Freedom of will
Freedom is one of those big important words. "Give me freedom or give me death!" At some levels and in some contexts the word carries with it the very essence of life and joy because coercion, slavery, is such an ugly and brutal thing that assures the slaves they're worth nothing or if they have any use at all it's what their degenerate slavers make of them. They've been robbed of self-determination and in contexts such as this a great moral evil is perpetrated—some fundamental moral and spiritual truth has been despised. In the West to enslave someone is illegal but it's more than that; it's been made illegal because everyone in his/her bones (having been shaped by the Scriptures) felt it was morally repugnant. So far so good.
Free will is a whole different issue. For atheists like Dawkins, Weinberg and Wilson freedom of will is an illusion for "the will" itself is the product of physical necessity and for the worst face of Calvinism even Adam wasn't free for God ordained the Fall and Adam fell. In both these cases we have an iron-clad determinism—one biological and the other theological. We should protest both of these.
But I'm sure most of us in general terms think of "the free will question" in terms of simple logic. Those of us who are deeply religious don't leave it there but I'm sure that's where most of us begin. We argue logically that we have a will that's free for if we didn't then we couldn't be held morally responsible for our choices. This makes sense, up to a point, but a lot depends on who it is we're talking about and what it is we think we're "free" to do; introducing the moral and ethical into the very definition of "freedom" complicates matters.
Do you think Jesus was "free" to rape someone or to torture a child? Hmmm. "Free" in what sense? you ask. Exactly! If we say, free to choose between A and B the issue is simpler because it's an abstraction and the moral element is left out. In logic Jesus was free to rape someone or torture a child if we define freedom of will in abstraction, that is, if we define it independent of God and what he has created us to be.
A recent American survey of thousands of young people tells us that the vast majority thought that the chief virtue was something like "being yourself and pursuing your dreams come what may." There's no surprise in this for "freedom" and "independence" are the essence of life it would appear and it's certainly what many of the adored celebrities stress.
But most of us think that if someone has it in him/her to take pleasure from inflicting hurt on the defenceless they aren't free; they're enslaved. Whether the abuser believes it or not is neither here nor there; we would say a sadistic brute is a slave to evil. Jesus certainly wasn't free to maim and behave obscenely. If we ignore God and ignore how Jesus felt toward his God and Father; if we ignore all moral concerns and turn "Jesus" into an abstract figure, an abstract "human"—as distinct, say, from a stone or a salamander—then we could speak of the freedom of his will to choose abomination.
As soon as we accept that God has created each one of us and determined that the fullness of our humanity consists in our likeness to him our definition of freedom undergoes a change. If freedom of will is an essential part of true humanity and true humanity is existing as and living out the image of God then all that hinders that is enslaving. True "freedom" then—though we don't experience it in anything like an absolute form—is the capacity to pursue God's image in an ever deepening experience. It isn't the capacity for self-actualisation as if the "self" was supposed to exist independent of God and self-defined.
Jesus—the only truly free human—once told some people that he could free them and this offended them. They'd never been slaves to anyone, they told him, but he assured them they were slaves to sin and needed him to free them (see John 8:30-36).
Arminian types beware for our dependence on God to live as free humans is utter and absolute—the rest is Pelagianism!