May the Grace and the Peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with all who read this.
A fellow Christian has asked me to go deeper into the discussion about Free Will. In my comment section, he left a lengthy rebuttal to my initial post and comment. In order to better organize my thoughts and ease of use (regarding hyperlinks, etc.), I will respond in post form.
1. Biblical foundation for Free Will.
In my comment section, I noted that man has intellect and free will as he is formed in the image and likeness of God who has intellect and free will. Free will and intellect (I would classify "thinking about thinking" as intellect) are what separates us from animals (along with a soul which I carelessly forgot to mention in my comment). Animals act instinctively and we have the tendency to act instinctively as well.
Anyhow, regarding Biblical foundation, there is Biblical foundation for this
thought and it's found in Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus) 15:14.
" When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice."
For those of you who aren't familiar with this book, it's because it is not generally found in a Protestant Bible. It's part of the Deuterocanonical /Septuagint books (or Apocrypha). Why it's not in the Protestant Bible, I don't know. It was generally accepted as Scripture at the time of Christ...anyhow, I know that some of my Protestant brothers in Christ don't accept this as Scripture and that's fine. I do. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this point.
Additionally, me being Catholic, I'm not bound by the Sola Scriptura philosophy. Two Doctors of the Church, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas adequately argue on Free Will and the Catholic Church accepts their arguments as Catholic Doctrine. I won't reiterate their arguments but have hyperlinked their names to their thoughts on Free Will.
That being said, I stand by my thoughts regarding Genesis 1:26. Am I reading my free will view into the text? Possibly...as did the author of Sirach. I admitted that my beliefs color my reading of Scripture in a previous post as it is inherent in our humanity.
Without Free Will, the Bible would not make sense as there would be no sin. How can we sin against God if He programmed us to do it? That cannot be what God wanted. He had to want man to freely choose Him or else the whole of the Bible does not make sense.
That's all for now...I'll continue on my response hopefully tomorrow.