When Jesus was asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, he replied: “You know the Commandments, keep these and you will live.”

It has been said, that the Ten Commandments are not simple rules mandated by God, but rather, this set of rules is considered as a gift given to men in order for them to live the life that God has promised. Although the word “commandment”, by itself, imports something mandatory and obligatory, it must be understood that God has granted each one of his people freedom and independence to choose how he or she will act, and hence, human freedom is an important topic to be discussed alongside the Ten Commandments. It will be seen, that the kind of life that men live is simply a reflection of how he uses the freedom that he has been gifted with.

A person can either live a life full of one spent as a good follower of God. Although some would say that it is a question of fate, destiny, or maybe even luck, the truth is that, a person lives a life based on his own choices and decisions. As have been stated, men have been gifted with freedom, and it is up to him how he will utilize this gift. Every person has different forms of needs and wants that have to be dealt with in everyday life. This is where freedom sets in. In allowing absence of restriction, God permits every individual the opportunity to shape his life. It has been stated that this is one risk that God chose to take. “God risked much in creating us humans with the freedom, now, to unleash horrendous nuclear disaster or to love our fellows across all boundaries.” (Grider, 1994). It is the freedom that each one has been blessed with that enables him to understand and appreciate the life that he has and all the beauty that comes with it. On the other hand, if this freedom is abused, then the consequences that go with it, would also have to be dealt with by the individual concerned.

Being free entails a lot of responsibility. It is believed that God granted every individual the gift of freedom, not for the sole reason that he be boundless or limitless. Man is given freedom for him to be responsible for all the things that he says, does or even thinks of. True enough, some philosophers believe that the things that happen to each individual can be traced to the actions and decisions that he chooses to take. Most of the times, it is not up to the heavens if a good or bad thing happens to one person. More of than not, everything that happens to a person can be traced to the course of action that he chose to take. The scriptures that God instructed to be drafted, in essence, are mere forms of guidance for men; but in the end, it is human freedom which will eventually dictate whether or not an individual will live his life by these guidelines.

The concept of human freedom is more often discussed by mentioning the story of what happened to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. As has been aptly stated, “these questions as to the nature of human freedom arise especially when we turn our attention to the question of the origin of sin. Only consider how many times the origin of sin has been ascribed to this human freedom of choice, implying this twofold power of man’s nature and of his creaturely existence: to sin or not to sin; a good part and an evil part of his nature.” (Berkouwer, 1962). True enough, God could have stopped the serpent from interacting with Adam and Eve, but due to the freedom that he bestowed the two, they had the choice as to whether or not to take the apple that the serpent offered them. Ultimately then, it is this choice that they made which is the root cause of why they were banished from the garden of Eden.

It would appear then that despite the Ten Commandments being set down by God to be sent to his people, the same is not precisely a set of obligatory rules imposed upon men. Rather, the Ten Commandments are considered as a guide as to how each person should live if he wants to experience the kind of life that God promised. This is a kind of life full of happiness, peace, beauty and love. A person’s freedom can lead to this if a person, in choosing paths to take, keeps in mind what the Ten Commandments speak of. Ultimately, it would depend upon the person if he will live the kind of life promised by God ever since the olden times, or if he will use his freedom to lead him to a kind of unspeakable and despicable kind of living.

Reference

“The Ten Commandments”, https://www.whitestonejournal.com/tencommandments

J. Kenneth Grider , “Human Freedom”, 1994, https://www.bibleviews.com/humanfreedom.html

G.C. Berkouwer, “Human Freedom”, 1962,
https://www.the-highway.com/freedom2_Berkouwer.html

 

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