Does God have Free Will?

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
cslewislover
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#16

Post by cslewislover » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:20 pm

I wish I could remember the verse or verses where Paul writes of this, about the creation questioning the creator, but I can't, and it's too late today for me to be doing a lot of digging. I don't think I'm taking the bible or God blindly. I had doubts about God for a long time - I didn't become a Christian until I was 33. You said you like CS Lewis' works. Do you know how he became a Christian? He fought it a long time, but one day it just happened. He said that one moment while he was riding somewhere he didn't believe in God, and the next moment he did. Something happened to him - a switch or light went on in his soul. Something like that happened with me too, only a stronger thing than he described. Jesus himself made me know of him. If you know someone and you love them, and then they do something you don't understand, you don't automatically think they're bad. You give them the benefit of the doubt. Because I know personally that God is good, and I'm thankful for his salvation, I do try to understand Him. I'm aware of the unpleasant, hard-to-understand things in the bible, and certainly all of the awful things that happen now. I don't think I'm being naive in thinking that if you gave God a fair chance, that you'd understand Him more. And I'm very serious in saying that parts of His plan, perhaps most of it, are incomprehensible to us. That could lead to the same conclusion as some very good and intriguing stories: things are not what they seem.

As for thinking about things we don't understand, just think about time. Is it possible for us to understand any kind of life without time? Of course not. Yet He conceived of creation and knew of it all outside of time. I can't pretend to come near knowing what that truly means. That's where trust comes in. In the end, I mean a person's physical end, either you trust Him or you don't.

This is an afterthought, although related to my previous post. The Adam and Eve story goes deeper, I believe, than what is at first obvious. Humankind chose knowledge over life. Humans just love knowledge, don't they? And it's good. But it's not good to think that your knowledge is above God's gift of life. It seems like the pride in knowledge is what is keeping so many people from believing in God, and it's what is said about our first ancestors, Adam and Eve.
Last edited by cslewislover on Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#17

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:37 pm

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

This is where I believe our opinions differ. I believe that an all-powerful being with free will would, by definition, be responsible for the damnation of His creation. CSLEWISLOVER and I are discussing this in his posts as well. Therefore I believe that characteristics of the God described in the Bible actually contradict themselves in terms of moral goodness by human standards. This would make the creation more moral than the creator. This would be another contradiction. This makes the being described as a God in the Bible a fictional 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
Why is this not an option? God's actions would not be the actions of a good human father in any other book, why do you believe this particular book over any other?

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.
You are still pre-supposing that you are right, and that I am wrong, but I'm not sure if I understand your reasons for this position. We're talking about a description in a book. I still see the description of God in this book as contradictory.

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
I'm not an atheist, but I do understand their position (I just don't agree with it). They can back their arguments up with logic and reason, to the point where even I must admit that there is a logical possibility that they could be right. But I cannot see any logical possibility that Christianity is the Truth. That's why we're having this discussion.

cslewislover
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#18

Post by cslewislover » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:40 pm

Have you read Mere Christianity, or any of Lee Strobel's works?
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bwilderded1
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#19

Post by bwilderded1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:11 pm

cslewislover wrote:Have you read Mere Christianity, or any of Lee Strobel's works?
I don't believe that I've read any of Lee Strobel's books. I have a copy of Josh McDowell's book: More Than A Carpenter. I have no idea if those two authors have anything in common at all, it just seemed like a good thing to write at the time. :esmile: I believe that anyone can have faith in any god, because faith does not require logic or reason to back it up. I'm not saying that all faith is illogical or unreasonable, but I think that, if I can eliminate those gods whose existences are actually disprovable, then I can eventually come closer to (or maybe even find) the Truth.

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#20

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:20 am

bwilderded1 wrote:I'm not an atheist, but I do understand their position (I just don't agree with it). They can back their arguments up with logic and reason, to the point where even I must admit that there is a logical possibility that they could be right. But I cannot see any logical possibility that Christianity is the Truth. That's why we're having this discussion.
That just sounds like a matter of your own personal opinion.

Given you see no possibility that Christianity can be true, can I ask why you are posting on these forums. Please read the board purpose and the intended audience of this board.

Thank you,
Kurieuo

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#21

Post by zoegirl » Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:22 am

zoegirl wrote: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
bewildered wrote:Why is this not an option? God's actions would not be the actions of a good human father in any other book, why do you believe this particular book over any other
YOu would be asking a morally pure, righteous being to essentially become less than that. By definition, God is worthy to be worshipped. Anything less than that means that, not only is He not GOd, but He is not worthy to be worhsipped. He cannot do that. He is righteousness.

DO you really apply your own logic to human relations?!?!? A human father establishes that, by following his rules, his child will remain safe. "Don't go out into the street" "Don't drink that cleaner"....pick your rule.

How is this father a bad father if, understanding how the creation works, he provides consequences for the disobedience, the child did not listen to the father?!

God established that at creation. In fact, ridiculously enough, He had only one rule. DOn't eat from that particular tree. Eat everything else, enjoy the best possible worlds, enjoy a relationship with me, the ruler and creator of the universe, Enjoy the best relationship with the partner I made from you, enjoy the most beautiful world I have made for you, It is GOOD.

And we essentially said to HIm "Shove off, we don't need you, we won't listen to you, you aren't the boss of me".

You essentially keep asking why damn those....but God HAS provided a way, His SON!! And those that reject HIm are still disobeying and choosing their own rule instead of God's.

As to why I follow this particular book, that indeed would be another topic.
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"

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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#22

Post by cslewislover » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:35 am

bwilderded1 wrote:
cslewislover wrote:Have you read Mere Christianity, or any of Lee Strobel's works?
I don't believe that I've read any of Lee Strobel's books. I have a copy of Josh McDowell's book: More Than A Carpenter. I have no idea if those two authors have anything in common at all, it just seemed like a good thing to write at the time. :esmile: I believe that anyone can have faith in any god, because faith does not require logic or reason to back it up. I'm not saying that all faith is illogical or unreasonable, but I think that, if I can eliminate those gods whose existences are actually disprovable, then I can eventually come closer to (or maybe even find) the Truth.
There have been a lot of people with your concern about having a logical, rational basis for their faith (I think everyone does to a certain degree, anyway). CS Lewis was very concerned with this, and Mere Christianity is just one of his works on it (he looked at other religions too). I've only read one of Lee Strobel's books so far, The Case for Christ. There's plenty of logic there for affirmation of Christ's existence and what He said. Did you read my last big post, and the added last paragraph? If in a person's heart of hearts, if they don't want to believe in Christ, they can think of all kinds of ways to deny him. Obviously people have used their knowledge of the natural world to maintain their stance that things are here and change by chance, yet God says that the natural world is a testimony to Him. So these people choose to look at it that way - and it's their choice. Will their denial of God in this way help You personally? Do they care about you, or only that you come along to their side?

As for the bible and people being more moral than God in it, will you give some examples? I'd like to know more of what it is you're talking about. In any case, there's a lot of negative seeming things in the bible, but there's more positive, if I can make that judgement off-hand. I can say that because God does talk of His love for Israel and his plan of redemption for all (who accept it) in the Old Testament, and the New Testament is basically all positive. I don't like the movie Pollyanna very much, but the message is good. There's a preacher in town who is always preaching "fire and brimstone." She points out to him one day (I think because her father had been a preacher too), that there are a lot more verses dealing with love than with damnation.

Again I'd like to point out that people are His creation, and of the highest order (along with angels - both dangerous), but not automatically His children. This makes quite a difference in your argument. Angels are His creation too, yet a good number are working against Him. Is that making anything better? Of course not. Creatures that have been given free will cannot be wholly controlled in an environment where they are free to make choices. A lot of people recommend reading CS Lewis' The Great Divorce. It's on the topic of hell. I hadn't mentioned it yet since it's been a long time since I've read it, but I've seen some other posts where people have said they found it useful.
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#23

Post by BavarianWheels » Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:08 am

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Humanly speaking...do you have the free will to take a hammer in your right hand and placing your left hand flat on the ground, swing that hammer and smash your left hand to a pulp? Because you have the free will to do so, is your free will inhibited because you don't smash your hand? Likewise, speaking of God, it is NOT within his nature (being absolute righteousness) to go against His own nature. He cannot. If God could just wipe out sin with no consequence, why then did He send His son to die in the manner which we are told and believe He did? God created human's with a mind and ability to choose...choose right from wrong, good from bad.

Do you have children? Do you have a pet? Is there anything or anyone you love? If so, what kind of love do you want back from them? Forced or free? God doesn't "damn" anyone who hasn't chosen to be "damned". As for those that WE believe haven't chosen God or not...we trust God, being Just, will judge them fairly.
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Re: Does God have Free Will?

#24

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:15 pm

bwilderded1 wrote: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.
No, parents are not morally responsible to their children. They are morally responsible to society and to God to protect their children. In other words, if you have a child, you are under certain constraints as to how you will treat them.

So tell me, what are these constraints that are higher than God? If you can answer that, then you are, by definition, talking about a God other than the God of Christianity. If you can't answer that, then we've found the flaw in your reasoning, which is what you were asking for in the OP.

Now, whether or not we can humanly justify Hell is a different topic. It's not so hard, and we can get into it, but not until you at least recognize what you asked for in the first place, which is the flaw in your original thinking.
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?

#25

Post by Biblicist » Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:41 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?
What you are asking is termed “Theodicy” by theologians, and means simply, Why is there evil?” From Wikipedia Theodicy (adjectival form theodicean) is a specific branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to reconcile the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the belief in an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God, i.e., the problem of evil.

In a later post of your's you assert that if God's will is constrained in any way that it is not free. This is true. But the definition of free will is not contradicted by this. Libertarian Free Will is defined as being able to choose among alternatives.

What you are asking goes to the roof of much argument in Christianity, and philosophy in general.

Because God's will is “constrained” does not mean it is not free, even in the Libertarian Free Will sense.

There are three fundamental presuppositions which differentiate, for example, Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic theologies.

These three presupposions can be more easily remembered by a simple acronym:

DOV. Determinism; Occasionalism; and Voluntarism.

It is the last of these which deals with your question. The non-Calvinist denies each of the above.

Voluntarism means that God can do anything and by definition it is good.
The contrary to Voluntarism is Essentialism which means that God's will is constrained by His nature. Scripture states that God cannot lie, for example.

Depending upon your interest I could either go into further detail here, or recommend an excellent book (s) to read on this subject.

Back to your question, God chose to give man free will. It is impossible for one to love without having free will and indeed having free will is the essence of rationality. Free will is one of the main factors in God creating man in His image.

Because of the great amount of false teaching in Christianity today with respect to salvation it is no wonder that many are driven into atheism or agonistism, or worse. But in fact, God is a much better FATHER than you can imagine. He has done all that is necessary for you to be saved from your sins and to be blessed forever, and is ready, willing and able to give you the free gift of salvation, everlasting life.

Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Biblicist "Believe in Christ for Eternal Life"

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