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She Let God Write Her Story by Yelena Borichevska is a deep reflection on the human journey throughout God’s creation and their exercise of free will.

Scriptures, theologians, priests, and pastors all talk about the grand and divine design of God, how it is far-reaching and all-encompassing—yet, if that is the case, how does free will figure into things?

If there is indeed a divine plan that has already mapped out everything that has and is supposed to happen, is there really any notion of “free will” to even talk about? Well, that depends on how you define free will.

When free will is discussed, it is usually around one of three mainstream definitions: the general (how the general population defines it), the Biblical (how scripture talks about the subject), and the philosophical (how philosophers approach free will).

The General Definition

The popular notion of free will is the idea that human individuals are born as a tabula rasa, a blank slate, wherein they are placed in this world as active participants from the get-go and that the environment plays a minor role in shaping what ideas, preferences, desires, and beliefs people are going to have. Whatever choices a man makes, he is responsible for their consequences. 

The antithesis of this idea would be to posit that humans are mere puppets or robots who do not have the capacity to act independently. 

Under this idea, although people are free to do whatever they want, they also have to be aware of what the consequences are for their actions. Instead of a tightly molded road, life is more akin to a vast space—a field beneath an open sky, perhaps. And people have the liberty to choose, however.

The Philosophical Definition

While there are plenty of schools of philosophy that have their own definition of what free will is, the general consensus among mainstream philosophies is more esoteric than the popular definition. Where the popular notion portrays free will as the ultimate arbiter of choice, there is a more nuanced and holistic approach to free will as defined by philosophy. 

Free will is explicitly the ability to choose. While people generally say that having free will means having the liberty to choose whatever, philosophy refines this notion by taking into account the environment people find themselves in. If popular consensus says that people arrive in the world as a tabula rasa, the philosophical definition says that people actually arrive in this world already with a preconceived notion of the world around them taught to them by the people around them. 

Nothing exists in a vacuum, this idea says, and choice is ultimately a product of upbringing and circumstance.

The Scriptural Definition

The notion of free will, as it is described in the Bible, is found in the Gospels and the later writings of Paul, positing that while free will exists within the framework of God’s Divine Plan, it is ultimately a restrictive act without knowledge of His designs. You see, when humans exercise free will without awareness of a higher purpose, they are bound to commit sin and act wantonly–this is not “true” freedom in any sense.

True freedom means acting with the knowledge that there are other choices beyond your senses and choosing accordingly. For people who do not know the light of the grace of God, there can be no such thing as free will since their ignorance prevents them from peering into the works of the Lord, however shallowly. 

As is written in John 7:17

Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

The verse above clearly echoes what is said in Proverbs 16:9:

In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Although She Let God Write Her Story by Yelena Borichevska is not an extensive study on the merits of free will under a pre-ordained universe, it is still quite a remarkable and provocative read concerning the extent to which humans are fully in control of their lives and that true freedom is actually in accordance to living within God’s given framework.

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