Disclaimer: This is not my official answer to this question, nor do I affirm that it is something derived from the text of Scripture in totality. Its just something I’ve been kicking around.
I was recently asked the question of whether God has free will. This question took me aback as I had never really thought about it before. Since I believe God has directly spoken on the character of His nature and the nature of His decrees, I turned to the Scriptures. While the Scriptures speak plentifully and fully as to the nature of the ability of man (something codified in the doctrines of grace as “T”), the Bible says much less about the nature of God’s ability. Let us examine some Scriptures that do speak to what God can and cannot do.
declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:10 ESV)
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3 ESV)
in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; (Titus 1:2-3 ESV)
There seems to be two statements that affirmed in the Scriptures:
- God can do whatever He pleases
- God cannot sin
Unlike man, who is bound in trespasses and sins and is within a series of temporal and causal relations, God is outside of time and has no constraining factors (or antecedent determinants) acting on Him. The only conceivable constraint on God’s freedom is His omniscience. I believe that God knows all that is logically possible to know, which would include His own actions. Whereas man has no free will whatsoever (because of total nature of man’s depravity, his contextual situation, and God’s omniscience [this view is called Theological Determinism]), God, it seems, must have some form of free will. Here I will appeal to God’s creative decree to solve this issue. Prior to God’s creation of the world, His knowledge of His free actions (actions which have no antecedent determinants) is not contained within His total omniscience as an actuality but only as a potentiality. Since it is God’s divine fiat that determines which potentiality is actualized, there is no determining antecedent that forces God to decree one set of actions over another.