Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Will We Have Free Will in Heaven?

Will we have free will in heaven? I believe the answer must be: Yes. This is because, in heaven, our essential activity will be loving and worshiping God. Without free will love is not possible. Therefore we will have free will in heaven.
But there will be no evil in heaven. We will have free will but will never exercise that will to choose evil. This raises a question. It is: If we have free will in heaven, but always choose the good, why could not, why did not, God make a world where we always choose the good? (J.L. Mackie claims that, if God is omnipotent, then God could have made a world where persons had free will yet always chose the good. Alvin Plantinga argues that Mackie is wrong about this, and that God could not have made such a world since free will implies the possibility of choosing evil, and that it is possible that every person has transworld depravity; viz., that every person makes at least one evil choice in every possible world.)
One answer is this. Heaven is a place where we will receive our heart's greatest longing. In this world we can make a choice either for or against God. If we choose for God then in heaven we receive the object of our choice: eternity spent in the unmediated presence of God. In this world "we see through a glass darkly." In heaven, we "see face to face." "Face to face" knowing is what I will call being in the unmediated presence of God. In this world "seeing through a glass darkly" means that our "seeing" of God is mediated through things such as, e.g., the creation.
Why? Why does God reveal Himself, in this world, in mediated ways? It is reasonable to think that God does so in order to enable people freely to love, trust and obey Him; otherwise, we would be coerced in a manner incompatible with love. The result of our having freely chosen to love, trust, and obey God is entrance into the unmediated presence of God. This experience is so fully existentially "persuasive" that one will always choose God and the values of God.