selfishness is one of our top problems. We give our will to ourselves. We live to serve and please ourselves. Because of this, we create false God's to please ourselves. Some athiests even believe this is no God. They solely and truly worship themselves. They give their will to themselves.
At this moment, I would like to recap on what a will is. A will is the core reason behind everything we say or do. A will is directional, and is purposeful. It is given toward something. For humans, we have free will. We have the freedom to place our faith into whatever we want. We can choose to trust in anything or believe in anything. We can choose our own God.
What about God and His will? How does this all fit with God? We have been given free will because such is the image of God. But how is this so? To what does God direct His will?
Here lies the significance of the Father and Son relationship.
God is greater than all things. All things are possible for God. He has no limitations. God can do all things and can will all things. However, if this is true, then how can we say God is good? For good implies a definition. Good is limiting.
Obviously, God is not some mystical force. He is a person with a shape and identity. How can that be? If God is greater than all things, how can He be limited to an identity?
God who is greater than all things chose His own identity. God chose His own image. He had complete freedom to be whatever He wanted, whoever He wanted. God chose to be the person He is.
By doing so, He gave birth to a son. This son bears His perfect image. This son is the perfect expression of His person. This son bears His identity entirely. This son is God's Word.
God's Son embodies all that is pleasing to God. God's will is good and this is expressed perfectly in His Son. God's will is toward His Son.
Humanity was created in the image of God. Some people make a big mistake concerning this statement. Some people say that we were created to BE the image of God. This is not so. We were created IN the image of God. The Son is the image of God. We were created to be a reflection of God's Son. There is an immense difference here that is significant in understanding our place and purpose in God's Will. We were not created to be God's Son, we were created to be a reflection of God's Son. And so, being united as one with God's Son is utterly important to fulfilling our purpose. Any derivation from this causes us to fall.
God's Will is good. Only God is good. And so, anything that is aligned with God's Will is good. When we read through Genesis 1, we find that God is pleased with all that He creates. He looks upon such and such and says, "It is good." The works of God's hands are very pleasing because they are in accord with God's Will. God's Will has been met and satisfied. His love and work have been completed.
However, God never says this about humanity. Instead, He says that it is not good for man to be alone. He does not say humanity is evil, however, they are not good. This means that we had not fully reached the purpose or will God had for us.
God's Will is that we would be united as one with Him. God's Will and our will would be united as one, and as such, our works would be the works of God. When our will and God's will are one, all our works are pleasing to Him.
There is so much more to say and write, and probably a million questions to answer. It is late and I can hardly hold my eyes open. I surrend this entire thing to the Lord, and offer to everyone else.
May the Lord's Will be done,