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Question 75.

Pater, does the Greek Orthodox Church believe in free will or predestination? Is our path chosen or do we choose it?

 

Answer to Question 75.

 

When God created Adam, He made him according to His image and likeness. We understand by this that the image is manís spirit, the soul, which is endowed with intelligence, with thought, wisdom and prudence, so as to be able to discern good from evil. It is manís sovereign state and free will to choose his own destination: to choose between knowing and having communion with God, or to separate himself from God. To be in the likeness of God is the ability to acquire the grace of God: to be deified by the Holy Spirit and become a god. In other words, to be united to God through our own free will by accepting Godís will and making it ours. We acquire this likeness through Godís help and by our own efforts. If we make proper use of our free will, we can reach the ultimate aim for which man was created, to be a god by grace. Thus free will is and always was the teaching of the Orthodox Church. God cannot force anyone to believe in him otherwise we would be like robots programmed in what to do and say. Christ said ďIF anyone would come after me, then let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me,Ē  As for predestination the answer is no. God as the all knowable God knows everything , but that doesnít mean that our fate has already been written. We decide our fate which again is our free will.