A friend of mine suggested that I should watch the TV show Supernatural. For years I didn’t, because I don’t like the horror genre. Eventually I started watching it anyway. In season 5 episode 13 there was a quote: “free will is an illusion”. Technically that whole season points in the direction that there is really no such thing as free will, because eventually our “self-made choices” lead us to the path of fate/destiny.
Free will vs God’s will
In life, we are taught to think before we act, because we are all given free will, but if not used wisely, we will cause ourselves and/or others pain with our actions.
At the same time, if you’re a Christian, you may come across bible verses such as:
The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble – Proverbs 16:4
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope – Jeremiah 29:11
In my opinion these versus hint towards free will being an illusion, because if even the wicked are made by the Lord, does that mean they can’t become good? We’re taught that people choose to do bad things right? But if there’s a purpose for people who are created “wicked”, is it really their choice to be bad?
The good that can come from “our” bad decisions
He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he – Proverbs 16:20
In other words, God wants us to be happy and He will make us happy if we trust in him. This verse also brings up another thought: “everything happens for a reason”.
Let’s say out of your own free will you decide to get drunk. Afterwards you get into your car and get into an accident. Obviously, getting hurt is your own fault, because we all know we shouldn’t drink and drive. Now your leg is broken and you have a dislocated shoulder so you have to miss work. Your boss says it’s a difficult time at work and he needs all hands on deck so if you can’t make it, you get fired. Now you’re mentally kicking yourself in the head because none of this domino effect would have happened if you just hadn’t gotten drunk that night. Yet, through all the bad, God wants us to be happy. So when you’re healed you start looking for a new job and you find one. Within a few years, you’re a manager at that company. This would never have happened if you hadn’t gotten fired from your previous job. So maybe getting drunk that night was all a part of God’s plan for you and not at all “free will”.
Conclusion: free will – illusion or reality?
I don’t have all the answers for I am only human. But in life we often see that our choices – be it good or bad – lead us to a final destination. And if we believe that God really wants what’s best for us, this final destination is often a good, happy one. In my opinion, fate and destiny weigh heavier in the grand scheme than free will. So partially, free will is an illusion.