Does God have Free Will?

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Does God have Free Will?

#1

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:23 pm

And if so, why is God not responsible for His free will choices? I am asking this question in this forum, because I'd like to know what Christians think about this topic, and where my logic is wrong (if it is wrong at all). If God is making a free will choice to allow some of His children into Heaven, then He is also making a free will choice by allowing His other children to be damned. This would make Him responsible for the damnation of His own children, by definition. A human father who chooses to allow his children to die, when he has the ability to save them at any time, would be considered a bad father in any human culture. Isn't this a contradiction in Christian doctrine? I am not atheist and I do believe in the possibility of the existence of a Supreme Being, but this contradiction seems to indicate that God, the way He is described by Christianity, cannot logically exist. What am I missing?

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#2

Post by BavarianWheels » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:38 pm

bwilderded1 wrote:And if so, why is God not responsible for His free will choices? I am asking this question in this forum, because I'd like to know what Christians think about this topic, and where my logic is wrong (if it is wrong at all). If God is making a free will choice to allow some of His children into Heaven, then He is also making a free will choice by allowing His other children to be damned. This would make Him responsible for the damnation of His own children, by definition. A human father who chooses to allow his children to die, when he has the ability to save them at any time, would be considered a bad father in any human culture. Isn't this a contradiction in Christian doctrine? I am not atheist and I do believe in the possibility of the existence of a Supreme Being, but this contradiction seems to indicate that God, the way He is described by Christianity, cannot logically exist. What am I missing?
God has free will, but it is constrained by his absolute righteousness. He cannot be anything but fair/right. So if a person chooses NOT to do what is righteous or as in humans, choose Christ to be our representative, then He has no choice but to follow through with Judgement. The rules are, perfect righteousness or death. If you're not seen as perfect you die. God can't just will you to be perfect...that would be dishonest. You must either stand alone or stand behind one that is righteous who has PAID the price of unrighteousness FOR YOU.
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#3

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:01 pm

why is God not responsible for His free will choices
Responsible to whom?
If God is making a free will choice to allow some of His children into Heaven, then He is also making a free will choice by allowing His other children to be damned.
None of God's children will go to Hell. All of God's children will be with Him forever. But not everyone is God's child--only those who believe in Jesus Christ for everlasting life.

God will certainly allow some of His creation to be damned, but that's no different from allowing Satan to be damned. God is morally absolute, and moral absoluteness requires absolute justice.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#4

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:18 pm

God has free will, but it is constrained by his absolute righteousness. He cannot be anything but fair/right. So if a person chooses NOT to do what is righteous or as in humans, choose Christ to be our representative, then He has no choice but to follow through with Judgement. The rules are, perfect righteousness or death. If you're not seen as perfect you die. God can't just will you to be perfect...that would be dishonest. You must either stand alone or stand behind one that is righteous who has PAID the price of unrighteousness FOR YOU.
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.[/quote]OK, but I think I misunderstood something in your response. If a being's free will is constrained for any reason, then that being doesn't have free will, by definition. If an all-powerful being's free will is constrained in any way, then it is being FORCED to do something that it doesn't want to do, which is impossible for an all-powerful being. In other words, in your explanation, there is no free will choice involved on God's part. Are you saying that God is described as being forced to damn His children? By whom? By His children? By Himself? They are both contradictory statements for an all-powerful being with free will.
I'm trying to find a weakness in my original statement, which is why I came to this site. I know that if I posted this question on an atheist or agnostic website, all I would get is people agreeing with me, and I'm not looking for that. I appreciate your response; please let me know if I'm being unclear with my rebuttal.

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#5

Post by cslewislover » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:37 pm

It sounds like you're going with the premise that humans are all God's children, but they're not. We become His children when we're adopted into His family and that way we inherit the kingdom. Humans in general are God's creation, not His children. God has free will - how could he not? But He also doesn't go against laws He made. He gave us free will so that we could decide whether we wanted to be with Him or not. If we want to be with Him, we will be adopted into His family. If we don't, we'll be separated from Him after we die. If I get the chance I'll look up some verses on this.
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#6

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:05 pm

Jac3510 wrote:
why is God not responsible for His free will choices
Responsible to whom?

I have no idea what you mean here. Human parents are both morally responsible FOR the welfare of their children, and human parents are morally responsible TO their children. Do you think that, because this particular God is described as all-powerful, that He is not morally responsible for the well-being of His children? Why? Might makes right? Just because His children are described as being too weak to FORCE God to be accountable for His actions, does not mean that God is absolved of moral responsibility for His actions.
If God is making a free will choice to allow some of His children into Heaven, then He is also making a free will choice by allowing His other children to be damned.
None of God's children will go to Hell. All of God's children will be with Him forever. But not everyone is God's child--only those who believe in Jesus Christ for everlasting life.

Interesting. I was born and raised Roman Catholic, and I distinctly remember being taught that God loves all of us as His children, not just the 30% of humanity worldwide that is currently Christian (or even the 15% of mankind that is currently Catholic).

God will certainly allow some of His creation to be damned, but that's no different from allowing Satan to be damned. God is morally absolute, and moral absoluteness requires absolute justice.
So you are agreeing with me that God is described as being responsible for damning well over 70%, maybe even more than 80% of HIS OWN children (I'm just saying that not all people who claim to be Christians make the cut either, right?). Remember though, that would be an EVIL act for any human father in any human culture, past or present. So why do you beilieve that this is not an evil act for your version of God? Because it says so in the Bible? If it looks like a duck, wals like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is defintely NOT a puppy. I believe that there is a huge logical contradiction that must be addressed before you can make any further comments on God's "moral goodness." It also makes the existence of a character described with these contradictions logically impossible. This logical contradiction must be cleared up before there is even a 1% chance that the Christian God can exist, because it undermines any consistency in this character's moral behavior. The deeds and words do not match, therefore the character described must be fictional, evil, or the authors of the book just screwed up royally in their description of Him.

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#7

Post by cslewislover » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:19 pm

You keep saying that God is damning people, and a huge percent of them, I might add. y:-? It's our choice whether we want to be with Him or not. He doesn't force us either way. You keep blaming him for actions that are our own responsibility. You're making God a scape goat. Whether one is saved or not because they haven't heard or read the gospel in a formal way I think would be a topic for another board, and no doubt it's been covered at this site.

Here's a link related to your questions: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/hell.html

There are also related articles listed underneath.

Here's another page that discusses it: http://www.rbc.org/questionsDetail.aspx ... &Topic=736
Last edited by cslewislover on Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#8

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:23 pm

cslewislover wrote:It sounds like you're going with the premise that humans are all God's children, but they're not. We become His children when we're adopted into His family and that way we inherit the kingdom. Humans in general are God's creation, not His children. God has free will - how could he not? But He also doesn't go against laws He made. He gave us free will so that we could decide whether we wanted to be with Him or not. If we want to be with Him, we will be adopted into His family. If we don't, we'll be separated from Him after we die. If I get the chance I'll look up some verses on this.
Thanks CSLEWISLOVER, I really enjoy CS Lewis as well. Since you are the second person who has mentioned that being God's creation does not equal being one of His children, then maybe I was taught incorrectly by the Catholic Church. OK, I'll call us His creations from now on. But you still have not explained how, if God has free will, He is not responsible for His choice to damn so many of His creations. Just because you say that He doesn't go against the laws He made, doesn't mean that He is FORCED to follow His laws and damn His creations. He can choose to NOT DAMN His creations, can't He? An all-powerful being can NEVER be forced to do anything. An all-powerful being ALWAYS has a choice, ALWAYS has free will, and is therefore ALWAYS responsible for His choices. You could never force God to damn you, He chooses to damn or save you according to His free will choice - and damnation or salvation is His responsibility, not ours. If my argument is correct (and I'm still not sure if I'm doing a good job of explaining it), then this is a major contradiction.

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#9

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:33 pm

cslewislover wrote:You keep saying that God is damning people, and a huge percent of them, I might add. y:-? It's our choice whether we want to be with Him or not. He doesn't force us either way. You keep blaming him for actions that are our own responsibility. You're making God a scape goat. Whether one is saved or not because they haven't heard or read the gospel in a formal way I think would be a topic for another board, and no doubt it's been covered at this site.

Here's a link related to your questions: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/hell.html

There are also related articles listed underneath.

Here's another page that discusses it: http://www.rbc.org/questionsDetail.aspx ... &Topic=736
Thank you, I will check out those links. But before I do I must say that your response, I think, has helped me identify our disconnect here. What I am saying is that I believe God is responsible for God's choices, and you are saying "No, God is not responsible for mankind's choices." You are addressing an invalid issue. I don't think I'm making God a scapegoat, I think that I've identified a contradiction that makes His existence impossible. Man may be responsible for Man's choices, but Man cannot FORCE God to do anything that God does not choose to do. Therefore God is responsible, by the definition of responsibility. Remember God is not being forced to damn anyone. He CANNOT be forced to damn anyone.

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#10

Post by zoegirl » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:50 pm

If He chooses to not damn His creation then He is not a JUST God. GOD is righteous and Just and while He may have free will (although that is tough application, OUR concept of free will is dependent on being constrained in time and space, finite creatures, free will with respect to God, whereas God is the supreme being, infinite, not fettered by time and space), but He cannot be with unrighteous.


But He cannot simply refuse to damn us. Being separated from God is a natural result of the fall. The relationship between Adam and Even and God was broken.

God is acting as a just judge here. Would you question a decision from a judge on the bench if the defendant were indeed guilty? As much as it pains and grieves the judge He will be just.

And if He isn't going to follow the dictates of justice, then as much as we *think* we ouwld like that, who would worship a God that isn't just??!?!

And you say that God is responsible, well, think about it, He is responsible for bringing about the salvation of people as well. His own son provides the satisfaction of the requirement of justice (guilt free, the spotless lamb) and people simply believe HIm....and STILL you have people who reject HIm.

So God is simply carrying out the verdict that people have decided
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#11

Post by cslewislover » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:56 pm

Do you think that if God really does exist and that He created everything, that He would then be considered more intelligent and creative and powerful than we are? If these things were true, and He created us, then should we believe what He tells us? Should we believe that God did in fact reveal knowledge and His will for us through the scriptures? I'm not asking at all in a factious way. I'm writing these questions because how you view the God of the bible and what He told us depends on them. No one knows all the answers. There are verses in the bible that talk of God's plan before time even existed, and all the details of His plan are not given.

If you go back to Genesis and Adam and Eve, it's very interesting. God gave us the choice to obey and eat of the tree of life, yet we disobeyed and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We went against him from the beginning. Did He know that would happen? If you believe He can know everything if He chooses, then yes, He knew. So why did He create us at all? I've heard a lot of pastors say it is because He wants someone to love Him freely. But why send the ones who don't want to love Him to hell? Doesn't that seem sadistic? God is love, but God is also holy. I think we really can't understand that, not being wholly holy ourselves yet. Holiness cannot hold darkness. If you choose not to be with God, and are not mediated by Jesus to be with Him, then you will still be in your sins and cannot enter the place where He is, the Holy place. It says in the bible that God wishes no one to go to hell. But His allowing us to have free will is a law, basically, with eternal consequences. You've probably heard all of this before; it's impossible for me to know. I guess since I believe in Him and I totally am convinced of His existence and work, I believe what He says. I also believe that there's a lot I don't know. It is indeed like we are children and He's the father - we're like Him, but not anywhere near enough.

I think to consider Him awesome in his intelligence and creation, but doubt his morality, even to the point of thinking that His creation is more moral than He is is . . . what? It's unrealistic, I guess.
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#12

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:20 pm

quote="zoegirl"]If He chooses to not damn His creation then He is not a JUST God. GOD is righteous and Just and while He may have free will (although that is tough application, OUR concept of free will is dependent on being constrained in time and space, finite creatures, free will with respect to God, whereas God is the supreme being, infinite, not fettered by time and space), but He cannot be with unrighteous.
So then we agree that the Bible describes a being that is choosing to damn us, right? A human character described in that way in any other book would be an evil character. I believe we would both agree on that. And the God of t he Bible cannot be deprived of His free will so God is always responsible for His choices.

But He cannot simply refuse to damn us. Being separated from God is a natural result of the fall. The relationship between Adam and Even and God was broken.
He CAN choose to not damn us. You act like there are only two possible choices available to an all-powerful being regarding our souls - salvation or damnation. God has unlimited choices for our souls, but He would still be responsible for every single one of those choices that He made. Our soul's destination is God's choice and therefore God's responsibility.
God is acting as a just judge here. Would you question a decision from a judge on the bench if the defendant were indeed guilty? As much as it pains and grieves the judge He will be just.
A human judge has "higher powers" to which he must answer (the law, his boss, etc.). These outside forces can interfere and effect a human judge's choice. They could even possibly force him to make a certain choice that he might not have otherwise made (ie: deprive him of a truly free-will choice). An all-powerful being answers to no one. But, if I'm right, He would be responsible for His own choices due to His own free will.
And if He isn't going to follow the dictates of justice, then as much as we *think* we ouwld like that, who would worship a God that isn't just??!?![/quote]
And you say that God is responsible, well, think about it, He is responsible for bringing about the salvation of people as well. His own son provides the satisfaction of the requirement of justice (guilt free, the spotless lamb) and people simply believe HIm....and STILL you have people who reject HIm.

So God is simply carrying out the verdict that people have decided[/quote]
I agree with you that such a God would also be responsible for the salvation of human souls. But I don't see how you can absolve this being of the responsibility for damning us.

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#13

Post by zoegirl » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:47 pm

Well, not to be smart, but....He is God. He is the ultimate righteous being.

You have this vision of God, I think bourne from bad theology and childhood thinking, of some pretentious arrogant being who doesn't think through the decisions HE makes ( I mean, you think His infiniteness somehow obligates HIm into a decsision which, again, would make Him unjust) up there playing some sort of game with people.

Let's think through some options here.

God makes people without any freedom to rebel against him. We worship Him but are simply robots

God makes people with the chance to rebel, we rebel (against our Creator). We are separated from Him. We are unrighteous. We have essentially said to God, forget you, we don't need you. You aren't the boss of me. We won't worship you. (to the ONE being in the universe that has the qualities that deserve to be worshipped)

Now God has some options.

Change the people....again, how is this not like making us robots?!?!?

Change the yourself. The main idea being, God is God, He deserves obedience, a relatinoship, worship Him. Now considering that God deserves worship, deserves obedience, declaring that disobedience is ok would be akin to Him declaring that He is not righteous, not deserving of worship. Um...not good. NOt an option

Ignore the rules. Forget about justice. Forget about the fact that people have rebelled and sinned and accept them anyway. Again, I ask you, would you do the same thing with a murderer?!??! A rapist. "Oh sorry that you committed this evil act, but go ahead and continue to live in society, we won't do anything if you commit more evil acts". Um, how just is this???!??!? NOt in my book. And I person''y wouldn't worhsip any God who isn't just.

Follow the rules. People have declared that they donot want to follow you. They want to be separated from you. You cannot change them, you cannot change yourself, you cannot accept them. They must be separate. Have a plan to send your own son to redeem people.

What other options (since you so blithely say that God has so many) are there!??!? Don't just say that. That is a common statement from atheists, back it up. Give just one option that God has that could fulfill HIS JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS and yet doesn't change a person's ability to remain a person
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#14

Post by cslewislover » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:57 pm

I guess she or he missed my post, huh?
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#15

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:01 pm

cslewislover wrote:Do you think that if God really does exist and that He created everything, that He would then be considered more intelligent and creative and powerful than we are? If these things were true, and He created us, then should we believe what He tells us? Should we believe that God did in fact reveal knowledge and His will for us through the scriptures? I'm not asking at all in a factious way. I'm writing these questions because how you view the God of the bible and what He told us depends on them. No one knows all the answers. There are verses in the bible that talk of God's plan before time even existed, and all the details of His plan are not given.

If you go back to Genesis and Adam and Eve, it's very interesting. God gave us the choice to obey and eat of the tree of life, yet we disobeyed and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We went against him from the beginning. Did He know that would happen? If you believe He can know everything if He chooses, then yes, He knew. So why did He create us at all? I've heard a lot of pastors say it is because He wants someone to love Him freely. But why send the ones who don't want to love Him to hell? Doesn't that seem sadistic? God is love, but God is also holy. I think we really can't understand that, not being wholly holy ourselves yet. Holiness cannot hold darkness. If you choose not to be with God, and are not mediated by Jesus to be with Him, then you will still be in your sins and cannot enter the place where He is, the Holy place. It says in the bible that God wishes no one to go to hell. But His allowing us to have free will is a law, basically, with eternal consequences. You've probably heard all of this before; it's impossible for me to know. I guess since I believe in Him and I totally am convinced of His existence and work, I believe what He says. I also believe that there's a lot I don't know. It is indeed like we are children and He's the father - we're like Him, but not anywhere near enough.

I think to consider Him awsome in his intelligence and creation, but doubt his morality, even to the point of thinking that His creation is more moral than He is is . . . what? It's unrealistic, I guess.
No, you're right - it's unrealistic. But it's more than unrealistic, it's a contradiction. If a book describes a human father character as a good father, and later on describes this father as allowing a large number of his children to drown in his own swimming pool when he could have saved them at any time, that father character would not be considered a good father in any human culture at any time in human history. Human morality would call this father both "evil" and "responsible for his children's deaths." I'm evaluating the Bible as I would any other book, because I cannot give it "the benefit of the doubt," as I think you might be doing, due to a logical contradiction in this father's character. The creation (us), in the case of the Bible, is MUCH more moral than the "God" who is described as having created us. This would be a major contradiction in any book. And regardless, God is still responsible, so this isn't even the main point. I do understand the dilemma. I think that maybe you are choosing to ignore the contradiction as something that "we just don't understand," instead of realizing that we are talking about a character in a book whose existence logically contradicts itself, not a God (at least not yet). It just seems to me that an all-powerful being with free will is, by definition, responsible for the final fate of His creations, for good or evil.
This is turning into such an interesting conversation, I appreciate your time and thoughts.
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