Free Will

In all the action or inaction of man, he receives power from the help of God; but the choice of good or evil belongs to the man himself.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 249

Some things are subject to the free will of man, such as justice, equity, tyranny and injustice, in other words, good and evil actions; it is evident and clear that these actions are, for the most part, left to the will of man. But there are certain things to which man is forced and compelled, such as sleep, death, sickness, decline of power, injuries and misfortunes; these are not subject to the will of man, and he is not responsible for them, for he is compelled to endure them. But in the choice of good and bad actions he is free, and he commits them according to his own will. For example, if he wishes, he can pass his time in praising God, or he can be occupied with other thoughts. He can be an enkindled light through the fire of the love of God, and a philanthropist loving the world, or he can be a hater of mankind, and engrossed with material things. He can be just or cruel. These actions and these deeds are subject to the control of the will of man himself; consequently, he is responsible for them.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 247

Some things are subject to the free will of man, such as justice, equity, tyranny and injustice, in other words, good and evil actions; it is evident and clear that these actions are, for the most part, left to the will of man. But there are certain things to which man is forced and compelled, such as sleep, death, sickness, decline of power, injuries and misfortunes; these are not subject to the will of man, and he is not responsible for them, for he is compelled to endure them. But in the choice of good and bad actions he is free, and he commits them according to his own will.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p 248

That is to say, though the choice of good and evil belongs to man, under all circumstances he is dependent upon the sustaining help of life, which comes from the Omnipotent. The Kingdom of God is very great, and all are captives in the grasp of His Power. The servant cannot do anything by his own will; God is powerful, omnipotent, and the Helper of all beings.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 249

There is, unfortunately, no way that one can force his own good upon a man. The element of free will is there, and all we believers -- and even the Manifestation of God Himself -- can do is to offer the truth to mankind. If the people of the world persist, as they seem to be doing, in their blind materialism, they must bear the consequences in a prolongation of their present condition, and even a worsening of it. Our duty as Bahá’ís is to build up such a love and unity within our own ranks that the people will be attracted by this example to the Cause. We also must teach all we can and strengthen the Bahá’í Community in the administration. But more we cannot do to avert the great sufferings which seemingly still lie ahead of the world in its present evil state.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 113

By the exercise of his free will, man either affirms his spiritual purpose in life or chooses to perpetuate evil by living below his highest station. The question is asked: "Is such a behaviour to be attributed to God, or to their proper selves?" And concludes: Every good thing is of God, and every evil thing is from yourselves.

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 663