I am a Trekkie. I was a fan of the original Star Trek series, but I really loved The Next Generation. My favorite character was Lieutenant Commander Data.
Data was an android with high computational capabilities. He looked like a human and was physically fully functional. Yet one thing prevented Data from understanding and relating to humans. He lacked human emotions.
Data’s desire to possess human emotions – and thus become truly human – was an ongoing thread in the show’s storyline. Although Data was like the rest of the crew in many ways, this deficiency made him somewhat of an outsider, unable to form strong bonds and experience deep relationships.
This may sound strange, but I thought about Data the other day while reading “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. During the discussion of another topic, Lewis wrote this about mankind’s free will:
He (God) gave them free will because a world of mere automata could never love and therefore never know infinite happiness.
The question of our free will has come up countless times in Bible study groups I’ve led or been a part of. “If God knew we would sin, why did He give us free will? Wouldn’t it have been better if we couldn’t disobey?”
Free Will Makes Ultimate Joy Possible
No, it wouldn’t have been better. If God withheld free will we could never know true happiness. We would be like little robots, always doing the right thing, but never experiencing the joy of relating to our Creator.
Even though Data was superior to humans in some ways, he knew he lacked the best part of humanity. The ability to love and be loved.
God desires to love us and to be loved by us. And He implanted the desire to love Him back in the deepest part of our souls. And that’s where we find our purpose, our fulfillment, and our ultimate joy. In choosing to love and be loved by our God.
Have you struggled with the question of mankind’s free will? Does Lewis’ explanation help?