Meaning of Free Will

What is Free Will:

Free will is the power that the human being has to act as he considers and chooses. This means that people are naturally free to make their own decisions, without being subject to pressures, needs or limitations, or divine predetermination.

Free will means, in short, that the human being is free both to do good and to do evil. And this, of course, has its ethical and moral implications, since the individual who acts according to his free will is also responsible for his actions, whether they count as his successes or his errors.

Hence, free will extends to other areas of human life, such as religion, philosophy or law.

Free Will in the Bible

According to the Bible, God gave man the power to act as he wishes, regardless of whether his decisions are good or bad.

In this sense, biblical passages abound that point to the freedom of men to choose the path they have to take: if the correct one, which is —from the point of view of Christian doctrine— that of God, or the incorrect one, which it means to deviate from God.

Hence this affirmation found in Joshua: “Choose today whom you will serve” (XXIV: 15).

Free will in philosophy

Saint Augustine of Hippo argued that free will supposes the possibility that man has to choose between good and evil.

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In this sense, it is a concept applied to the freedom of the human being to act well or badly. However, he distinguishes that what is considered free will is the good use of this freedom.

On the other hand, according to determinism, all human behavior or choice is rooted in a cause, so that our decisions would be determined indefinitely by all the causes that pre-exist them, which would mean that there is no possible choice and that free will in reality does not exist.

However, there is also the opposite position, put forward by the liberals, who do not recognize the thesis of the determinists and, therefore, affirm that free will does exist.

Free will in law

According to Criminal Law, free will serves as the legal basis for the punishment of criminals. This means that if an individual, when committing a crime, has had the freedom to decide to do evil, then he has also chosen or accepted, consequently, the penalty or punishment applied for said crime. This, of course, in case impunity is frustrated.