Free Willism or God's Soeveignty in Salvation of All


Some Universalists hold to the notion that all mankind have free will and God works with them until they finally give in. I believe this is Tom Talbot’s position. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Some Universalists hold to the notion that mankind have a will (the Bible calls it the will of the flesh) but it is not free. They believe God has already done everything through the death, entombment and resurrection of His Son to save all mankind.

For instance, let us look at a couple of passages attesting to what God and Christ have done and how that affects all mankind:

“for this is ideal and welcome in the sight of our Saviour, God, Who wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus, Who is giving Himself a correspondent Ransom for all (the testimony in its own eras), for which I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the nations in knowledge and truth.” (1Ti 2:3-7)

Notice the bolded “for” above. God will have all mankind to be saved FOR, or, the reason why this is so is because . . . .(and the reasons given). Notice that absent from the reasons given is “If mankind just does their part”? Rather, because all mankind have been ransomed, all mankind must be freed from bondage to sin and death and must be freed into God’s salvation.

Likewise in Romans 5:18 & 19 we have:

“Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just act for all mankind for life’s justifying.” For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just." (Rom 5:18-19)

Notice two men and two outcomes which affect all mankind solely due to one act each man did. Notice all mankind are what I like to call, neutral recipients of what Adam and Christ did. Mankind does not have to use their will to get what they get from Adam’s one act and neither does mankind have to use their will to get what they will get from Christ’s one act. They all just get what they will get. That’s Paul’s whole point.

The will of the flesh is enmity to God and cannot please God (Romans 8). Man’s will is the will of the flesh (John 1:3; Eph.2:3).

So, therefore, if man has a free will, and that will is enmity to God and cannot please God, God obviously knows this and so knows His will must overwhelm man’s will.

People don’t like to be told God is going to make them do something they don’t want to do. Tough. Too bad. Sorry you feel that way. Major hint: This isn’t your universe and you don’t make the rules. :smiley:

Poll: Can I be a Calvinist and a Universalist?

:smiley: Love the part about God making the rules! I’m a caregiver for an 85 year old man and outside hanging on his door is a sign that says “My garage My rules!” That being said I don’t think God forces anybody to do what they don’t want to do when it comes to loving Him. God is in control but the paradox is that we are responsible. Without God’s grace we have no desire for God. If we don’t want God then we don’t have to freely choose God. But with His grace the desire is planted within the heart and we want to love God above all else. The problem is that we have mixed up desires. When we get to heaven all corrupt desires will have been purged and purified. We will be like God in that it will be impossible for us to sin. We will still freely choose what we want but because all corrupt desires are gone we will always want to love God above all else. All sin and corrupt desires are annihilated by Christ. We are free to do what we want - Love God and each other with perfect love. We will have completely new natures and be loving each other from the purity of the heart confirmed in His grace.


Michael Williams said:


I believe both.

Jesus has paid the ransom for all of mankind on the cross. We have all been bought with His blood.

1 Corinthians 6:20

Young’s Literal Translation
for ye were bought with a price; glorify, then, God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

But, we must be transformed; born again into the Spirit and water. We are saved by grace, through faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

8 for by grace ye are having been saved, through faith, and this not of you – of God the gift,
9 not of works, that no one may boast;

We must die with Him on Calvary to rise with him at the Resurrection.

Romans 6:8
…7For anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has dominion over Him.…

We will all be won by love, in the end. Love never fails.

So, we will all come to know His love, through our transformation…we will all see with eyes of faith, and not with our carnal selves.

John 3:5
Young’s Literal Translation
Jesus answered, 'Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born of water, and the Spirit, he is not able to enter into the reign of God;

I don’t look at in as ‘giving in’. It is becoming one body with Christ. We are the prodigal sons who will go home and find the loving arms of a father, waiting to embrace us. We won’t give in…we will go home. We will return to ‘Paradise’, where we were meant to be. The circle will be complete.

1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.

Philippians 2:10-11Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

10 that in the name of Jesus every knee may bow – of heavenlies, and earthlies, and what are under the earth –
11 and every tongue may confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God is our Creator, He made us in His image. But, He did not make us slaves, but children.

Galatians 4:7

Young’s Literal Translation
so that thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.



When I look at the world and see all the suffering, I can’t help but think free will is an essential component to any theodicy. That said, free will is not inconsistent with the idea that God will never stop willing and working to save souls.


Nice thoughts, qaz :exclamation: :smiley:

What do you think, Eusebius, regarding Free Willism or God’s Soeveignty in Salvation of All? Which side do you choose and why?

I think you will find that most historical and contemporary Christian theologians and Christian philosophical, would side with some position advocating free will (which I would side with). If universism is true, all would eventually choose it, because God made it the most appealing choice.

It’s interesting that the topic of free will keeps getting resurrected or reincarnated here - on this forum. Why is that? :question: :laughing:

Now I need to start the morning, by drinking a Red Bull and chewing on some hot peppers. :exclamation: :laughing:


I keep reading “free will” in the responses to my original post. Man does not have free will. Man has will and it is the will of the flesh. The will of the flesh is at enmity to God (Paul wrote that after Christ died).

So is God going to save all mankind IF mankind just somehow miraculously (without God’s intervention) does their part? Or is God’s part enough to save all mankind?

Is Christ’s one right act enough to save all mankind per Romans 5:18,19 or does it need something extra from mankind to be successful?


If I wanted to play Devil’s Advocate, I could quote from this USA Today article at Column: Why you don’t really have free will:

And here is the columnist’s background:

Why shouldn’t I choose Jerry A. Coyne version of free will being an illusion?


I don’t believe in the myth of free will. I believe man has a will but it is not free from the dictates of the flesh. It is in fact called the will of the flesh. The flesh is not free to please God.

Ah, the fallacy of argumentum ad populum: If all believe it, it must be true fallacy.
If free will is true, if it is free from causality, then no amount of pleading will cause mankind to come to God to be saved.
God is not very appealing to mankind at all. That is why God is the Saviour and we the saved. Have you not read “all avoid Him”? That is because the flesh is enmity to God and cannot please God (Rom.8) and man’s will is the will of the flesh. Therefore man’s will is not free.

Maybe God is trying to get you to see the fallacy of it? :smiley:


Maybe you should because in so doing you would side with the Bible as well?


If free will is an illusion, will everyone make the right choice in handling moral dilemmas (like in this video)?? Why or why not?


I see the entire history of mankind at odds with God’s will even after the cross. After the cross the Israelites clashed with the holy spirit and willed not to come to Christ. But in so doing they fulfilled His intention that they rebel.

No one ever has withstood God’s intention. That is what Romans 9 see also 9:19, is all about. In going against His will they fulfill His intention.
God’s intention is seen in Isaiah’s day that
"Mat 13:14 And filled up in them is the prophecy of Isaiah, that is saying,
‘"In hearing, you will be hearing, and may by no means be understanding,
And observing, you will be observing, and may by no means be perceiving.
Mat 13:15 For stoutened is the heart of this people,
And with their ears heavily they hear,
And with their eyes they squint,
Lest at some time they may be perceiving with their eyes,
And with their ears should be hearing,
And with their heart may be understanding,
And should be turning about,
And I shall be healing them.’

Christ reiterated Isaiah’s curse as did Paul to the Israelites. How free is that? How free were the Israelites to not come under that curse? They were in bondage. They were locked up in unpersuadableness (Romans 11:32). It is not until God unlocks them that they will be free to believe.

Michael Williams should have quoted at least one verse to back up his thesis. Since one was not given, I perceive it is just his philosophy.


Since free will is not so, why must everyone make the right choice in handling moral dilemmas since the flesh is at enmity to God?


When will they make the right choice regarding moral dilemmas? At the end of time? What does your stance on universalism say (after all, Christ died for all)? Why doesn’t God intervene, to help them make the right choice?


No choice is causeless. No will is uncaused.

Once all mankind see the love of God and love of Christ in all they did to save mankind, I believe it is then that that love overwhelms the will of humanity and they see their Saviour for Who He is.

What caused Saul to become Paul on the road to Damascus? Did Christ say to Saul “Won’t you pretty please believe in Me? Oh pretty please with a cherry on top?” No. What was Paul’s summation of the event?

“Grateful am I to Him Who invigorates me, Christ Jesus, our Lord, for He deems me faithful, assigning me a service, I, who formerly was a calumniator and a persecutor and an outrager: but I was shown mercy, seeing that I do it being ignorant, in unbelief.” Yet the grace of our Lord overwhelms, with faith and love in Christ Jesus." Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all welcome, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, foremost of whom am I." But therefore was I shown mercy, that in me, the foremost, Jesus Christ should be displaying all His patience, for a pattern of those who are about to be believing on Him for life eonian." (1Ti 1:12-16)

Something had to overwhelm Saul to make him Paul per the above.

I also believe that mankind’s will will be changed when they are vivified, made immortal and put on incorruption. Then, for the first time they will see God and Christ and the truth in perfection. I don’t believe God is going to be like a jilted lover Who is like a stalker that just keeps harassing mankind after they are resurrected until they finally break.


How is mankind able to do this (“are vivified, made immortal and put on incorruption”), if free will is an illusion? When will this take place? How will this take place? Forgive the questions. It’s my way of trying to understand, these complex ideas. :exclamation: :slight_smile:


Sorry HFPZ but it is possible I don’t understand your question:
What do you mean “how is mankind able to do this”? Do what? How are they able to be vivified, made immortal and put on incorruption? That is impossible with man. Mankind cannot will that to happen. Mankind cannot choose it to occur. It is only when God wills it to occur that it occurs.

It is nice that even if we may disagree that we are civil and loving and patient, right?


Ok. Let’s get back to basic questions. My take on universal positions is this. I don’t try to argue that a universal position (or a particular variant) is wrong. I try to understand, where the presenter is coming from. Or play Devil’s Advocate and ask them how they might respond, to a conventional position and/or criticism. ** Nothing more. Nothing less.** As far as other areas go, I might get involved in the discussion and even take a side. Here’s some basic questions - forget the previous one (“how is mankind able to do this”). Let me know if you don’t understand them:

When will mankind’s final universal reconciliation take place?
How will mankind’s final universal reconciliation take place?
How do you know free will is an illusion and you don’t have it?
How can I or you know (perceive with certainty) anything at all?
How do you know that you even exist and you are not part of someone’s dream?


Eusebius’ reply: What must occur is what will occur due to God’s will in the matter.

Dandelion continues:

Eusebius’ reply:
All mankind have already died with Him. God already put the old humanity to death in the death of Christ. Mankind did not make a free will choice to be crucified with Christ and entombed with Him. God had to do it Himself.

Dandelion continues:

Eusebius’ reply:
I’m sorry dear Dandelion but I do not see God’s sovereignty verses free will in the above which you bring up. If all mankind are won by love, then the love was greater than our will not to love Him and therefore His will was that His love overwhelm us and therefore our will was not free to be able to fight off His love to be won over to Him.

Dandelion continues:

Eusebius’ reply:
But the prodigal son was dead [to God] and it was not until he was made alive [to God] that he came to the Father. In the parable the father said upon receiving his son “This my son was dead yet now he lives.” So it really depends upon God making Israel alive again to Him. Their will will not allow such a thing to occur. Only when God wills it to occur will it occur.

Dandelion continues:

We are all slaves to Sin and enslaved to sin and death. That is what much of Paul’s epistle to the Romans is about and what God has done to undo that for humanity. Until then, mankind is enslaved.

Dandelion continues:

Eusebius’ reply:
Yes, but only by God giving us the place of a son, not by us willing it to be so.


Eusebius wrote:



Holy-Fool-P-Zombie stated:

Once all creation is brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:21). God must will this to occur, not humanity. And just before 8:21 it says the creation did not volunteer (free will) to be subjected to vanity but God willed it to be so. And one day God will free all creation according to His will and choice per 8:21.


Eusebius: Once they put on immortality and incorruption.


We all have wills. We know for a fact our choices are not uncaused. Therefore we know our wills are not free from causality.

Holy-Fool-P-Zombie How can I or you know (perceive with certainty) anything at all?[/list]
Maybe it should be asked: How can we believe anything God says with certainty?


I’m sure if we were it would be part of God’s revelation to humanity.