Do We Have Free Will in Heaven?
Today a friend of mine asked me a question posed to him recently: Do we lose our free will in heaven?
No, we do not lose our free will in heaven any more than God has no free will (he never sins). God is perfect. And the fact that we sin shows that we are NOT perfect. We have the ability to mess up, make mistakes, rebel, all of which are results of our sinful nature.
There is also the issue of defining what we mean by “free will.” Right now I have the free will to murder my neighbor. I can choose to do that. However, I also “don’t” have the free will to murder my neighbor because 1. I like my neighbor, and 2. I don’t believe I could ever bring myself to kill my neighbor (or anyone for that matter). Though I have this as a freedom of choice, I have no desire for it.
In heaven, that sinful nature is completely removed. We will no longer be tempted to sin or even have the desire to sin. We will be perfected (1 Cor 15). Sin won’t be an option for us as perfected creatures any more than it is an option for God who is a perfect being. Just as murder is no option for me now, it will be no option for me in the future.
Now, some might say, “well, right now you don’t want to murder, but something might happen that might drive me to murder. After all, it happens all the time.” Being a hypothetical situation, it only assumes that something might happen that might make me, so I can argue that many people have faced horrific circumstances and chose not to murder. But all of this is beside the point because in heaven, our natures are perfected such that no matter what situation we would hypothetically face, we would not murder because it is no longer in our natures to choose such an action.
Now, some will point to Adam and Eve. They were not made “perfect” as much as they were made innocent. People are using the word “perfect” in two different ways. Someone can say that their masterpiece painting is “perfect” meaning it is as good as it can possibly be. But being good as one can possibly be does not mean one is “perfected” without the ability to fall. This is the case with Adam and Eve who were made “very good” according to God, but they were not perfected or glorified (again 1 Cor 15) as we will be in the future. They were made without sin, and nothing within them compelled them to sin which is why Satan himself had to deceive with a half-truth/equivocation on the word “die” to get them to sin. Once they sinned, they were no longer innocent. They “fell” and their nature became sinful, and as depraved creatures, their hearts were inclined to sin as demonstrated by Cain and Able.
Lastly, I compare it to marriage. Right now since I’m married, I do not have “the freedom” to date around. This is not something that has been imposed on me as much as something I accepted. I wanted it this way. Life is better with my wife and without the ability to date around. When God perfects our bodies, he will finish the salvation he started. When he first saved us, he JUSTIFIED us and declared us righteous taking away the PENALTY of sin. As we live for Christ, he SANCTIFIES us by taking away the POWER of sin. When Christ comes back, he will GLORIFY us and take away the PRESENCE of sin. This is why the illustration of the church as the Bride of Christ is so fitting because at the “marriage ceremony” that is to come, our choice to be united with Christ will be fulfilled, and the curse of the fall will be undone, and we will not just be “very good” people as our original ancestors, but we will be “perfect” as He is perfect.