Free Will or Free Choice

Will is that faculty of the mind by which we determine either to do or forbear an action; the faculty which is exercised in deciding, among two or more objects, which we shall embrace or pursue. The will is directed or influenced by the judgment. The understanding or reason compares different objects, which operate as motives; the judgment determines which is preferable, and the will decides which to pursue. In other words, we reason with respect to the value or importance of things; we then judge which is to be preferred; and we will to take the most valuable. These are but different operations of the mind, soul, or intellectual part of man. Great disputes have existed respecting the freedom of the will; will is often quite a different thing from desire.
  Choice is the act of choosing; the voluntary act of selecting or separating from two or more things that which is preferred; or the determination of the mind in preferring one thing to another; election. The power of choosing; option. Where there is force, there can be no choice.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Will is the mental faculty by which you deliberately choose or decide on a course of action; volition; diligent purposefulness; determination; self-control; self-discipline; purpose, or determination, especially of one in authority; deliberate intention or wish.
  Free will is the ability or discretion to choose, the power of making choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will.Oxford English Dictionary

“Will holds desire to the task at hand.”—Edna Lister

You always choose from a pair of opposites and give up one or the other. This is the limit of free will, the freedom to chose the path you take. What you really have is free choice. Yet beware! Your conflicting desires compose the greatest source of opposition to your will. Each desire, as it holds your consciousness, temporarily controls your will. Will power is the self-command, self-discipline, and self-mastery required to gain the goal or object of your desire. Be ready to strengthen your will power at all times.

Edna Lister on Free Will or Free Choice

Love is active on the inner plane, but passive on outer plane until you act, never demanding, never asking, but always giving others freedom to choose their own way.—Edna Lister, Love, the Conqueror, April 12, 1934.

Each runs on a power of choice. You may choose to suit yourself, but may not expect to change God’s laws and plans when you change your mind.—Edna Lister, January 2, 1939.

The law of obligation states that because man is free and endowed with choice and knowledge of moral good and evil, he is under the absolute obligation to conform to law. It is his plain duty to obey the dictates of truth and justice. The very essence of man’s divinity lies in his power of choice. In choice lies the exercise of free will.
  The Father’s will is free only when it may move freely through you without being colored by the earth personality’s willfulness.—Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

You can compel no one from the outside, for compulsion to follow the Light into high places can come only from within.—Edna Lister, January 7, 1941.

Every word, every choice has a hidden explanation plus a conscious one.—Edna Lister, November 1, 1944.

Keep looking up to God, not down into the world.—Edna Lister, December 28, 1944.

God has given us the power of right choice, which is to cast self on the altar of Light, while loving God, the Father, with a great and a mighty love.—Edna Lister, January 10, 1945.

God has given you free choice, which is your divine salvation.—Edna Lister, June 5, 1948.

God never sent us to cleanse another’s will, but gave us all freedom to choose.—Edna Lister, I Remember, October 8, 1950.

God made us in His image and likeness with a flaming desire to be wise and to love, but gave us free choice to do right.—Edna Lister, June 7, 1951.

Free will is not self will. I take up my cross and follow him, says the Disciple. You lay your self on the crossbar to crucify self-will. Desire must ascend to mate with will; then will becomes Wisdom and desire becomes Love. Love, as the creative fire, descends to the sacrum; Will, as Wisdom, frees itself of intellect and ascends to the pineal body. This is the birth of free will in a Christed One.
  What you really have is free choice. You are free to choose light or darkness, good or evil. You always choose from a pair of opposites and give up one or the other. This is the limit of free will, freedom to choose the path you take. On earth, you have only freedom to choose, not free will. You must learn to use the brake pedal on your will, like learning to drive a car.—Edna Lister, The Gospel of the Cross, October 18, 1953.

Free will is the freedom to use the faculty of will through wisdom. Free will is the perfection of the Wisdom of God. Your will is free only when you allow wisdom to use you. Free will is your name when the Holy Spirit is using you. Give up the vacillation of self and choosing the negative. Self is the only thing you can give up. Force is the negative expression of free will.—Edna Lister, October 19, 1953.

You occupy a place of your own choice and making. You may wallow in it, lean on someone, or make it a glory.—Edna Lister, April 14, 1956.

The living soul has the power of free choice, a wonderful gift misnamed as free will. God set the vibration, the number and name of principle, for the duration of the Day of Manifestation. He could not allow His manifestations to change the capacity of these vibrations, but gave all living souls the power of choice to choose between opposites. Intestinal fortitude gives soul the power to exercise choice.
  You may not will what law goes with good and evil, light or dark, self and soul, etc. When you choose, you set the capacity of your rate of vibration. In a car, for example, the gas tank’s rate of vibration, its capacity, is set to, say, 20 gallons. If the overflow mechanism breaks, it allows the gas pump to overfill the tank. If you have no maximum setting, your emotions overflow.
  If you choose right, you set your vibration to go home to God. Law does not allow you to look back after you choose, but you can change your rate of vibration as often as you want. Sometimes you merely change your mind constantly.—Edna Lister, The Bond of Spirit, October 6, 1957.

We are equal in our freedom to choose, but all occupy different degrees.—Edna Lister, The Point of No Return, December 15, 1957.

There is no free will, only free choice. It is only freedom in how you use God’s Will. You must choose whom you will serve, self or God.—Edna Lister, December 31, 1957.

Love lets the Power of Love move through and gives the other person freedom to choose.—Edna Lister, February 17, 1958.

You have free choice, not free will. The will is God’s. Your free choice can take you up or down.—Edna Lister, June 25, 1959.

You apply law to grow wise in right choice and knowing what actions to repeat.—Edna Lister, How Can I Apply Law to My Life? June 7, 1960.

Five lines of possible choice open before you when you seek first the kingdom, surrender without slipping, and climb higher after every blow.—Edna Lister, December 15, 1960.

You are free to choose how you use your will, but there is no free will. You have God’s will and free choice.—Edna Lister, The Key to Integration of Soul and Spirit, June 6, 1961.

You create an area of free choice around you the size of our giving in prayer, which is your base of operations. No outer vibration can penetrate your walled area unless you open a valve of criticism against another. You breach the wall if you feel self-pity or self-righteousness when your loved ones swat you, or when what you want doesn’t happen. Your wall falls in on you, and you seem to suffocate.—Edna Lister, September 7, 1961.

You have the ability to choose. God gave us all wisdom, which we call will, but He never gave us will to use as we please. He only gave us free choice in all ways.—Edna Lister, The Void and the Light, June 18, 1963.

You have free choice whether you use the will of God for Him or to the self.—Edna Lister, The Crown of Thorns, July 7, 1963.

No one on the outer can cause you to do anything. It is your free choice to do whatever you choose.—Edna Lister, September 13, 1964.

Free choice is yours to exercise as you will. It is your choice. Choose this day your way. The only way to be certain you make the right choice instantly is to go up in consciousness on every challenge first.—Edna Lister, June 10, 1965.

Free will is inevitably God’s will and can never be anything else.—Edna Lister, October 19, 1966.

Neophyte vows deal with your earth expression, physical equipment, motives, and your understanding of will and your desires. Will is your wiring up to God’s Wisdom and gives you free choice to go up or down. You can only raise or lower vibrations, so your only real choices are to go up or down, to obey law or quit.—Edna Lister, The First Seven Magnitudes, November 8, 1966.

The Chosen are those who choose God.—Edna Lister, Why Was a Messiah Needed? December 10, 1967.

A powerful choice in strength is to say the past never happened. Only the future is real now.—Edna Lister, November 18, 1968.

You were created in the image and likeness of God with free choice on how you shall live, what you shall do and decree.—Edna Lister, Light on the Path, July 6, 1969.

There is no such thing as free will, only free choice, the freedom to choose. You use wisdom as a faculty that you call will.—Edna Lister, Laws for Divine Living, February 19, 1970.

Every soul coming to earth has freedom of choice. You do not have free will, but you do have free choice as to how you will accept and use the Wisdom of God as will. Will functions as the Wisdom of God through your brain centers and glands when you choose wisdom.—Edna Lister, The Path of Destiny, June 13, 1971.

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New Testament on Free Choice

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.—John 15:16

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.—John 15:19

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Old Testament on Free Choice

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days.—Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.—Joshua 24:14-15

Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous.—Proverbs 3:31-32

The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.—Proverbs 12:26

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.—Isaiah 7:14-16

He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.—Isaiah 66:3-4

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Do not give what is holy to dogs, lest they throw them on the dung heap. Do not throw the pearls to swine, lest they grind it [to bits].—Gospel of Thomas, Codex II, 2

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of will: Old English willa; Middle English willen, "to intend to."

Free choice is a mental faculty.


The obedience of Human Nature is exhibited at once in full perfection and in uttermost freedom, when it voluntarily surrenders its own free will to the will of God, and when, with a freedom all its own, it perfects the good will which was therefore accepted because unexacted.—Anselm of Canterbury

How extraordinarily the ways of God have been manifested beyond example: the sea is divided, a cloud has led the way, the rock has poured forth water, it has rained manna, everything has contributed to your greatness; you ought to do the rest. God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.—Niccolo Machiavelli


Anselm, Saint, Archbishop of Canterbury. Saint Anselm’s Book of Meditations and Prayers. London: Burns and Oates, 1872, 144-145.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Machiavelli, Niccolo. An Exhortation to Liberate Italy from the Barbarians, The Prince, Chapter 26. Vol. 36, Part 1. The Harvard Classics. N.H. Thomson, trans. New York: P.F. Collier and Son, 1909-14.

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, ed. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. "Will, Choice"Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. New York: S. Converse, 1828. This work is in the public domain.

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Choice and Separation