Hi, I was wondering if anybody finds the dialogue between God and Abimelech in his dream confusing with regards to man’s Free Will? I’m finding it difficult to reconcile how God was able to keep Abimelech from sinning and not touch Sarah without violating Free Will. Any help/insight would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
Hey Raj! Actually, I used to have this kind of problem with some parts of the scripture but this one is a bit different. Regarding the whole idea about God’s intervention and Man’s free will, I have some points.
- We have to put in mind while reading the Old Testament that the whole Bible is one story with its climax in the person of Jesus Christ. So, there were some interventions in the past to preserve the line of events that would finally lead up to Jesus.
- As Christians we totally believe in free will, not determinism and absolutely not fatalism. God gave man free will to do what he wants and to even refuse Him. But we have to bear in mind that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to believe that because God granted us free will, He gave up His. God has a will towards us and towards humanity that He is not going to force on us but rather use those who choose Him to bring about His will to the world.
- If God prevents or induces a certain act preventing the free will of someone, that doesn’t mean that He is taking our free will altogether. He just limited that free will in that specific time only.
*Free will is not that we are allowed to do whatever we want, whenever we want with whoever we like, but it’s the power enabling us to do what we are meant for, what we are actually supposed to do. Man has become enslaved not due to lack of freedom but due to lack of responsibility.
So in the light of this, regarding this text:
I saw throughtout the passage a dialogue between God and Abimelech that was endearing. God cared about both Abraham and Abimelech. He didn’t want Abimelech to sin, which is actually what Abimelech also wanted. So, if God didn’t warn him, and he found out later, he would have been mad about it. But if God knew that Abimelech is an evil man who wouldn’t respond to the warning, He wouldn’t have negotiated with him. He would still have preserved Sarah and Abraham in some other way.
Such a great question! Thank you Raj!
Thank you Sara! This is a very helpful way to look at the passage. It really tripped me up on the first read while sitting in church. Sometimes when trying to protect free will, I forget that God has free will, too, and it’s a lot bigger than ours, allowing Him to intervene according to His purposes. I appreciate the quick and thoughtful reponse!