Can Omniscience and Freewill co-exist?

Tarpan
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Can Omniscience and Freewill co-exist?

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I didn't see anything. I have been arguing this for a couple days with someone and I just wanted to find out what other people thought.

Assuming god is Omniscient...then it knows all.

It knows the future, and knows every decision I will make.

So even if I have free will to make a decision, god already knows what that decision will be.

So regardless of my motivation, I would have no ability to alter the future because the future is already written even if I don't know about it.

The problem is that the argument I'm receiving suggests that I have the ability to make changes. He agrees that god knows what those changes are already...but that I can still make changes. This to me makes 0 sense. If god already knows the decision I'll make, then no matter what I do end up deciding in life I'd ultimatly just be living into the pre-written script of my life.

The ultimate defence that he uses is that I just can't comprehend omniscience and free will co-existing because I have not accepted Jesus (o rly?) which of course just makes my eyes roll. I agree that I don't comprehend how these co-exist, because waht is free will if you don't have the ability to affect the future?

Please note that I'm not suggesting that god 'controls' the decisioin in this case, just that if god is omniscient that I'm just living out my pre-written life regardless of who controls the decisions.


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There are two ways for free

There are two ways for free will to coexist with free will that I can think of:

1.  An Omniscient being knows all possible outcomes.  That is to say, you have free will, and knows what will happen no matter what you choose.  I don't really like this one though, because, being omniscient, the being would know what choice you would make.

2.   The better explanation is this:  a being's omniscience does not affect another's free will.  For example, let's say there is no God, no omniscient conciousness out there.  We wouldn't have any problem saying we have free will(at least in this example).  Now what if you were suddenly given the gift(or curse) of omniscience.  How?  I don't know, you figured out why the chicken crossed the road.  Anyways, does your omniscience destroy the ability to choose of the rest of the world?  My answer is no.  Just because you know what they will do does not make their choices any less real to them.

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.


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The concept of an

The concept of an Omniscient god directly conflicts with free will. There can be no free will if god is all knowing.

If god is able to know all then he knows everything a person will do before they are even born and therefore everything they will do is infact predetermined, which means free will is an illusion.

To contrast with Omnipotent... the equivelant logical fallacy would have been if the bible claimed god is all powerful (which it does) and then had added that god constructructed an immovable wall.

Edit: **** typos... Sticking out tongue

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Well let's go further and

Well let's go further and ask whether god can be omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent, while at the same time give you the gift of freewill with the threat of sending you to hell if you, in fact, "choose" wrong.  

Logically speaking, if god is truly benevolent, why would he send you to hell?  Forgiveness is, after all his biggest virtue isn't it?  So if he's truly benevolent and omnipotent and omniscient, then he knows you will sin (again, this forfeits free will) but should have the power to stop you from sinning and if he's benevolent, he would not send you to hell anyway.... this is the god paradox. Is he not omniscient? is he not omnipotent? is he benevolent?  If he's benevolent and omnipotent and omniscient, he knows that there are children dying needlessly in countries reaping in war, hunger and disease, yet he does nothing, does this show he's perhaps not benevolent?  Or maybe he is not aware, is he not omniscient?  Or maybe is aware and wants to help but can't, is he not omnipotent?  

 It does not make sense.  Through history the theists have built their god to such a high standard that they forgot to think things through when trying to feed this horseshit down people's throats. The logic just simply isn't there.  

 

 

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xamination wrote: Just

xamination wrote:

Just because you know what they will do does not make their choices any less real to them.

 

I want to focus on this statement.

Yes they do make the decision, but they don't have the ability to alter their future from what I have seen.  So what is freewill if your decisions are already known?

It's like giving a computer conciousness.  Sure it thinks that it's evaluating everything, but you've only programmed it to have 1 answer.  It doesn't have the ability to change that answer even if it thinks that it came up with it on its own. 


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Tarpan wrote: xamination

Tarpan wrote:
xamination wrote:

Just because you know what they will do does not make their choices any less real to them.

 

I want to focus on this statement.

Yes they do make the decision, but they don't have the ability to alter their future from what I have seen. So what is freewill if your decisions are already known?

It's like giving a computer conciousness. Sure it thinks that it's evaluating everything, but you've only programmed it to have 1 answer. It doesn't have the ability to change that answer even if it thinks that it came up with it on its own.

 

I agree with tarpan..choice in this case would be an illusion.  You think you're making a choice but really you're not because no matter how many times you change your mind on a choice, it was predetermined for you to do so, and also, this predetermination will lead you to either go to heaven or hell.  Your path is set, free will is only preceived as such, according to the bullshit anyway.  

In reality we all know we have true free will, because we have no gods and no masters, just the illusion of them, based on our fear of death and the stories passed down through history. 

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LeftofLarry wrote: Well

LeftofLarry wrote:

Well let's go further and ask whether god can be omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent, while at the same time give you the gift of freewill with the threat of sending you to hell if you, in fact, "choose" wrong.

 

Though I don't disagree with your argument I actually want to avoid going further.  I think these points actually get discussed a lot more and I want to purely focus on the topic of pre-destination and free-will.  Not so much from god's perspective, but from a humans perspective.

If you know that you can not affect the future, does that demotivate you? If it does, that was already pre-determined.  If you get happy later, well so was that.  Focusing purely on free-will and our self-control it would seem to make our minds totally absurd and pointless if we are just characters in a story. 


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I don't see any conflict

I don't see any conflict with the idea that one being can be omniscient and another can have free will.

Free will is more of an abstraction any way. I don't believe free will in any pure form exists in the first place. It's an illusion, totally subjective, like "love" or "perfection".

Additional insight into this can be revealed by studying how the human brain processes and reacts to information. We have a series of neurons and dedrites in our brain, which store and link amongst themselves using electrical pulses that are keyed to various combinations of stimuli. Any particular stimuli, whether it's a feeling, word, emotion, sound, action or a combination of several, is referenced in our brain by a unique array of links between cells.

What makes us "think" is a process of how our brain decodes the resulting triggering of memory cells based on a previous array of input. This array is called a "neural network." I have written software that emulates A.I. and neural networks and what's most amazing about neural networks; what makes them so special and powerful, is the decisions made by the network are always definitive and instantaneous... if there is any more substantive processing going on, it is more in the programming/learning area, and almost never in the decision/reaction area. For this reason, I do not believe there is such a thing as "free will" in the first place because our brains are effectively programmed to process stimuli instantly and definitively.

If we ever mull over something, this is usually not contemplation over the original decision, but a conflict that has been created as a result of new, additional programming. This is my theory. I think it makes sense. Often what we consider to be rumination over a decision, is not actually trying to figure out what we want to do, but rationalizing the implications of a decision our main has subconciously made, instantly.

Let's say you're a college student. You are in your senior year. You get a phone call with a really excellent job offer, but you'd have to quit school to take advantage of the offer.

What do you do?

Do you mull over the options and use your free will to make a decision?

I say no. You never had any free will to begin with.

The moment a choice was identified, your mind made a decision. A decision that was based on the neural programming you have in your brain. This decision centers around the weighted values in the neural network of your concept of the value of both sides of the offer. You instantly made a decision as if you were a train on a track, and that track is your past, your experience, the programming of your mind up until this point.

You may think you have to contemplate the issue, but ultimately you don't. You may not consciously recognize the decision has been made, but it has, and the contemplation you go through is merely reconciling the decision that's already been made.

I say there's no free will. When you really get into it, there isn't that much difference between the human mind and a computer. The output is determined by the input and it's very predictable depending upon how much you're paying attention to what's going in and out.

 


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I've always thought that if

I've always thought that if god were omniscient then he would have an infallible memory of the history of the universe, past, present and future. Since it's infallible, nothing can be done to change it. We may think we can but it's only an illusion of change. As such, we simply move through our existence following the already determined history making our already determined choices.


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Good read Pile, I didn't

Good read Pile, I didn't expect that kind of an analytic repsonse.  It's an interesting perspective.


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I have never completely

I have never completely been able to appreciate the value of abstractions like omnicience... we have virtually no standard we can reference to explain this. It's purely theoretical, "philosophy crack" that people smoke on occasion to get high. And like that kind of stuff, getting into it for too long will give you a hangover and leave you wondering why you messed with it in the first place.

 


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Pile wrote: I have never

Pile wrote:

I have never completely been able to appreciate the value of abstractions like omnicience... we have virtually no standard we can reference to explain this. It's purely theoretical, "philosophy crack" that people smoke on occasion to get high. And like that kind of stuff, getting into it for too long will give you a hangover and leave you wondering why you messed with it in the first place.

 

Though, as long as there are theists out there proclaiming the omniscience of their god, people like us will continue to have to point out the contradictions between that and other claims they make.


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Pile wrote: I have never

Pile wrote:

I have never completely been able to appreciate the value of abstractions like omnicience... we have virtually no standard we can reference to explain this. It's purely theoretical, "philosophy crack" that people smoke on occasion to get high. And like that kind of stuff, getting into it for too long will give you a hangover and leave you wondering why you messed with it in the first place.

 

lol

Well, I know for me this concept was a major player in my transition from agnostic-theist to atheist.  Omniscience is one of the core fabrics of just about every religion out there uses to describe their god.  And it just seems shocking to me that theists seem to be resolve this question in their heads.  I'm really hoping some theists will reply on this thread to educate me and give me a better understanding of how they resolve this, or if they are just content with pre-destination.


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Tarpan wrote: Well, I know

Tarpan wrote:

Well, I know for me this concept was a major player in my transition from agnostic-theist to atheist. Omniscience is one of the core fabrics of just about every religion out there uses to describe their god. And it just seems shocking to me that theists seem to be resolve this question in their heads. I'm really hoping some theists will reply on this thread to educate me and give me a better understanding of how they resolve this, or if they are just content with pre-destination.

When I think of omniscience, I think of those automated recordings in Wal-Mart and K-Mart that go off about every 15 minutes, "Attention security! Scan and record zone 15!"

I guess they figure shoplifters don't know it's completely bogus and maybe if they think they're being filmed they won't rip the store off. I always find it amusing. I think the notion of omniscience is a lot like that: something those in powere made up to keep little people in line.

 Most religion simply can't work without omniscience if you you think about it.  God has to "know everything" or else there are little places you can go and get away with anything, and then there's no way the church can impose a standard of order.

However christians have devised a pretty amusing loophole with the whole jesus thing -- which again, I just find completely hilarious. God is all knowing and sees what you're doing, but hey, as long as you ask jesus for forgiveness, you're ok.  It's just the craziest, most inconsistent thing I can imagine.  I don't blame other religions for thinking the christians are wacky... even sacrificing virgins makes more sense than the drive-thru absolution offered by christianity. 


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I'm saddened that there's

I'm saddened that there's not a single omniscient god beliver that has responded to this thread.

Am I to assume that this is just an accepted reality? That seems depressing to me =P 


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If you don't mind, allow me

If you don't mind, allow me to put my dollar to the work:

There are two possible meanings of "omniscience" that can very well coexist with free will. Unfortunately, none of them actually applies to the biblical god, but that's a different matter.

It should be obvious that full omniscience on a matter (that is, knowing everything about something) is completely contradictory to any possible concept of free will. What most theists don't understand is that it's not a direct contradiction, but rather an indirect one. God never said we cannot choose, and probably he actually wants us to choose, but it is his condition of a fully omniscient god relative to the Universe that does not allow us free will in his eyes. Obviously, if I have to choose between A and B, and God knows that I will choose B, I therefore cannot choose A. If God knows that I will change my mind and choose A, then the changing of mind is, actually, another decision. Besides, God couldn't know that I am to choose B in the first place, since that would mean he knows wrong.

The first meaning of "omniscience" would be "omniconscience" - that means God knows everything that is and has been. He does not know the future. Theoretically, this works well with free will, but it doesn't work with the Bible. If God does not know the future, then where did the prophecies in the old and new testament come from?

Which brings us to the second possible meaning of "omniscience", that of "possibility omniscience". In this case, God knows what is and has been, and knows all possible outcomes of the future. This again works well with free will, because, although God knows possible futures, he's got a version of it if you choose A and another version if you choose B, in the example above. He has no idea what you're going to choose, he simply knows "if A, then ..., if B, then ...x2". This would seem to work with prophecies as well, prophecies being simply something that have a very high chance of happening, regardless of the possible future. It would also seem to work with the current situation (some prophecies are vague, others unfulfilled, etc., so, practically, nobody knows for sure whether the majority of the prophecies are actually fulfilled, and there are opinion differences on them). It would seem to work with various parts of the Bible as well (such as God repenting, which would sound like "Of all possible futures, X had to choose this path... perhaps it was wrong when I didn't force Y to choose [whatever choice], which would render X as inexistent&quotEye-wink. It works quite well with the idea of heaven and hell (after all, God only knows what will happen if you choose something, not what choice you will make). So up to know, this could be the most plausible omniscience.

The problem with it, however, is that God has to extend this omniscient character towards his own self as well. Because if he doesn't, and he decides to make a "deus ex machina" intervention somewhere, that will come from outside his omniscience sphere, and he couldn't know the outcomes. Extending omniscience towards himself automatically means that his powers become subject to his omniscience. This isn't a problem when we are talking about his omniscience relative to the free will of humans, since it is already limited by our human condition, but it is a problem when we are talking about it relative to God. God is supposed to be omnipotent, and omnipotence means complete free will. However, faced with a decision, GHod will know all possible outcomes, and, therefore, he will also know all options he's got, therefore limiting any "ex machina" thought that he might have. Which renders his omnipotence as not-so-omnipotent.

 

Hope it was worth a read.

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It was worth the read and

It was worth the read and similiarly along the lines of my thinking.

Your last example is an interesting concept. But with every living thing being able to make decisions it would also imply billions of entire lives that he would know that would never come to be but they did in one reality and not another. It number of small decisions everyone makes in a day and being able to reconfigure those in any order the magnitude of possible realities is incredible...

2 decision made by 2 people in day...,where the decisions only have 2 options...

you'd have what? 16 possible timelines?

2 people first decision = 4 possibilities and each combination with 4 more possible timelines?

each one of those 4 timelines....and those decisions could be "fork or spoon" or "comb my hair 3 strokes or 4 strokes". Every small decision shifts reality for the rest of the world.

Factor that over billions of people and an i don't know how many decisions in a day...and the possibilities are incredible.

Trying to predict things thousands of years out would be a near impossibility without helping the process along.


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Quote: Factor that over

Quote:

Factor that over billions of people and an i don't know how many decisions in a day...and the possibilities are incredible.

Trying to predict things thousands of years out would be a near impossibility without helping the process along.

Consider that not only humans are included in decision-making. Animals as well. Even particles, for all we know, aren't precise in location, mass, speed, etc. Consider that there's one such "decision" every Planck minimal timespan, try calculating for one day only and you've already got a number with so many digits, that it requires a 10-based exponential only to count them.

Anyway, I'd be willing to accept the possibility, considering we are dealing with an omnipotent God...IF he is omnipotent...

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Rigor_OMortis

Rigor_OMortis wrote:

Consider that not only humans are included in decision-making. Animals as well. Even particles, for all we know, aren't precise in location, mass, speed, etc. Consider that there's one such "decision" every Planck minimal timespan, try calculating for one day only and you've already got a number with so many digits, that it requires a 10-based exponential only to count them.

Anyway, I'd be willing to accept the possibility, considering we are dealing with an omnipotent God...IF he is omnipotent...

 

Exactly...the problem I have is forming prophecies about the future.  There would have to be situatiosn where even when the messiah would come into play that they wouldn't ful-fill their expectations.  Even if it was him in living form the unknowns of what other people do have to be incredibly numerous that it would be impossible to expect prophecies to come into play even if he knew they would happen in a large % of them...having them all come into play would be even more unlikely.


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NO!

NO!


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MattShizzle

MattShizzle wrote:
NO!

 

I was drinking pop as I was scrolling down to see the new post.

I laughed...now my nose feels like pop.

I wonder if I would get responses to this if it was in the Killing 'em with Kindness forum...could some rather kind or not so kind moderator please move it over there to see if I get some better luck? 

I'm really quite interested to know what the feeling of pre-destination is on those that believe in an ominiscient god.


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ah hah, i figured out how

ah hah, i figured out how to do it myself.

will theists feel safer now?


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MattShizzle

MattShizzle wrote:
NO!

Hehehe - I like your style.

My short answer is similar:

They can't co-exist, because neither of these things "exist" in the first place!

 

 


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Pile wrote: MattShizzle

Pile wrote:

MattShizzle wrote:
NO!

Hehehe - I like your style.

My short answer is similar:

They can't co-exist, because neither of these things "exist" in the first place!

 

 

Then I'm not choosing to be a theist? What is choice if not free will? 


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Tarpan wrote: MattShizzle

Tarpan wrote:

MattShizzle wrote:
NO!

 

I was drinking pop as I was scrolling down to see the new post.

I laughed...now my nose feels like pop.

I wonder if I would get responses to this if it was in the Killing 'em with Kindness forum...could some rather kind or not so kind moderator please move it over there to see if I get some better luck?

I'm really quite interested to know what the feeling of pre-destination is on those that believe in an ominiscient god.

predestination/free will are like the wave/particle duality of matter or the momentum/position duality of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Priciple. The more you focus on one part of the duality, the more indeterminant the other part becomes. 


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wavefreak wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
Pile wrote:

MattShizzle wrote:
NO!

Hehehe - I like your style.

My short answer is similar:

They can't co-exist, because neither of these things "exist" in the first place!

 

 

Then I'm not choosing to be a theist? What is choice if not free will?

 

Fair enough.

Let's face it. You don't REALLY believe in all that religious bull**** anyway. Your faith ends where tangible personal security begins. When you get sick, you don't go to church - you go to a secular scientist whose knowledge and experience has absolutely no dependency upon mythology.

So on one hand, you're right. You're not a theist. You're a phony, but don't be upset, you're not alone. With the exception of those guys who ran planes into the WTC, your "faith" is laughable. You believe what you believe, because it personally benefits you - it's totally a selfish act that you try to conceal under the guise of "worship."

Aside from that, whatever you think you're choosing to do has no bearing on my claim that neither you, nor I, have any true "free will." Free will is an abstract concept that is unquantifiable in any real sense. Any "reaction" that claims to be based upon free will, like any claim of the existence of god, can be easily attributed to other, more likely physical evidence.

[MOD EDIT - removed swearing per Kill 'Em With Kindness Forum rules] 


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Pile wrote:

Pile wrote:

With the exception of those guys who ran planes into the WTC, your "faith" is laughable. You believe what you believe, because it personally benefits you - it's totally a selfish act that you try to conceal under the guise of "worship."

 

I don't know what the **** "worship" is. You must be confusing me with fundies.

Quote:

Aside from that, whatever you think you're choosing to do has no bearing on my claim that neither you, nor I, have any true "free will." Free will is an abstract concept that is unquantifiable in any real sense. Any "reaction" that claims to be based upon free will, like any claim of the existence of god, can be easily attributed to other, more likely physical evidence.

So you didn't choose to respond to my post?

[MOD EDIT - removed swearing per Kill 'Em With Kindness Forum rules]


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Lets say Sylvia Brown is a

Lets say Sylvia Brown is a real Physhic. She has a vision of everything you will do in life. If you've never met her and she has never met you, and she has never mentioned this information to anyone, how does her knowing something interfer with you? As you debate the Pros and Cons of doing something, what imput does her knowledge have on you?

The other question is does all knowledge mean you know the future? If the future hasn't occured yet, then in the present time the future wouldn't be part of all knowledge. Only the past could be considered all knowledge since it is the only thing that occured. The future isn't knowledge since it hasn't happened. So as part of all knowledge you would know that the future has not occured yet. 


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simple theist wrote:Lets

simple theist wrote:

Lets say Sylvia Brown is a real Physhic. She has a vision of everything you will do in life. If you've never met her and she has never met you, and she has never mentioned this information to anyone, how does her knowing something interfer with you? As you debate the Pros and Cons of doing something, what imput does her knowledge have on you?

God or Sylvia, or anyone or anything having absolute knowledge of things to come in and of itself would negate freewill, as it would be evident from such a thing that you are pre-determined to commit certain acts.

But let's not forget that God is supposed to be MORE than just all-knowing. God is all-powerful too.

This really puts the rub on, because it suggests that God knows what will, happen, has the power to interceede, but won't.

Let me give you an example. If you knew that a person was going to rob a bank and shoot the teller, would you do something about it? Say some guy at a bar got drunk, started bragging, showed you his plans and his gun - you KNOW what he is going to do.

You have the power to interceed, would you?

I think you would, and in fact, in most states our courts would hold you criminally negligent and liable if you did not.

I'm wondering why some theists seem to hold their own God to a lesser standard of jusstice than we impose on ourselves as a society.

Quote:
The other question is does all knowledge mean you know the future? If the future hasn't occured yet, then in the present time the future wouldn't be part of all knowledge. Only the past could be considered all knowledge since it is the only thing that occured. The future isn't knowledge since it hasn't happened. So as part of all knowledge you would know that the future has not occured yet. 

You obviosly do not know what is implied by the word "omnicience".

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simple theist wrote: Lets

simple theist wrote:

Lets say Sylvia Brown is a real Physhic. She has a vision of everything you will do in life. If you've never met her and she has never met you, and she has never mentioned this information to anyone, how does her knowing something interfer with you? As you debate the Pros and Cons of doing something, what imput does her knowledge have on you?

The other question is does all knowledge mean you know the future? If the future hasn't occured yet, then in the present time the future wouldn't be part of all knowledge. Only the past could be considered all knowledge since it is the only thing that occured. The future isn't knowledge since it hasn't happened. So as part of all knowledge you would know that the future has not occured yet.

The fact that I don't know that my decisions are pre-determined does not change the fact that they are.   If a tree falls in the forest, doest it make a sound? Yes.

Well, Omniscience is the choice word but wasn't the specific word used in religious texts.  So I am using hte world based on it's accepted definition which does imply that the choice gods do have the ability to predict the future.

That doesn't even get into the thought that if god created the universe and time but then wasn't able to see the future because of the limitation of not knowing the future when he himself created time would imply that he limited his own power by encapsulating himself within a concept of time that he created from outside of it...an idea that i don't think standard concepts of an omniscient would allow for this kind of limitation.


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I still hold my position

I still hold my position that someone else's knowledge does not determine what you do. No one has yet to offer proof that knowledge controls what you do.

As to the bank robery, I would be eliminating your free will. God created people to have free will, if he interfers without permission, then he interfers with free will, something he will not do. There is a difference between God and me. You don't know what good would come from the bank robery, God does. A lawyer, phychiatrist, or Priest can know something and in most cases can't legally (except preist) tell anyone.

IF I was determined that you had free will, I would not interfer. 


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Tarpan wrote: I'm sure

Tarpan wrote:

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I didn't see anything. I have been arguing this for a couple days with someone and I just wanted to find out what other people thought.

Assuming god is Omniscient...then it knows all.

It knows the future, and knows every decision I will make.

So even if I have free will to make a decision, god already knows what that decision will be.

So regardless of my motivation, I would have no ability to alter the future because the future is already written even if I don't know about it.

The problem is that the argument I'm receiving suggests that I have the ability to make changes. He agrees that god knows what those changes are already...but that I can still make changes. This to me makes 0 sense. If god already knows the decision I'll make, then no matter what I do end up deciding in life I'd ultimatly just be living into the pre-written script of my life.

The ultimate defence that he uses is that I just can't comprehend omniscience and free will co-existing because I have not accepted Jesus (o rly?) which of course just makes my eyes roll. I agree that I don't comprehend how these co-exist, because waht is free will if you don't have the ability to affect the future?

Please note that I'm not suggesting that god 'controls' the decisioin in this case, just that if god is omniscient that I'm just living out my pre-written life regardless of who controls the decisions.

Here's what I found on a diffrent thread while looking for this topic. What do you think?

---


God's free-will and Human free-will to choose are both valid.

Also human free-will and God's omniscience can both co-exist logically, so you are 'wrong' to assume that they cannot.

And let me demonstrate that 'logic' to you in a simple illurstrative form. Lets assume you wanted to watch a soccer game but you ended up having to TIVO it because you couldn't watch it live. Now you can choose to skip to the very end of the game to 'know' the game's result as to 'who won' instead of watching it all from the beginning; Thats 'your choice' And becasue it is all recored and is under 'your control', you can choose to start watching it from 'any where' in the recorded game.

Similarly God can 'choose' to 'know' or 'not now' That is His omnipotentecy and since he can do that at His will He is omniscient.

--- 


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Tarpan wrote: xamination

Tarpan wrote:
xamination wrote:

Just because you know what they will do does not make their choices any less real to them.

 

I want to focus on this statement.

Yes they do make the decision, but they don't have the ability to alter their future from what I have seen. So what is freewill if your decisions are already known?

It's like giving a computer conciousness. Sure it thinks that it's evaluating everything, but you've only programmed it to have 1 answer. It doesn't have the ability to change that answer even if it thinks that it came up with it on its own.

What is fundamentally incorrect about the above approach?

See the explanation below:

How does a -infinite God-, make a -finite being- understand (within his/her finite limits) an -infinite concept-. For eg the question: How does God's omniscience and human free will co-exist.

The answer! just as in the Bible. God uses parables/illustrations to do so.


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thetruthseeker

thetruthseeker wrote:
Tarpan wrote:

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I didn't see anything. I have been arguing this for a couple days with someone and I just wanted to find out what other people thought.

Assuming god is Omniscient...then it knows all.

It knows the future, and knows every decision I will make.

So even if I have free will to make a decision, god already knows what that decision will be.

So regardless of my motivation, I would have no ability to alter the future because the future is already written even if I don't know about it.

The problem is that the argument I'm receiving suggests that I have the ability to make changes. He agrees that god knows what those changes are already...but that I can still make changes. This to me makes 0 sense. If god already knows the decision I'll make, then no matter what I do end up deciding in life I'd ultimatly just be living into the pre-written script of my life.

The ultimate defence that he uses is that I just can't comprehend omniscience and free will co-existing because I have not accepted Jesus (o rly?) which of course just makes my eyes roll. I agree that I don't comprehend how these co-exist, because waht is free will if you don't have the ability to affect the future?

Please note that I'm not suggesting that god 'controls' the decisioin in this case, just that if god is omniscient that I'm just living out my pre-written life regardless of who controls the decisions.

Here's what I found on a diffrent thread while looking for this topic. What do you think?

---


God's free-will and Human free-will to choose are both valid.

Also human free-will and God's omniscience can both co-exist logically, so you are 'wrong' to assume that they cannot.

And let me demonstrate that 'logic' to you in a simple illurstrative form. Lets assume you wanted to watch a soccer game but you ended up having to TIVO it because you couldn't watch it live. Now you can choose to skip to the very end of the game to 'know' the game's result as to 'who won' instead of watching it all from the beginning; Thats 'your choice' And becasue it is all recored and is under 'your control', you can choose to start watching it from 'any where' in the recorded game.

Similarly God can 'choose' to 'know' or 'not now' That is His omnipotentecy and since he can do that at His will He is omniscient.

---

Here is the rest of what the other thread said about this topic..

---

        Yes you are right in saying the 'outcome' has already been decided for the game. And the same is true for the game of this life for us on this planet. That outcome is 'God is correct'

        He says He wins! (if you are looking from finite-human prespective, because GOD is outside the 'time' and controls it as He Himself created the time )

        He won! (if you are looking from the INFINITE-GOD prespective)

        against who?

        A: the satan.

        And all of the above is still logically correct!

---

 


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I have intentionally avoided

I have intentionally avoided the idea that god actually does the controlling.  The point is, if there is such thing as ominiscience that everything you do is following a pre-set path that even if you created, you can not alter.  Free-will is an illusion.


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Tarpan wrote: I have

Tarpan wrote:
I have intentionally avoided the idea that god actually does the controlling. The point is, if there is such thing as ominiscience that everything you do is following a pre-set path that even if you created, you can not alter. Free-will is an illusion.

 

Although I myself find the TIVO analog -satisfactory- as I have no problem with an Omnipotent-all controlling but 'playing by rules' God, Here's another explanation for the same that I found online. Simply search for the text if you need to find the source.

---

Does Omniscience Contradict Free Will?

Hello,
Christian doctrine holds that God is all knowing (1 John 3:20), and humans have free will (Deuteronomy 30:19 is my favorite example). however, at my favorite apologetics debate board, I have seen skeptics raise an objection to these points several times. the basic logic behind their arguments is this:

1. A being with free will, given two options A and B, can freely choose between A and B.
2. God is omniscient (all-knowing).
3. God knows I will choose A.
4. God cannot be wrong, since an omniscient being cannot have false knowledge.
5. From 3 and 4, I will choose A and cannot choose B.
6. From 1 and 5, omniscience and free will cannot co-exist.

I have read many counter-arguments from apologetics sites, but they were
either too technical (I couldn't understand them), or not satisfying. so, I
was wondering what would your input be on this issue?

Thank you,

Justin

Hi Justin,

Thanks for writing. This is a great question as it shows how even those who appeal to logic can have biases that blind them. Let's examine this argument and see if it follows logically.

Premises 1 and 2 in your outline above are the main premises to the argument and are not disputed. The Christian worldview argues that every human being is a free moral agent and is capable of making choices simply by exercising their will, not under compulsion or because of instinct. Also, it is a long held doctrine of Christianity that God is all-knowing. The Bible says that God knows "the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10)." For omniscience to be truly knowledgeable it must be correct knowledge, so premise number 4 is also granted.

However, point number 5 is where the logic falters. Those who argue in this manner make the mistake of thinking that because God possesses knowledge about a specific matter, then he has influenced it. That does not follow at all. Just because God can foresee which choice you will make, it does not mean you couldn't still freely choose the other option.

Let me give you an example. I have a five year old son. If I were to leave a chocolate chip cookie on the table about a hour before dinner time and my son was to walk by and see it, I know that he would pick up the cookie and eat it. I did not force him to make that decision. In fact, I don't even have to be in the room at all. I think I know my son well enough, though, to tell you that if I come back into the kitchen the cookie will be gone. His act was made completely free of my influence, but I knew what his actions would be.

In examining the argument, the assumption is made in premise 3 that because God knows I will choose A somehow denies me the choice of B. That is the premise that Christianity rejects. Omniscience and free will are not incompatible and it is a non-sequitor to claim otherwise.

Thank you Justin for this interesting question. I pray that you will continue to defend the gospel of our Lord and may He continue to bless you as you seek to grow in Him.

---

 


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I've read the website that

I've read the website that you pulled that from, though can't remember the url.

There is a problem in his argument, he is making an assumption here: "Those who argue in this manner make the mistake of thinking that because God possesses knowledge about a specific matter, then he has influenced it." 

That is NOT what I am suggesting as I have stated many times over. The fact is that even if you have a choice of A or B, God already knows which one you will choose.  Even if you change your mind, he knew that you would change your mind.  You only have 1 path, regardless of how many times you change your mind those are all pe-set choices that he already knew you would make.

By this logic, you do not have any ability to alter the pre-determined future regardless of your choice because your choice is already known.  This is why I like the term "Illusion" when describing this as an illusion of free will.

You have the illusion that you have choice B, but you will ultimatly choose A because god has forseen it.

So yes, you have the choice.  But your choice is already seen.  You can not alter what God has seen.  To me, this means that you don't actually have the influence or ability to affect change even in your own future.  If you can't affect your own future, then how can you suggest you have free will? 

I can not state this enough, since that article was quoted to me a couple times now, I am not suggesting that god influences the decision, just that the decision itself is pre-determined (even if by you) and you have no ability to alter it.


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Tarpan wrote: I have

Tarpan wrote:
I have intentionally avoided the idea that god actually does the controlling. The point is, if there is such thing as ominiscience that everything you do is following a pre-set path that even if you created, you can not alter. Free-will is an illusion.

Actually if you look at it closely, the TIVO anology fits the scenario of an omnipotent God who can choose(control) what/if to know and what/if not to know, at the same time not -influencing- what's happened with the game, what so ever. That is more like selective/control by choice(excluding human free-will domain), instead of controlling -everything- (which is in other words violates the human-free will domain.)

If you notice this doesn't hurt God's omnipotence but shows that He plays by a set of rules that He created for Himself  and the set of rules that He created for Humans(which he expects us to keep and calls it 'sin' when we violate them)

And  after all without rules that are followed there will be chaos! be it at the infinite (God) level or the finite(human) level.


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Tarpan wrote: I've read

Tarpan wrote:

I've read the website that you pulled that from, though can't remember the url.

There is a problem in his argument, he is making an assumption here: "Those who argue in this manner make the mistake of thinking that because God possesses knowledge about a specific matter, then he has influenced it."

That is NOT what I am suggesting as I have stated many times over. The fact is that even if you have a choice of A or B, God already knows which one you will choose. Even if you change your mind, he knew that you would change your mind. You only have 1 path, regardless of how many times you change your mind those are all pe-set choices that he already knew you would make.

By this logic, you do not have any ability to alter the pre-determined future regardless of your choice because your choice is already known. This is why I like the term "Illusion" when describing this as an illusion of free will.

You have the illusion that you have choice B, but you will ultimatly choose A because god has forseen it.

So yes, you have the choice. But your choice is already seen. You can not alter what God has seen. To me, this means that you don't actually have the influence or ability to affect change even in your own future. If you can't affect your own future, then how can you suggest you have free will?

I can not state this enough, since that article was quoted to me a couple times now, I am not suggesting that god influences the decision, just that the decision itself is pre-determined (even if by you) and you have no ability to alter it.

Tarpan I certainly see what you mean by the illusion. That I is why I like the TIVO analogy better! and find it satisfactory enough. 


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thetruthseeker

thetruthseeker wrote:

Tarpan I certainly see what you mean by the illusion. That I is why I like the TIVO analogy better! and find it satisfactory enough.

I'm glad you find it satisfactry, but the TIVO example actually fits very well to my point.  Pre-destination / pre-recording.  While you are watching the recorded product it will never change.  No one in it has any control to ever change anything because it is not real.  It is the illusion of reality.  The choices they make are an illusion because you can rewind it, and they will do the exact same thing.  The idea of omniscience in the tivo example really just points to the ultimate problem I have.

Is it truely free will if you can not change it? I don't think it is.  It is just an illusion.

I applaud your ability to accept that you are just a recording, that is an alarming and disturbing thought to me. 


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Tarpan

Tarpan wrote:
thetruthseeker wrote:

Tarpan I certainly see what you mean by the illusion. That I is why I like the TIVO analogy better! and find it satisfactory enough.

I'm glad you find it satisfactry, but the TIVO example actually fits very well to my point. Pre-destination / pre-recording. While you are watching the recorded product it will never change. No one in it has any control to ever change anything because it is not real. It is the illusion of reality. The choices they make are an illusion because you can rewind it, and they will do the exact same thing. The idea of omniscience in the tivo example really just points to the ultimate problem I have.

Is it truely free will if you can not change it? I don't think it is. It is just an illusion.

I applaud your ability to accept that you are just a recording, that is an alarming and disturbing thought to me.

I see your quandry here, but I think that is a result of two 'assumptions' that you are inadvertently introducing into this. Let me explain.

With the TIVO example,

1. I wasn't refering to a 'fake' creation but rather a 'reality' that has already happened, for eg: a football game.

2. Bible claims the God knows the beginning and the end. This is possible for Him because he himself created 'time' and is not dwelling in it. (This is one of the 3-fundamentals we see/experience in our existence). But on the other hand for a finite being we are 'stuck'/ deliberately limited to this 'tangible limit' of time (past,present & future) so event are still 'happening' for us.

Let me know if you find this explanation satisfactory. If not I will try a different method to show you why 'I' find it satisfactory. But it is necessary to understand there are limits to how 'deeply'(to the finest details) a finite analogy can 'explain' an infinite concept. After all if you can understand(or fit) an infinite GOD completely in our finite minds, He won't be a God anymore! can He? Besides it goes agains the logic that we can understand, which is, something infinite cannot fit in something finite.


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thetruthseeker wrote: I

thetruthseeker wrote:

I see your quandry here, but I think that is a result of two 'assumptions' that you are inadvertently introducing into this. Let me explain.

With the TIVO example,

1. I wasn't refering to a 'fake' creation but rather a 'reality' that has already happened, for eg: a football game.

2. Bible claims the God knows the beginning and the end. This is possible for Him because he himself created 'time' and is not dwelling in it. (This is one of the 3-fundamentals we see/experience in our existence). But on the other hand for a finite being we are 'stuck'/ deliberately limited to this 'tangible limit' of time (past,present & future) so event are still 'happening' for us.

Let me know if you find this explanation satisfactory. If not I will try a different method to show you why 'I' find it satisfactory. But it is necessary to understand there are limits to how 'deeply'(to the finest details) a finite analogy can 'explain' an infinite concept. After all if you can understand(or fit) an infinite GOD completely in our finite minds, He won't be a God anymore! can He? Besides it goes agains the logic that we can understand, which is, something infinite cannot fit in something finite.

We are a living instant-reply.  That's what I see in the TIVO example.  We are are conciously living out something that has already played out and are totally unable to influence it.

I understand what you're trying to say, but I don't think that changes the idea that you are a puppet being controlled by decisions you haven't made yet but are destined to make.

 

To define something as unexplainable is a copout.  There is nothing that I don't understand that I don't think will eventually have an answer.  To invoke "You can't understand" is just a way of avoiding things that you don't like.  I look at it as just filling the gaps of ignorance with 'something' because of a fear of accepting ignorance and facing the unknown.


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Tarpan

Tarpan wrote:
thetruthseeker wrote:

I see your quandry here, but I think that is a result of two 'assumptions' that you are inadvertently introducing into this. Let me explain.

With the TIVO example,

1. I wasn't refering to a 'fake' creation but rather a 'reality' that has already happened, for eg: a football game.

2. Bible claims the God knows the beginning and the end. This is possible for Him because he himself created 'time' and is not dwelling in it. (This is one of the 3-fundamentals we see/experience in our existence). But on the other hand for a finite being we are 'stuck'/ deliberately limited to this 'tangible limit' of time (past,present & future) so event are still 'happening' for us.

Let me know if you find this explanation satisfactory. If not I will try a different method to show you why 'I' find it satisfactory. But it is necessary to understand there are limits to how 'deeply'(to the finest details) a finite analogy can 'explain' an infinite concept. After all if you can understand(or fit) an infinite GOD completely in our finite minds, He won't be a God anymore! can He? Besides it goes agains the logic that we can understand, which is, something infinite cannot fit in something finite.

We are a living instant-reply. That's what I see in the TIVO example. We are are conciously living out something that has already played out and are totally unable to influence it.

I understand what you're trying to say, but I don't think that changes the idea that you are a puppet being controlled by decisions you haven't made yet but are destined to make.

If free will is 'real' (true) then predestination cannot exist because logically they are mutually exclusive. And everthing that we see and do points to the reality of free will. Simple eg: You choose to start this topic on this forum or were you pre-destined to ? Interesting isn't it? Besides I don't think predestination fits with a 'just God' stand. That is because for a 'choice' to be be 'really' free it cannot be influenced by God Himself. Only then it becomes authentic.

Quote:

 

To define something as unexplainable is a copout. There is nothing that I don't understand that I don't think will eventually have an answer. To invoke "You can't understand" is just a way of avoiding things that you don't like. I look at it as just filling the gaps of ignorance with 'something' because of a fear of accepting ignorance and facing the unknown.

I agree! I don't like a copout stand. One never has to give up! to find an answer. But the mere fact that we don't know all the answers(nor can we hope know all there is to know) is a 'hard undeniable reality'. The 'complexity' of things around us is such, even if it is just one object that we are trying to know 'everything about' or the complexity of how these objects 'relate' to each other. The latter simply multiplies this complexity further.

A Christian stand is that there is a 'being' out there that knows all that there is to know. And all it matters in our lives(before we die) is to know that 'source' that knows all. As far as I can see, this still is a logical stand.(even if one considers the presence of such an entity as merely an assumption for academic logical reasoning).


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thetruthseeker wrote: If

thetruthseeker wrote:

If free will is 'real' (true) then predestination cannot exist because logically they are mutually exclusive.

I agree.

thetruthseeker wrote:

And everthing that we see and do points to the reality of free will. Simple eg: You choose to start this topic on this forum or were you pre-destined to ? Interesting isn't it?

I choose to, but if you subscribe to an omniscient god, but I was destined to do it according to god's knowledge of what I was going to do.  So in reality I would have never made any other decision other than to post this subject.  There is an illusion that I made the decision, but in reality it wasn't really a matter of A or B, it was a matter of A with 0 chance I would have selected B.  I just wasn't aware that I was ultimatly going to choose A.

 

thetruthseeker wrote:

Besides I don't think predestination fits with a 'just God' stand. That is because for a 'choice' to be be 'really' free it cannot be influenced by God Himself. Only then it becomes authentic.

I never suggested your god was 'just'.  I merely suggest that pre-destination is the product of Omniscience.  And I also never suggested God would influence the choice.  I have been very reptitious in stating that it does not matter who makes the decision.

I also am not suggesting that free will is authentic.  I am actually suggesting that if you believe in an Omniscient god that it is not authentic.

If you want to remove Omniscience from your god to make him just, then go for it.  If that's the case then you are acknowledging the argument and suggesting that your god is not as prescribed by Christianity or most other major religions. 

thetruthseeker wrote:


I agree! I don't like a copout stand. One never has to give up! to find an answer. But the mere fact that we don't know all the answers(nor can we hope know all there is to know) is a 'hard undeniable reality'. The 'complexity' of things around us is such, even if it is just one object that we are trying to know 'everything about' or the complexity of how these objects 'relate' to each other. The latter simply multiplies this complexity further.

A Christian stand is that there is a 'being' out there that knows all that there is to know. And all it matters in our lives(before we die) is to know that 'source' that knows all. As far as I can see, this still is a logical stand.(even if one considers the presence of such an entity as merely an assumption for academic logical reasoning).

Though this stand becomes illogical when you figure that there are near 3000 gods out there and many other than have equal amounts of documetnation and just as much or more supporters in the world.  And all of those gods will damn you for believing in your god.  This is getting way off topic of Omniscience as I'm trying to point out that any of them that are Omniscient are equally abusive to human intellect. 


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The original thread can be

The original thread can be found here.

I've posted on that thread and my argument has not changed; there is a difference between free will of the flesh and free will of the spirit.  You cannot choose to believe or not but you can choose between pizza and a salad.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote:

razorphreak wrote:

The original thread can be found here.

I've posted on that thread and my argument has not changed; there is a difference between free will of the flesh and free will of the spirit. You cannot choose to believe or not but you can choose between pizza and a salad.

Sooo...you're saying that what we do doesn't matter and free will doesn't really matter because at the end of the day we are all pre-selected anyways? And I suppose, if that's your belief, then you consider yourself one of the pre-selected of course. Because no one wants to believe that they are not special in the eyes of their own god.


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Tarpan wrote: Sooo...you're

Tarpan wrote:
Sooo...you're saying that what we do doesn't matter and free will doesn't really matter because at the end of the day we are all pre-selected anyways? And I suppose, if that's your belief, then you consider yourself one of the pre-selected of course. Because no one wants to believe that they are not special in the eyes of their own god.

Ummm....interesting assumption.

As to being one of the "elect" or not, I can't say.  All I can say for sure is my confidence in my faith.  I cannot say that I or anyone else is part of that elect, including those who say they do not believe.

As to what you do not meaning anything, well, there is a proverb that says "He who ignores discipline despises himself" so how would someone do whatever they wanted (that is doing what the flesh desired) knowing that doing so isn't what was intented?

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote:

Ummm....interesting assumption.

As to being one of the "elect" or not, I can't say. All I can say for sure is my confidence in my faith. I cannot say that I or anyone else is part of that elect, including those who say they do not believe.

As to what you do not meaning anything, well, there is a proverb that says "He who ignores discipline despises himself" so how would someone do whatever they wanted (that is doing what the flesh desired) knowing that doing so isn't what was intented?

It wasn't an assumption, it was what I understood based on your posts.  Correct me if my understanding was incorrect.

You can't say? I don't believe that.  If you honestly did not believe that you were one of the chosen ones then you would not hold your faith.  I appreciate your effort to not project the "I am going to heaven and you're not" attitude, but it's inherant in faith especially one where you suggest that people are pre-destined to go to heaven or not.

As for your last paragraph...I don't know what that has to do with anything.  What determines what you do has nothing to do with the concept of freewill vs an illusion of freewill.


razorphreak
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Tarpan wrote: You can't

Tarpan wrote:
You can't say? I don't believe that. If you honestly did not believe that you were one of the chosen ones then you would not hold your faith.

I appreciate your effort to not project the "I am going to heaven and you're not" attitude, but it's inherant in faith especially one where you suggest that people are pre-destined to go to heaven or not.

Ah but which people? Because I know God does not mean I am automatically in since the final say so is in his hands.  Because I believe I hope and pray that I would be one of his chosen however I do know and realize that I can lose it just as fast as I found it.

Tarpan wrote:
What determines what you do has nothing to do with the concept of freewill vs an illusion of freewill.

How much freedom we are given by God is an unknown but by the history that is written in the bible, even with the story of creation, God by impression seems to give one hell of an amount of freedom as to what we can choose to do with our lives.  At no time though, even when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, did they lose faith.  

What I wrote before was in response to doing whatever you wish.  When you go that route it's easy to go with temptation and down the "wrong path", i.e. you don't go off and do what you will because you are part of the "elect".

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote: How

razorphreak wrote:

How much freedom we are given by God is an unknown but by the history that is written in the bible, even with the story of creation, God by impression seems to give one hell of an amount of freedom as to what we can choose to do with our lives. At no time though, even when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, did they lose faith.

Argh.  I don't know why I keep having to say this.  The freedom that god gives you is besides the point.  Even if you have total freedom to choose...omniscience counteracts the idea of total freewill because even if it is ultimatly your choice, your choice is not alterable from the future that has been seen for you.

As for Adam and Eve, they are well outside the confines of the subject.  I can quite confidently say that they never existed but that does not matter.  Their faith and their actions do not in anyway have anything to do with the concept of freewill vs the illusion of freewill since god knew every thing they would ever do before they did it.


razorphreak
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Tarpan wrote:

Tarpan wrote:
Argh. I don't know why I keep having to say this. The freedom that god gives you is besides the point. Even if you have total freedom to choose...omniscience counteracts the idea of total freewill because even if it is ultimatly your choice, your choice is not alterable from the future that has been seen for you.

The freedom that God gives is the point of what defines free will over your life. We don't actually know what God knows of the future, how far into the future (5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 decades, etc), nor can we say God doesn't like to see "how things will turn out" by allowing us to choose on our own accord. We are using terms that we defined to begin with so what the actuality may be when it comes to God, all our intelligence to the matter might end up being simply an act in futility to attempt to explain. The ONLY for certain thing that God knows and controls is the will of the spirit; by examples in the bible it is unknown if God does indeed know our actions [of the flesh] before hand - and even if he did, why would he allow what man can only describe as evil in the world?  As I said before, there is the will of the flesh and will of the spirit and to only one of those can we say we can control.  God puts choices before us for a reason and it would be through those choices that either he uses as ways to know how willing we are to follow our spirit or ways to teach us who really is in charge - either way they are choices for us to follow meaning we have the ability to make a choice.

Tarpan wrote:
As for Adam and Eve, they are well outside the confines of the subject. I can quite confidently say that they never existed but that does not matter. Their faith and their actions do not in anyway have anything to do with the concept of freewill vs the illusion of freewill since god knew every thing they would ever do before they did it.

Actually they aren't since we are talking about the Christian God hence the bible and it's references are very relevlent to the point. It doesn't matter if you don't believe the book or who existed and who didn't, that's not relevent to the point of this conversation and means absoltely nothing if you want to discuss the Christian point of view.....but that's neither here nor there to the subject of this thread so no more threadjacking from me.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire