The Fall and Free Will

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The Fall and Free Will

#1

Post by Turgonian » Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:32 pm

A doctrine held by every orthodox Christian, from Catholic to Calvinist, is that Adam had complete, 'libertarian' free will before the Fall. His will was not bound; he was created perfect and with the completely free choice to follow or reject God. Since he knew God personally, he followed God and would have had a strong inclination to keep following God.

But he fell. We can assume any of us would have fallen in his place: God would not have made a weak creature, prone to falling. He was morally the most integer man who ever lived, because he had never committed one single sin. Until the Fall.

Does that mean that whenever you give a man free will, a choice and enough temptation, he will fall?
Does it mean the creature 'man' naturally has an inherent weakness (not a flaw, but a weakness)?
(I.e. would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?)
Does it mean man could have chosen good in theory, but not in practice?

This is a very difficult question for me. Neither Adam's mind nor his fellowship with God were clouded. And yet, when he was tempted, he fell. When we would have been tempted in his place under the same circumstances, we would presumably have fallen. Does that mean that the gift of Free Will (combined with an insidious attack of evil) has necessarily led to the Fall?
The Bible says they were "willingly ignorant". In the Greek, this means "be dumb on purpose". (Kent Hovind)

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Re: The Fall and Free Will

#2

Post by Silvertusk » Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:47 am

Turgonian wrote:A doctrine held by every orthodox Christian, from Catholic to Calvinist, is that Adam had complete, 'libertarian' free will before the Fall. His will was not bound; he was created perfect and with the completely free choice to follow or reject God. Since he knew God personally, he followed God and would have had a strong inclination to keep following God.

But he fell. We can assume any of us would have fallen in his place: God would not have made a weak creature, prone to falling. He was morally the most integer man who ever lived, because he had never committed one single sin. Until the Fall.

Does that mean that whenever you give a man free will, a choice and enough temptation, he will fall?
Does it mean the creature 'man' naturally has an inherent weakness (not a flaw, but a weakness)?
(I.e. would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?)
Does it mean man could have chosen good in theory, but not in practice?

This is a very difficult question for me. Neither Adam's mind nor his fellowship with God were clouded. And yet, when he was tempted, he fell. When we would have been tempted in his place under the same circumstances, we would presumably have fallen. Does that mean that the gift of Free Will (combined with an insidious attack of evil) has necessarily led to the Fall?
A very interesting point.

I personally believe that we were destined to fall - that was the price God was willing to pay for our free will - but he already had a solution to this in the work of his son. God was looking for a relationship with us and the greatest relationship comes through one given by a persons on free will.

Thats my two pence anyway

God Bless

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Re: The Fall and Free Will

#3

Post by B. W. » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:00 am

Silvertusk wrote: A very interesting point.

I personally believe that we were destined to fall - that was the price God was willing to pay for our free will - but he already had a solution to this in the work of his son. God was looking for a relationship with us and the greatest relationship comes through one given by a persons on free will.

Thats my two pence anyway

God Bless

Suilvertusk
Free will is really a weak description and a confusing term to use as it can lead to the extreme belief that God is subservient to human will or to the other extreme that God divinely plays with human lives as one does with toys much in the same manner as the ancient Greek determinist believed.

God created human Adam and Eve with a limited form of living creative intelligence. This is brought out in the Genesis account of being made in the image and likeness of God so Adam and Eve could tend and keep the Garden of Eden governing by the means of reflecting of God's character, nature, and wisdom where they were at.

Creative Intelligence involves responsibility in how one uses it. By permitting Creative Intelligence, God also proves he is all powerful as he can work through all things to carry out his plans and purposes as he can work through all things.

To be a puppet master demonstrates that one is not all powerful and incapable of working through all things; thus, proving one is not all powerful. We, in is this life cannot fully understand the mystery of the workings of God in this matter as to why He made beings, both angelic and human, to have limited forms of creative intelligence.

However, what we do know is that creative intelligence has both responsibilities and consequences attached to it. We see this in our own finite world. Advances in medicine, science, even nuclear war, cars, computers, crime, and murder — all come from creative minds. God holds accountable what one does with his gift or he would not be just.

In the light of scripture, we can deduce that God's final specific goal is a new heavens and earth where righteousness will dwell and sin will no longer be. This leads me to the hypothesis that God had everything planned all along and made his plans accordingly to work through all things and events he obliviously foresaw with that specific purpose in mind of purifying to reach his stated goal.

We are living in the times that God is using to remove the dross and separate the wheat from the chaff so at His appointed hour — the new will come free from sin, rebellion, and death. I see it all as the process involved in purification. This involves responsibility from those granted with this gift of creative intelligence. Responsibility is the creatures own. What is tested is how each will use this gift to creatively order their world. Will selfishness rule or will God rule the age to come?

God test the heart the bible tells us. He tested Adam and Eve knowing full well there would be a need for the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world so that his ultimate goal will be achieved in the most even handed, righteous, just, and profoundly loving manner ever conceived. In this, God proves He is God: governing according to his nature, character, and wisdom. A God to be trusted, believed in, relied on, that changes not, one who keeps his word. Amen.

From this, He separates the wheat from the chaff. Sin remains the product of the creatures own creative intelligence, as the creature creates it, not God. Iniquity is found within the heart or comes from the heart where the issues of life spring forth. God takes responsibility for his own creative acts: Jesus came. Fallen creatures do not. Instead they attempt to entrap God at his own words to prove they can rule better than God.

Why God permits this, remains unknown to me. All I can say is for the reader to explore who God is, how he acts, and why he acts the way he does. In this, you will gain a glimpse of God's glory way too unfathomable to humanly describe yet you will come to a limited understanding of why it all came to be as it currently is.
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#4

Post by Turgonian » Sat Oct 21, 2006 11:43 am

B.W., all you have said in your post is very true, and thank you for sharing those thoughts. However, my central question remains:

Would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?

(Because a creature which would not have fallen wouldn't be a 'man' anymore?)
The Bible says they were "willingly ignorant". In the Greek, this means "be dumb on purpose". (Kent Hovind)

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#5

Post by Sargon » Sat Oct 21, 2006 5:21 pm

Would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?
By this you assume that the fall was a bad thing. What if it was supposed to happen? What if Adam was fully aware of the consequences and judged that it was better to fall than to remain forever in the garden? Was there a benefit to mortality that he couldnt have by remaining in the garden?
I have my ideas, but Ill save them for later.

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Re: The Fall and Free Will

#6

Post by madscientist » Sun Oct 22, 2006 5:25 am

Turgonian wrote: Does that mean that whenever you give a man free will, a choice and enough temptation, he will fall?
Does it mean the creature 'man' naturally has an inherent weakness (not a flaw, but a weakness)?
(I.e. would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?)
Does it mean man could have chosen good in theory, but not in practice?

This is a very difficult question for me. Neither Adam's mind nor his fellowship with God were clouded. And yet, when he was tempted, he fell. When we would have been tempted in his place under the same circumstances, we would presumably have fallen. Does that mean that the gift of Free Will (combined with an insidious attack of evil) has necessarily led to the Fall?
Good question Turgonian, 1 i also bothered with. Woudl all people act same or differently in the same situaution? We ahve free will, but what if it was EXACTLY the same situation with thwo people of exactly same personalities, ages, exactly the same situauion where each particle, atom, molecule, force etc were all the same and so would look the same, woild both do the same thiung?? The question which bothers me a LOT, similar to yours. Well ignoring this, id say that some would have sinned, and some would not, as free will exists according to Biblke.
Id also say every man has a weakness or a flaw to do wevil in the world, either genetically or somehow. I think it would be possible to create a man who wouldnt have fallen then at the time, but nbot a man who would not have fallen in the world today - at lest what i think. Or, maybe a one whose brain would be undeveloped, eg with a mental disorder where he wouldnt be able to make free choices and be held respinsible for his actions - then he'd be excused if he does somehting bad etc. But apart from that, any man with normally developed brain would have sinned at one point, I think. The fact Jesus never sinned proved he was God. And he must have realized that since he was very young; otherwise he'd have sinned when still very ypung, i think... It probbalyt also means man could hae chosen God i theory but not in parcatice - like today: we say we want God, pray, do good, its easy - just listen to him, etc - but reality, or practice is different - not so easy to achieve.
hOPE THat helps...
"Love is only possible if a choice of either love or rejecting the love is given." One of the most true things id ever heard, not so long ago.

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#7

Post by Turgonian » Sun Oct 22, 2006 5:28 am

Sargon wrote:By this you assume that the fall was a bad thing. What if it was supposed to happen?
It was, but that doesn't answer my question.

madscientist -- The problem is, Adam had a stronger communion with God than anyone else on earth (except Jesus). That's my problem: would any man necessarily have fallen?
The Bible says they were "willingly ignorant". In the Greek, this means "be dumb on purpose". (Kent Hovind)

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#8

Post by madscientist » Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:17 am

Turgonian wrote:
madscientist -- The problem is, Adam had a stronger communion with God than anyone else on earth (except Jesus). That's my problem: would any man necessarily have fallen?
Well... hard quest i must say. I personally think that maybe not. I think it depends on who the man is, maybe if it were you for example (that you would hjave been adam or so) you would have made differen choice or or if it were different. But 1 thing im sure is that at one point humans would fall. Maybe not every man, but once the first fell then others would have been fallen too already, like in adams case. All people from then on were in sin and were aware of the evil. So or maybe im wrong,... But 1 thing is that if it was God whi wanted the 1st man to sin thats why he chose adam ebecause maybe he foreknew hwe was gonna be like that anyway so he chose hum. MAybe if it were someone else we dont know. But as far as i believe all sould are pretty much identical in their nature, and if someone else would have been adam, what difference would it make? He'd have a differentr soul - soul of someone differenrt? Arent all souls the same, anway?? SO this also confuses me with the thinf why we are who we ar and why arent we soneone else. The qustion when becomes "How would the world be like if I were him and he were her" and so on , also 1 of very interesting questions id say. If we knew answer to tgis hten we could prpbbalt find out whethe r eACH MAN would have fallen necessarily. Hope that helps :wink:
"Love is only possible if a choice of either love or rejecting the love is given." One of the most true things id ever heard, not so long ago.

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Re: The Fall and Free Will

#9

Post by non-affiliated » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:02 am

would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?
No. This seems to be a philosophical problem with belief in an all-powerful God. If God created man with weakness and then creates the temptation it is by God's own doing that man falls. If God creates man with weakness but creates no temptation, man does not fall. If God creates man who does not possess the ablility to consider temptation then man does not fall regardless of whether God creates temptation or not. To say that God could not create a man who would not be swayed by temptation would be to deny the omniscience of God.

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Re: The Fall and Free Will

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Post by madscientist » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:40 am

non-affiliated wrote:
would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?
No. This seems to be a philosophical problem with belief in an all-powerful God. If God created man with weakness and then creates the temptation it is by God's own doing that man falls. If God creates man with weakness but creates no temptation, man does not fall. If God creates man who does not possess the ablility to consider temptation then man does not fall regardless of whether God creates temptation or not. To say that God could not create a man who would not be swayed by temptation would be to deny the omniscience of God.
Well if God wanted to cerate a mab abke of temotation then he did so. There needs to be the temptation because then theres nothing to fall because of, and there needs to be the conscience - animals or plants or bacteria etc cant fall since thez possess no soul.
But did God assign adam for this role because he knew he were gonna fall> What if it were a different person and the same circumstances?
"Love is only possible if a choice of either love or rejecting the love is given." One of the most true things id ever heard, not so long ago.

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#11

Post by DonCameron » Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:02 pm

Turgonian,

You made several great points here...
Adam's will was not bound; he was created perfect and with the completely free choice to follow or reject God. Since he knew God personally, he followed God and would have had a strong inclination to keep following God... God would not have made a weak creature, prone to falling.
You then asked several questions. Here is how I would answer them...

Q: Does that mean that whenever you give a man free will, a choice and enough temptation, he will fall?
A: No Looks to me that Jesus ("the man") proved that a perfect man can overcome temptation and not fall. Therefore, Adam could have done so.

Q: Does it mean the creature 'man' naturally has an inherent weakness (not a flaw, but a weakness)?
A: I think all of Adam's descendants "naturally have an inherent weakness" because of inheriting sin from Adam. Jesus didn't inherit that weakness because he was born without inheriting Adam's sin.

Q: Would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?
A: No. The Bible says that the only thing that is "impossible" for God to do is lie. - Hebrews 6:18 To think that it would have been impossible for God to create Adam so that he would not fall makes for a pretty weak God.

Q: Does it mean man could have chosen good in theory, but not in practice? [
b]A:[/b] Adam could have chosen to obey God both in theory and in practice - just like Jesus did.

You said...
This is a very difficult question for me. Neither Adam's mind nor his fellowship with God were clouded. And yet, when he was tempted, he fell.

You then reasoned...
When we would have been tempted in his place under the same circumstances, we (too) would presumably have fallen.

I wonder why you feel that way. I have tried to picture myself being in Adam's position and wondering how difficult could it have been to obey God? If I truly loved God and appreciated everything He had provided for me, including such a great-looking wife, I don't see what would have been so difficult to leave that one little tree alone - especially when I discovered that it was just some stupid snake that had misled my wife.

You asked...
Q: Does that mean that the gift of Free Will (combined with an insidious attack of evil) has necessarily led to the Fall?
A: I would express it that it was Adam's misuse of Free Will that led to his fall.

You again asked...

Would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen? Again, No. I would think that the God who created the Universe could have easily created Adam so that it would have been impossible for him to disobey. In that case Genesis 2:7 might have read something like, “And the man came to be a living robot.” He could have designed Adam so that he couldn't even think of disobeying Him let alone actually doing so. But of course, he was not designed that way.

You then suggested a possible answer to your last question, (“Is it possible for God to create a man who would not sin?)…
((Is it) because a creature which would not have fallen wouldn't be a 'man' anymore?)

My feeling is that if Adam never disobeyed God, he would still be a man who would still be alive today.

That's the way it looks to me.

Don

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#12

Post by Turgonian » Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:51 am

DonCameron wrote:Q: Would it have been logically impossible to create a man who would not have fallen?
A: No. The Bible says that the only thing that is "impossible" for God to do is lie. - Hebrews 6:18 To think that it would have been impossible for God to create Adam so that he would not fall makes for a pretty weak God.
Almost all theologians agree that God cannot do things which are logically impossible, e.g. conceive of square circles.
Don Cameron wrote:You then reasoned...
When we would have been tempted in his place under the same circumstances, we (too) would presumably have fallen.

I wonder why you feel that way. I have tried to picture myself being in Adam's position and wondering how difficult could it have been to obey God? If I truly loved God and appreciated everything He had provided for me, including such a great-looking wife, I don't see what would have been so difficult to leave that one little tree alone - especially when I discovered that it was just some stupid snake that had misled my wife.
I don't think I'm cleverer, wiser or more God-loving than Adam.
The Bible says they were "willingly ignorant". In the Greek, this means "be dumb on purpose". (Kent Hovind)

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#13

Post by DonCameron » Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:24 am

Turgonian,

I had said that the Bible says that the only thing God cannot do is lie. You then said, "Almost all theologians agree that God cannot do things which are logically impossible, e.g. conceive of square circles." That sounds right. And so I went back an looked at Hebrews 6:18 and noticed it doesn't say that that lying is the "only" thing God cannot do. And so I stand corrected. Thank you.

But what about that specific question in your mind: Would it have been logically impossible (for God) to create a man who would not (disobey him)?

Why "logically impossible"?

Next: You said...
When we would have been tempted in his place under the same circumstances, we (too) would presumably have fallen.

I wondered why you felt that way. You answered, "I don't think I'm cleverer, wiser or more God-loving than Adam.

Hmmm...

As I mentioned, if I had been there I don't see what would have been so difficult about leaving that one single tree alone.

Don

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#14

Post by Byblos » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:28 pm

DonCameron wrote:As I mentioned, if I had been there I don't see what would have been so difficult about leaving that one single tree alone.


Don, If you are so sure you can do that, how about we make a wager right now. You make a solemn promise to God that you will obey his commandments to the letter so you can gain your salvation on your own, using only your free will. I'll pay my end of the debt when and if I see you in heaven. How about it? Name the price.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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#15

Post by Turgonian » Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:33 pm

Don, I don't see either what the difficulty was in leaving that tree alone. The famous English poet John Milton speculates, in his grand epic Paradise Lost (one of the masterpieces of English literature), that it was for fear of losing Eve that he chose to eat the fruit. I do not know. However, I do know that Adam was created perfect by God and that he had a very, very strong communion with God -- and I'm sure he felt very grateful towards God and had a strong love for Him. That's the way he was created. Considering all this, I don't think that I would have held up under the same circumstances, being weak and sinful, in contrast to the strong and (still) sinless Adam.

So why 'logically impossible'? Well, I figured: if God could have created a man (with the property of free will) who would consistently have exercised his free will to not disobey, why didn't God do so? It would not be 'puppet love', for free will would have been involved, and there would have been no evil.
I believe (as I think everyone else here) that God foreknows all. The predestination debate is tricky and we won't get into that -- but God foreknew in any case that man, created as he was, would fall.
Then we have two options. One: God could have made a better man, but chose not to, for a good reason known only to Him. Two: God couldn't have made a better man. Affirming God's omnipotence, that implies to me that it would be simply impossible in any scenario to make a creature with all properties of 'man' that would not have fallen in the circumstances of the Fall.
The reason I don't choose option 1 (God could have made a better man, but chose not to) is that I can't conceive of a man who would be closer to God than Adam before the Fall.
The Bible says they were "willingly ignorant". In the Greek, this means "be dumb on purpose". (Kent Hovind)

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