Can Genuine Love Only Be a Product of Free Will?

Is true love only possible if one has the ability to do otherwise? Greg explores this question in relation to God's love for us. 



00:06 Sometimes I get a question that I don't completely understand the meaning

00:12 of, in a certain sense. So here's an example of that. How do you

00:19 reconcile free will with a loving God? And when I heard the question I thought to

00:26 myself, what exactly is the problem? If somebody were asking that to me in true

00:32 Colombo fashion and genuinely I'd say, what do you mean by that that? That is, what is the

00:38 conflict between God being a genuinely loving God and me acting with legitimate

00:45 moral freedom, that is, the kind of freedom where I could do one thing or I

00:49 might do another thing? I don't see the conflict there. You know, my wife

00:57 loves me and I'm free. What's the conflict? I don't get it, you know. I'm

01:04 free to do things she doesn't like, but she still loves me. So I don't see the

01:09 inherent contradiction between loving someone and them being free. Now maybe the

01:15 issue in some peoples' minds is that this is God loving us and so God

01:20 obviously occupies a different role in the big scheme of things, and maybe the

01:25 question has to do with God's redemptive love. That is, God loves in a redemptive

01:34 way in addition to a general way. And this is very clear in Scripture though

01:39 it's controversial with some people, that makes them uncomfortable. Okay, there is a

01:44 love God has for everyone, for God so loved the world, the cosmos, His whole

01:48 world system that He made and everybody in it, okay. But He also has a special

01:55 love for those who are redeemed. That's a redemptive love. In fact, He talks about

01:59 it, Jesus does, in the upper room discourse at John 15 or so, you know, that

02:04 if we follow Him then the Father will love them and make His abode with them

02:09 So there seems to be a separate category of love, and

02:13 I guess some people have wondered if God is loving me in a redemptive way and

02:17 that means that the love of God is drawing me inexorably into His kingdom,

02:23 does that violate my free will? Well my simple answer is I don't think

02:29 it is a violation of freedom and because – and I've never heard anybody talk about

02:39 this point before – because they always talk about love requiring freedom to

02:46 be genuine love. But I don't think that the love we have for anyone – and I'm not

02:53 talking about acting in a loving way when we don't feel loving and that

02:57 happens with everybody we love at certain times - our kids, our spouses, our

03:01 friends, whatever. And we have an obligation to act loving when we don't

03:04 feel loving – but when it comes to the experience of love for people that we

03:10 have deep in our hearts - that is never chosen.

03:14 When did you start loving your kids if you love your kids? Right when they were

03:21 delivered to you, maybe some of you before they were delivered. They're

03:23 inside and you experienced love for them. Did you make a choice? No, it just

03:30 happened. When people get married, at least in the West, they get

03:37 married because something happens to them. There is something about the other

03:41 person that produces a desire, and an attraction, and a connection that we then

03:47 make choices to act on. Like for example, will you marry me? Or, I do. You know, that

03:53 kind of thing. But the thing that motivates the question or the commitment

03:58 is not something you're choosing. It's something that happens to you. And I'm

04:02 just just suggesting to you to think about maybe this is the way God works in

04:10 the hearts of people to draw them inexorably, in an elected sense if you

04:16 will, into the kingdom in a way that can't be resisted. He woos them with

04:21 such power that they are changed inside and they

04:24 want Him and so they choose Him. It's their choice. It's a free choice. They

04:30 could have done otherwise, it seems to me, but no, they choose Him because they want

04:35 Him. I don't know, something to think about. But certainly the idea that God

04:39 loves us doesn't in my thinking in any way, any meaningful way, violate our

04:47 freedom.

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Greg Koukl