Of free will, the fall, and atonement
Was engaged in a discussion regarding "free will" and "good and evil" and felt like sharing an excerpt of my response:
I don't believe "free-will" necessarily has anything to do with "good and evil." Before eating the fruit Adam and Eve in their naivete, I will concede that they did have the ability to decide to do it, however, I don't subscribe that it was a sinful act, because they had absolutely no knowledge of what a sinful act is. It also was not an ignorant act, because again they had no knowledge of good and evil, it wasn't an ignorance to good and evil, their actual knowledge of good and evil and any explanation of such did not exist and could not have existed. It was impossible for God to even explain the difference because at that time they had no way of understanding it.
I don't blame Adam and Eve for the fall, or even the serpent, if we are honest, it was God's fault. Blasphemy!!! Well, hear me out.
Penal Substitutionary atonement doesn't hold water because God could not have needed a sacrifice for what happened in the garden, because Adam and Eve were not guilty of anything. Yes God told them not to eat of the fruit of that tree, but again, their minds were not like ours, they didn't have a "conscience", they didn't know "right vs. wrong" because that didn't exist in them at that time. It was a concept that defied their understanding. After eating the fruit that changed, but here's the thing, God wasn't angry with them, He went seeking them. The separation they felt was internal, their guilt, shame, their own conscience. Without that inner voice berating them and telling them how guilty they are there never would have been a curse to pass on, they passed this knowledge on and it has hung over our head since.
They weren't trying to "be like God", they weren't committing idolatry, that's rubbish because they had no concept of what that is. Yes Adam was wise enough to name all the animals, plants, and such, but again, he and Eve both had no concept of right and wrong. To them being told to not eat the fruit would have held no weight . Simply because their minds wouldn't have been able to picture or imagine a "negative" reaction or consequence. Their unsullied minds could not imagine something like that because they had no knowledge of what "negative", "wrong", "evil" is.
I repeat, God wasn't angry with them. Not only that, He didn't need some kind of a payment. WE DID!
We needed a way to appease our own conscience, we needed a way to make us feel connected to God again, to not feel separated any longer. Unless what God had planned from the beginning of time occurred, Jesus being victorious at the cross or as it has been labeled Christus Victor, we never would have felt in union with God even though we were never NOT IN UNION with Him. We have a love story that is written out in scriptures which shows that man in his worst depravity, even committing genocide and baby sacrifice, never had God far from him. Quite the opposite, in Him we live, and move, and have our being even as pagans, for we are all His offspring.
So in the garden, they could not have had responsibility for their actions because they had no concept of what that could be. The serpent had no chance at failing, period. No matter what he said he would have succeeded and God knew this. So who was really responsible?
But back to "free will," I believe God has "free will" because a choice doesn't have to be good and evil, or right and wrong, to be an example of free will. The dictionary definition is simply the power of acting without constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion. God has that ability. And as far as making choices is concerned, God can have free-will to kiss us on the cheek or kiss us on the forehead. It's not a choice between hateful things, it's a choice between loving things in that example, nothing restrains Him from doing that. And when He does operate under restraint, it's something that He placed upon Himself, again, by His own free will.
Have free will to discuss and disagree, God bless.