Question for Rook on Free Will - Any Contradictions?

doctoro
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Question for Rook on Free Will - Any Contradictions?

This is a simple question for Rook, considering his expertise. First some background. Christians often respond to the problem of evil by discussing man's free will. If man is free, they say, God is unable to interfere with the moral evils committed by humans. If one human murders another, supposedly God cannot interfere with the free will to do so.

I think there are a number of ways to defeat this argument. However, I have been impressed with the tactic of using the Bible AGAINST Christians who seem to cite verse for every counter-argument.

That said, I thought it would be helpful if there were actual contradictions in the Bible on the assertion that God does not interfere with human free will.

Rook, or anyone else, have you found any passages in the Bible in which God undermines or subverts human free will?

If there is anywhere in the Bible in which God HAS bypassed human free will, then it is CERTAINLY not outside his powers, and there is no reason for the moral human evils that are ever present in today's world.

I have often thought that it would be completely possible and morally compulsory for an omnibenevolent, omniscient God to allow people to TRY to commit murder, and other heinous deeds, but prevent people from dying from murder, or suffering as a result of the intended actions. After all, God is keeping a list of all your bad deeds and good deeds. If, in this new system, you "killed" someone knowingly, God could resurrect the person from the dead, smite you down, send you to hell, and the victim would not have to die -- and his family would not suffer from his passing.

If the Bible shows that God has the power to intervene with human free will -- somewhere -- then the Christian answer to theodicy/problem of evil fails.

Thank you,
--DoctorO


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The one that pops

The one that pops immediately to mind is when god hardened pharoah's heart and made him change his mind about letting the Israelites go free.  I don't know the exact quote, but obviously it's toward the beginning of exodus.

 

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Info From A Friend

I sent a copy of this post to a friend of mine and this is what was returned:

 

It seems that this guy has a variation on the argument from suffering, which is typically countered by Xtians with a question like "by what standard do you judge God immoral?"
On the question of "free will," your friend has stumbled upon one of the biggest debates in theological circles, that of Calvinism and Arminianism. The former typically holds that there is no free will due to total hereditary depravity or its understanding of original sin. Therefore, man must do evil due to the nature of he inherited from Adam and that God's grace is the only means by which he can accomplish any unfettered good. This article will explain further:

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/questions/freewill.html

God ordains all that will come to pass, good and evil (Isaiah 45:7 and Amos 3:6).

Pharaoh’s Heart: Exodus 4:21 “The LORD said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but (B)I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.” (See also Exodus 7:3, 13; 9:12, 35; 10:1, 20, 27; 14:4, Cool. Some Xtians have attempted to describe such verses as poetic in nature. To this Reformed Xtian theologian, scholar, apologist and translator James White stated:

“The atheists problem is not, as Armstrong seems to think, a narrow view of Biblical hermeneutics that refuses to recognize the finer nuances of the Hebrew language in plain speech. It is that his view of God is Biblically deficient such that he has no room for the concept of a just and holy God who owes nothing to His creation except the judgment of death for sin, and yet who, in His love and mercy, seeks to save some from that just penalty by redeeming them through the blood of His only Son. Furthermore, this God endeavors to order the whole of creation and the purposes of all men such that ultimate good is achieved for His people, and His name is glorified throughout heaven and earth.” - http://www.aomin.org/index.php?itemid=1582

See also Deuteronomy 2:30; Joshua 11:20; 1 Samuel 6:6; Isaiah 63:17; John 12:40; Romans 9:17, 18 and Proverbs 21:1 "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes."

Hope this helps. Please let folks know where to get more of this sort of information.

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You're in luck! I too was

You're in luck! I too was curious about all the times God messes around with free will, where it's mentioned that God doesn't respect free will, or verses concerning predestination, which contradicts free will. I've got a little list going.

Exodus 4:20-23, NIV wrote:
21 The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.' "


Exodus 7:1-5, NIV wrote:
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it."


Exodus 9:8-12, NIV wrote:
8 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. 9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land." 10 So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh. Moses tossed it into the air, and festering boils broke out on men and animals. 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians. 12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.


Exodus 10:1-2, NIV wrote:
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD."


Exodus 10:18-20, NIV wrote:
18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD . 19 And the LORD changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.


Exodus 10:27-28, NIV wrote:
27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to Moses, "Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die."


Exodus 11:9-10, NIV wrote:
9 The LORD had said to Moses, "Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you-so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt." 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.


Exodus 14:5-8, NIV wrote:
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, "What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!" 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.


Exodus 14:15-18, NIV wrote:
15 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen."


Deuteronomy 2:30, NIV wrote:
30 But Sihon king of Heshbon refused to let us pass through. For the LORD your God had made his spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him into your hands, as he has now done.


Joshua 11:18-20, NIV wrote:
18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. 19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.


Isaiah 63:17, NIV wrote:
17 Why, O LORD, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes that are your inheritance.


Daniel 3:8-10, NIV wrote:
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you."


Matthew 13:10-15, NIV wrote:
10 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" 11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'"


John 12:37-40 wrote:
Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn — and I would heal them."


Romans 8:29-30, NIV wrote:
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.


Romans 9:14-23, NIV wrote:
14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory[?]


Ephesians 1:1-12, NIV wrote:
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.


Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV wrote:
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, NIV wrote:
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 [b]and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.


2 Timothy 1:8-9, NIV wrote:
8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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Thanks

Thank you all for your generous amount of help on this topic.  It would seem that the Christian's exegesis of the Bible is highly in question on the issue of free will.  If, in ANY case, God can "harden someone's heart" and change human free will -- then he can most certainly prevent a murderer from murdering.

 One might ask why he didn't at the very least send down an angel to plead with Hitler to stop killing Jews.  Especially since Hitler used Christianity to persuade people to kill Jews!

My usual method of debate is to grant the human evil part of the theodicy issue and simply discuss natural human suffering... disease, natural disasters, etc.

 Now I can stop granting the human evil component and attack their reasoning on both points.


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Ah, I see I'm far too slow

Ah, I see I'm far too slow in answering these. I'm sorry, but also I'm thrilled to know that so many other people have stepped up and studied their bible.  Bravo. =)

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Ah, I see I'm far too slow in answering these. I'm sorry, but also I'm thrilled to know that so many other people have stepped up and studied their bible. Bravo. =)

Well, other people helped with my list too. Speaking of which, does anyone else have any additions?

 Edit: Hm, Susan listed some verses. I should check those out too!

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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I would suggest you pick up

I would suggest you pick up a copy of Dennis McKinsey's "Biblical Errancy: A Reference Guide" and "The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy".  Probably the only authorities you'll ever need on contradictions. 

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