Question: What is free moral agency?
Answer: While the precise expression "free moral agency" is not found in the scriptures as such, the concept is present. By "free" is meant the enjoyment of certain rights, "moral" suggests right principles or conduct, and "agency" refers to the state or being of exerting power or choice.
God has endowed man with freedom of choice. The scriptures urge man to "choose," "come unto me," and "open the door" (Josh. 24: 15; Matt. 11: 28; Rev. 3: 20). Adam and Eve were given the choice to obey or disobey God (Gen. 2: 17; 3: 1-6). The famous "curses" of the Hebrew scriptures were based on the Jew's free moral agency: "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God...that all these curses shall come upon thee..." (Deut. 28: 15-20, 45). Jesus said to those who were spiritually doomed, "ye would not!" (Matt. 23: 37).
Man is responsible for his own actions. Since man has the freedom to obey or disobey and God does not overpower the will of man, man is responsible for his own actions. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," declared the prophet (Ezek. 18: 20). Sin, as such, is not inherited. "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son." The prophet further states, "...the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezek. 18: 20, cf. Matt. 18: 3-6; 19: 13-15).
In view of the freedom of choice belonging to man, the book of Acts abounds with examples of the sinner being urged to come to God. At the very outset we read, "And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized..." (Acts 2: 40, 41, KJV). Beloved, are you making the right choice?
Man is born with the ability to make moral choices. He can choose to adhere to a set of rules, or not. But nothing I have read indicates any preconditions to free agency; my understanding is that we would therefore be born with more or less an even chance of making choices- we did not pre-exist as Mormons claim, but are created new at birth.
According Gen. 9:20-25, Ham, because he saw Noah naked, was cursed to to be a slave
“Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers.”
So Ham/Canaan is cursed to be slaves. If that is the case and Ham's offspring are cursed of God, then how can they be considered able to exercise free agency? If a man is born into a tribe of aborigines that has never, and will never, learn of Christianity, how can that person make a choice of free agency, moral or otherwise?
If a person is born whole cloth into life with no precondition, how does God determine that person should be the son of Ham or someone else, a built in curse along with it, or no curse?
Genetically we can say that the offspring of Ham came from his loins, but how did God determine that particular set of DNA to appear as an offspring of a cursed man? Is it not then built in that their ability to make choices is limited by the circumstances of their birth, to some degree obviating their free agency?
I'd like to see someone from a Christian forum address this.