Thirty years ago my family and I lived in Virginia. We had a friend who was a dietician. She once told of waiting in line in a cafeteria, where there was, of course, a wide variety of foods to choose from. A young teenager was just ahead of her in line with his mother. He was eyeing the serving line eagerly. "Can I get whatever I want?" he asked his mom. ""Yes," his mom replied, "you can get whatever you want."
So, being a dietician, our friend observed what food choices the teenager made. He started off with a Caesar salad with extra dressing, then got fried chicken tenders. As side dishes he got french fries and macaroni and cheese. For dessert he got chocolate cream pie and to drink sweet tea.
Our friend told us, "Cafeterias give you lots of choices, but the rules of healthy eating are always in effect. If you make bad choices of what to eat you will pay the price down the road."
Freedom is one of the central themes of both the old and new testaments. The story of the children of Israel being freed from chattel bondage in Egypt is still the formative story of the Jews around the world. Yet simply leaving Egypt did not give them freedom although it did relieve them of the lash.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not a letter or a dot will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
"In this view of things [wrote Hart], we are free when we achieve that end toward which our inmost nature is oriented ... and whatever separates us from that end – even if it comes from our own wills – is a form of bondage. We are free not merely because we can choose, but only when we have chosen well."
For to choose poorly is to enslave ourselves to the impermanent, the irrational and eventually the destructive. Simply choosing, unconnected from divine guidance and godly standards, is to choose ultimately to reject freedom, to be enslaved to the bondage of the self, to what Paul called the body of death, and finally to choose to perish rather than attain everlasting life.
David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions, p. 21.