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Love and Choice


By heath - Posted on 09 December 2007

"If God did not give us free will, how can it really be love that God requires. Love can only take place in an environment of free choice. Since God does demand love, he must have given each person free will so that he can exercise his will and choose to love God."

Any Calvinist has heard this argument. Hopefully, he has been somewhat frustrated as to how to respond because essentially it is an emotional argument that largely ignores scripture. Predictably a Calvinist would happily lose the argument. He would rather stand his ground on scripture rather than descend to engage in such emotional blather.

However, as we as brothers and sisters are to care for the faithful in error, we should consider how to respond to such a claim on its own terms. These brothers and sisters are eager to maintain the integrity and authenticity of our relationship to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. While they may be appealing to emotion, which is fallen like every faculty of man (including reason) our experience of emotions is part of our being in the image of God.

Recently as I was pondering the nature of love, I hit on what I believe to be a large flaw in the above stated argument. Frankly, that it does not reflect the true nature of love. From my own experience, romantic love, which God patterned after his relationship to his people, is not a relationship that is most ideally characterized by choice. I would venture to say that if one interviewed most young couples in love or old couples about their best experiences of love with a spouse is more about being internally compelled toward another rather than a pure exercise of will.

When I think about my "conversion" to Courtney, I must admit that I tried not to love her. I tried desperately to abandon my love for her because she did not love me and there were others that wished to be loved by me. In fact, these others had more objective appeal; however, I just did not love them. My love for her has deepened over the last 15 years. No doubt there have been moments where my love was revealed in making choices. There have been moments, though they are few, where my covenant and will is what kept me to her.

These dark moments, however, are not the moments in which God most takes pleasure. No, he desires to enthrall us. He wants everything else to look stark because we see him and he is good, better than anything else. He does not want to be the first choice among many.

He wants a mind and heart that choose him because he is the only conceivable choice. This is not the fallen human mind and heart. Only the regenerate heart sees God for who he is, and when it sees him, He is all it will have.

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The Lyrics of a Landon Pig song, "Magnetism" - the subject of which is human romantic love:

It's not my desire; it's not my choice
It's not intentional; I'm hypnotised by your voice
The same old thing, but always new
It's unbelievable how strongly I feel for...toward you

It's more like magnetism than anything else
I can't fight; I'm pulled against my will
It was not my decision, if you couldn't tell
It's more like magnetism; I can't even control myself

Cannot keep away; I feel the tension grow
It's getting stronger now, it's getting stronger now
It's getting stronger now, you're all I see
You have so much power over me

It's more like magnetism than anything else
I can't fight; I'm pulled against my will
It was not my decision, if you couldn't tell
It's more like magnetism; I can't even control myself

It's more like magnetism between you and me
I can't fight; I'm pulled against my will
My appetite to coincide with you grows stronger every night
And I can't fight magnetism, you know I can't even control myself, oh, myself

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