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Our Limited Freedom

A. W. Tozer in The Attributes of God: Volume Two (p.151-152) illustrates man’s limited freedom of will. Suppose, he says, "a ship leaves New York City bound for Liverpool, England, with a thousand passengers on board. They’re going to take a nice, easy journey and enjoy the trip… After they leave New York and wave to the people on shore, the next stop is Liverpool. That’s it… They are out floating around on the ocean. What do they do? Is everyone bound with chains, with the captain walking around with a stick to keep them in line? No. Over here is a shuffleboard court, over there is a tennis court and a swimming pool. Over here you can look at pictures; over there you can listen to music. The passengers are perfectly free to roam around as they please on the deck of the ship. But they’re not free to change the course of the ship. It’s going to Liverpool no matter what they do… And yet, they’re perfectly free within the confines of that ship.

"In the same way, you and I have our little lives. We are born and God says, ‘I have launched you onto the sea from the shore of birth. You’re going to go into the little port we call death. In the meantime, you are free to romp around all you want—just remember that you are going to answer for what you’ve done when you get over there.’ So we throw our weight around and make demands, declaring that we can do as we please. We boast about our freedom. We’ve got a little freedom, alright, but remember, we can’t change God Almighty’s course."