A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, "They will respect my son."
But the tenants said to one another, "This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. Haven't you read this scripture: "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes?" --Mark 12 (NIV)
God has set up two systems of laws for His children: laws that work from our physical through our emotions to the mind and laws that work from the Spirit through our spirit to our mind. In both sets of laws we have free will. Let’s use the inquestioning method to look at free will.
It is fairly easy to see that we have free will, and it is just as easy to see that there are boundaries around that free will. We have the free will using our bodies to walk to a hundred foot cliff, and then make the free-will decision to jump off. The boundary is that we will die if we jump. God set up our entire physical being using atoms, molecules, and DNA to perfect our free will through His creation. Through these manipulations He gives us His predetermined, preordained, predestined free will with boundaries. There are two ways that God has set this up, physical and spiritual.
Physical (Body) The first is natural, physical laws or rules. We fall to our death if we jump off a hundred foot cliff. Why is that? On the surface it sounds like a ridiculous rule for God to have set up. A person’s atoms/molecules/DNA are so scrambled that the person physically dies. Does that sound logical or rational? Why not make a rule so that the jumper flaps his/her arms and slowly glides to the ground hurting nothing, and the person lives on? What if we made an arbitrary rule like this for our children—“OK now kids, every time you step on a blade of grass, I’m going to pull out 50 hairs on your head!” We don’t make such rules, but maybe we do other things just as seemingly arbitrary. I remember a rule in our house that our children had to be quiet in church or they could get a whack or two (slap on the bottom) when we got home. Now, that’s a good, Christian rule isn’t it? Maybe so, but didn’t we just take a page out of God’s rule book and use it in our family life in the same way? Yes, it follows--we do it all the time as we set up our societal rules because we think it is the right way to help us all live a better life. That is the only “answer” to our inquestioning—God set up physical laws to help us live better lives; so, we set up similar rules for our children and our legislatures and judges set up rules and regulations to help us live better lives. We have no idea why our ridiculous little rules work any more than God’s apparently ridiculous rule about gravity. However, God did it and we follow. Knowing why is reserved for God; that is the “answer” to our inquestion.
We learn about these physical laws through the physical part of our being (body, emotions, and mind). God set up His physical, natural laws (boundaries) like that. We are predestined to suffer certain predetermined consequences if we free-will ourselves to do certain things. However, it seems uncharacteristic that God has given us other laws that preclude His laws of consequence. For instance, when we jump off of our cliff into mid air, if we have a parachute, the law of gravity is overcome, and we don’t die. Furthermore, we never think that breaking this natural law is wrong or cheating the rule of gravity. We just accept God’s forgiveness for breaking one of His laws and go on with life. We might call this God’s compassion.
Spiritual In the same ways God has set up spiritual laws. Spiritual laws are no better fathomed than the physical ones. Here, free will is just as prevalent as in physical actions. If we use one of these laws as an example, Thou shalt not kill!, we can inquestion it to learn our personal judgments. Do we divine through the Spirit/spirit that there anything wrong with physically killing someone? Probably we say yes. But, if we set up an imaginary continuum, a conundrum ensues. We have no problem killing a bacterium. And most of us would kill a mosquito with no twinge of conscience. How about a tree? How about a spider? Or a rat? How about a rabid dog? Or a run-amuck elephant? How about an enemy in the field of battle? Or a sniper shooting our children in the school yard? Most would say yes; there is no problem killing them. However, we don’t kill our neighbor because he doesn’t cut his lawn the way we would like. We don’t even kill gossipers who hurt us by lying about us. We conscience (using the spirit and mind to make a free-will decision) that one is “right” and the other is “wrong”. In the same way, we have escape clauses to this preordination—if someone is trying to kill us, we can kill them before they kill us even though we conscience that it is wrong. God made the law, but we have a “parachute” to break the law. We sometimes give the Ten Commandments the credit for our knowing the wrongness of killing. However, we would have long ago completely forgotten this commandment, along with the other nine, if there wasn’t some predestined, inborn tendency penchant toward not killing. And when we break these penchants, God naturally forgives us for these “wrongdoings.” We usually call this God’s mercy for us.