How can God know everything and let us have free will?

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Philip » Sat May 20, 2017 6:27 pm

Being ALL-knowing means that God can (and does) orchestrate salvation upon those who will not permanently resist Him, and He knows precisely WHAT is needed for such people - as to WHEN and HOW it will be provided them, and most effectively. Of course, from that complete knowledge of all things, also flows how God manipulates events and circumstances, and also how He utilizes the chain of Believers, events and circumstances He will use to ultimately orchestrate to save people. For us, we never know where in the chain of influence God will use us - we might merely be the person that an unbeliever first has a Christian friend or acquaintance. Our influence may not go beyond showing simple kindness. Or, it might involve a person we briefly or significantly encounter right here on G&S. We may even have an opportunity to influence a decision we actually get to witness the fruit of. However the mix, however it is used, God has always known exactly how and when it will be used, and the degree of effectiveness in how He will reach others through us. God knows all motivations, hearts, minds, and true issues people need addressed, so as to soften, woo, and make them become open to the Gospel, and also all those for whom NO amount of understanding will change their hard heart - excepting coercion - which God will not violate their free will by doing. Love must be voluntary - forced love = oxymoron.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Kurieuo » Sun May 21, 2017 5:20 pm

Kurieuo wrote:Asking "how" God knows is ignoring what I said (and what it really being said when God is called omniscient), which is there is no process by which God gains his knowledge. "How" God knows makes the assumption God's knowledge is contingent. For example, thinking of God gaining his knowledge because He watches the future playing out in advance like a movie. Knowledge for God isn't gained however (like with us), rather God's knowledge is direct and immediate to Himself.

I don't believe we could call God's nature omniscient if knowledge wasn't inherent to it. Omniscience, to really be a part of God's nature, must be innate to God and not contingent upon external factors to God's nature. God knows because God knows all. Knowing is just part of who God is as God.

To add to this, as I detailed to Justhuman in another thread regarding understanding God's nature. There I flesh out how we can know some things about God's nature, what I'm saying about God being all-knowing in virtue of who God is, isn't just being plucked out of my bum, but has a sound logical basis.

There are certain simple rules we can use to logically deduce an understanding of God's nature. To borrow from Anselm's maximal being idea, we all seem to intuitively see God as the most powerful being in the world.

That said, we may get some things wrong in our logic and understanding of what is possible and/or contradictory. For example, some Christians believe God is so powerful that God can do the logically absurd like create round square, create a rock so big he can't lift, etc. Many Atheists who use these arguments seem to think "all-powerfulness" entails being able to do the logically absurd, thus they argue God doesn't exist. You see, even Atheists implicitly accept and embrace God (if God exists) as some maximal being after Anselm, hence if they can prove "all-powerfulness" isn't possible such non-believers somehow think they've disproven God. What they've really proved however, is that all-powerfulness needs better defining, and if God exists then they intuitively accept such a being is maximally powerful.

So then, with myself, I logically define all-powerfulness as doing all that is logically possible. I don't see the logical absurd as "things" but really "no-things". Asking whether God can create a square circle, at the end of the day really amounts to gibberish -- nothing logically meaningful really being said that can be really acted upon or applied. Therefore, God is all-powerful in a logical sense, but not all-powerful where we start talking nonsense.

Now, turning full circle back around to what I said above regarding God's knowledge. Like we believe God to be all-powerful, and this is reflected in God's "nature", who God is as God, so then we believe God knows all. What is disagreed upon, by some process theologians, is what omniscience logically entails. Unlike the situation with asking God to create a square circle, I see nothing evidently contradictary with God simply possessing a raw knowledge of everything including our decisions, or even decisions we would have made in a different world God could have possibily created, or our decisions if born into this world at a different time and place. If something can or could be known, then God knows it just in virtue of who God is, being omniscient which ultimately even boils down to God being all-powerful (which as I just reasoned above we all tend to believe God possesses if God exists).

So then, if there is something wrong with "foreknowledge", knowing all there is to know including what will be, then one really has their work cut out for them in creating sounds arguments which prove why such is logically impossible. There is an onus on the one claiming foreknowledge of absolutely everything is logically impossible (i.e., a contradiction). Why? Because this isn't readily obvious to all. So a case needs to be made for where a contradiction lies in knowing future truth. If that somehow involves "free will", then it needs to be shown where the overlap is between the two that creates a contradiction. I just don't see it personally.
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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Philip » Mon May 22, 2017 2:17 pm

God's free will has unlimited capabilities per whatever His desires. Ours is God-given and considerably limited, within God's sovereignly attached parameters.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby PaulSacramento » Tue May 23, 2017 5:11 am

IceMobster wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Free will is about making a choice, it doesn't even matter what motivates the choice really, it is the simple acting of choose A over B.

Kurieuo wrote:
thatkidakayoungguy wrote:How can God know everything and let us have free will?

First, God innately knows, there is not process by which God gains His knowledge.

To answer the question in full, I see is best done with questions back. If a fortune teller knew your future, does that mean that you don't have will of your own to bring about your own known future? No, at most it means that in the knowledge of a fortune teller they knew the conclusions of the decisions you would make. Or, how about knowing everything about our past that we do, does that necessarily mean our past actions weren't volitional in some way? No.

The premises aren't sound in the argument being made, it must be shown that God's knowledge of everything is incompatible with free will. This argument doesn't follow to its conclusion without additional unpacking to argue for #1.

1) If God knows the future, then we have no free will.
2) God knows the future.
3) Therefore we have no free will.

More arguments need to be given to support the first premise. I see no clear contradiction between God knowing what we do, and our having a free will to act and decide. So the burden is still on the person making this argument to flesh it out further.

How does God know which we will choose if it is a matter of our own free will?

I always thought that, due to our free will, God can't predict which event will happen but is not shocked or surprised by any event / whatever we choose. I guess that would question His omnipotence then so that's wrong... :|



Thing about that for a moment:
How does someone that knows us better than we know ourselves, predict what choices we will make?

The reality is that there are limited choices to any situation you are put in and, as any parent can tell you, it is possible ( though not 100% for humans of course) to be able to predict what people we know will choose to do.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby thatkidakayoungguy » Tue May 23, 2017 3:16 pm

Tell this to ex-Christians they won't have any of this!

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Kurieuo » Tue May 23, 2017 6:23 pm

Why speak to someone who isn't interested in a two-way discussion?
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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Justhuman » Sun May 28, 2017 1:12 am

One way to truly have the ability of free will, is that God is NOT actually and actively controlling our lives. If he started this process of creation with the intention of "let's see how they manage".
Thus even though He knows 'everything', He might choose to 'let it go for a while', like a free roaming experiment. He oversees the whole, but doesn't mingle too much in the whole process.
So, it is not that He doesn't know, but rather He chooses to not know.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Kurieuo » Sun May 28, 2017 9:24 pm

I think when exploring "free will" that we logically need to get away from any mechanistic view, natural, spiritual or otherwise.

Think of the "mouse trap" game, or dominoes hitting one another, the end result is due to mechanistic processes. You set in motion the first event and everything else will follow. On the other hand, "consciousness" has a very different feel to inanimate objects found in a mechanistic processes.

For example, let's consider the mouse trap analogy. Let's say you hit the bucket, which tips over letting the ball out, which then rolls down a slide, hits another trigger that releases another ball, which falls through a hole landing upon one end of seesaw which propels an object into a container making a cage fall upon the mouse below (see video). Now, are decisions and/or actions made by our consciousness like that -- the falling of the mouse trap cage?

Some, many in fact, advocating physical mechanistic worldview, believe conciousness IS mechanistic. It is often believed that all parts collectively working together are somehow able to give off "conciousness", although exactly what and why such consciousness arises is left largely unexplained. Yet, then, while we might be consciously aware, does consciousness have the ability to affect the mechanistic processes? How? Unless within the mechanistic processes, consciousness itself has the ability at some point to rise above its mechanistic influences to do other than would otherwise happen. Yet, if the mechanistic processes are really all there ultimately is, then how can consciousness rise above such? It can't, everything is ultimately determined by the mechanics.

Consider, for example, the cage falling at the end to trap the mouse. Now, if "free will" was really had, then while there are mechanistic pressures to "just fall on top of the mouse" -- what if the cage was conscious? It might think, "Hey, I don't want to fall and trap that poor little mouse!" Yet, perhaps it lacks the power of will to stop itself from falling onto the mouse. It lacks the freedom to do otherwise. If we push matters further, it's ability to even have the thought, "Hey, I don't want to fall and trap that poor little mouse!" is itself determined by mechanical processes, even if it then falls to trap the mouse.

On the other hand, true consciousness with an actionable will would have the ability to influence the mechanical processes. Perhaps the cage does have the power to stop itself from falling. So, if it decides I don't want to fall, it can rise above the mechanical processes (natural inclinations) to do other than what the mechanical pressures alone would otherwise determine.

We naturally want to know how things work, what makes this and that tick, especially in our modern scientific age. What then are the mechanical workings of consciousness? What are the things in consciousness that "make it tick", allow for true "free will" to develop? Yet, we can't dismantle and understand consciousness and free will like we do a watch. Free will, can't be defined in a mechanical way, because it is fundamentally NOT a mechanical process but something other. If it exists, then it is something that stands apart from the physical order, entwined even closely alongside the physical and mechanical processes of the world that we all grow so familiar with.

Interestingly, if one sees who we are, our very conscious being, as being primarily determined by mechanical processes physical, spiritual or otherwise, then evidently, one will accept that things like sexual preferences, psychopaths, murderers and even terrorists, such should be understood rather than necessarily condemned. For, they're as much victims of whatever mechanical processes made "them", or even how God Himself made them! We would be no different in their shoes, right? So then, understanding and tolerance is better than judgement and condemnation.

Sounds good in theory, but then, do we seriously believe noone is truly responsible for their own actions? It is safe to say such goes against our basic intuitions. Rather, if we are free beings, then we are free indeed to make choices. And if we are free indeed, then we each have responsibilities regardless of the natural "mechanical" pressures upon us. It will be no argument on D-Day to accuse God saying, "You made me this way!" or "Look at the environment YOU placed me within!" or "Look, I had this gene and that gene!" In fact, I believe Jesus tackles these very issue in HIs parable of talents:

    22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
It seems to me, according to Jesus' teachings, God knows each and all of our limits. Indeed, our free will is thwarted to many degrees, some have more freedom to do what is good and right, others much, much less.

Yet, we as Christians believe Christ came to set us free, came to empower us to live and love like God which aligns with what many of us as Christians truly want (even if we often fail in this life). Christ came to set us free from our natural even mechanistic selves, if we so desire, to be that who we truly spiritually want to be. This can be had now, and will had fully hereafter. Such is what the Apostle Paul teaches of our two natures.

We can put this in more positive Scriptural terms, some have more talents (and therefore responsibilities) in the life that we live than others. How ironic people in their fallen state think God wants to take away our freedom. No, God wants to encourage us in righteousness as the fully free beings we were created to be, and to enter into a mutually loving relationship on offer to us with Himself.
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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Philip » Mon May 29, 2017 4:38 am

I really don't get why people can't seem to wrap their minds around us having free will, yet God knowing exactly what we will do and say, knowing all future things perfectly, and that in spite of these, He indeed controls the parameters of all things, and the specifics wherever He desires. If fact, God USES our free will, choices and desires to accomplish the ends He so desires. But as an all-powerful, all-knowing Being of unlimited capabilities, how could He not be able to control a creation He purposely designed and has crafted all future stories - yes, a creation filled with beings who have bestowed upon them, free will.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby PaulSacramento » Mon May 29, 2017 4:57 am

Philip wrote:I really don't get why people can't seem to wrap their minds around us having free will, yet God knowing exactly what we will do and say, knowing all future things perfectly, and that in spite of these, He indeed controls the parameters of all things, and the specifics wherever He desires. If fact, God USES our free will, choices and desires to accomplish the ends He so desires. But as an all-powerful, all-knowing Being of unlimited capabilities, how could He not be able to control a creation He purposely designed and has crafted all future stories - yes, a creation filled with beings who have bestowed upon them, free will.


because they still see "God" as "some guy with a white beard floating on clouds".

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Justhuman » Mon May 29, 2017 4:17 pm

Free will requires no predetermination of any kind. If 'anyone' (God?) has made such predetermination for (any of) us, then it is no free will anymore, but an imposed 'will'.

It makes no sense to start something if one already knows the exact outcome, because that one is omnipotent and omniscient.
It's like playing a computer game that you have written yourself, where ALL the rules and strategies are strictly predetermined and ONLY can lead to ONE outcome. It's useless. And it proves nothing. Except for the fact to prove you are able to program such a thing.

The real challenge would be to program a game that follows some rules and strategies, but can develop by itself, without (too much) outside interference.
Last edited by Justhuman on Mon May 29, 2017 4:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Justhuman » Mon May 29, 2017 4:20 pm

Philip wrote:I really don't get why people can't seem to wrap their minds around us having free will, yet God knowing exactly what we will do and say, knowing all future things perfectly, and that in spite of these, He indeed controls the parameters of all things, and the specifics wherever He desires. If fact, God USES our free will, choices and desires to accomplish the ends He so desires. But as an all-powerful, all-knowing Being of unlimited capabilities, how could He not be able to control a creation He purposely designed and has crafted all future stories - yes, a creation filled with beings who have bestowed upon them, free will.


Such a controlled, purposely desired bestowed free will is nothing more than a mere illusionary free will.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Philip » Mon May 29, 2017 7:49 pm

JustHuman: Such a controlled, purposely desired bestowed free will is nothing more than a mere illusionary free will.


The free will is not controlled. But the parameters for within where and what is possible are - our free will cannot escape our physical and other limitations. The ultimate outcomes important to God are orchestrated. God uses our free will choices in the results. What is predestined are not our actions or responses, yet they are perfectly known, as are all motivations, intents, hearts and minds, and every aspect of future things will end as He both foresees and desires. If our free will were not truly so, then we could not reject God, as He both wishes us not to, but allows it. If we did not sin per our free will, we'd have to say God makes us sin - which Scripture denies.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Justhuman » Mon May 29, 2017 10:39 pm

Somewhere in this forum (I'd have to look it up where) someone quoted something from a book some 20 years ago, of which was stated because it was 20 years ago it's content was already outdated, and modern insights has proven it (more or less) wrong. It might very well be, but what about the bible? How 'outdated' could this thounds years old book be? How outdated could the scriptures be?
'Your' free will is bound and limited by God, but then it's no truly free will anymore.

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Re: How can God know everything and let us have free will?

Postby Kurieuo » Mon May 29, 2017 11:36 pm

Justhuman wrote:Somewhere in this forum (I'd have to look it up where) someone quoted something from a book some 20 years ago, of which was stated because it was 20 years ago it's content was already outdated, and modern insights has proven it (more or less) wrong. It might very well be, but what about the bible? How 'outdated' could this thounds years old book be? How outdated could the scriptures be?
'Your' free will is bound and limited by God, but then it's no truly free will anymore.

Of course. So find the poster who wrote it, and put the light on them to respond.
Why should others here defend such nonsense?
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