Did Jesus have a free will?


Did Jesus have a free will?


He had a will very much like ours while with us- or He wasn’t truly a man.

Are men’s wills essentially changed (fixed) after the resurrection? Yes. But Christ didn’t need fixing. The perfectly obedient will is not something we experience on this side of the veil. In that regard, our wills are never free.


So is it possible that Jesus theoretically could have disobeyed the will of the Father? Or was He bound?


If I am to believe that there was real drama taking place in Christ’s temptations, then yes, He could have disobeyed. In reading the account, I never get the feeling that I’m getting played. I don’t think His temptations were a ruse. If the logicians are correct that He couldn’t sin - then it’s all sound and fury but signifying nothing.


Hans Urs Von Balthasar posits that Christ may have left behind his divine foreknowledge before the incarnation. Doesn’t necessarilly swing the argument one way or the other, but I feel like it’s an important consideration.


What a brilliant and wonderful question. Loaded! Sweet…

For me, short answer, yes. YES!
Jesus CAME to free us – to free the captives – so it’s hard to imagine a bound person (bound being a rather vague term yes?) in charge of bringing freedom.

Thought experiment; you have a choice to drive around the washed out bridge ahead via the detour – OR, you can ignore the warning sign and, in your “freedom” drive right past that sign and … right over the cliff to your detriment.

Freedom is a really crazy/cool thing – isn’t it? The one MOST free, it seems, may in fact appear to be bound by something… What IS that something? Maybe reality? ie; Reality says the bridge is out and the truly free person is empowered to do the RIGHT thing; drive around!

I so love this line; “make me a captive O Lord, and THEN I shall be FREE!”

Is that not brilliant?
When we are “captives” (how ironic that the images of bondage and slavery might be employed in the service of God and TRUE freedom!!) to the truth as it really is (ie the truth that God is; that we are His children; that He yearns for our return to the family, etc etc) is in fact when freedom actually begins!

My favorite atheist (my friend JeffA here, comes in a close second!!) is a dear friend of mine and his favorite book is A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving. He is utterly gripped by the question of HOW the Christ of the Christian religion, born of a woman, raised a full and genuine human, came to grasp that He was – He WAS! – the Son of God. Surely one does not come to THAT sort of insight instantly. (For those who know the book, this question is front and center for the Christian!!)

(Further Dondi, I hope you have read here the musings of Tom Talbott about the difficulties of God bringing forth fully mature minds UNLESS via the process of a sort of ambiguity and uncertainty – he says it much better than I can – which will really enrich your own personal ponderings I think…)

I’m coming to see that, when one is truly FREE, he chooses God. How stunning then that Jesus, the Christ, says He comes to set us free… FREE!!! Contained in that promise then (is it not a promise?) is a form of Universalism?? The truly free chose God, He comes to set us free… Viola’ – Universalism…

This is a deeply profound question Dondi…
Let us dig deeper…



The corollary I’m leading up to is this:

  1. If Jesus had a free will, and…
  2. We are ‘in Christ’ and expected to follow Him, then…
  3. We must have the same-self free will that He had.

Otherwise, there ought not to be any reason to suppose that ‘greater works will you do because I go to my Father’ or have Total Victory :wink: in Him. If we do not have the same capacity as Christ had, what reason would we think that we can imitate Him?

TV, I don’t suppose you could link me to the musings in question, could you?


Yes, Jesus did everything out of his own volition and by his own freedom of will submitted himself to a greater will.

Luke 22:42
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”


Oh sure Dondi – sorry for not thinking to do that. Somehow I guess I just assumed you have covered/read the stuff Tom’s written on this site. My bad.

The idea was raised in this thread called “Mustn’t Adam be one literal man??” This happened back in the days when Tom took questions and criticisms from us. (Circumstances in his life have severely curtailed that intensity of involvement) Here’s the link:

There are several great links within this thread – all worth reading. Including this one…


And very nice use of the term “Total Victory” in the body of your reply!!!



According to John:

But what does this mean, when we say we “can” or “cannot” do something?

Theoretically, I could strap a bomb to myself, walk into my daughter’s school and blow up myself and lots of other people.

You could say I am “free” to do that–sort of.

But realistically, I could not do such a thing. So, no, I’m not really free to so it–I am “bound” by my beliefs, my love, my sense of right and wrong–by my character. You could say I am “bound” by** who I am** to not act in that fashion. You could say I am “free” from that particular variety of sin.

There are many theoretical actions of which I am physically capable, but which I would not ever do-- and it would even be correct to say I cannot do those things. I would rather die, or be tortured, or even totally annihilated.

When I get to the place–and I trust that in Christ and the by the grace of God I eventually will–when everything that is not the will of God has become that abhorrent to me–then I will be one of those who are born of God and “cannot sin”. Until then I must say with Paul, “I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it, but I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” :wink: