Free will and religion / theology [Verses & Quotes on free will]
What does theology / religion say about free will? Let’s discover this question in this article about the viewpoint of religion on free will. Read along…
Let’s take a look at some ancient ideas on free will… (evolution and free will)
Now, we are going to look more closely at the passage of humanity’s collective evolution, from the stage of birth and embryo, to its maturity.
5 billion years were needed for humanity to go through the embryonic stage.
With Adam and Eve humanity’s spiritual conscience was born. Humanity was rejected from the absolute good and entered the world of choice.
Humanity had to choose between right and wrong, between law and order, and that which was forbidden.
Man became free because only the free man can choose:
Robbing cannot be forbidden to one who already is a prisoner.
The animal does not have the option, it must obey its instincts, of which it is a captive.
When man became conscious, he was able to choose, thus God sent His Messengers to guide to him, and give him the choice between the divine will and his own.
In this way, free will became the instrument of the spiritual progress.
For humanity was not abandoned to its fate.
Free will according to religious teachers…
Noah led mankind forward, building an Ark for humanity
This ark has been built and rebuilt throughout history.
It is the symbol of the Covenant God made with humanity.
Whoever enters the Ark and accepts the divine guide will be safe and secure.
Whoever refuses to enter the Ark will founder in waters of selfishness, passions, materialism and ignorance.
Later Abraham arose
He went to Mesopotamia to invite humanity to follow the way of unity and rectitude.
Some denounced him and many persecuted him. And in the Bible God spoke to Abraham:
“I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (King James Bible, Genesis, 12:2-3)
Approximately 4000 years ago, Krishna too arose to guide humanity towards the Omnipotent God
Krishna lived in India. He taught man to prepare himself for life after death.
Krishna taught that material desires carry with themselves frustration, that the universe is an illusion, Maya, a dream, and that there exists a law called Karma. It is the force generated by our own acts, expressed as reward or punishment, leading us to be born again in the lowest or most elevated form of spiritual existence.
Some understood him in a literal and material sense, whereas others perceived the spiritual meaning.
In a different part of the world, Egypt, there appeared Moses
He liberated humanity from the chains of slavery.
Moses gave humanity the ten commandments and said to his people that man is created in the image and likeness of God.
He also said:
“thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18)
These people were among the most ignorant of those times, but thanks to Moses they became wisest.
Even the Greek philosophers travelled to Israel to deepen their knowledge with the scholars of that land.
And a new civilization bloomed.
Moses promised his people the coming of the Messiah that would free his people like unto a shepherd.
He would reunite the sheep from the four corners of the earth and from among all nations, and gather together the exiles of Judea.
Later in Persia, the Prophet Zoroaster initiated something…
Zoroaster initiated a strong action against the black magic current in that time, against the moral decadence, the lack of care of fertile lands, and the cruelties against animals.
Inspired by His lessons the nomads built wonderful cities and the Achaemenid empire was born. Literature, the arts, jewel-making and architecture bloomed. This took place some 3000 years ago.
At that time, Zoroaster spoke of an era of peace that would come when lamps were ignited without candles, by merely touching the walls, when cars moved without horses and man flew like the birds.
Zoroaster also said that He would return to guide humanity towards a new time.
Five centuries later, India and the Far East were illuminated by Gautama, the Buddha
He reaffirmed the way of salvation.
He taught humanity the noble truths, the way to end suffering by means of moderation.
Humanity would have to replace anger with love, bad with the good, greed with generosity and lies with truth, to reach the highest degree of happiness, of self-forgetfulness, of nirvana.
And Buddha said:
“All Buddhas teach the same truth, show the lost way. Truth is our goal and our consolation. We accept with gratitude its limitless lights.”
Some centuries later, Christ caused a spiritual revolution in Palestine
He brought new life to rigid spirits and abolished some of the laws of the past.
He taught: “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (King James Bible, Luke 6:27)
With these lessons he laid the foundations of a new ethic and a new civilization.
He conquered the hearts of humanity and established in them His celestial kingdom.
And Christ described to humanity the signs of the time of His return and taught humanity to say:
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (King James Bible, Matthew 6:9-10)
Muhammed’s message of free will
More or less 600 years after Christ, Arabia was still a country with nomadic and Barbarian tribes.
These Arab tribes lived on war and looting.
They adored idols and did not have any respect for women.
It was at that time that Muhammad had the task of guiding humanity from ignorance and the cruelty unto the straight path of God.
Muhammad spoke of one true God and His prophets. Although Muhammad had never received instruction, He became the greatest guide of his time.
Through him, divine knowledge was attained.
Although He knew neither reading nor to writing, He revealed a book, the Qur’an, that was the source of civilization, literature, algebra, commerce, morality.
Architecture and science were developed and the first universities, libraries, the first hospitals were founded.
It was through the Crusades that these new sciences were brought to Europe, still dwelling in the obscurantism of the Middle Ages.
We have seen how the Messengers of God guide humanity step by step towards maturity.
We have been witnesses also of the great influence that these divine messengers have had on our civilization.
We have seen Their lessons germinate, blossom and yield fruit.
These periods bring with them love and unity between men.
But when these original teachings are interpreted in a hundred different ways, they lose their capacity to unite.
Instead of this, religions become causes of discord and separation between humanity.
Then development stops and disintegration sets in as with all things in nature.
But, after winter a new spring arises and growth resumes.
The Bahá’í Faith on free will
I made a separate article on this particular faith.Click here to learn about this religion ‘The Bahá’í faith’.
Original text by Aladin & Lila Alaie