This is a topic of great significance in Christian theology. Adam had free will* to choose between good and evil in the Garden. How do I know that? After creating all, God said “Good”. That means Adam was created good and could obey God. But God also says, “If you eat of this fruit, you will surely die.” That tells me he also had the choice to disobey. But when Adam sinned, humanity lost free will. We became slaves- slaves of sin.
Do you know why a dog barks? —— He doesn’t bark in order to become a dog. He barks because he is a dog. Man is conceived in sin. He is born with sin nature because of Adam. He is born a slave to sin. He can choose between bigger sin and smaller sin or between terrorism like Laden or self-righteousness like unbelieving self-sacrificial saints in all religions and go to hell but cannot choose good and God. The problem with human beings is not that they have sinned but that they have done nothing but sin. The bible says what is not by faith is sin (Romans 14:23). That means what is not in Christ is all sin because their motive is not to glorify Christ.
And why not?
Because they do not know Christ (in the saving manner) (Matthew 7:21)
And why not?
Because they cannot know Christ (1 Cor. 2:14, Romans 8:7)
And why not?
Because they do not desire Christ (Rom 3:11) and are dead in sin. (Ephesians 2:1-5)
The bible doesn’t say we were sick in sin and then we chose Dr Jesus and got healed. The Bible tells we were dead in our sins. What does that mean? The following
(A) We were spiritually dead. Dead man cannot choose good and God. (Romans 3:10-12)
(B) We were relentlessly super-active in rebellion against God either as the wicked Laden or like the self-righteous, self-sacrificial charitable saints in all religions. (Romans 3:13-18)
You would say, “I chose God early in my life”. No, you didn’t. You just chose a figment of your imagination. You made a god/Jesus in your own image. All the religions of the world are not man’s effort to reach God but to run away from one true God.
Bible describes salvation in terms of exchange of yokes/slaveries:
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
(Romans 6:16-18, 20)
1 Corinthians 6:19–20: “You are not your own. You have been bought with a price.”
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me (Matthew 11:29)
The verses above do not say you were free or had free will and then chose God. It says you were slaves of sin and now have become slaves of Christ and His righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)
Does it mean man is a robot or has no free will in any sense? To this question, I will ask another question, “Is a slave a robot?” No, then why did you raise this question? Slave is not a robot, you know it.
Slavery to sin means:
(A) You freely sin. You do it. You are responsible. No one is coercing you to sin. You are doing it of your own accord because it’s your nature. As a dog is slave of his nature and barks, so does man naturally sins. To take another instance, as a pig goes into the mire as a result of his nature, so does a man sin because that’s his nature. A pig enjoys wallowing in the drain and a natural man enjoys doing sins
(B) You can’t choose good and God in the same way as pig cannot choose Christmas cake over excreta.
Slavery to righteousness means:
(A) You are free to do the works of righteousness and please your Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Jesus does not coerce you to obey Him. He gave you birth from above. He made you new. You are a new creation. He gave you new will and affections. With that new will, you freely and gladly obey Him even to the point of death.
(B) You cannot rebel against the Lord Jesus Christ and go to hell. You are a new creation. Your nature has been changed.
(Adam did not have free-will in the sense that he was out of the scope of God’s sovereignty and predestination. He did what God had foreordained but was fully responsible. To understand this better, read Romans Chapter 9 prayerfully, slowly, and repeatedly until the clear Word of God sinks into your heart.)