Born Free


The concept of Free Will is used in defending Gods lack of intervention in many human events. That God esteems Free Will, elevating it to a position in which it must be preserved at all costs. But can Christianity stay consistent in defending Free Will, both practically and pragmatically?


Why would God have put that horrendous tree in the Garden of Eden in the first place? If but a small act would unleash death, sin, and destruction upon the world to such an extent that God Himself would have to die, and even then only abate a portion of the effects, it was self-defeating to allow this travesty to occur.

The most common response is “free will.” However one chooses to philosophically debate and define it, there is some broad concept out there under this cloak—free will—by which God determined it was necessary to provide humans with a choice between morality and immorality. Reflect on what an awesome usurpation of reality this free will is.

We see pictures of the genocides of the past century, and what humans can do to do to other humans, and are physically repulsed by these events. Yet somehow God determined that free will makes such atrocities necessary. We watch events unfold as nature destroys homes, and cities, and countries, and pour our sympathy to the people affected. Yet somehow, there is hierarchy in God’s domain that requires these calamities to cause devastation in order to preserve this essential Free Will. Many Christians believe regardless how one lives their life on earth, for a mere 100 years, if they fail to get it right, God will punish them for billions and billions and billions of years by eternal torment. And the reason for this endless punishment? The exercise of Free will is of greater import than horrendous pain inflicted upon humans.

Over and over we see this idea thrown back as a defense to the reality provided by the Christian God.

Why let the snake and Tree in the Garden? Free Will.
Why eternal punishment? Free Will.
Why the Problem of Evil? Free Will
Why can’t God show Himself? It would impair Free Will.
Why allow sin in the first place? Free Will.

Very Well. If the theist desires this idea to be the all-encompassing defense to these varied problems, then it is high-time to give it the proper place of propriety. Obviously Free Will is of greater concern, and more important to God than the exercise of immorality itself!

But wait a minute. God does not hesitate to impair, reduce and even eliminate Free Will. Starting right at the Garden. God did not limit the snake from being in the world, even though He certainly could have. Humans must have Free Will. God did not limit the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, even though he certainly could have. Humans must have Free will.

Yet, after the exercise of Free Will, God steps in, and declares that Humans must no longer have free choice to eat from the Tree of Life. And places a barrier in the shape of a sword to that Tree. (Gen. 3:22-24) What happened to “Free Will”? Does God only grant Free Will to humans when it harms them, and not when it is beneficial? Why couldn’t humans exercise Free Will to eliminate sickness and death?

Or the Tower of Babel. Humans exercised their Free Will to gather together in a social community, and avoid being separated across the face of the earth. They mutually entered into production, and engaged in a peaceful cooperation. Everything we wished humans could do today. God reviewed it, and intervened in their Free Will. He confused the languages. (Gen. 11:5-8) Again, we wonder why God superceded Free Will at the moment it was beneficial to humanity.

“God, God, Adam is about to introduce sin, cancer, plague, earthquakes and death into the world”
“Sorry. Nothing I can do. Must allow Free Will.”

“God, God, Humankind is working together in peace and harmony. They do not want to be separated from each other. They have peace.”
“Whoops. Can’t have that! Time to invade Free Will.”

Of course, the most famous individual incident of God impairing Free Will is Pharaoh. God gives Moses the heads-up that He will be interfering with Pharaoh’s Free Will. Even when Pharaoh wants to let the Hebrews leave, God will harden Pharaoh’s heart. (Ex. 4:21, 7:3, 9:12) In fact, God determined to impair Free Will so that God could perform signs and wonders. (Odd that God then erased every trace of these Plagues from happening, but that can be discussed another time.) Again and Again, God hardens not only Pharaoh’s heart, so they no longer have Free Will, but God also hardens Pharaoh’s servants and army’s heart as well. (Ex. 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:4, 14:8, 14:17)

Throughout the Tanakh, God steps in and moves events, places people in situations, provides insights, prods and pushes situations, all of which are designed to affect Free Will. In the New Testament, God is directly interfacing, performing miracles, teaching, ridiculing, and appearing in visions, all molding and shaping Free Will. “Inspiration” itself involves some impact on Free Will.

We are left with this conundrum of, on the one hand, God holding the Free Will of Humans in such high regard that He must allow sin, sickness, and death into the world at immeasurable rates (even His own death will not extinguish the effects), but on the other, interfering without apparent rhyme or reason with Free Will. Yet another aspect of God in which we have no parameters to gauge when God will or will not act. Yet another problem left unresolved by the mysterious God.

Frankly, it looks more like an excuse, rather than a defense. As if the Christian sees the problems presented by the issues, the Problem of Evil, the Tree, the perpetual punishment, and whips out what appears to be a convenient excuse at the moment—that God holds Free will in such esteem it must not be interfered with on these specific occasions. But there is no reasoning behind that. No demonstration as to why God can’t interfere with Free Will. Especially in light of how many times God does anyway. Even more especially in light of how much the Christian asks God to do it!

How many prayers are requests for God to step in and intrude on Free Will? One of the most common is prayer for employment. Are they asking that God encroach upon the hiring individual’s complete freedom of choice, and give the Christian the “nudge”? Or are they asking God to become involved in the Christian’s own Free Will and “give them the right things to say”? Either way, it is God involving Himself in Free Will.

Christians have no problem with God meddling in Free will when it comes to a pay raise. But meddling when billions will suffer for trillions of years? How brash to make such a request!

Another common prayer is for healing. King Hezekiah was assured by God he was going to die. One prayer, God intervenes, and he lives for another 15 years. 2 Kings. 20:1-6. James states that prayers will heal the sick. James 5:15. Thousands of times, I have heard, “God, give the doctors wisdom and guidance in this surgery…” Whoa! Isn’t that imposing on their Free Will? Shouldn’t God let their hand slip, if it chooses to do so, or let their mind forget, if they are having an off-moment?

Think of the irony of a child dying with leukemia. The only reason the child has this horrible disease (according to the Free Will Defense to the Problem of Evil) is that God holds Free Will as of more value, of more important than the unfortunate effects of disease. God may not like the disease, but its existence is necessary, due to the allowing of Free Will. And the Christian by the bedside prays that God provides insight, a flash of brilliance, an imposition on the medical team’s free will to develop a cure. Sure, the disease was necessary for some “ultimate” God-sized Free Will problem. Just not for one individual situation. Why isn’t the Christian thankful for the demonstration of how God holds Free Will in such high regard? Because that is merely a defense to an observed problem, not a reality to the Christian.

In every stadium, one-half are praying that the God will involve Himself on the Free Will of the Home team, and the other half are praying that God will involve Himself on the Free Will of the away team. People pray for monetary assistance, for mental assistance, for love, for physical help, for spiritual help. All of which requires God to interact. Many situations, requiring God to manipulate Free Will.

Jesus said that whatever you ask in pray, believing you will receive. (Mt. 21:22) He had no problem with impinging on Free Will at request. He said to pray that one’s Faith would not fail. (Lk. 22:32)

Fascinating that Jesus prayed God would keep “those who you gave me” from the evil one. John 17:15. Now why wouldn’t Jesus have prayed that for Adam? Certainly Jesus has enough faith to believe, and what He asks would come true! Jesus is watching the events unfold in the Garden of Eden. He knows that eventually he can only save a few that he will be asking God to keep away from the evil one. If it is acceptable for God to impose and “keep” people away, what was the problem in the Garden?

Paul prays that the Corinthians “do no evil.” 2 Cor. 13:7. Is this a request? If a petition to God, how is God supposed to put it into effect? Remove temptation? How much interaction can God do before it is too much? That the same Free Will that could not be violated in the Garden of Eden appears?

And what of those of us that voluntarily requested God to suspend our Free Will, and provide some proof of His existence? Odd that for us ex-Christians God could not impede our Free Will when we asked him to show some proof, but Christians find God giving a person the “right things to say” perfectly acceptable. We asked for wisdom, (James 1:5) but that would be infringing on our Free Will. Why, then, couldn’t we ask? Oh, I know the claim we were “doubting” so God didn’t have to give wisdom. We were to ask “in faith.” Clever defense. God only provides answers to those that already know the answers. If you don’t know the answers, God won’t give you them.

Why—would it infringe on Free Will?

God imposed Himself on Free Will all the time. With little hesitation. There is no reason He could not have equally imposed in the Garden of Eden. “Free Will” is a handy defense, brought out to convince other Christians there must be some reason why God allows travesty, and then quickly discarded when faced with life’s troubles personally.

20 comments:

Daniel said...

This line:
Why can’t God show Himself? It would impair Free Will.

Is one of the greatest fallacies of all: how would it impair free will? In point of fact, it would enable free will to know what you are choosing.

In our case, we "know" by "faith" what God is (via God's revelation to and through other humans, of course), and we choose that...or not.

So in this sense, our "free will" is limited by the choices we are aware of. If God made Itself clear, and gave us a clear choice, it would not only be good, it would be just and fair.

Instead, we have to take this whole concept "on faith". Bullshit.

If there are eternal consequences to a choice someone makes, the person who will carry out those consequences, if they are just and good, will make crystal clear the choice they are making.

THis is what Eden is supposed to represent, but unfortunately, this creation myth, like all others, is but a silly and primitive way of "explaining" how things are.

A just God would give each of us the amount of knowledge Adam and Eve are reported to have had: innate, intrinsic, first-hand, experiential, knowledge of Who God is, what God wants, and how to do what God wants [or choose not to].

Is it an impairment of free will to know your bride? Ought we to marry complete strangers "by faith", and devote our lives to them? Or is love incomplete and nothing without knowledge of what it is one loves?

Too bad for us, God is hidden, since God is dead. The poor Fellow passed away some years back.

Frank Walton said...

according to darwinian evolution you can't have free will. even dan barker believes that man has no free will. go ahead ask him. so for an atheist to criticize Christians on free will is complete hypocrisy.

DagoodS said...

Frank Walton –

I am not the one claiming that God must allow all the death, destruction, harm and hate because of Free Will. Many Christians are. If you agree with the Darwinian Evolutionists that say there is no such thing as Free Will, then this post would certainly have no impact on you.

Unfortunately, due to the vast varieties and nuances between copious flavors of Christianity, and limitation of space, I can only chip off so much at a time. Never fear. I will get around to whatever defense you present for why God continues to allow children starve and die of preventable diseases at the staggering rate of 30,000 per day.

Your claim of “hypocrisy” was unclear. I am not convinced there is such a thing as Free Will. Does that mean I cannot present arguments against those that do? Do I have to believe the opposing position before I debate it? How does that work for you? If you debate atheists, within this methodology, you must either:

1) Believe atheism (welcome to our world) or
2) Also be a hypocrite (welcome to humanity)

If Dan Barker chooses to post a comment and state, “The evidence I have reviewed fails to convince me there is Free Will” he is more than free to choose to do so. (Kind of a joke, see?)

John W. Loftus said...

Here's a snippet from my book:

Pierre Bayle exposes the difficulty of God giving us freedom. [in “Paulicians” in his Historical and Critical Dictionary (1697)]. “It is in the essence of a benefactor to refrain from giving any gift which he knows would be the ruin of the recipient.” “A mother would not be considered a good mother if she to gave her daughters the freedom to go to a ball knowing they would lose their virginity and be disgraced. Given the nature of how they would use their freedom, such freedom would not be considered a good gift,” Bayle suggests. If this is so, then how can God be considered good by giving us the freedom that we too abuse far too often? “Free agency is not a good gift after all, for it has caused the ruin of the human race in Adam’s sin, the eternal damnation for the greater part of his descendants, and created a world of a dreadful deluge of moral and physical evils.” ]

Another more forceful way to put it is this: Would you give a razor blade to a two-year-old child? If you did, then aren’t you to blame if the child abuses it?

Furthermore, why couldn’t God have given us free will where we either choose not to sin, or we have a strong aversion against sinning? If I offer you a cup of motor oil to drink, you will most certainly decline it. You have a natural aversion to drinking motor oil. You could still choose to drink it, of course, if you wanted to override your aversion against it. Most of us have no such aversion to sin, in fact the opposite is true. It is in our nature to be tempted by sin. Why? If sin is bad for us, then wouldn't it make sense for us to have an equal aversion to sinning? Is God not capable of doing this?

Moreover, if there is free will in heaven, then how is it that people can have free will there and never sin? If that’s possible in heaven, then why couldn’t God have created us with free will such that we’d never sin here on earth in the first place? If that’s not possible, then will there be another rebellion in heaven along with pain and punishment as the result of free willed choices?

Anonymous said...

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Kimberlina

CalvinDude said...

Brother Danny wrote:
---
A just God would give each of us the amount of knowledge Adam and Eve are reported to have had: innate, intrinsic, first-hand, experiential, knowledge of Who God is, what God wants, and how to do what God wants [or choose not to].
---

Yes, I'm sure that your relativistic term "just" is exactly the one that must be applied here. It is only your concept of justice that matters because you are the ultimate standard.

Be that as it may, I have no problem saying that God has provided exactly what you are requesting of Him, but you don't want to see it so you willfully blind yourself to reality. Perhaps that doesn't satisfy your definition of just. But then you still haven't provided a meaningful reason as to why I should care what your definition of "just" is.

openlyatheist said...

God wants unbelievers to choose to believe without the evidence they request.

Ergo, unbelievers are FREE to believe without evidence.

God hides himself from the unbeliever because exposure would impair free will.

Ergo, unbelievers are NOT FREE to disbelieve with evidence.

Yet, Christians insist that God cannot/will not show unbelievers miracles because unbelievers will rationalize them away.

Ergo, unbelievers are FREE to disbelieve with evidence, contra to the above.

But at the same time faith is supposed to be a gift from God and must precede evidence.

Ergo, unbelievers are NOT FREE to believe without evidence, but are dependent upon God to provide the means of seeing evidence, also contra to the above.

Confusing religion.

Daniel said...

Calvindude,

Yes, I'm sure that your relativistic term "just"
And how is "trusting" the "revelation" of "prophets" absolute, rather than relative? Which prophets? By what criteria? How were they selected? Et cetera, ad nauseum

It is only your concept of justice that matters because you are the ultimate standard.
If you reject my concept of justice, you are not rejecting me, but instead, the concept. If you do, then fine. If you think it is "just" to hold eternal consequences over a decision which must be made blindfolded...

Be that as it may, I have no problem saying that God has provided exactly what you are requesting of Him, but you don't want to see it so you willfully blind yourself to reality.
Lovely, and the same fallacy of presumption I can turn around and use to say, "you already know that there is no god, and you just hold to the delusion to comfort yourself,"

What have we accomplished with presumption and such BS?

Perhaps that doesn't satisfy your definition of just. But then you still haven't provided a meaningful reason as to why I should care what your definition of "just" is.
Yes, yes, we have all heard this before -- that because you take the Bible as the Word of God, by faith, that gives you "an absolute standard", while if I just have reason, I'm up the creek without a paddle.

Frankly, I could give a shit less if you accept my concept or not. It stands as the reason I reject your god. You can like it, lump it, or love it, brudda...:)

Do you have a way, granting my premises, to make it "just"?

Notice that we atheists always grant some of your premises to argue against the major conclusions, but all you presups do is pretend you have an unsinkable ship, which is really a brick wall you build to insulate and isolate yourself from reality.

Oh, I know, I know, "show me reality without God". Right? Well, show me a reasonable solution to the problem of evil. To the hiddeness of God. To some real problem that you just hide from behind your presuppositional bullshit.

evanmay said...

DagoodS:

While I'm normally not one to leave links at other people's blogs, you might find my reply more interesting than offensive:

Who Is Free?

I join you in your critiques of FreeWillism, but, of course, not in your atheism.

Anonymous said...

DagoodS,

it is understandable that you have Apostatized from Christianity or have never become a Christian, either way. When the Scriptures are wrested or twisted or not properly divided, it is to our destruction, which you are currently experiencing, II Thes. 1:9(eonian destruction). I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom I don't believe is equal with the Father, but is still God. Nor do I believe anyone anywhere has ever had "free will". The Scriptures no where, ever even hint to the fact. If we had "free will" why do we need to be set free, John 8:36. And why did Paul agonize at his inability to keep the law, Rom. 7? No, no man has free will. But God is controlling all things to the praise of his glory. Hopefully you will comment back. The Lord loves you and desires fellowship with you still. Remember though, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! And you may say, "is that a threat from God?" You better believe it! Though I also don't believe in "hell". Write me back at nbranim@bornagain.com.

N8

Daniel said...

N8,

What is your opinion on 2 Pet 3:9?

Of course, I emphasize opinion due to the inherent subjectivity of the Bible, which can be argued from about 10 different perspectives on any one topic.

-D

DagoodS said...

Evan May, please give links to any critique of my blogs, as long as permissible by the blog owners. It helps me to find them, and gives readers the chance to observe opposing views. Being human, it is very possible you raise an issue I hadn’t thought of, or failed to address completely, or is more persuasive than my own.

As I said to Frank Walton, if (as you indicate) you are a Christian that does not hold to Free Will, this blog does not address you. The same if I posted against inerrancy, if you are not an inerrantist, it would have little meaning. However, it has been my experience that many Christians do raise the issue of Free Will, and I wanted to address that at this moment.

As I said to Frank Walton, we can only focus on a bit at a time. If I wanted to write a complete essay on every issue with Christianity, in all of its various Hydra-type incarnations, it would consist of books and books. It would help out, if you all held another Council, and agreed on these various positions, you know.

I laughed when you said, “God is the one who truly has free will.” Last month I was debating a Christian philosopher that held the position that God does NOT have free will. This month, I am being critiqued by a Christian that says God DOES have free will. Next month, I may be discussing with a Christian that says no one knows. That is what makes this so fun, we never know who will come peeking around the corner!

This is understood. Your God is not very communicative about his attributes, and the human book upon which Christians rely has so many contradictions, that conflicting principles can be easily derived from it.

You do raise a point that I avoided, to focus on another time. It was not the Tree of Knowledge itself that was the problem it was the command to not eat of it. I did that deliberately, partly because I thought it was self-evident to most Christians that the Tree was not an issue, but the choice to eat of it. (Similar to referring to the “Ten Plagues.” It was not the plagues, but Pharaoh’s actions. We just refer to it in the broad scope.)

I also did not want (at this time) to get into the issue of Adam and Even not having the ability to differentiate between Good and Evil prior to eating the tree that imparted the ability to differentiate, and how screwed up that is. When God issued a command, without them understanding the concept of “good” or “evil” they wouldn’t know the difference between doing what God say, not doing what God said, or completely forgetting what God said.

However, you are most correct that the Tree itself was not a problem. It was the choice. Of course, without the Tree, no choice could have existed. If God ordered them to not eat of the Tree Of the Low Hanging Fruit Which Is Yellow, and no such tree existed, we wouldn’t even have this discussion.

The sovereignty of God has problems, just like Free Will. Instead of God ultimately holding Free Will as necessary, he holds an unknown “purpose” as necessary. This eliminates any difference between morality and immorality, as both serve God’s ultimate purpose. If I help, food and clothe you, it serves God’s ultimate purpose. If I harm, hit and hurt you, it serves God’s purpose. If starvation and preventable diseases kill 200,000 children a week, it serves God’s purpose. If we cure cancer, or cause biological warfare, it serves God’s purpose.

We lose any moral system, because the only absolute that is in place is God’s purpose. All actions lead to that road. Further, it becomes difficult to say God is “moral” because “moral” is a subset, but not a complete set of what God’s purpose entails. God is also “immoral” (as it suits His purpose) “amoral” and “non-moral.”

We lose the necessity to follow God’s command. If He orders us to not eat butter—what happens? We eat butter—GREAT! God’s purpose of demonstrating his glory in smacking us down is fulfilled. We don’t eat butter—equally great! God’s purpose in showing Grace is fulfilled.

This position places Adam as being required to disobey God, for God to provide redemption. Further, one loses assurance of Heaven. If God sends everybody to Hell, His purpose is fulfilled. If God sends everyone to Heaven, his purpose is fulfilled. If God lies, or does not, His purpose is fulfilled.

Simply saying the Problem of Evil is not a problem for you, because you require Evil does not eliminate the problem. Why would God one day destroy all evil? Destroy a mechanism to fulfill his purpose? If he could “one day” he could have yesterday.

DagoodS said...

N8 –

It is very understandable why I deconverted. (If you want to call it apostasy or “not a Christian in the first place” fine.) I did not attempt to “wrest” or “twist” or “divide” Scriptures. All I did was look for their beginning. Look for their reality. Confirm that they were most certainly divine. If they were from the very entity that defines truth, and logic, and reason, what harm could possibly come from such an endeavor? It should bolster and ratify my belief, true?

Are you saying that I am one God sent a strong delusion—a lie? 2 Thess. 2:11. If so, who are you to question God, and demonstrate “truth”? Bit of a quandary, eh?

N8, if I have no free will, and God is controlling me to the praise of His glory, then He deliberately has set me on this course. Why would you hope that God’s will be violated, and I return to Christianity?

Here, I’ll send you an easy one. The Lord loves you and desires fellowship with you still. Let’s look at this from a hard reality.

I have a child that I love, as best a human can. Imagine that child behind a door. Only I can open that door. My child cries out for me, asking, “Dad, are you there?” I love my child so much, I say nothing. My child cries out, “Dad, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything from you. All I want to know is that, behind that door, you are there. I don’t care to know what you look like, what you do, where you are going, or even why it is so important that you cannot share those things with me. All I ask is that, in some way, you demonstrate you really are behind that door. A tap. A cough. A sigh. Send another child that you will talk to with proof that meets my individual needs.”

Because I love this child SO MUCH, I do nothing. I hear her. And do nothing. The child continues, “Look, I have been talking to other siblings. They raise some very good points. Much of what I attributed to you, can be explained as coming from me. Much of what I thought you were responsible for in the past, can be attributed to natural causes. I see many people using you as a prop, an excuse. They say, ‘Because Dad says I can, I do.’ But what they do, I don’t think you would like. There are so many different descriptions of you, all of which disagree, all of which they tell me the other siblings are wrong, and they are right.”

Because of my over-encompassing love, I, of course, do nothing. “Dad. I am not hearing from you. Perhaps you have a good reason. Perhaps you are not there at all. I don’t understand why you won’t talk to me, but I hope you understand why I am coming to the conclusion you aren’t even there. You know all the things I have researched, and how again and again and again, they point to you not even existing. Look, I don’t care if you show yourself to the world, if you do something that only I understand, and could never convince another. I don’t need anything, but to know you are there. Dad?”

Would we call this father loving? Or a monster! Yet I am informed our love is a pittance, a miniscule drop in the bucket compared to the love of God.

Do you understand why deconverts are not afraid of a living God? Because many of us broke our hearts looking for him, and not finding him. He does not exist. I am not afraid of trampling unicorns, nor non-existent Gods. Now you inform me that it wasn’t even my choice in the first place—that God is doing this on purpose. Shrug.

I spent too many years caring about a God I learned wasn’t there, to begin caring about a God that doesn’t care for me.

Dale Callahan said...

According to the atheist why even argue your point? We are all a part of this material world and thats it right?

So your brain is configured in such a way that it is growing in the way you think and act.

My brain is configured in such a way that it grows and thinks in its way.

How does the atheist explain man's choices [if thats what you call them].

Are they [choices] predetermined by the essence of what nature dictates...if so then they really are not free are they, they just appear to be free because they are random.

Anonymous said...

Methinks DagoodS needs a hug.

Edward T. Babinski said...

As in the case of most large philosophical questions, why argue them, especially among Christians, since you can usually find Christians willing to debate other Christians on many large philosophical matters.

Just google "Calvinism" and "Open Theology," two groups of Christians, the former of which believes in predestination to the max, and the latter of which believes in human free will decisions that even God cannot predict. Its interesting and instructive to see how each of the two groups exegetically understand Scripture and which verses they each place the most emphasis upon, and which they claim are less relevant.

As for the "freewill defense" applied to explaining the existence of evil, pain and suffering in the cosmos, that of course leads to many questions.

The Calvinists have it easier in some ways than the defenders of "freewill," since evil, pain and suffering are ordained by God and have always been part of God's plans since the beginning. Not that that is an answer that is easier to believe. Certainly not for everyone. It raises questions of just what kind of "God" one can stomach. I mean the Calvinist "God" makes Satan look like an underacheiving wimp in comparison with the kinds of pain and suffering that the Calvinist God metes out. There is in fact no limit to the evil and suffering that a Calvinist will not accede to so long as he believes "God" is (or was) "behind" it.

While the free-willer keeps having to convince himself that everyone is worthy of horrendous eternal punishments, usually beginning with some disobedient fruit-eating parents in Eden, and each individual thereafter being raised on a planet filled with temptations, ignorance, lust, and trials galore that we each face for our finite little lives here. Afterwards comes eternal judgment?
Such free-willers (like C. S. Lewis) usually wimp out about how severely God's anger will enacted upon those who are going to be "cast into a lake of fire" for all eternity. Instead they focus on less tortuous metaphors, perhaps eternal shunning, or people wrapping themselves up into little balls of self-pity for eternity in the corner, an eternal time out.

Either way, I don't find much in either theological view that makes a helluva lot of sense. (Pun intended). But then there's also universalist Christians who agree with me, and find the notion that God and time are the best teachers, a more sensible one.

DagoodS said...

Dale Callahan, I can’t speak for other atheists, as to their position on Free Will. As for me, I recognize the inability to make some choices (like to fly) the inconsequential nature of other choices, (like what color socks I wear) and focus on what I can choose to do or not that affects others.

I hold to personal responsibility, so whatever choice one has made; they are responsible for it, and its consequences. Whether there exists a concept as “Free Will” in the universe makes little impact on my day-to-day decisions.

I certainly don’t use it for an excuse to blur away things I cannot explain!



Anonymous – you make my point brilliantly.

Humans are social creatures. We desire, crave and seek out physical interaction with other humans, social interactions, communication, emotional sharing, camaraderie, and just seeing other humans.

The saying is “solitary confinement is a punishment in every society.”

According to those that hold to the Free Will defense, this is exactly how God made us and therefore, the one thing that God cannot do, so as to impair Free Will. So God does it all the time. Makes no sense.

Martin said...

Impressive article, my friend. Most provocative. I myself do not subscribe to this 'free' will business.

Hmm. It has occured to me that IF god has indeed elevated free will to such a prestigious level, then his apathy to worldly events is logically no different to his intervention.

'The following scenario shows us a conundrum: A rapist chooses to rape a woman, plain and simple. God does NOT interfere in order to respect the free will of the rapist, who in turn violates the woman's free will. Whose free will holds higher value then? On a similar note, almost all moral evil violates the victim's free will. Therefore, a violation of freedom would result both from God's intervention and apathy; God's permitting a rape to occur is logically no different than his permitting any other moral evil to occur, making the free will theodicy rather self-refuting.'

severalspeciesof said...

Excellent Blog here!

I love John Loftus' comment about freewill in Heaven. I have used that on people, and have gotten blank stares back. It serves to destroy the idea of our 'purpose' here on earth. If freewill is important here on earth, it most certainly is just as important in Heaven. So does this mean, if I get to heaven, after giving praise to god for onehundred million years, will I have the freewill to stop because I'm sick of it? Or will I be forced to praise him?

Spiritual Anarchist said...

One problem Christians like to ignore in the problem of Evil is this.. Does God have freewill? Because if God has freewill how can he be all good?

If it is possible to have freewill and be all good then it stands to reason that not only would an all powerful

God be able to create man in his image being both free and all good but he would by his nature have to so or he wouldn't be all good.

Of course if God can not go against his own nature of goodness then God himself does not have freewill. This paradox is resolved by the same reasoning the Christian uses on us. That it is obvious that God is capable of Evil and give us the type of freewill he has chosen is a demonstration of that Evil nature of God.

Of course if by good we mean anything that God wills then since according to Isiah there is nothing that is not done by God's will there is no such thing as evil anyway.

But even in Isiah the Bible admits that there is Evil and God wills it. This solves both the problem of freewill and evil. Christians do not want to accept the conclusions of their own book. Only God has freewill and therefor only God is responsible for Evil.

Isiah
5I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

6That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

7I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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