If God Has A Plan, Free Will Is An Illusion

This is a short mathematical proof that if God has a plan, then free will necessarily is an illusion. 2 + n = 4, if n = 2 then free will is an illusion.
Got your attention didn't it? It's really just a little joke used to make a point.
In response to my assertion that Jesus was a human sacrifice, some of our commenters kept saying that "God has a plan" and that Jesus sacrifice doesn't meet the criteria for a Human sacrifice even though Jesus was a Human whose sacrifice of his life saved us from Gods Wrath by his blood (Rom. 5:9). Regardless of how that equivocation plays itself out, the fact that God has a plan and things seem to be going according to plan, nullifies the concept of Free Will.

Think about 2 + n = 4. We don't know what the 'n' variable is but the relationships inherent in that problem were already worked out ahead of time whether (as some ancients believed) it is mystical or it is just naturally ocurring like the shape of water that fills a hole. Even though we don't know what the 'n' variable is, it can only be one thing.

So when Christians say that God has a Plan, that means that things can only work out one way, and the variables only have the appearance of being unknown. As long as God has a plan, free will only has the appearance of being unknown to us. To an omniscient God, it must be obvious. This is why, free will is an illusion as long as God has a plan.

73 comments:

oli said...

I agree completely and this is no more eveident than in Genesis when Adam disobeys god nd eats that yummy apple.

Is god is omniscient then he KNEW Adam was going to eat the apple before the tree was even created. He knew Adam was going to disobey him before he ordered him away from that tree. There was no choice for Adam if God is omnisicent. Adam was always going to break gods order and god knew it. To punish your own creation, for breaking a command that you gave, despite knowing it was going to be broken isn't wisdom, its sadism.

If God knew he was going to eat that apple, then he simply shouldn't have put the tree there. Or told Adam not to eat it.

In fact, for those that believe the Genesis story (poor poor people) the whole setup is stupid. What were the tree of knowledge and lfie doing there if god didn't want people eating their fruit. Why did he even create them?

So on to the modern day. God supposedly sees everything and has a plan. He knows how everything will turn out. He knows full well that i am incapable of believing in him without some kind of solid evidence, yet he chooses to deny me the evidence. He chooses to damn me to hell. He knows exactly what it would take to save me from old nick but chooses to withhold it. Thats vile behaviour.

Of course, that then makes a contradictory god. He can't be a vile, evil bastard and pure good and wonderfulness. Which only adds to my disbelief.

It really amazes me how theists get past these vast stumbling blocks in Christian legend and logic.

Lee Randolph said...

amen, oli.
I'm working on the draft of an article on that.

Lisa Brown said...

Dear Oli and Lee,

Thanks for you comments.

I think these may be these best arguments against Christianity displayed. Keep up the good work, I'm very impressed.

However, Oli and Lee I feel that I must respond.

This is not a new argument against Christianity and has been established for hundreds of years.

Firstly, I think there are even greater arguments then the ones you presented. Why allow the serpent in the Garden to tempt Adam? Clearly God allowed Evil in the Garden for Adam's temptation.

But to answer your question the tree in the and the serpent were in Garden to "test" and "tempt" the humans [Adam and Eve].

Clearly, God wanted to show humanity what type of God he was. In your opinion he is Sadistic and Incapable of providing evidence for belief in him.

In my opinion he wanted to show that even though humans were incapable of living up to what he asked as a God he still offers redemption, Jesus Christ.

You have said that God denies the evidence, yet I ask you to disprove the Historic Reality of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection on the cross.

In my opinion there is no more reliable historic textual evidence than Jesus Christ.

There is the evidence. Disprove that!

Furthermore Lee I am waiting on response to my blog,

christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com.

Regards, Phil.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi lisa brown aka phil,
I don't think I have an original argument against christianity in me. They're all just just junk I've either thought up myself and which other people had already thought up or junk i picked up somewhere else.

I think Its odd that you are impressed by me dredging up old musty arguments. It just feels patronizing or like a backhanded compliment.

But I need something to put on the blog don't i? Not everyone is as well versed in arguments against christianity as we are, are they?

I'm not going to respond on your blog. I barely have time to keep up the commitment I made to john on this one.

And besides that, its a poor strategy to spread myself out all over the internet in disconnected arguments, or hadn't you thought of that either? Or maybe you did, but I'm not falling for it.

but I will say that your assertion that people existed parallel to adam and eve is disputed by genesis itself, because it says that god created the animals and brought them adam to name. Did he rename them or give them their initial names? Considering that Cain, adams first son, went off and built a city, that places them between 4000 and 3000bc and we know that language existed prior so the animals had names already. And besides, any people that pre-existed had rudimentary pagan religion maybe from 40,000bc and certainly from 25,000bc and none of them mention anything like the god of the bible or the story of Eden. They surely would have a collective memory of an event that traumatic, wouldn't they? The collective memories of the world remember "the flood" don't you think? All this is backed up by evidence from disparate sources that converge on the same point. Scripture is folklore.

Oversights of yours like that are another reason why I would just prefer to hash it out over here. More people will see them here.

So hash away.

Lee Randolph said...

Lisa Brown aka phil,
I forgot,
If I remember right, between 4000 - 3000bc, there were around ten million people in the world.

zilch said...

Didn't we have this discussion just a few months ago? If no apologists are going to show up, I'll have a stab at repeating their argument:

"God gave us free will. So even though God is omniscient, and knew that we would bite the apple, and even though He's omnipotent, so He made us exactly in such a way that we would bite the apple, doesn't mean He wanted us to bite the apple."

No, it still doesn't make sense...

ThePublic said...

Hello Lee,

Are you familiar with Newcomb's Paradox? Bill Craig (whose name, we realize, is little esteemed around these parts) has written an interesting article on Newcomb's Paradox and its relation to human free will and divine foreknowledge and thus bears directly upon the subject at hand. An interesting read whether one agrees with the conclusions or not.

http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/newcomb.html

BahramtheRed said...

Oli I largely agree with you.

But god did warn adam about the apple. Gen 2:17. Might have even stayed his mighty vengance a bit on it (then again adam did die, eventually so it might be a literal answer)

Now three points with me firmly in devil's (Ha) advocate mode which I'm pretty sure some chrisitan told me somewhere;

A: If god is all knowing and ominescent could it be he wanted adam to eat the apple, The punishment was planned to trigger the next cycle of God's plan.

Personnely I say if he's god why not skip the warm up but their is a weird logic here. Seems sadisitic, give a taste of the garden as a lesson, tricked into triggering your own booting, and then toil to get back in.

B; The snake (orginally was satan till a translation error about 1500yrs ago) intefferred with god's plan and got them kicked out of heaven for it's own reasons.

But where did the snake come from? Why didn't god handle the thing, or just put the apples somewhere safe?

c; This one gets a little fuzzy, espically since I can't explain it well. The idea is that god dosn't directly do anything, he just adjusts the chances of something, striving for his goals. We do, he adjusts and keeps screwing with the coin tosses and cancer rates to acheive his ends.

Basically adam had free will, but god didn't skew the odds enought to prevent adam from eating the apple through his free will.

I don't even know where to start with this one.


Lastly; If all knowledge was hanging on a tree, what was the point of the garden. I read this as unable to learn, unable to really think. Nothing new to do. And no challenges to overcome. If eve was hot it might be fun for a couple years or a decade, but I'd have to be mindless (as in too dumb to even notice) to want to exisit like that.

We know adam wasn't mindless, he talked to god. He obeyed some of the rules for a long time. He must ahve had some kind of intelect.

Maybe it's just me, but the garden sounds like a pleasenter version of hell. Unless they got to the tree of life too (gen 3:22) and got to be gods too. How many where there?

Lee Randolph said...

thanks thepublic,
that sounds fun,
i'll check it out.

Jaceppe said...

Lee,

I don't have time for a long comment and may not be back for a while.... but, thanks for the post...

All this means is that we don't fully comprehend how God's Sovereignity and Humanity's Free Will work together... granted.

...However Scripture affirms both... Since He is God and we are not, you find this lack of comprehension with our puny human minds surprising?

This thread doesn't have much of substance to refute... I mean, seriously, you are arguing from a point of ignorance... The argument is essentially this:
"Since we don't understand this, it must necessarily be false"....

Arguments from ignorance are based on vapor...
Not much to refute here...

Walk said...

The concept of divine determination and free will seems to be a problem from the Christian worldview. From an atheistic worldview free will shouldn't matter anyway since everything is just a function of how molecules react given certain parameters (temperature,time,humidity, pressure, etc.) right?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jaceppe,
All this means is that we don't fully comprehend how God's Sovereignity and Humanity's Free Will work together... granted.
One hypothesis is that the whole idea is bunk. That would be consistent with it being incoherent.

...However Scripture affirms both... Since He is God and we are not, you find this lack of comprehension with our puny human minds surprising?
Why, yes i do considering we are supposed to have a relationship with it and to have a relationship or to have an emotional attachment such as love requires understanding. So to not exercise the principle of clarity is counter-productive to nurturing a relationship. So yes, God could give us enough information for our puny little minds to get a grip on and feel good about. I think the fact that there are atheists at all is as good an argument against God as any. Only a fool would snub his nose at an allmighty being, and if a fool snubs his nose, then he's excused because he's a fool. I argue that since I just don't get it, then I am too stupid to go to hell. Whattaya think about that?

"Since we don't understand this, it must necessarily be false"....
thats your straw man erection representing my argument. That doesn't accurately capture the ambiance. What i'm saying is that if god is all knowing then he logically should be able to know what it is is going to happen 24/7 forever. If he doesn't then he's incoherent and I don't get it and am not culpable for not believing and if he is then he has set up this little passion play for no apparent reason because at the end of the day, when all is said and done he could look at the result and create a copy in an instant. Therefore, he could have done it in the beginning. He could have created us the way we were intended to turn out. He would have known it from the beginning. He could have made a heaven full of happy companions and a hell full of suffering unbelievers.

So pick your poison:
* he doesn't exist,
* he's not all powerful,
* or he just likes to spin his wheels in needless exercises like the problem of evil/suffering.

if there is an argument from ignorance it is you saying that since you don't understand it, we cannot say it is false, but you won't say that we just don't know if its true or not because that is agnosticism and you are not willing to go there, so you must logically say its true.

therefore you say since we don't understand, it must necessarily be true because God exists.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi walk,
From an atheistic worldview free will shouldn't matter anyway since everything is just a function of how molecules react given certain parameters (temperature,time,humidity, pressure, etc.) right?
I can't speak for atheists, but from my perspective, free will is an illusion of perception and I don't have a problem with uncertainty. I manage it well enough to be fat, dumb and happy, from my perspective.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi thepublic,
I read part of that link and went to the conclusion. no surprise there, of course the universe is safe for humanity, but It sure is going to be a lot of work to figure out if he's tripped up somewhere.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

"2 + n = 4, if n = 2 then free will is an illusion."

That is the clearest, most concise explanation of the problem of free will vs. omniscience that I have ever seen. (And I have read far too many long threads on the subject.)

Thank you!

Matthew Townsend said...

A friend of mine pointed this out to me... what if...

X + Y = 6

where X is Free Will and Y is God's control over events

Evan said...

Matthew in your equation both X and Y are unconstrained so this is not a reasonable approximation.

The standard apologetic of God is that he is indeed unconstrained, but humans are without question constrained.

Therefore if God's control over events is unconstrained then he is the only real variable as the limits of human behavior will be quite narrow compared to the limits of God's control.

Darren said...

I don't see how an arbitrary math equation makes this argument any more compelling. :shrug:

Anyway, yes, God has a plan, but anybody who's studied the Bible is well aware that God is often forced to work with and around human free will to bring his plans to fruition.

Rachel said...

Hi Lee,

Back on the "free will is an illusion" bandwagon, eh?

Let me guess, next you'll link us to a study or two that shows that really all our decisions are made ahead of time by biological impulses in our brain.

I've asked this several times and will ask it again: If my future is fixed, but I'm the one that fixed it, how is that a problem? God can "have a plan" by looking ahead to the choices we will make, and planning certain actions or non-actions as a result. Thus, God has a plan, yet I still have free will.

Jason said...

This is a common mistake. Perfect knowledge doesn't remove freewill any more then a perfect knowledge of a bank robbery in 10 years removes the freewill of the bank robbers.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

X + Y = 6

where X is Free Will and Y is God's control over events


I actually like this one (and yes, I agree with Lee's take, and like his simpler equation as well).

With Matthew's equation, we see that there is a solution such that god has no control, and that there is likewise a solution such that humans have no free will.

Moreover, if one of our variables has a value greater than the (apparently arbitrary) value of '6', then the other must necessarily be negative -- whatever that may mean for the role of either free will or god's control.

I like it because it is stupid, and stupid things can be ridiculed for my own amusement.

Anyway...

I would also add to Lee's assessment what I see as the simplest refutation of god's benevolence and worthiness:

If we accept the Theist's position, then god chose to create. Choosing instead to not-create would have been a greater good, as it would have necessarily avoided any suffering or evil whatsoever.

Not as elegant as 2 + n = 4 (and certainly not as succinct), but just as poignant.

Plenty of anti-theists have pointed out that god was sadistic if he did any of the following:

a) Placed the forbidden trees in the garden at all

b) Had foreknowledge that the fruit would be eaten yet continued anyway

c) Allowed the serpent to tempt the humans

d) Chose to eternally condemn all of humanity based on the eating of an apple, following from the above


What too few discuss is the fact that if god exists, he could just as well have refrained from creating, and thereby he'd have avoided any of this. If he exists, then he (obviously) chose to create, which makes him complicit in any of his creation's crimes -- unless he isn't worthy of worship, in which case the whole argument is moot anyway.

If a personal creator wants to have a personal relationship with me, then he can start talking any time he chooses. If he wants me to worship him, he's on crack.

I am not my instructor's equal, in terms of education. I am not my M.D.'s equal, in terms of medical knowledge. I am not my attorney's equal, in terms of legal expertise. I am not a farmer's equal, in terms of agricultural prowess.

Yet I worship none of these. Instead, I communicate with them as desired on a cordial basis, such that in the case of a professional inquiry, I provide them respect, but in the case of a social outing, we are equals.

I may not be god's equal in any terms, but as a sentient being I am capable of social interaction with any other sentient being (with whom I share a means of communication). I'm available for a social engagement with god, but only after a couple dates will we see if he gets to second base.

--
Stan

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Stan,
would you be willing to let me post your refutation as an article and then would you be willing to defend it? I think its just as good as anything I could come up with and is worthy of its own place in the blog.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Matthew T.
X + Y = 6
where X is Free Will and Y is God's control over events

you said it "control". gods control should be absolute right?
additionally,
wouldn't god know what every X variable could ever be? He could predict every single value and account for it, but then he wouldn't KNOW what any X value is that gets picked. That negates his omniscienct. To be omniscient means he has to know what the value of X is.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Sure -- I'll do my worst.

No, wait...

You are more than welcome to use my refutation however you see fit, and as I check this site pretty consistently, and since this particular topic is so near and dear to me, I'll most certainly contribute to its defense.

I look at it as having boiled down the PoE to its simplest form: since evil exists, god's creative act is ultimately responsible, and therefore so is god. If god truly wanted to avoid evil, pain, suffering, etc., he would have gone to sleep for eternity.

--
Stan

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rachel,
If my future is fixed, but I'm the one that fixed it, how is that a problem? God can "have a plan" by looking ahead to the choices we will make, and planning certain actions or non-actions as a result. Thus, God has a plan, yet I still have free will.

Your argument
p1 - My Future is [determined]
p2 - I am the one that [determined] it
p3 - God can have a plan by looking ahead and plan certain actions or non-actions as a result.
C - God has a plan, yet I still have free will.

you have overlooked a qualifier. Gods plan and omniscience. Your argument introduces uncertainty into the equation, but it doesn't fit because that would negate gods omniscience.

so here is my argument injected into yours to show you where it goes wrong.
P1 - any number added to another produces a sum of the two numbers
P2 - 2 + n = 4, I say that if n = 2, I have determined the answer.
P3 - God can have a plan by looking ahead and plan certain actions or non-actions as a result.
C - GOD HAS A PLAN, YET I HAVE THE ILLUSION OF FREE WILL.
because I can't decide to use any other number and still have it come out to four, yet I have determined that n = 2 on my own.

Lee Randolph said...

After debating this for a while,
I think the biggest impediment to christians is the inability to grasp what "knowing everything" means and its implications.

It means that
You are playing a rock, paper, scissors with a person that always knows what you are going to play and beats you every time. The only way to get out of it is to use something else that helps you decide which the other person can't guess, like Dice. 1-2 equal rock, 3-4 equal paper, 5-6 equal scissors. You roll the die and pick the result. They can't guess what the die will be do so you have an equal chance of winning.

but god knows what the die will be (supposedly) so you can never execute free will because he already knew before he created the world (supposedly).

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rachel,
alright, you asked for it little missy,
I got this from ed babinski,
go listen to them and check out the book.

Brain Science Podcast #42: “On Being Certain”

Brain Science Podcast #43: Part 2 of “On Being Certain”

Robert A. Burton, author of 'On Being Certain'

Dualism is almost dead.

Jaceppe said...

All,

For the purposes of this post I will use GS as a symbol to imply God is Sovereign and HFW to imply that Humanity has Free Will. I am using GS instead of the God has a predetermined plan description for simplicity and because my understanding is that that latter is encompassed by the former… but, if you don’t like my usage, swap it out; not sure I care…

Lee,
thanks for your response… A bit of point-counterpoint fun then I'll move into the essence of the post…

You said this:
I think the fact that there are atheists at all is as good an argument against God as any.

So then, I assume you would also accept as an argument For God’s existence the fact that there are theists? Seems to offer the same type evidence as yours does… :-)

and this:
Only a fool would snub his nose at an allmighty being, and if a fool snubs his nose, then he's excused because he's a fool. I argue that since I just don't get it, then I am too stupid to go to hell. Whattaya think about that?
I think you have a well-developed sense of humor…

and then you said this:
I can't speak for atheists, but from my perspective, free will is an illusion of perception…
:-) Do you think you freely chose to type the characters constructing that last sentence? :-)

However, I’m not sure what you are driving at with the 2nd part of the sentence… i.e:
and I don't have a problem with uncertainty.
???

then, more intensely, you said this:
if there is an argument from ignorance it is you saying that since you don't understand it, we cannot say it is false, but you won't say that we just don't know if its true or not because that is agnosticism and you are not willing to go there, so you must logically say its true.
therefore you say since we don't understand, it must necessarily be true because God exists.


Yikes!!! How you think I said all that in my post completely baffles me… Keep in mind on this thread that you are the individual asserting the positive affirmation that HFW cannot coexist with GS… my comment regarding ignorance is simply to point out to you that your affirmation can only be made from a basis of things that are not completely knowable… therefore positive affirmations from such a basis is tenuously supported… let me develop this a bit more…

Darren said:
I don't see how an arbitrary math equation makes this argument any more compelling. :shrug:

and Evan said this in response to matthew’s post:

Matthew in your equation...
The standard apologetic of God is that he is indeed unconstrained, but humans are without question constrained.


I agree with what Darren said and the apologetic sentence of what Evan said. In general I think these mathematical equations muddy the waters of discussion.
Essentially I assert that we are not capable of correctly asserting the definition of GS. We understand some of this but I don’t think we can fully and completely conceive of what GS properly means. We can do better at understanding HFW. However, even this has problems (as scientists et.al. have been digesting and debating since the Libet experiments and philosophers for even longer). It does "seem" that we make choices and we perceive that they are real and often uncaused. However, to say that we completely understand this, the extent of it’s domain, and what other domains do or do not get infringed upon when we exercise it still seems to be a stretch. So, it seems to me that we have GS which is difficult to define (i.e. contains unknowns) and HFW which may be better defined (but still contains unknowns). So we have two things, both with unknowns and we are trying to make an affirmation of how they sit in juxtaposition to each other (however you want to define the word “juxtaposition”). Seems like total guesswork at best…, ...so I maintain that the initial assertion of the thread cannot be definitively stated...

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jaceppe,
So then, I assume you would also accept as an argument For God’s existence the fact that there are theists? Seems to offer the same type evidence as yours does… :-)
no Jaceppe, if you stop and think about what you are writing you would come up with a critical question like the following.
Presuming that God exists and there is reasonably irrefutable evidence.
"What does the chrsitian gain by taking that position?"
He gains bliss everlasting.
"What does the Atheist gain my taking that position?"
He gains suffering everlasting.

So why choose suffering everlasting? He's obviously an irrational actor.

Now lets change the parameters.
Presume that God exists and the evidence is equivocal.
"What does the chrsitian gain by taking that position?"
He believs he gains bliss everlasting.
"What does the Atheist gain my taking that position?"
He gains suffering everlasting.

Now he's a rational actor, but unconvinced. Now it is up to God to give him enough evidence to give him the feeling of certainty that God exists. God hasn't met the burden of proof, or the principle of clarity in a relationship.

Sometimes the student doesn't get calculus and who's fault is it? The teachers? The students? Isn't it in the best interest of the student to learn calculus or face uncomfortable consequences? If the student doesn't get it in the face of suffering, its the teachers fault or the student doesn't have the aptitude to get it. In either case the student is not culpable.

Therefore I'm too stupid to go to hell.

Do you think you freely chose to type the characters constructing that last sentence? :-)
no, I had to pick what was already laid out to meet the parameters of the problem which was to get you to understand it. I could have translated it into chinese but I don't think you would have understood it. Anyway, thanks for illustrating my point for me. I didn't have a choice about how to express what I wanted to without violating the principle of clarity.

Lee said: therefore you say since we don't understand, it must necessarily be true because God exists.
Jac said: Yikes!!! How you think I said all that in my post completely baffles me… Keep in mind on this thread that you are the individual asserting the positive affirmation that HFW cannot coexist with GS… my comment regarding ignorance is simply to point out to you that your affirmation can only be made from a basis of things that are not completely knowable… therefore positive affirmations from such a basis is tenuously supported… let me develop this a bit more…

I say that since we can only discover what the variable is and not the what variables were set up ahead of time or the rules needed to derive them, then free will with a god is only an illusion. You said we don't have enough information to make that call.
Are you willing to take an agnostic position and say that I have a 50% chance of being right? I doubt it because you presume the existence of god, which means that I can't be right. Therefore I am wrong. But you can alway claim to be an agnostic if you want, that would be neat.

In general I think these mathematical equations muddy the waters of discussion.
for you, because it illustrates how one of your values is wrong and it conflicts with your values about gods characteristics. Its called cognitive dissonance but its nothing to worry about. You'll get over it.

Essentially I assert that we are not capable of correctly asserting the definition of GS. We understand some of this but I don’t think we can fully and completely conceive of what GS properly means.
So then you are agnostic.

We can do better at understanding HFW. However, even this has problems (as scientists et.al. have been digesting and debating since the Libet experiments and philosophers for even longer). ... However, to say that we completely understand this... still seems to be a stretch. ... So we have two things, both with unknowns and we are trying to make an affirmation of how they sit in juxtaposition to each other.
So then you are agnostic.

You are ignoring the qualifier that the universe works on set principles, and this is not speculation. And in order for things to play themselves out, they follow principles. We may not know what all the principles are, but we can see that we don't have free will in some things, but we seem to in others. I have the option not to drink that bottle of tequila, but I don't have the choice of how it pops into my head. I have the choice of arguing till I'm blue that 2+5 is 4 but we all know that is wrong because of the principle of addition. If God made the universe, it follows he set up the principles, therefore it must be part of his plan, and if he has a plan, and everything follows principles toward his pre-planned goal, and we cannot surprise him, then free will is an illusion. About this, I am not agnostic.

If any of you want to say I am inconsistent in saying that I have free will in some things such as not to drink that bottle of tequila, consider where your biases, preferences and your motivations come from. You are influenced by your culture, and even your choices in music, so think carefully before you tell me you have freedom in the choices you make.

oli said...

Jason said
"This is a common mistake. Perfect knowledge doesn't remove freewill any more then a perfect knowledge of a bank robbery in 10 years removes the freewill of the bank robbers."

Of course it removes their freewill. If you have perfect knowledge of the event 10 years previously, it means that not a single bank robber can commit suicide in that time, or change their mind about their life of crime, or get arrested. Essentially with your perfect knowledge you prevent any actions those robbers take that prevents them from being at the bank in 10 years time. They have NO free will to not be there.
I'm honestly not sure how you don't get this.

Lee Randolph said
"All this means is that we don't fully comprehend how God's Sovereignity and Humanity's Free Will work together... granted.

One hypothesis is that the whole idea is bunk. That would be consistent with it being incoherent."

This honestly made me laugh out loud, a more appropriate come back to that nonsense i cannot imagine.


Isn't it odd, how all the biblical errors, all the theological conundrums, all the intellectual and logical puzzles all become perfectly explained by Lee's one sentence.
"One hypothesis is that the whole idea is bunk."
Bravo sir.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi jason, you're banned. but since oli responded to you I won't delete your contribution.

you still don't seem to have the aptitude to keep up.

Rachel said...

Lee,

LOL C'mon now, you know you had those links just waiting in the queue. ;-)

P2 - 2 + n = 4, I say that if n = 2, I have determined the answer.

By using this equation, you seem to assume that the answer/outcome was previously determined by something besides my choice. This is not equivalent to free will. It simply can't be illustrated by such an equation because the outcome is not determined ahead of time, it is determined by whatever number I choose to input as "n". It's just that God knows ahead of time what that number will be, thus he also knows what the outcome will be.

It means that
You are playing a rock, paper, scissors with a person that always knows what you are going to play and beats you every time.


More like, you're playing the game with someone else just like you who doesn't know the future either. Someone else watching DOES know who will win though, and plans actions or non-actions based upon what he knows the outcome will be.

Here's an example. You know how when 2 teams play for the championship of some sport, as soon as the game is over the winning team pulls on shirts and hats that proclaim them the champion. How could anyone have made those shirts in just seconds? Clearly they didn't, rather, they had made 2 sets of shirts and hats, one proclaiming one team the winner and one proclaiming the other team the winner. In the analogy to God and free will, God is the one who makes the shirts and hats - the only difference is that he doesn't have to make 2 sets since he knows who will win. Yet his only making one set doesn't force the winning team to win and the losing team to lose. It means that he merely knows ahead of time what choice they will make. It's still their choice.

So I'll ask again, if my future is fixed as a result of my own choices, how is that a problem? Someone else knowing what I'll do doesn't affect my actual ability to freely choose in the least.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rachel,
I'm working on my next article so I don't want to answer right now. But please check back later on tonight. possibly tomorrow morning.

zilch said...

This is a common mistake. Perfect knowledge doesn't remove freewill any more then a perfect knowledge of a bank robbery in 10 years removes the freewill of the bank robbers.

What oli said, jason, and what several of us said here at DC several months ago (I can't find the thread). What can "free will" possibly mean, when your choice is fixed? Of course, you might have the feeling that you are making a decision, but you are not: God knows what you will decide, and He made you in such a way that you would make that decision and no other, if He is omniscient and omnipotent. Saying that He granted us "free will", supposing His omniscience and omnipotence, is just as meaningless as saying that He can create a rock so big even He can't pick it up, and still be omnipotent.

The collision of all these "omni's" always results in incommensurables.

Rich said...

Could someone lay out the "plan" so we can see if the assertions made against are correct? You're talking about it as though every single decision was mapped out and we are like a puppet on a string with no choice in the matter. So I'm thinking it would be helpful to see if stating the plan mentioned will help decide if this is the case or not.
I don't mind doing the same but I get the feeling that what I understand God"s plan to be is going to be a bit different then what most here understand it to be. Maybe a matrix is in order.;)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rich,
sorry I wasn't as friendly to you as usual, but I was expecting a "blind side" hit that never came so I was a little stressed.

anyway,
I'll let the christians field "the plan" question.

and I plan to use a lot more data analysis techniques like the matrix in the future. Stay tuned.

my next Genesis article has a matrix. Its almost done.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi thepublic,
I did some more research on Lanes argument. I've been looking for a Lane argument of my own to rebut so I guess it will be this one. I do it as a separate article. stay tuned!
and thanks for the material.

ThePublic said...

You're welcome, and I look forward to the article.

Rich said...

Hi Lee,
sorry I wasn't as friendly to you as usual, but I was expecting a "blind side" hit that never came so I was a little stressed.

I either didn't notice or it didn't bother me, or maybe both. Either way no worries.

Rachel said...

Stan,

Nice to see you again.

If a personal creator wants to have a personal relationship with me, then he can start talking any time he chooses. If he wants me to worship him, he's on crack.

I know this is a bit off-topic, but I'm curious... what kind of being (if any) would you find worthy of worship?

Rotten Arsenal said...

Rachel:
So I'll ask again, if my future is fixed as a result of my own choices, how is that a problem? Someone else knowing what I'll do doesn't affect my actual ability to freely choose in the least.

Sure it does... if somebody knows what you are going to do, then you will inevitably do it. No matter what "choices" you make, you are still going to do it. God knows you are going to give $20 to the homeless man on the corner next Tuesday. Tell me how your ability to choose will change that? No matter what you do between now and then, ultimately, since God knows you will give the homeless guy $20. And since God knows all, he knows every "choice" leading up to that which means it is predetermined what "choices" you will make. Explain to me how you are choosing to give the guy money if it's already been determined that you will? You can't choose not to give him money because that isn't what God knows you'll do.
Now, I guess you could say that God knows every outcome of every possible choice you make, but then that means that God doesn't know for sure which choice you will actually make... that's free will.

Why would God, who knows everything that ever has or will happen, create a universe that has no suprise for him at all? There is no need for decision making by God because he already knows what will happen and when... if he knows every move you and your descendants will make, then he has to also know every move he himself will make and when (because if he acts, it makes other events happen that he must know about already).

When I watch a movie for a second time or a TV rerun, I know what's going to happen and when and there's nothing that can change that. There is no choice there. Anything that happened that was different than what I knew would happen would be a surprise that I didn't know would happen. The characters on the screen have no choice in the matter... they must do the exact same thing as I have already seen it. This is why God can't know everything, have a plan, and you still have free will.
Either everything is predestined and pointless (except, presumably to God) or God is constantly having to revise his plan based on the unscripted actions of your free will.

zilch said...

For what it's worth, here is one of the earlier threads whic gets into free will at DC.

Jason said...

Oli,

Perfect knowledge doesn't remove freewill because knowledge can't achieve anything by itself. If, in my perfect knowledge, I know that a mine in China will collapse and kill 100 people in 2048, my knowledge hasn't forced the mine to collapse.

My perfect knowledge simply allows me to know an outcome before it occurs. I am a silent bystander, not an active participant. Knowledge neither affects nor achieves anything unless there is an action associated with it.

With perfect knowledge, the future becomes fact, no different then how we, in our imperfect knowledge, view the past as fact.

Rotten Arsenal said...

Jason,

So, you're saying that God, possessor of perfect knowledge, does not act upon that knowledge? That he's a silent bystander? How very deist!

Of course, if that's the case, then all those times that somebody survives a car accident and then people "Thank God for saving them" that wasn't really the case. God didn't act. And likewise when a bus crashes and 20 people die and 10 live, God wasn't involved in that either. Sure God knew the bus would crash, but he didn't act upon it to prevent or cause any part of the event.

So, if God doesn't act on things, why should we worship him or thank him for squat? God is just a big voyeur who does nothing but watch the universe. It's already predetermined who is saved and who isn't and God just sits back and watches.

FishHawk said...

I understand that this post was meant as a joke, but the absolute truth of the matter truly is that "freewill" is an illusion. That is, at least for the most part, it is. For it is only in regards unto the choice that we are given to make in regards unto our acceptance of who we were all created to be that we can be confident of having absolute freewill. For it would not accomplish our Heavenly Father's purposes to force anyone to spend all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as an heir unto all that is His in glory against their own will.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Rachel asked:

I know this is a bit off-topic, but I'm curious... what kind of being (if any) would you find worthy of worship?

But she doesn't realize that as far as the topic goes, this question is in fact nuts-on.

My answer is simply this:

So long as I have [the illusion of] free will, I will not worship any being. I may be thankful to any being who provides assistance to me, and I may be friendly, respectful, and cordial with any beings with whom I am able to engage in meaningful conversation, but I will not worship.

--
Stan

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Jason said:

Knowledge neither affects nor achieves anything unless there is an action associated with it.

Let's grant this premise. At first glance, I see no problems with accepting it.

Of course, Deistic or not, this premise is nonetheless disastrous in the case of god being complicit in the existence of evil, and of the free will v. omniscience conundrum. Recall, Jason et al, that according to you, god created.

That was an action.

If you assume omniscience, and then contend that god created, then free will is indeed an illusion, and god is ultimately at fault.

The only benevolent choice, given what we know of the outcome, would have been to not-create.

Insofar as I wouldn't worship anyone, I most certainly wouldn't worship someone who was malevolent in the slightest -- and I've shown that [the Christian notion of] god is necessarily malevolent, to at least a slight degree.

Rotten Arsenal said:

...somebody survives a car accident and then people "Thank God for saving them"...

Precisely. Confirmation bias at-large. A plane crashes, a hundred people die, but two survive. Upon being interviewed, the survivors (or their families) brazenly thank god for killing the other people instead of themselves (though not in those terms).

People thank god that some disaster has "miraculously" avoided damaging them, oblivious to the fact that the same disaster damaged many, many others -- depending on the disaster. No one ever gets on TV and blames god for the negative aspects of the disaster... Why?

If he knew beforehand, and acted anyway, he is responsible for all of it, which therefore makes me innocent, regardless of my actions and/or inactions. If he didn't know, then he's not god, and I would be remiss to worship him. If he was unable to refrain from taking action, then, again, he isn't god, and again, I would be remiss to worship him.

It's funny how early biblical figures chose to attribute omniscience to their chosen deity, in the apparent vein that doing so would make that deity seem all the more mighty. Considering the fact that omniscience is the one trait which is the most incompatible with reality (for any being worthy of worship), it seems those biblical figures shot themselves in their own feet...several times.

--
Stan

Lee Randolph said...

fishhawk,
the "mathematical proof" part was the joke. the rest is serious.

Lee Randolph said...

Jason,
you are banned. I don't know who let you through but I just rejected your last comment and will keep rejecting until our policy changes.

I didn't read the thread where you got banned, but I assume you got banned because you argue in circles and are therefore disruptive and distracting to the dialogue.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rotten,
thanks for fielding Rachel.
I want to add one thing to what you said.
I guess you could say that God knows every outcome of every possible choice you make, but then that means that God doesn't know for sure which choice you will actually make... that's free will.

and nullifies gods omniscience.

FishHawk said...

My apologies for making any reference unto joking. For I do take the discussion here seriously, and it should not have been trivialized in any way, shape or form.

sconnor said...

To throw another rusty wrench into the christian works -- what about the free will/sinner equation?

If we are all "sinners" by birth, and if "sin" is "evil", then we don't have the "free will" to resist "evil".

No Free Will.

--S.

Jaceppe said...

Lee,

Thanks again for your response...

Just a couple quick comments due to lack of time right now...

You quoted me then added some text as follows:
me:
So then, I assume you would also accept as an argument For God’s existence the fact that there are theists? Seems to offer the same type evidence as yours does… :-)
you
no Jaceppe, if you stop and think about what you are writing you would come up with a critical question like the following...

You went on to say why you thought the existence of athiests was stronger evidence against God then thiests evidence for God...
On it's own, I thought you spoke well and I can see why you reasonably believe that... however, this is not the total story. Scripture also talks about the idea of a hardened heart Eph 4:18, Ro 1:21 (et.al. as there are many such references). In many of these the hardened heart is a major contributor to why they can believe or hardens over time to the point where they can't due to willful sin... etc... I remembered a quote (but unfortunately can't recall where nor has the web helped me find...) by a prominent atheist ... I will paraphrase it as follows, he said "If you Christians could prove this God to me I would be more likely to not believe in Him"... Now, since I can't cite who said that and where I fully expect you to reject it... :-) that's ok... I'll keep looking. But, I do recall it and I beleive it demonstrates that more than mere intellectual appeal is at work... the willfullness of the heart is also involved...

Then you asked me if I was agnostic in relation to either GS or HFW. No, I affirm both. I also agree with you regarding certain aspects of our choices though... e.g. your tequila example. Or, another, if I choose to drink 1&1/2 gallons of water in a short time-span then there will be another "choice" I have to make sometime in the future. I may be able to delay it (to a point... i.e.) but, it is almost sure that I must make that 2nd choice (which one could argue is not a choice at all).

It seems to me the main place we disagree on this is in how well you and I think the concepts of GS and HFW can be adequately understood. I simply believe there is an area in each that is not fully knowable to us; whereas you seem to think this is not true or that "unknowable" portion is not relevant (I'm not quite sure). However, I think the "unknowable" area is substantial enough to render your attempt to juxtapose them definitively as you are doing open to much uncertainty...

I had alot more to say but I'm out of time...

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jaceppe,
thanks for sticking around.
I simply believe there is an area in each that is not fully knowable to us; whereas you seem to think this is not true or that "unknowable" portion is not relevant (I'm not quite sure)
I think we know enough about it to say its logically inconsistent and taken together with the rest of what we know about god, which all comes from the bible, that it all qualifies as folklore.

Lee Randolph said...

fishhawk,
don't worry about it. I was just trying to avoid a potential misunderstanding.

Rachel said...

RA,

You seem to remain focused on the "what": that our future is fixed; while I am explaining the "why" or "how": the future is fixed by our own choices. Even your example of the recorded movie fits perfectly with what I'm trying to say, in fact I had thought of using it myself. Every aspect of that movie is fixed, but
fixed by whom? That's the whole point. As long as the future is my decision, a thousand people could know it and it wouldn't change the fact that *I* am the one who determined the future.

Explain to me how you are choosing to give the guy money if it's already been determined that you will?

Again, you seem to be assuming that "it's already been determined" by some other agent besides me. This still doesn't address my point that as long as the future is determined by me, whether or not it's fixed doesn't change anything - certainly not my ability to freely choose.

Why would God, who knows everything that ever has or will happen, create a universe that has no suprise for him at all?

So God should only create a universe that has some surprises for him in it? That's a strange criteria, besides the fact that a "surprise" is impossible for any being with omniscience - and any being w/o omniscience wouldn't be God.

You might find this story interesting. It helps illustrate my point that the future being fixed isn't a problem if it's fixed by my own choices, i.e. I'm the one that fixed it. It's not a perfect analogy, but it's the right idea.

DingoDave said...

Jason wrote:
-"Perfect knowledge doesn't remove freewill because knowledge can't achieve anything by itself. If, in my perfect knowledge, I know that a mine in China will collapse and kill 100 people in 2048, my knowledge hasn't forced the mine to collapse."

You apologists simply can't help anthropomorphising your supposedly omnipotent, omniscient creator can you?

If you were the engineer responsible for the design of the mine, and if you had an immutable plan for the mining operation, part of which involved the mine collapsing, then you would definitely be held responsible for it's collapse.
The other point which you apparently fail to recognise in your analogy, is that if you were certain that the mine was going to collapse, and yet chose to do nothing to help avert the tragedy, then you as the chief engineer would be held DIRECTLY responsible the deaths of all those unsuspecting miners.
Society would judge you harshly as being an uncaring, or even sadistic wretch.
You would be formally charged with gross incompetence, dereliction of duty, and criminal negligence. You would no doubt lose your job, and would most probably be condemned to serve a lengthy jail sentence for your actions. And rightly so!
To further the analogy, it is you who is playing the part of an unscrupulous attorney who is attempting to get the engineer off the hook in this case.

Rachel wrote:
-"I guess you could say that God knows every outcome of every possible choice you make, but then that means that God doesn't know for sure which choice you will actually make... that's free will."

Lee replied:
-"and nullifies gods omniscience"

Rachel wrote:
-"This still doesn't address my point that as long as the future is determined by me, whether or not it's fixed doesn't change anything - certainly not my ability to freely choose."

Are you suggesting that we humans can interfere with God's immutable plan for the universe? If the outcome is fixed, then we are powerless to change it, and freewill is merely an illusion. So which is it? Make up your mind.

At least Rachel is consistently inconsistent. : )
She must hail from Jason's school of apologetics i.e. throw God's attributes out of the window when they don't suit the agenda!
If omnipotence makes God look like an arsehole, then to hell with omnipotence! But only when it suits.

Rotten Arsenal said...

Rachel,

Again, you seem to be assuming that "it's already been determined" by some other agent besides me. This still doesn't address my point that as long as the future is determined by me, whether or not it's fixed doesn't change anything - certainly not my ability to freely choose.

If the future is fixed, then how do we have choice? If, at this moment, it is "fixed" that you will give a homeless man money, then you WILL give that homeless man money. You might rationalize it that you chose to give him money, but it has already been set into the timestream that you will do this.
The real question is, when did this event become fixed? Because it's that determination point that really decides this argument. Was it fixed when God created the universe? In which case, God knew you would give the man money millenia before you ever came into existence. Fo God to be omniscient, this MUST be the case. If God knows all that ever is, was, and shall be, then he knew at the dawn of creation that you would give this man money. It was fixed. You can't NOT choose to do it, otherwise, God didn't know you wouldn't do it. Or, God had no idea what you would do in that instance... thus, you have free will but God lacks omniscience. For God to be omniscient, he would no the outcome of all and it can't change. It's one or the other, it can't be both.

Besides, even if the future is your decision, it's also billions of other people's decisions. Every little thing has to fall into place for you to even have the decision to give the guy money. The guy has to decide to be at that spot, your parents had to decide to create you, all of your ancestors and the homeless guy's ancestors had to make billions of decisions that put them all in the proper place to cause the chain of events that led to you giving the guy money.

So, bringing in that poor piece of Sci-Fi Channel-level fiction, it comes down to one of these:

A) You have free will and can make whatever decision you want but God CANNOT be omniscient since every choice directs the future

B) God is omniscient since he knows how the future plays out. This means that the future is entirely fixed and regardless of what you "choose", you will always end up making the same decisions that God has foreseen.

C) You have free will, to some degree, in that every choice you make begins the paths down multiple "fixed" futures, all of which God knows. God is omniscient in knowing every possible outcome (infinite) of every possible decision of every living thing in the universe for all time. You have free will only in that you decide which divergent timeline you will follow (not create, since the timeline must already exist for God to know it).

The first two are all or nothing. Either you have free will and God doesn't know what you will do, or God knows what you will do and you are stuck following the script. It doesn't matter who fixed the future. Either the future is fixed because God has already seen how it plays out, or it's not fixed at all and God doesn't know how it will all play out.

The third scenario could be true, but it opens a whole new can of worms. If there are multiple timelines and God knows them all, then there must be some that are more right than others (or more wrong). There must be a timeline where Adam & Eve didn't eat the apple... there must be a timeline where the Jews constantly make God happy and therefore have no need of a Messiah at all... there must be a timeline where Joseph and Mary never existed... there must be a timeline where Christianity DOESN'T EXIST. Besides, this destroys the possibility of End Times prophecy because somewhere, there is a timeline where every human has done exactly as God told them to meaning God has no reason to ever destroy them. There is no evil in the world (by God's standards) and so he would have to change his reasons (from what we're currently told) to bring about the End, making God's will ever changing and not set in stone.

Crud... I hate debates about time travel.

So God should only create a universe that has some surprises for him in it? That's a strange criteria, besides the fact that a "surprise" is impossible for any being with omniscience - and any being w/o omniscience wouldn't be God.

If God created a universe that holds no surprise for him, and he knows everything that will happen BEFORE HE EVEN CREATES IT, then there is no purpose to our actions and we have already been judged. In God's omniscience, he knew the very day that he seperated the light from the dark that you would be a loyal follower and I wouldn't believe in him. If for any reason I ever start believing in him, he knew that would happen as well and so it doesn't matter what I do. If I die as an atheist, he knew I would die as an atheist and again, it didn't matter at all what i thought I chose during life, God already knew I would die an atheist for all eternity. Since that is the case, I would be punished for something I had no control over because it had already happened in God's eyes.

Rayndeon said...

Arsenal,

What makes you think that the truth of (T)

(T) S will do A at time t

necessarily deprives S of their free will? Are you a logical fatalist?

More importantly, what makes you think that the only coherent and relevant definition of freedom is libertarian freedom?

Frankly, I can't see this being a problem for theists - except those that cling to libertarian freedom, not compatibilist freedom.

Rachel said...

RA,

Either you have free will and God doesn't know what you will do, or God knows what you will do and you are stuck following the script. It doesn't matter who fixed the future.

It absolutely does matter who fixed the future. If I decide that I'll go to the store tomorrow and get some bread, then when tomorrow comes I go to the store and get some bread, was I "forced" into going to the store against my will? However, if someone holds a gun to my head and tells me to go to the store tomorrow or they'll shoot, and I go to the store, did I go to the store of my own free will? Either way I went to the store, but who makes the decision makes all the difference as to whether my going to the store could be considered to be a free will action or not.

If God created a universe that holds no surprise for him, and he knows everything that will happen BEFORE HE EVEN CREATES IT, then there is no purpose to our actions and we have already been judged. (snip) it doesn't matter what I do (snip) I would be punished for something I had no control over because it had already happened in God's eyes.

This just doesn't make any sense. How do you get from "God knows what choices I will make" to "there is no purpose to our actions" and "I have no control"? God's knowledge of my choices doesn't make them any less my choices.

Crud... I hate debates about time travel.

"The future is the past, the past is the future... it all gives me a headache."

Any sci-fi trivia buffs want to guess who said that? (no google cheating)

Rachel said...

Dave,

Rachel wrote:
-"I guess you could say that God knows every outcome of every possible choice you make, but then that means that God doesn't know for sure which choice you will actually make... that's free will."

Lee replied:
-"and nullifies gods omniscience"


Sorry, but I didn't write that either, that was Rotten Arsenal. Between this and the rest of your comment directed to me, I get the impression you were just skimming, because I've already answered the comments you made. Go back to my analogy about God making the t-shirts for the winning team - if God only makes one set of t-shirts, does that nullify the free will of either team and "force" each team to play according to some script predetermined by some outside agent?

zilch said...

rachel says:

Go back to my analogy about God making the t-shirts for the winning team - if God only makes one set of t-shirts, does that nullify the free will of either team and "force" each team to play according to some script predetermined by some outside agent?

But rachel, God did not only make the t-shirts: He made the teams too. If He is omniscient and omnipotent, He wrote the script, and made the teams in exactly such a way that they would follow the script. They might think they are free to play the game as they please, but this is an illusion: they have no more freedom than Fred and Barney do in a film that Hanna-Barbera already have in the can.

I get the impression that people who insist on God's omniscience and omnipotence, but claim we have free will nonetheless, either think that "free will" is some sort of magic black box that God can grant us that is somehow impenetrable to His omniscience and omnipotence, or they haven't really thought through the logical consequences.

Rotten Arsenal said...

rayndeon:

Are you a logical fatalist?

Nope.


More importantly, what makes you think that the only coherent and relevant definition of freedom is libertarian freedom?

Frankly, I can't see this being a problem for theists - except those that cling to libertarian freedom, not compatibilist freedom.


I don't think that the only rational definition is libertarian freedom. I'm just trying to show that God can't be omniscient if we have free will and vice versa. Compatibilist freedom, libertarian, fatalist... none of it is a problem for theists because despite their claims to the contrary, they can rather easily hide logic under the sofa when the need to ignore it to keep selling their dogma.

I generally don't much care about the philosophical attributes of fate vs free will. It really makes no difference to me. Either I have control of my own destiny or I don't. Either way, I don't know which it is so it's moot to discuss.
I don't believe in God, however, and find his followers nagging need to run my life as they run theirs a worthy cause to argue against.

BTW, which Dallas school are you attending? I'm in the area.

DingoDave said...

I wrote:

Rachel wrote,
-"I guess you could say that God knows every outcome of every possible choice you make, but then that means that God doesn't know for sure which choice you will actually make... that's free will."
Lee replied:
-"and nullifies gods omniscience"

Rachel replied:
-"Sorry, but I didn't write that either, that was Rotten Arsenal. Between this and the rest of your comment directed to me, I get the impression you were just skimming, because I've already answered the comments you made. Go back to my analogy about God making the t-shirts for the winning team - if God only makes one set of t-shirts, does that nullify the free will of either team and "force" each team to play according to some script predetermined by some outside agent?"

You're quite correct Rachel, you didn't write that. Please accept my apologies. I see now that it was written in response to your statement;
-"So I'll ask again, if my future is fixed as a result of my own choices, how is that a problem? Someone else knowing what I'll do doesn't affect my actual ability to freely choose in the least."

You also wrote:
-"I've asked this several times and will ask it again: If my future is fixed, but I'm the one that fixed it, how is that a problem? God can "have a plan" by looking ahead to the choices we will make, and planning certain actions or non-actions as a result. Thus, God has a plan, yet I still have free will."
and,
-"This still doesn't address my point that as long as the future is determined by me, whether or not it's fixed doesn't change anything - certainly not my ability to freely choose."

My point still stands. Are you suggesting that we humans can alter God's immutable plan for the universe, or not? If we have the ability to change God's plan against his will, then he is not omnipotent. If we do not have that ability, then our destinies are fixed and there is nothing that we can do to change it. You want to have your cake and eat it to.
And it's not true that we fix our own destinies. We may be able to influence them, but in the end, there are so many outside influences and variables which are out of our control, that it is ludicrous to assert that we can in any way 'fix' our own destinies all by ourselves.

Your analogy about the t-shirts also fails, because according to the Christian world view, God created the teams themselves, not just the t-shirts for the winning team.
Either your god is omnipotent and has an immutable plan for the universe, or he does not. Make up your mind which you believe, because as much as you'd like to, you can't have it both ways. If he is omnipotent, and immutable, then we are merely actors on a cosmic stage who are playing out a pre-determined script.

Rotten Arsenal said...

Rachel:

It absolutely does matter who fixed the future. If I decide that I'll go to the store tomorrow and get some bread, then when tomorrow comes I go to the store and get some bread, was I "forced" into going to the store against my will? However, if someone holds a gun to my head and tells me to go to the store tomorrow or they'll shoot, and I go to the store, did I go to the store of my own free will? Either way I went to the store, but who makes the decision makes all the difference as to whether my going to the store could be considered to be a free will action or not.

Your gunman is irrelevant. God knew that the gunman would force you to go the store. Omniscient God knows that you will go to the store, why you will go to the store, why the gunman makes you go to the store, and every minor detail leading up to your and the gunman's existing in the first place. If God is omniscient, then he knows the scenario and all the scenarios that lead up to it. Maybe God didn't "fix" the event, but regardless if he is infallible and he knows all and he knew you were going to the store, then he knew why you were going to the store. You never had any real choice in the matter or else God wouldn't know you were going to the store.

Again, 2 + n = 4. n can only be one thing... n doesn't have the option of choosing to be anything other than 2. For n to be something other than 2, there must be another variable, but for God, there are no variables for variables are unknown and there is no unknown for God.

Are we even arguing the same thing here? I'm arguing about the incompatible nature of free will and God's omniscience. I'm starting to wonder if you are arguing the same thing.

This just doesn't make any sense. How do you get from "God knows what choices I will make" to "there is no purpose to our actions" and "I have no control"? God's knowledge of my choices doesn't make them any less my choices.

Sure it makes sense, silly rabbit. If God knows all my "choices", ergo he knows my every move and has known my every move since the bgeinning, then I am simply following the script that God already has. The script is written and I will act out my part to the conclusion of my role. It's already written what I will do so I have no control over it and it holds no reason or purpose for me since I am but pre-programmed character in God's never ending sitcom. Perhaps I have some meaning for God (wacky neighbor?), but there's none for me since my every thought and action has been scripted.
This is, of course, if God is actually omniscient.

Even if God is sitting there in is Laz-E-God, watching the events unfold and says that I'm supposed to do x, but I end up doing y, he still knew that I wouldn't do what he wanted me to do from the get go. I didn't deviate from the script, that's the way God always knew it would happen.

Marc said...

It just sunk in how screwed god is.

Even if there is some logical solution that allows free will to exist with omnipotence, god slams right into the problem of evil.

God knows exactly what I'll do throughout my life. He knows before I am born, yet allows me to exist anyway.

Furthermore, god knows exactly what information I would need to follow him, yet withholds it from me.

And for a finite crime, that he could stop or not have allowed to happen, condemns me to eternal torture. Nice.

DingoDave said...

Oh, by the way Rachel, the Bible doesn't even teach the doctrine of freewill, it teaches predestination.

Some of the Bible authors realised the impossibility of reconciling an omnipotent, omniscient god with the doctrine of freewill, and so were forced to abandon the concept entirely. But hey, at least they were honest enough to admit it, regardless of how cruel and injust the concept obviously is.

Paul even went as far as to say that what God ultimately chooses to do with us, is in the end, none of our business.
Can you imagine anything more evil than this?

Anyway, here are some relevent texts.

Acts.4
[27] for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
[28] to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place.

Rom.8
[29] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.
[30] And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Rom.9
[11] though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call,
[12] she was told, "The elder will serve the younger."
[13] As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
[14] What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means!
[15] For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
[16] So it depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy.
[17] For the scripture says to Pharaoh, "I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth."
[18] So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.
[19] You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"
[20] But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me thus?"
[21] Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?
[22] What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction,
[23] in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory,

Well my dear Rachel, I am not an inanimate object, and I do care about whether I am predestined to experience an eternity of unspeakable suffering at the hands of some sadistic cosmic puppet master.

As far as I'm concerned, Paul can take his callous and worthless opinions, and shove them where the sun don't shine.

Rotten Arsenal said...

Yes Marc, and ultimately, since God created evil and allows evil to play it's role in his big mystery play, God is responsible for every evil occurrence that ever has or ever will happen.

That's why I find it reprehensible when people "Thank God" for saving some people in a disaster, but not others.

But this is a little off topic, so I digress.

Jaceppe said...

All,

The following 2 questions are really for some of you who have been speaking rather harshly against the God described in the Bible; although I am interested in any answers posted:

Given a God as described in the Old and New Testaments:
1) Do you believe that such a Being would be within His rights and freedoms to create? (which would include creating us as well)

2) Do you believe that such a God would have the right to withdraw His life sustaining hand from any of His creations?
(Remember, that God is described as the one who gives us life, breath, and all things; and in Whom we live & move & have our being)


This tangentially relates to posts regarding examples of people dying et.al. which some of you have contributed to...

I am interested in any an all responses...

DingoDave said...

Jaseppe asked:

-"Given a God as described in the Old and New Testaments:
1) Do you believe that such a Being would be within His rights and freedoms to create? (which would include creating us as well)"

Yes.

2) Do you believe that such a God would have the right to withdraw His life sustaining hand from any of His creations? (Remember, that God is described as the one who gives us life, breath, and all things; and in Whom we live & move & have our being)"

No.
No more than you would have the right to starve, torture or otherwise mistreat any of your children whom you also 'created' (in conjunction with your wife or girlfriend of course).
To do so would be considerd a criminal offence in all civilised countries on earth, and considering that the passage you quoted goes on to say "for we too are his offspring", then it should be considered a criminal offence for any god to do so either.

Rotten Arsenal said...

While I agree with DingoDave's answer's to Jaseppe's questions, I would also say this:

God is not bound by "rights" since he, according to the theists, created everything. He's got all the power as nothing is greater than him and so there is nothing constricting him to playing by any rules and morality is whatever he says it is.
So, he is within his "rights" to do whatever he pleases since he answers to no one. If he wants to change the rules in midstream, that's his prerogative. And it would seem that he does.
But again, if he's making up and changing the rules as he goes and not telling us what these rules actually are, then he's not benevolent, he's a tyrant. And sure, he can "withdraw His life sustaining hand from any of His creations" (which is a fancy way of saying "kill") but that doesn't make him a loving father... that again makes him a tyrant that will end someone's life for reasons know only to him. Why did those people on the bus die? God just "withdrew His life sustaining hand" from them? Sure, but why them and not the others? What did they do to deserve it and the others live? Oh, right... it's all a part of God's plan which again indicates that we are all following his maniacal, sadistic script towards the end of the world.

Point is, God doesn't have "rights" because "rights" can be taken away. God supposedly answers to no one so there is no one who can take away his rights. Further, he must not have morality since there is no one to teach it to him (the theist argument for atheists). So God just does what he pleases, unconcerned about whether anybody else thinks it is fair or just. By our standards, much of what he does is wrong, but then, the theists tell us that we don't have the option and luxury of saying God was wrong.

God is a big tyrant.

Jaceppe said...

dingodave, rottenarsenal:

Thanks for your replies...

Looks like a "Yes, No" from dingodave and a "Yes, Yes" from rottenarsenal; However, I believe rottenarsenal in his post agrees strongly with dingodave that God is culpable if He removes His hand and so I think really that you both think that He is not "morally" free to do the 2nd thing... So, it's really a "Yes, No" from both.

Arsenal: and I understand the distinction you are trying to make about the "rights" being sovereign (or taken away as in humans) and your comments about God doing what He wants...

So, to clarify and, again, granting the Christian God:
1) Do you think that such a God is "free" to create. However, once He creates He would be acting "wrongly" against one of His creations to remove it's life (regardless of the reason)?
Or, restated:
2) In other words, is He free to create but then loses moral sovereignty over His creation (in the sense that certain actions now become wrong for Him) once He creates?

tigg13 said...

Jeceppe asks, "1) Do you think that such a God is "free" to create. However, once He creates He would be acting "wrongly" against one of His creations to remove it's life (regardless of the reason)?
Or, restated:
2) In other words, is He free to create but then loses moral sovereignty over His creation (in the sense that certain actions now become wrong for Him) once He creates?"

You are still asking loaded questions. You ask if what god does is "wrong"; wrong from whose perspective, though?

Remember, you specified that this is the god of the bible we are talking about: the one that made "Thou shalt not kill!" a permanent, unchangable moral commandment. If he thinks killing is wrong then how can he take anyone's life without transgressing against his own moral code.

Now, perhaps, this was meant to only apply to us - we aren't allowed to kill but its still ok for him to kill. But if he's not bound by the same moral code that he wants us to live by then how are we to judge whether or not he is morally good?

And we must judge the biblical god, otherwise he couldn't hold us responsible for our own damnation.