Statesboro, GA, USA
"does or does not (God) have the ability and the free will to force my decision making process to his end?"
Your statement is presupposing something. It states, in an a priori fashion, that you possess the ability to make decisions. This is at least some measure of freedom ... or you could not be the one making the decisions. I believe that we have the ability to choose. This is free will as commonly understood. Is it the same freedom of will that belongs to God alone? I would describe it as a limited or "creaturely" free will. What is it limited by? ... nature, time, influences, heredity, etc... But limited does not mean non-existent. Could it be possible that the question of freedom runs more on a gradient? And just because you don't possess the fullness, does it mean that you possess no measure of freedom?
God give us freedom to choose. His ability to "force" your decision making process to his own ends, does not mean that he necessarily forces your decision. For example, My four year old son can freely scribble some dots on a piece of paper. I can connect those dots in such a way as to make a picture. Drawing the picture of course is an act of my own will and freedom that does not violate his. In the same way, why couldn't God have the unlimited ability and freedom to orchestrate our choices to conform to his own will and design ... without being forced to eliminate our real ability to choose?
So in this scenario, your choices would be God's raw material to construct something of his own. You might argue that God's freedom would be compromised by the fact that he becomes dependent upon and limited by our choices. But this is precisely where the glory lies in the claims of Christianity. God's most alluring description is as the condescending one, the sacrificing one, the incarnate God who became flesh. So God gives up his freedom, in a sense, to give us ours ... even to the point of dying on a cross for sins (another word for abused and ill-wrought freedom). But even though he condescends, he doesn't compromise. The artist who is able to take someone's scribbles, and scratches, and wrong brush strokes, and make of them a breathtaking masterpiece is perhaps the greatest artist of all. So I guess looking at it this way, the Christian view is one of a God who gives up, if not omniscience and omnipotence, at least it's priviledges and perks for a time... who though he fully takes it up again (that is, his Godhood and the absolute sovereignty implied in the title), has in a real and personal way layed it down for humankind. What a secure freedom it is which doesn't have to grasp it with white knuckles.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (04-15-2003 07:23 PM).]