Sermon quotes on free will

Anselm of Canterbury

Remove grace, and you have nothing whereby to be saved. Remove free will and you have nothing that could be saved.


God knows all things. . . . The things he knows are partly divine and immortal, partly perishable and temporal. . . . His knowledge of uncertain things . . . cannot be different from their nature. . . . They are . . . possible in both directions rather than subject to necessity. . . . So contingent things are not inflexibly arranged and determined from the beginning with the sole exception of the very fact, that they must be uncertain.

On Fate 


The greatest gift that God . . . made in Creation, and the most formidable to His Goodness, and that which he prizes the most, was the freedom of the will.

The Divine Comedy

Epistle To Diognetus

God saves by persuasion, not compulsion, for compulsion is no attribute of God.

Peter Geach

Our freedom is our supreme dignity; that makes us children of the Most high; we can enjoy it only by living in a partly chancy world.

Providence and Evil

Joseph Goebbels (For Contrast)

Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated

are confident they are acting on their own free will.

C.S. Lewis

Free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give [creatures] free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.

Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis

The sin both of men and of angels, was rendered possible by the fact that God gave us free will.

A Mind Awake: An Anthology of C. S. Lewis, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003.

Martin Luther

Let all the ‘free-will’ in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength.

The Bondage of the Will, Revell, 1990.


Free will is the power of choosing good and evil.

Jean-Paul Sartre

The man who wants to be loved does not desire the enslavement of the beloved. . . . If the beloved is transformed into an automaton, the lover finds himself alone.”

Being and Nothingness, Philosopher’s Library, 1956, p.367

Isaac Singer

We have to believe in free will. We have no choice.