What is compatibilist free will?

Within Christian theology, compatibilist free will is the philosophical position which states that a person who is a sinner and an unbeliever is not capable by an act of his or her free will to choose to receive Christ as Savior. Compatibilism states that the biblical revelation restricts a non-saved person from being able to freely choose to receive Christ of his own free will, because his free will is enslaved to sin (Romans 6:14-20) and is incapable of understanding and receiving spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).

Libertarian free will |
Compatibilist free will
  • Free will is affected by human nature but retains ability to choose contrary to fallen nature and desires
  • Free will is affected by human nature but person cannot choose contrary to the fallen nature and desires

Logically, someone could not make a choice contrary to his own nature. Furthermore, a person cannot make a choice if a person is not aware of the options. First of all, a person must be made aware of the concept or idea before a choice can be made. However, the Scriptures do declare that the unbeliever is a slave of sin and cannot receive spiritual things. Therefore, compatibilist free will is the biblical position.

See "What is Free Will?"  and "What is libertarian free will?"