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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Divine Freedom

Absolute freedom is one of the chief attributes of God. God is self determining. He acts according to His own choosing to accomplish His plans and purposes. In so doing He pleases the requirements of His nature (Psalm 115:3; Psalm 135:6; Isaiah 42:21; Ephesians 1:11 ). No person or entity puts God under necessity. He is in all ways and at all times free to choose and act as He pleases. The only necessity that God has upon Him derives from His nature (Job 34:13; Psalm 135:5; Isaiah 45:7; Jeremiah 18:6; Lamentations 3:37-38; Matthew 20:15; Romans 11:33-36 ). God does not at any time act contrary to His nature (Hebrews 1:12 ). God's freedom does not mean, therefore, that He authors those things which are imperfect or calculated to bring harm to the person or purposes of His creation (James 1:17 ). God has limited His freedom to act according to His nature and to act within the bounds of His creation. While God sometimes acts in miracles beyond the natural potentials of His creation to accomplish His purposes, He does not act inconsistently with the order He established within creation.

God's nature is the source of His freedom. Several aspects of His nature clarify God being able to act freely at all times. One of these is God's supremacy. God is a unique Being. He is not one of many gods but reigns as supreme over all (1 Chronicles 29:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 44:6 ). He is self-existent and independent within Himself (Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 32:40; Jeremiah 10:10; John 5:26 ). As absolutely supreme, He is free to act as He wishes.

God's power gives Him absolute freedom (1 Chronicles 29:12 ). This enables Him to accomplish anything consistent with His nature (Luke 1:37 ). God is also Spirit (John 4:24 ). He is thus totally free of the space or time limitations of this universe (Psalm 139:7-12 ). God is free to be anyplace at anytime with anybody.

Since God is free, He always wills and acts voluntarily and without compulsory outside influence. This does not mean that there is no influence to which God responds. The influence exerted upon God comes from God's nature. Some of the characteristics of God's nature that influence His actions toward His creation are grace (2 Corinthians 8:9 ), justice (Zephaniah 3:5 ), love (John 3:16 ), and mercy (Micah 7:18; Titus 3:5 ).

The implications of divine freedom for mankind are vast. God's creation was established with the qualities of God inherent in it. History involves free interaction between people and God. A fatalistic view of creation or of mankind in particular is not in keeping with the way God exercises His freedom. God's freedom gives humans confidence that God cares for His creatures and works for their good (Romans 8:28 ). God is interested in people and takes an active, positive role in the affairs of His creation.

Bob Sheffield

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Divine Freedom'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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