It should be noted first of all that man’s free will is not independent from God. Man is totally dependent upon God. This dependence includes 1) his being, 2) his activity, 3) God’s prerogative to obligate him to His will and laws, and 4) the foreknowledge and decree of God. This foreknowledge cannot be thwarted; and this decree cannot be changed.
Secondly, the will does not function independently of the intellect. The will cannot function apart from the intellect. It cannot act other than the intellect dictates, because man is a rational being and therefore functions rationally. Otherwise the will could reject that which is good as well as what it perceived as being good, and find delight in sin as sin – which is irrational. All sin is loved because it is perceived to be good and/or its results are perceived as desirable (Gen. 3:6).
Thirdly, the will of man is not free from human peculiarities. People function according to their respective natures. A person who is holy in his nature will be a servant of righteousness, and the will shall respond accordingly (Rom 6:18). But, is a man is sinful in his nature, he is a servant of sin (John 8:34). The will responds and functions in harmony with man’s sinful nature. To a holy nature belongs a holy will, and to a sinful nature a sinful will.
Moreover, the will is not the whole essence of being. It is merely a faculty that exists in living rational creatures and only in living creatures. Corpses have no will. Scripture declares that our breath is in God’s hands (Dan. 5:23). An old country preacher I know, commenting on this verse, use to say, “All God has to do is tighten His grip and you’ll have trouble breathing!” Inflammatory perhaps, but true nonetheless.
The will is not independent of the intellect, nor is it independent of the nature of the person in whom it resides. And most definitely it is not independent of God. Wherein then is the supposed freedom of which the papists and Arminians boast? The fact is they have imported a false idea into Christianity. They assume, without Scriptural warrant, that free-will means self-determination (autexousia). This concept is NEVER found in Scripture. On the contrary, Scripture portrays man as dependent on God for everything, from his breath (Dan. 5:23), to his daily food (Mat. 6:11), to his age and nationality (Acts 17:26), to his saving faith in Christ (Phil. 1:29).
Human freedom is just as much a creation of God as are earthworms, and as such it presents no quandary to Him as how to reign supremely and yet not “interfere” with men’s so-called freedom.
So the burning question is this: If the man who is believed to self-determining is absolutely dependent upon God in every single detail of his life, how is he then self-determining?