Giving humanity a choice, of course involves a tremendous risk—both to God and to humanity.
Read part 1 here.
For God, intensely in love with the human being He’s fashioned and having given them a free will, empowers them to break His own heart. Not only can God’s love go unrequited and spurned, but God must witness the destruction of the object of His love. The risk to humanity is that they are empowered to march off to their own destruction.
At this point some would respond, “It’s not right for God to allow us to destroy ourselves.” Yet those same people would scream bloody murder if God placed boundaries around them. They’d accuse God of impinging upon their rights.
Requiem for Methuselah
Perhaps we can illustrate this dilemma with an episode from an old TV show. Have you ever seen the original Star Trek episode, “Requiem for Methuselah”? Captain Kirk, Spock, and McCoy arrive on the surface of the planet Holberg 917-G. They are there to gather the mineral ryetalyn—a crucial ingredient for a cure to Rigellian fever which has broken out among the crew. The planet is not uninhabited, as they thought. On the planet lives a brilliant and fabulously wealthy recluse named, Flint. Flint is an earth man who has sought refuge from humanity. With him is his airborne robot, M-4, and his beautiful ward, Rayna.
Eventually Kirk and his companions discover the truth about Flint and the young woman Rayna. Flint is an immortal. He is over 6,000 years old and has survived what would have otherwise been mortal wounds, only to recover and live on. He states that he himself was Methuselah, Alexander the Great, Leonardo de Vinci, Johannes Brahms, and dozens of other geniuses.
But immortality is a curse to Flint. He has loved a thousand times and had his heart broken as often. So the genius Flint has created a female android to be his companion. It is Rayna. She is an immortal woman who is equally as smart as he and who will never grow old and die. He empowered her to love. But her love for him must be by her own choice. Therefore, part of her development as a woman is for her to exercise the free will Flint has given her. She must be presented a choice—between her creator Flint and her first love interest, Captain Kirk.
Kirk has fallen in love with Rayna and pleads with her to come with him to the Enterprise. Flint, seeing that her choice of Kirk will devastate both him and his plan, pleads with Rayna to stay. Tragically, Rayna cannot bear to hurt either of the men, for she loves them both. So she short circuits herself and dies.
The Power of Choice
It’s far from a perfect analogy. But it does illustrate both God’s need of granting us a free will and the risk it involves to both Creator and creature. God wants someone who will love Him by choice. He woos us with His unconditional love and His many gifts—the greatest of which is His Son. “But God demonstrated His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). “He who did not spare His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things” (Rom. 8:32).
God is not the creator of evil or sin. Yet He gave humanity the power to choose them—and to choose Him.
Of course God’s grace and His Holy Spirit empower us to choose Him (John 6:44). He, by His grace, creates in us a hunger and yearning for Jesus and for the truth of the gospel (Ezek. 36:26–27; John 16:7–11; Titus 2:11–14). But Paul the apostle states that humanity can resist God’s efforts to put a love for the truth in us (2 Thess. 2:9–12). Stephen stated that we can resist His Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). As troubling as it is, God in His sovereignty has empowered us to embrace Him in faith and repentance or to reject Him to our own destruction. Which will we do?
Dear heavenly Father, please empower me to respond to Your love. Cause me to flee, O God, into Your divine embrace. Though I be presented with a million different temptations, help me to choose obedience to You. Though I may falter, please let You Holy Spirit be the prevailing force in my life, always bending me back into Your arms. Amen.