This is what C.S. Lewis had to say about the issue of "free" will:
Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata-of creatures that worked like machines-would hardly be worth creating. -Mere Christianity, p. 48
First off, I love C.S. Lewis. His writings, particularly the Narnia series, have had a big impact on my faith growing up. So this is not intended to be a bash to him or to state that I am somehow theologically smarter than he was. I can agree with this quote on a basic level, but I feel it leaves out some pretty important factors in regards to our ability to choose or "reject" God. Ive already covered in a previous blog this issue of free will once before, but I would like to briefly rebuttal to Lewis's quote with three different points... Point 1 If the only other choice that God gives humanity is suffering in an everlasting pit of unspeakable horror, than we are not really free to choose or love Him.
What would most Christians say to a husband, who openly threatens to burn his wife in gasoline if she ever leaves him? Could he then say that he has deep, true love for her? NO! She would only stay with him out of fear...her well being depends on it! Thusly, it is insane and sadistic to say that God gives us choice under THAT particular premise.
Point 2 Mans will cannot truly be free if it is bound by Gods choices. Jesus tells us in John 6:44 that, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him". This implies that God has to do something first in our lives, in our hearts, before we can even think about accepting God and is the only way to have a relationship with Him. Then Paul tells us in Romans 8:7 "the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so." If a mind tainted by sin cannot subject itself to God of its own "free" will, then we dont really have "free" will to begin with. So therefore the people that have not accepted God yet, are merely incapable of doing so until God makes the initiative to open their heart to Him.
Point 3 Lewis is right when he says that God didn't make us as "machines" that really only love God because they are not free to do otherwise. I think we are able to make choices that are against God's wishes, a.k.a. sin. Yet on that same note, I think we need to remember God's original design for us, before sin even stepped into the picture. God says in Genesis 1:26 , "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness" To me this implies that we are first and foremost made not only LIKE God(on a much less scale of course) but FOR God. So though we are tarnished by sin...Christ must be the emery to clean our hearts back to its original luster. And once at that original perfected state, we as humans cannot help but love God for all that he is.
To say that God would make any human without the potential to reciprocate love, once God begins to unbind us from sin, would be very cruel. It would mean God literally made people that were incapable of loving him, and thus could only be sent to eternal torments in response to their pre-programed desire to hate God and never change. And this is where the mainstream view comes into conflict with its own moral crutch called "free will"
Therefore, I think of the "free" will to love God, as merely the inate desire we WILL have once God cleans us from our dispositions. God didnt make us as robots incapable of doing anything else, but our will is won to him slowly and beautifully as he cleans away the devils work from every single human being. God will not give up til everyone comes to that point of purity and acceptence of Him.