The greatest of all the qualities bestowed him (man) was that of the will power which was wholly unrestricted in its operations. Although when exercised in a manner which brought this will in conflict with the laws of harmony, man had to suffer and pay the penalties of such violations. But notwithstanding that these perversions of the exercise of the will brought the sins and errors, which now exist on earth, God did not place any restrictions on this exercise.
What is the greatest exercise of our free will?
This question appears to be very broad and as varied by the responder. Perhaps taking this question to the street and interviewing those walking by; some may says things like:
1. Choosing honor as a code of ethics by which all behavior is modeled.
2. Choosing love as the matrix by which all thought and behavior is created.
3. Choosing to do the Will of God which is to seek and accept His Divine Love into our soul.
As I read back on what I wrote I saw that the word choosing or choice was the common denominator in some of my answers. To choose the higher way or to take the higher path in our earthly endeavors is the noble choice. Making better choices for one individual is the highest act of their will where another may choose to pray for God's Divine Love and invite this love within them. Perhaps the quality of the exercise of the will is relative to the spiritual condition of the individual. What do you think? What is the greatest exercise of your free will?
Free Will, what is it exactly?
While I was reading your post Dan this message sprang to mind.
Sin Has No Existence Except as It Is Created by Mankind, and Man Must Pay the Penalties
Here is a paragraph from the message.
God did not create sin or error, but gave to man that great gift of free will, free and not subject to His control, and then man became the responsible being that he is. But in giving man this great gift, He did not relinquish or subordinate His Will to that of man, nor did He confer upon man the power to change or modify His immutable Laws, which He Himself will not do. And within the limitations that man can exercise his will - that is, when such exercise does not interfere with the Will of God or His Laws - man may exercise that will with impunity and without responsibility, as it were. But when he infringes upon the Will of God, or violates one of His Laws in the exercise of that will, then, while man is not controlled in the exercise of his will, yet, for such violation, he must pay the penalty which such violation calls into operation.
I have had many discussions about "what is free will" and have heard so many times that if people use their free will wrongly or correctly then that is up to them, they do have free will this is true, but as the paragraph above states, there are consequences and these consequences may not be so obvious in the present, but will be in the future.
But what do we do when we see someone using their free will that we believe will hurt others or themselves, do we turn a blind eye? or do we say something? I think this is up to our use of free will and judgment, and if we were perfect it would always be a correct judgment, but we are not perfect and must rely on our present condition with its many avenues that are available to us.
I will keep this short and will leave with a fictional example that came to me.
Over night on a walkers path a very deep sink hole had appeared.
The first walker saw the hole and covered it with branches and leaves and went on his way laughing.
The second walker noticed the branches and leaves and saw the hole that was covered, and went away thinking how lucky he was not to fall into the hole.
The third walker also noticed the branches and leaves and the deep hole, he removed the branches and leaves and stuck the branches into the ground forming a fence around the hole, so as to warn others, he went away knowing that he had done the right thing.
I had to laugh Ian with your example of the hole and each response of the passerby. When I was a young lad my brother and I played allot in the woods and we dug these holes on the paths and covered them with branches and leaves too. At least we didn't plant sharped sticks at the bottom of the hole that would cause serious injury. Thinking back to my childhood it appears I chose naughtiness and was a bit of a prankster. This behavior netted me the reputation as a prankster (or class clown) at school as I committed many pranks against the teachers. Without divulging into causes of this behavior it is sufficient for this discussion to understand that it is our choices (personal responsibility) that causes our trouble or to be a troubler of others. The self help author and lecturer, Stephen Covey said that the space between stimulus and response is the choices we make. The gift of our free will is said to be the greatest free gift to us from God. It's because of this awesome power that we wield that an awesome responsibility comes with it to choose to be a person of good or harm to others. Fortunately, I grew out of my naughtiness and chose the higher path of seeking the Father's Love as a young adult as it has kept me on the straight and narrow path.
I think of free will as a choice we have about God... to either believe in Him and love Him, or not.
When we found out about Jesus' teachings and that we must receive God's Divine Love in order to obtain immortality, then it was our free will choice to say "yes," or "no"... just as with Adam and Eve. And as we think about what happened with them after they said, "no"... well then look at the consequences of their decision.
If we use our free will and say "no, we don't want to receive God's Divine Love," after we learn the truth about God and the availability of His greatest gift to us... if we want it, that is... well, will the world come to an end? No. But the result will be that we have lost the ability to obtain the most priceless possession we can ever own.
The reason why God bestowed upon mankind the gift of free will.
Could it be that God desired to share a part of Himself with His highest creation, the human soul.
God will not force His love onto his creations but the decree was that they shall decide, so we have a choice to make, whether we know it or not, and even if we think we are not choosing, we are really choosing not to choose.
Our Creator has bestowed upon us a great gift, the gift of choice, so to choose, there must be a least two choices to choose from.
Adam and Eve knew about this choice God had presented before them, what they didn’t know about, was the consequences of their choice.
The one choice, was to return to God through prayer and faith, asking God for His Divine Love to transform them from the image into the real substance, to be at-one with God and attain to immortality, to be an angelic son or daughter, under the purview of God's law of love and harmony, and to live in heaven as has been explained by God's messenger, our dear Jesus Christ, the first to receive this transformation.
The other choice, the one that Adam and Eve decided to take, plunged themselves and the entire human race that followed into the material, where the animal instincts took over and the result was sin and error as it more or less exists today. Our first parents through their pride and ambition to be like God and a co-equal by their own attempt, which is commonly known as the fall, is still in practice today. Even worse, it is glorified,
As Jesus informed Nicodemus, “you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God”. This is the transformation of the soul, from image to substance, from death to life, from mortality to immortality, from a created human soul to an angel and true child of God.
So is this the real reason for our will power? we need our will power to choose God, without it we could not make the choice.
There was a happy ending for Adam and Eve, and it was because of the choice Jesus made... to say "yes" to our Father to receive His Divine Love. So rather than the first parents living in the highest estate as the closest children of God... that honor was given to Jesus as he is the Master of the Celestial Heavens. Jesus' affirmative choice allowed them to receive the privilege of obtaining the great gift, and they became followers of Jesus.