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Part of a discussion on whether we have free will in Heaven, and if not, is it a problem for theology.


Just as faith has significance in the life of a human where there is room for doubt, so what we would refer to as doing the will of God, or good works, has meaning only when there is a meaningful temptation to do the opposite.

These two things, faith and works, are placed on apposition if not outright opposition to each other in various passages of the New Tesstament, whether we are talking about Paul, James or the Lord Himself. Moreover much discussion of the faith Vs works dichotomy informs writing and philosophy throughout Church history, but I would invite you to consider that faith and works is all there is to behaviour in terms of seeking to please God, and then you can make a matrix of four windows with faith and works along the horizontal and doing God’s will Vs the credible or meaningful alternative to doing God’s will along the vertical, so that you get four panels, like the square window in CBeebies, with such labels as “doubt” “belief” “temptation” and “obedience”. Of course there is another set of windows you could add in showing what happens if you succumb, namely “unbelief” and “disobedience”.

Here’s a version I made including the third way of pleasing God, ie He decides to set His love on us, this is seen as the real deciding factor by Calvinists but in any event this we cannot change, we influence the criteria on the two more left columns but in fact those who are not in the elect will never want to do so. The fact that you want to do so means you are most likely in the elect, so it is not something you should use as a barrier to God.

Having set up this image, I would like to suggest that before we are in Heaven we are afflicted by these alternatives and can therefore fall into the lower categories of unbelief and disobedience despite having chosen not to do so. It is the result of what theologists have described as the three-fold problem of the World, the Flesh and the Devil. I could enlarge on that if need be, but for economy I will not do so now. I will also skip over the issues of the New Heart, the Church and the Holy Spirit, which are the opposite three-fold chord. This we can discuss separately.

Once we have attained the end of the age, whether by our death and entering the next life, or because we are alive at His coming, we will be resurrected in a perfect and uncorrupted form so the flesh has not its old power over us. The world is passed away for us, we are entirely beyond the reach of societal pressure, and the Devil is entirely bound from us.

Faith is no longer actually a criterion for us, once we reach that point, as we know at that point.  “We shall know as we are known”. Faith as it is described by Jesus and also by the writer of Hebrews 11 is only possible to have while you don’t actually know, although some are confused on this point, and will state that they know when in fact they do still only believe, however there are some who have experienced enough to be able to know for sure that God exists and loves them, but this is not always as good as having faith in the face of doubt, as the risen Lord explained to Thomas.  This is why God severely limits His direct manifestations to people unless they are in fact already believers, and even for believers very sparingly, as He loves to see our faith. Moses saw God face to face but in the end never saw the promised land, while those who believed his reports without seeing did see the promised land.

Thomas was still saved because he was able to say “My Lord and my God”, whereas the Resurrection in itself was not empirical proof of the Deity of Christ in as much as there are those who assent to the Resurrection but do not know Jesus as their Lord and God. Had Thomas had no more confession than what he had seen empirically, I am persuaded that this would not have constituted saving faith and therefore the detail of his confession of our Lord’s deity is a vital inclusion in the holy text.

We therefore at that point of entering that next world which we call heaven, know God, we have a perfect physical reset and no reason nor pressure whatsoever to be distracted from doing the will of God and worshipping Him purely. But this is what we have chosen now, in this life, what we have asked Him for and what we now thirst for every day of our lives, whilst being too weak in the flesh to bring about what our Spirit is certainly willing.

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