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  1. #1
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    Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    The last free will thread grew to about 9 pages, and we didn't really get anywhere. People just kept on stating their views (myself included ) and we never agreed on anything. Now the thread is 9 pages long, and there's no chance anyone's going to read through all of that. So here's my attempt to summarize. Now that we understand each other's positions, maybe we can get somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by OP of 'Free Will and God are incompatible'
    Proof:

    Definitions:
    God is an omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient(all-knowing), omnibenevolent(all-loving) being
    Free will is the power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will. (from dictionary.com)
    Omniscience is the capacity to know everything, or at least everything that can be known. In monotheism, this ability is typically attributed to God. It is typically contrasted with omnipotence. Omniscience is sometimes understood to also imply the capacity to know everything that will be.

    1) God exists (premise)
    2)Omniscient beings can accurately predict any and all future events (premise/definition of omniscience)
    3) God can accurately predict any and all future events (from 1, definition of God, 2)
    4) Humans have free will (premise)
    5) The actions of beings with free will cannot be predicted (definition of free will/premise)
    6) Actions exist which cannot be predicted (from 5)
    7) 3 contradicts 6, so one of our premises must be wrong

    We have four premises: 1, 2, 4, and 5
    2 is well-established as a definition of omniscience when referring to God.
    5 is well-supported by the definition of free will, and can be understood as true intuitively.
    So either 4 is false(and free will doesn't exist) or 1 is false (and God does not exist): take your pick
    The objections, as far as I can tell, fell into 2 main categories:
    1) Objection to #2 (that omniscience implies God knows the future)
    Response: God has sent down prophets who knew the future. This implies that the future is fixed, and can be predicted.

    2) Objection to #5 (that free will cannot be predicted):
    There were two categories of objection here:

    2a) God knows the future, but doesn't cause our decisions
    Response: Stating my view over and over again didn't seem to get me anywhere , so I'd like to try some 1v1 Socratic Method in the form of some yes or no questions and one follow-up to each choice:
    1)At the moment of any given decision, do we have a choice about what to do?
    1a) If yes, how do you reconcile that with God's knowledge of the future?
    1b) If no, when does free will enter the equation?

    2b) God is outside the timeline, so He is in fact seeing our actions as we choose them.
    Response:Again, God has sent down prophets with knowledge of the future. If any of their knowledge depends on the results of actions that depended on free will (and it did), we're back to 2a.

    Sorry if this is spamming, but I really wanted to get somewhere with this, and the original thread is going nowhere.

  2. #2
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    I really must contest many of your starting premises:

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    5) The actions of beings with free will cannot be predicted (definition of free will/premise)
    What determines Free Will is not the predictability or foreknowledge of an action or choice.

    It is who WILLS the decision that determines Freedom of Will. IF it is the individual who made the choice, with no outside force, then that individual has willed the decision freely and thus has Freedom of Will in that decision.

    6) Actions exist which cannot be predicted (from 5)
    This is an assumption and I reject it as a premise for this debate.

    Perhaps for a human, but for God who is omniscient....no.

    So either 4 is false(and free will doesn't exist) or 1 is false (and God does not exist): take your pick
    Or option 3: 5 is false.

    You claim that premise 5 is well supported and intuitive, it may be well-accepted by people who dont consider the matter at any level beyond face value but I contest the claim that it is well supported.

    1)At the moment of any given decision, do we have a choice about what to do?
    1a) If yes, how do you reconcile that with God's knowledge of the future?
    1b) If no, when does free will enter the equation?
    1) Free Will is the state of being in which the individual is given the freedom to accept/reject any concept/choice given to them.
    2) Freedom does not mean that the choice is unpredictable or unknown, but that it is free from the forced will of any force outside that individuals own will.
    3) Therefore God can know exactly what we will do, and as long as we decide rather than him deciding.

    Response:Again, God has sent down prophets with knowledge of the future. If any of their knowledge depends on the results of actions that depended on free will (and it did), we're back to 2a.
    You need to clarify this argument.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  3. #3
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Chadn737:
    Alright, so you object to #5. I accept that. You didn't need to spend three paragraphs telling me so. And objecting to #6 is identical to objecting to #5.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chadn737
    1) Free Will is the state of being in which the individual is given the freedom to accept/reject any concept/choice given to them.
    2) Freedom does not mean that the choice is unpredictable or unknown, but that it is free from the forced will of any force outside that individuals own will.
    3) Therefore God can know exactly what we will do, and as long as we decide rather than him deciding.
    Yes or no is fine. You didn't really answer my initial question, but that sounded like a "yes". I think. If it was:
    2) Can we do something other than what God has predicted?
    2a) If yes, can God's knowledge be wrong?
    2b) If no, in what sense do we have free will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chadn737
    You need to clarify this argument.
    Sorry The objection that people present here is that God exists outside the timeline, and is viewing our actions as we do them. Prophets with knowledge of the future are clearly in our timeline, and they can know our actions before we do them. So actions can be predicted before we actually do them.

  4. #4
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    Yes or no is fine. You didn't really answer my initial question, but that sounded like a "yes". I think. If it was:
    2) Can we do something other than what God has predicted?
    2a) If yes, can God's knowledge be wrong?
    2b) If no, in what sense do we have free will?
    First I think it gives the wrong impression to use the term "predicted."

    God has knows what we do. He doesnt predict what we will do. I say this because I argue that God is outside of our timeline. Therefore what we know as timehas no hold on Him. What we do tomorrow is no different to him then what we did yesterday. All times are equal and so he does not predict, but knows what we did. To say that God predicts what we do implies that He is somehow bound by the same timeline. For this implies that our future is also the future to Him as well, which can only be so if our timelines are the same.

    So #2 is better asked as:

    2) Can we do something other than what God has knows?

    The answer is no, because if we do something different, then that would be the choice that God know's we do rather than a different one.

    Sorry The objection that people present here is that God exists outside the timeline, and is viewing our actions as we do them. Prophets with knowledge of the future are clearly in our timeline, and they can know our actions before we do them. So actions can be predicted before we actually do them.
    And by this you wish to argue that foreknowledge of our actions has undue influence on our choices and so affects our Free Will? Am I correct, that this is what you are saying?

    Except, when did God ever send a prophet to tell you what you will do? Or what I will do? Or what any of us will do? He has sent prophets to rebuke Israel and to make predictions to us about certain future events, but other than the prophesies regarding the messiah....what predctions have been made that any specific person will or will not do?

    Seeing as neither you nor I have had any undue influence due to prophesy I dont think one can argue that we do not have Free Will because of the prophets.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  5. #5
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737
    2) Can we do something other than what God has knows?
    The answer is no, because if we do something different, then that would be the choice that God know's we do rather than a different one.
    3)Is a universe with free will distinguishable from a universe without free will?
    3a) If yes, how so?
    3b) If not, in what sense does free will exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737
    And by this you wish to argue that foreknowledge of our actions has undue influence on our choices and so affects our Free Will? Am I correct, that this is what you are saying?
    Except, when did God ever send a prophet to tell you what you will do? Or what I will do? Or what any of us will do? He has sent prophets to rebuke Israel and to make predictions to us about certain future events, but other than the prophesies regarding the messiah....what predctions have been made that any specific person will or will not do?
    Seeing as neither you nor I have had any undue influence due to prophesy I dont think one can argue that we do not have Free Will because of the prophets.
    Alright, let me break this down for you. These prophets are making predictions about the future. Their predictions are accurate (because they are in the Bible and the Bible is the word of God). Some of their predictions depend upon the actions of free willed creatures (i.e. humans). Therefore, the actions of humans (who have free will) can be known in advance. Thus, the actions of a free willed creature can be known before the creature makes a choice in that situation. And since you've said that we do in fact have a choice in each situation, you have a bit of a problem here.

  6. #6
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    Alright, let me break this down for you. These prophets are making predictions about the future. Their predictions are accurate (because they are in the Bible and the Bible is the word of God). Some of their predictions depend upon the actions of free willed creatures (i.e. humans). Therefore, the actions of humans (who have free will) can be known in advance. Thus, the actions of a free willed creature can be known before the creature makes a choice in that situation. And since you've said that we do in fact have a choice in each situation, you have a bit of a problem here.
    Predictions are made of the future, predictions that depend on a limited number of people. The argument can and has been made that these people had no choice in the matter, but that argument is limited to those individuals who bring about these predictions.

    Furthermore, in order for such a prediction to influence a person, that person must have a full knowledge of that prediction and what all the implications of their actions will be.

    For instance, when an OT prophet tells Israel that they will be invaded by Assyria, this prediction while relevent to the Israelites si brought about by the decisions of the Assyrian rulers, which in order to be influenced by the prophesy they must be aware of it.

    Could you clarify something for me: do you think that God can predict our actions before we do them or that He is seeing them (because He is out of time) as they take place?
    Hmmm, I thought that was made clear when I said this earlier:God has knows what we do. He doesnt predict what we will do. I say this because I argue that God is outside of our timeline. Therefore what we know as timehas no hold on Him. What we do tomorrow is no different to him then what we did yesterday. All times are equal and so he does not predict, but knows what we did. To say that God predicts what we do implies that He is somehow bound by the same timeline. For this implies that our future is also the future to Him as well, which can only be so if our timelines are the same

    So of the two options, I obviously choose the second one.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  7. #7
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    1) God exists (premise)
    2)Omniscient beings can accurately predict any and all future events (premise/definition of omniscience)
    3) God can accurately predict any and all future events (from 1, definition of God, 2)
    4) Humans have free will (premise)
    5) The actions of beings with free will cannot be predicted (definition of free will/premise)
    6) Actions exist which cannot be predicted (from 5)
    Since 5 and 6 seem to contradict premise 3, we can do without them. Further more, premises 2 and 3 seem redundant since you've already defined God as an omniscient being. So if we take premises 1, 3, and 4 as being true it still doesn't suggest any kind of proof of God's influence on decision making but rather merely knowledge of the decisions.

    Whether God is ignorant or knowledgable about our decisions is irrelevant to our ability to think freely.So to answer this question:

    2) Can we do something other than what God has predicted?
    No if the premise that God is omniscient is true.
    Yes if the premise that God is omniscient is false.

    Either way, it doesn't affect our free will. Knowledge is not influence, if God is omniscient it means he is simply aware of the outcomes not that he is directly causing them. Also, from another angle.. if God is truly omnipotent it also doesn't suggest that God does in fact influence our decisions. It simply means God can.
    I rebel - therefore we exist.

  8. #8
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737
    Predictions are made of the future, predictions that depend on a limited number of people. The argument can and has been made that these people had no choice in the matter, but that argument is limited to those individuals who bring about these predictions.
    So these specific people that are involved in these specific prophecies don't have free will, but everyone else does? Sounds like a cop-out to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737
    Furthermore, in order for such a prediction to influence a person, that person must have a full knowledge of that prediction and what all the implications of their actions will be.
    I'm not saying it influences a person; I'm saying that presence of future knowledge in our timeline implies a fixed future. If there is a fixed future, that means that our actions can be predicted ahead of time, which contradicts your notion of free will.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737
    So of the two options, I obviously choose the second one.
    Eh...right, sorry. Didn't read your post closely enough

    You never answered question #3.

    The below text has been automerged with this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by paintist
    No [we cannot do something other than what God has predicted] if the premise that God is omniscient is true.
    Quote Originally Posted by paintist
    Either way, it doesn't affect our free will.
    How many options do we have if we can only do what God has predicted? How can you call "choosing" from one option free will?
    3)Is a universe with free will distinguishable from a universe without free will?
    3a) If yes, how so?
    3b) If not, in what sense does free will exist?
    Last edited by Castle; May 22nd, 2006 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  9. #9
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    So these specific people that are involved in these specific prophecies don't have free will, but everyone else does? Sounds like a cop-out to me.
    No, Iam merely pointing out that this argument that you are presenting only applies to people who the predictions specifically say will committ these actions. However, I believe that these people have Free Will.

    I'm not saying it influences a person; I'm saying that presence of future knowledge in our timeline implies a fixed future. If there is a fixed future, that means that our actions can be predicted ahead of time, which contradicts your notion of free will.
    Well if thats all you are saying.

    No, it does not contradict my notion of Free Will.

    I have already said that Free Will has nothing to do with predictability or knowledge of future events:

    1) Free Will is the state of being in which the individual is given the freedom to accept/reject any concept/choice given to them.
    2) Freedom does not mean that the choice is unpredictable or unknown, but that it is free from the forced will of any force outside that individuals own will.


    How many options do we have if we can only do what God has predicted? How can you call "choosing" from one option free will?
    Once again it is what God knows that we do, not what He predicts. God knows what we do and will do because that is what we decide to do, not because we have only one option.

    Imagine, if you will, that our universe is a roll of film and that we are characters in this film. Now for us time flows in one direction.

    Rolls of film are composed of a linear collection of individual pictures. So it is possible to view this filmas a collection of individual pictures, rather than as a linear flow of events on the screen. Viewed in such a matter, each picture is equivalent in the sense that each one exists simultaneously. To whoever is viewing the roll of film in such a manner can view each picture in any order, in any sort of grouping that they want. They can look at a segment from the begining and one from the end as well as one from the middle. So for this person, the entire universe Past, Present, and Future exist at once. However, to the character within the film, time flows in one direction only. There is a definite past present and future. At any point they can only know for certain what will has happened and what is happening.

    This is how I view God as being outside of time. God views all times at once and so knowing what we choose in the past is just as easy as knowing what we choose in the future. Had we made a different choice than what we did, then the film would be completely different and that would be what God sees.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  10. #10
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    It seems to come down to differences in what we are prepared to 'allow' any God to be. I feel confident that any omniscient God who allows a feedom of choice and personal volition would be 'amused' at some of the comments, and perhaps be 'impressed' by the odd one or two more insightful reflections.

    Ah, but which reflections are more insightful be the question - well Fruity puts his ten cents on chad.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

  11. #11
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Chadn737:
    Now I think I understand your position. You are saying that the fact that we only have one choice in each of our decisions (i.e. the existence of a fixed future) does not impede our free will, correct? You confused me back in your first post when I thought you were answering "yes" to question #1.

    New question #2:
    2) Did God know all of our actions when He created the universe, some 13 billion years ago?
    2a) If yes, doesn't that imply that all our future actions can be attributed to the initial state of the universe (or any actions God takes on the way)?
    2b) If no, then some of future choices opaque to God until we make them (but apparently not the ones that involve prophecies)?

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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    How many options do we have if we can only do what God has predicted? How can you call "choosing" from one option free will?
    Who said we were choosing from one option? We can only make one decision at a time... it's that which an omniscient being is aware of.

    3)Is a universe with free will distinguishable from a universe without free will?
    3a) If yes, how so?
    3b) If not, in what sense does free will exist?
    Too much of a loded question for me to answer with any kind of accuracy.
    I rebel - therefore we exist.

  13. #13
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    Now I think I understand your position. You are saying that the fact that we only have one choice in each of our decisions (i.e. the existence of a fixed future) does not impede our free will, correct? You confused me back in your first post when I thought you were answering "yes" to question #1.
    You may understand it, but I dont like how you worded it, so allow me:

    We have many choices, but only make one choice, which is made of our own volition, not anothers. That choice that we make, is the future that GOD knows to happen. If we were to make a different choice then GOD would have known that future to be the one that happens.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    I hope no one minds me posting a summary of my arguments from the previous thread.

    Premises:
    1. God made everything in the universe.
    2. God knows everything that will ever happen in the universe.
    3. Free will is separate from the physical universe in some way. The state of the universe does not completely determine the choice a person will make.


    Imagine a single choice, Bob Smith choosing either tea or coffee one morning.
    Call the whole past leading up the this junction Universe One.
    Given 3, Bob could choose either drink, and the state of the universe beforehand doesn't matter. But after his choice, the universe could go one of two ways, to create either
    Universe One_T, or
    Universe One_C.

    Given 1, whichever choice Bob happens to make, God created that universe.
    Given 2, at the beginning of the universe, God knew what choice Bob would make.


    So, there are two possibilities.
    A. God chose to create a particular universe, either One_T or One_C. In which case, God has made Bob's decision for him by creating the universe that way. Bob has no free will. To lead up to that decision, every other choice must have been decided just the same, so no free will can exist except for entirely inconsequential choices.

    B. God decided to relinquish control over the progress of the universe from that point onwards, and accepted whatever choice Bob was going to make. In which case, God only creates the initial state of the universe, and relinquishes any direct control as soon as free will comes into play. He has defined the parameters of our free will, but effectively given us control of the universe.

    Choice B seems reasonable. God still created everything, He's still omniscient, and we have our free will. I can agree with choice B.

    * * *

    However, I am also going to argue that, even in the case of B, God still cannot avoid being responsible in part for all of our actions. While this doesn't mean we don't have free will, it does bring into question what free will really means in that situation.

    Even if God does not exert direct control over our free will, He has defined the parameters within which we can act, and He is still fully aware of what we will do.
    Imagine another scenario. Imagine we have the power to shoot lasers from our eyes, but we've been told it's a terrible sin to do so. In fact, it's such an awful sin, that only one person in the whole existence of mankind ever commits it. Let's call him Larry.
    Larry, having free will, is fully responsible for using his laser eyes, because God has avoided exerting any force on our free will. As such, Larry is sent to hell, despite living an otherwise good and proper life.

    But what if God hadn't created us with the ability to shoot lasers from our eyes? Larry would never have committed the sin, and he would have ended up getting sent to heaven.
    God knew that if we had laser eyes, Larry would commit the sin. Even without exerting any direct force on Larry's free will, God has still directly chosen the ultimate fate of Larry.

    By virtue of being omniscient, God has effectively chosen the fate of everyone who will commit any sin that we have the ability to commit. He is responsible in some way for every sin ever committed.

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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Chadn737 and Paintist:
    You both seem to be arguing objection 2b (as defined in the OP), so let me go over that one again.

    1) Free will exists and is applicable to every decision humans make (premise)
    2) The Bible is the word of God and is totally accurate (premise)
    3) Prophets and their respective prophecies appear in the Bible (premise)
    4) Some of these prophecies depend on human decisions (premise)
    5) There exist prophecies that depend on human decisions (i.e. free will) and are totally accurate. (conclusion from 2, 3, and 4)
    6) If a human made a different decision than what one of these prophecies assumes (see #4), the prophecy would be invalid and wrong (premise)
    7) Since the prophecy under discussion here appears in the Bible, it cannot be wrong, and therefore the premise of six (that a human can make a different decision than what the prophecy assumes) must be false (conclusion from 6 and 5)
    8) There exist some decisions (those that affect Biblical prophecy) for which the ability to choose from a set of options (i.e. free will) does not exist. (conclusion from 7)
    9) There are cases where free will does not exist (conclusion from 8)

    9 contradicts 1. Pick something in this one to disagree with or conceed the point.

  16. #16
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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    7) Since the prophecy under discussion here appears in the Bible, it cannot be wrong, and therefore the premise of six (that a human can make a different decision than what the prophecy assumes) must be false (conclusion from 6 and 5)
    It is here that I have problems. Your argument assumes that the prophesy determines the decision as opposed to the decision determining the prophesy.

    8) There exist some decisions (those that affect Biblical prophecy) for which the ability to choose from a set of options (i.e. free will) does not exist. (conclusion from 7)
    I disagree, for the same reasons as that I disagree with premise 7.

    9) There are cases where free will does not exist (conclusion from 8)
    The problem here is that you try to make an argument, that is applicable only to a very limited number of very specific cases to be a general truth that is applicable to all humans.

    This is why earlier I said that the argument applies only to those individuals who are involved in the prophesy, not because I agree with the argument...indeed you can see that I challenge premise 7 and 8......but because this argument does not apply to myself, to you, or any other human not specific to the prophesy.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Chadn737
    It is here that I have problems. Your argument assumes that the prophesy determines the decision as opposed to the decision determining the prophesy.
    But you admit that after the prophecy has been made the future is fixed? One cannot "change one's mind"? At some point, we no longer have the choice to change our minds about a decision? In fact, since God knows all of our future decisions, we can never change our minds about a decision? You seem to be arguing that the illusion of free will exists, rather than the reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chadn737
    The problem here is that you try to make an argument, that is applicable only to a very limited number of very specific cases to be a general truth that is applicable to all humans.
    Why should free will apply to the general human case and not these specific cases? Claiming that these cases are somehow special seems like a cop-out to me.

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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucidium
    However, I am also going to argue that, even in the case of B, God still cannot avoid being responsible in part for all of our actions. While this doesn't mean we don't have free will, it does bring into question what free will really means in that situation.

    Even if God does not exert direct control over our free will, He has defined the parameters within which we can act, and He is still fully aware of what we will do.
    Imagine another scenario. Imagine we have the power to shoot lasers from our eyes, but we've been told it's a terrible sin to do so. In fact, it's such an awful sin, that only one person in the whole existence of mankind ever commits it. Let's call him Larry.
    Larry, having free will, is fully responsible for using his laser eyes, because God has avoided exerting any force on our free will. As such, Larry is sent to hell, despite living an otherwise good and proper life.

    But what if God hadn't created us with the ability to shoot lasers from our eyes? Larry would never have committed the sin, and he would have ended up getting sent to heaven.
    God knew that if we had laser eyes, Larry would commit the sin. Even without exerting any direct force on Larry's free will, God has still directly chosen the ultimate fate of Larry.

    By virtue of being omniscient, God has effectively chosen the fate of everyone who will commit any sin that we have the ability to commit. He is responsible in some way for every sin ever committed.
    From my understanding of your analogy,

    Shooting lasers = Sinning
    Larry = Given free will to choose whether or not to shoot lasers

    So in essence, all you are saying is that God is to blame for our sins because he gave us free will to sin. Which completely negates the whole rationale of God for giving us free will.
    Trendem

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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    But you admit that after the prophecy has been made the future is fixed? One cannot "change one's mind"? At some point, we no longer have the choice to change our minds about a decision? In fact, since God knows all of our future decisions, we can never change our minds about a decision? You seem to be arguing that the illusion of free will exists, rather than the reality.
    Here's another way of looking at omniscience. I think you're viewing that omniscience means knowledge of which decisions will be made when and how. However, "all-knowledge" can also mean knowledge of all possible decisions that can be made whenever. For instance, imagine a chess match. Each grandmaster player knows the result of each (well... several) possible play that could be made, on both sides. One player doesn't force one move to be made by the other. Each player's free will is intact and unharmed. But knowledge of each player's possible move is known. If I believed in God, I'd assume this is the nature of his omniscience.
    I rebel - therefore we exist.

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    Re: Free Will and God are Incompatible: Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Castle
    1) Objection to #2 (that omniscience implies God knows the future)
    Response: God has sent down prophets who knew the future. This implies that the future is fixed, and can be predicted.
    If you read the prophets, you will find overwhelming evidence that God mostly spoke future possibilities through the prophets. In fact, I would contend that God reveals the future for the sake of the present. God's revelation of the future reveals what is most important to God. This in turn speaks to how people are to live in the present.

    Still, frequently prophecies follow the formula:
    -If you do not X, than Y will occur

    Other prophecies speak mostly to what God intends to do himself. Of course this means the future is "fixed" inasmuch as God has certain things he plans to do. Namely; the future is what God makes it, and God chooses to make a cooperative creation between humanity and himself.

    In short, neither the prophets nor the readers in the Hebrew culture would have ever suggested the future is "set." In fact, in Jeremiah, prophecies are passed down through the editor that never occurred. What does this say to us?

    So I contend the objection to the rebuttal of premise two misreads the biblical text. Thus, the rebuttal still stands.

    If the future is unknowable because it does not exist, it can be set in part (by what God intends to do), and open in part (by what humanity choses).
    "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them."
    -Isaiah 11:6

 

 
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