Do Americans truly live in freedom?
Before you answer, I want you to consider the following: In the book of Genesis, the first use of the word ‘free‘ occurs when God tells man: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
What does this tell us? It tells us that freedom has boundary conditions and that some things are out of bounds. In the biblical text, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was out of the bounds. So, what is freedom? If we deconstruct the word, we find that is comes from two words: free and domain. This means that to live in freedom is to live within a domain where we are free. Naturally, this means that there must be domains where we are no longer free but live in bondage. In other words, freedom has bounds.
Therefore, living in freedom does not mean that we get to do whatever we want to do! When whatever we are doing leads to bondage in our lives, we are no longer living in freedom but living outside of it.
Freewill on the other hand is different. Freewill simply means we are free to choose based on our own will. In the biblical story in Genesis, God gave man freewill but then set the bounds of freedom. He gave man the right to exercise his freewill to choose whatever he wanted, including the choice to live outside of freedom. When the man Adam exercised his freewill to live outside of freedom, he lost the ability to do whatever he pleased. In fact, he was booted out of the domain where he previously lived.
This tells us that when we exercise our freewill to live outside of the free domain that God has set, we lose our freedom and drive ourselves into bondage. In other words, when we fail to respect the bounds of freedom, we lose it.
So, back to my question: Do Americans truly live in freedom? The answer is maybe! In reality, Americans have freewill (free to choose), but the choices Americans make decides whether they live in freedom or whether they live in bondage.
Given the increasing levels of gun violence, mental illness, obesity, racism, and political extremism we see in America, it could be argued that Americans have mistaken freewill for freedom. As such, they are allowing their freewill to steal away their freedom, leaving them in bondage to these aforementioned societal woes.
Remember how Adam exercised his freewill against the free domain God had set and so he put himself into bondage? Likewise, we cannot exercise our freewill against God’s boundary conditions and possibly expect to continue to live a life of freedom.
You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free