"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4
Will we have free will in heaven? This isn't a subject I have researched in depth but it is a question I've been thinking about today and so I decided to see what I could find. Just scanning through some of the pages on the internet that address this topic, I can see its a highly debated question.
I guess what makes me wonder this the most is the plight of the angels. If one third of the angels in heaven could CHOOSE to betray God & follow Lucifer, then will we, once in heaven, have the capability to make choices, both good & bad?
It has been said that "man may retain his free will in heaven but lose his capacity to sin." (1) This could be true because there should be no presence of satan or his demonic forces in heaven because they have been cast out. But that would be following with the theory that all sin is devised of satan & not just man's choices. Our nature is sinful but when we choose to follow Christ, we receive a new nature. Assuming at our death that the old nature is once & for all cast away, our new nature would be sinless. It also is said that our will, or our nature, will be aligned with God's and therefore we would no longer choose sin, even in the face of temptation, if they are present in heaven.
I believe, in the Garden of Eden, Adam & Eve still had free will to make their daily choices; what they didn't have was the influence of evil. Up until Satan deceived them in the Garden, they were free from sin. But their position was different because up until that point, they did not know of sin. In heaven, will our memories of sin on earth be 'erased'. What of the verse in Revelation "no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying...no more pain"? We would have to be free from those memories so as not to suffer for them. They are wiped away from God's memory for eternity so they should be gone from ours. So another question I found is, without these memories, how then, will we still be individuals & not copy-cat beings?
I also came across interesting quote while searching this term from (2) Paul Copan's book “That’s Just Your Interpretation” also causes me to think. "That through our truly libertarian free actions on earth we gain access to heaven where we no longer have this freedom to sin. But if heaven is a place where we longer have the freedom to sin, then God could’ve bypassed our earthly existence altogether. If there is no free will in heaven then why not just create us all in heaven? What does it matter what we did or didn’t do on earth? Furthermore, why reward someone by taking away their free will? If free will can be taken away without a loss of goodness, then why create us with it in the first place?"
Then I came across a very interesting debate in an "Creation Versus Evolution" forum that I'll leave for you to read yourself if you are so interested.
All of this being said, in my ONE day worth of research, I found a lot of opinions & assumptions. Many question why the angels were capable of rebellion in heaven. Many question why we would have free will on earth if we wouldn't in heaven. But I think the truth is, nobody really seems to know for sure what levels of free will we will have in heaven or if we will have it at all. I find some frustration in the unknown like this, especially when many theologians have conflicting opinions. And I wonder why it was not revealed to us, or if it has been, why its so vague to our limited understanding.
In conclusion, I have nothing to conclude but more questions. I will continue to research this topic and would like to know if any of you reading have an opinion on this topic & how you feel about it.
Research & quotes from:
(1) ComeReason Ministries
(2) Debunking Christianity Blog
Creation Versus Evolutin Forum