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  #1  
Old May 11, '13, 1:59 pm
engdlyzp engdlyzp is offline
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Default Free will and God (my theory :p)

Hello,
well yesterday I was driving to work and I had one of those moments were I thought of something that just "made sense in my head" (anyone ever get those?) so just thought I'd share with you all.

Before I start, I don't know if this is the way it actually is. If it is, please excuse "my" theory.

So, I've been reading about how God have us our free will in his way to show how much he loves us. I've also read about how God is everything and can do anything he wants, therefore he knows whether we will go to heaven or hell.

That got me thinking that our free will isn't actually a free will since we are destined to whatever God already knows. So praying won't really help since God will do as he wants. Asking for help won't do anything since God will do as he wants. That was a bit disturbing to me, but I just decided to not give it much thought and hope to do my best so I get to go to heaven.

So yesterday as I was driving, I thought about the multiple/parallel/infinite universe theories that are out there and I tried to put it in my own perspective.

God gave us free will although him (God) knowing our outcome wouldn't I wouldn't really call if free will. Therefore a infinite universe* exist. If we pray or ask God for help he will listen. If we don't do anything then not much happens. Our choices are infinite and we have the actual choice of doing whatever we want and even though God can know what our choices will be, he chooses not to know. Therefore that is complete free will.

So what do you all think?

*From my understanding the multiple/parallel/infinite universe theories involve having many "me's" in different dimensions and what not. I do not believe that. The way I'm trying to explain is is that we have infinite choices so we can be anything and do anything but just once. So our choices have an effect on our time line and there is no way to travel to another dimension to a place where we made different choices since that does not exist.
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  #2  
Old May 11, '13, 2:19 pm
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curlycool89 curlycool89 is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

The question of free will and God is a difficult philosophical question because there's a lot of nuance involved.

I once read a philosophical defense (by John Perry) that tried to say that God is omniscient, but He does not "look" into the future to preserve our free will (for example, God has a box with all our future details in it, but keeps it closed). It's all a bit ridicules really, because is God really omniscient if He doesn't use His omniscience?

The best answer comes out of the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (6th Century). He gives the example of a chariot race, and asks if whether you presently watching the race determines the outcome because you see what is happening. The answer is, of corse, no.

God is the same way, He sees everything as present. This is because God is at all times. For God, every time is always the present to Him. God is present to see what you are doing 10 years from now and God is present now, and so right now he knows what you are going to do in 10 years because He's there; God is not within time, because He is outside of time.
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  #3  
Old May 11, '13, 6:30 pm
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TarkanAttila TarkanAttila is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

How does God's knowing what you will do prevent you, who neither knows nor is compulsed by God's foreknowledge, to freely choose whatever you want?

God is omnipotent by His nature. He must be. He is also omnipotent - capable of doing anything. But just because He is omnipotent or omniscient does not mean He wills everything He knows, or compels everything you do.

Ergo, free will is not at all contingent on non-omnipotence or non-omniscience.
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  #4  
Old May 11, '13, 6:31 pm
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Julian0404 Julian0404 is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

It sounds as if you are very close to embracing "predestination" as the governing principal in your life, and as the foundation of "humanity" as given by GOD. This is a serious error but easily embraced due to it's simplicity.

I would suggest you enroll in the local RCIA class as a refresher as well as read some books suggested by your parish priest to help you grasp the grace of your free will. It is not to "do nothing" as everything is predetermined, but instead to chose GOD in all our choices.
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Old May 11, '13, 6:49 pm
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Peter Plato Peter Plato is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

Quote:
Originally Posted by curlycool89 View Post
I once read a philosophical defense (by John Perry) that tried to say that God is omniscient, but He does not "look" into the future to preserve our free will (for example, God has a box with all our future details in it, but keeps it closed). It's all a bit ridicules really, because is God really omniscient if He doesn't use His omniscience?
I am not clear that freely not using a capacity entails a restriction on that capacity. If I am a brilliant strategist does that mean I cannot be brilliant unless I use that capacity to, say, rob a bank? Or if I am an absolute prodigy as an engineer but I choose not to build the longest bridge in the world, does that mean I cannot be endowed with superlative engineering prowess just because I choose not to use it for a specific purpose?

Why cannot God have the capacity to know all things but freely chooses not to? Having an absolute capacity for knowing need not nullify absolute freedom of determination in the case of God.
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Old May 11, '13, 10:35 pm
Aeden Aeden is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

Quote:
Originally Posted by curlycool89 View Post
The best answer comes out of the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (6th Century). He gives the example of a chariot race, and asks if whether you presently watching the race determines the outcome because you see what is happening. The answer is, of corse, no.

God is the same way, He sees everything as present. This is because God is at all times. For God, every time is always the present to Him. God is present to see what you are doing 10 years from now and God is present now, and so right now he knows what you are going to do in 10 years because He's there; God is not within time, because He is outside of time.
This is the single best answer I've ever heard to the free will and omniscience question. I love this answer. Sorry if the post isn't that substantive, I just wanted to say how awesome this explanation is.
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Old May 12, '13, 5:31 am
AlanFromWichita AlanFromWichita is offline
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Talking Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

When a husband asks the wife where to go for dinner, and the wife says, "wherever you want to go," this is NOT a free will choice for that man. If he really thinks it's about where HE wants to go, he is soon to get hurt. She gave him the choice so that she could see what he picked and from that deduce what's in his heart and how well he knows her.

Of course it isn't like that with all couples, or at least I've heard that it isn't.

What about God? Does God give us "free will" because He wanted us to have a choice in whether to get a blue car or a red car, or to test us to see whether we love Him? He sets before us a choice, one leading to life and the other death ... sounds more like a test than a choice, does it not?

Alan
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  #8  
Old May 12, '13, 9:09 am
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curlycool89 curlycool89 is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Plato View Post
I am not clear that freely not using a capacity entails a restriction on that capacity. If I am a brilliant strategist does that mean I cannot be brilliant unless I use that capacity to, say, rob a bank? Or if I am an absolute prodigy as an engineer but I choose not to build the longest bridge in the world, does that mean I cannot be endowed with superlative engineering prowess just because I choose not to use it for a specific purpose?

Why cannot God have the capacity to know all things but freely chooses not to? Having an absolute capacity for knowing need not nullify absolute freedom of determination in the case of God.
It is a possible answer, but philosophically it is what we'd call a weaker answer. In contemporary philosophy, stronger claims (for example, that God does know everything right now) are generally taken to be better than a weaker claim (for example, God could know everything but chooses not to).

Perry is a contemporary philosopher and I spent the last semester looking at Aquinas, so I may have just looked through an Aristotelian lens to get that answer.

To say that God could know everything puts God in a state of potentiality towards that knowledge (in the same way, I am in a state of potentiality towards knowing Greek, because I don't know Greek but I could). This, however, does not fit with God because God is pure actuality in the Aristotelean/Thomistic tradition (quick lesson - 1st actuality means I know Greek, 2nd Actuality means I am currently speaking Greek, or using that "power"). So God must necessarily know everything (be actually omniscient) to fit with the conception of God.

The reason God is pure actuality is that there needed to be a first unmoved mover to set the cosmos in motion (it's in Aristotle's Physics, I can't remember where at the moment).
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  #9  
Old May 12, '13, 11:58 pm
engdlyzp engdlyzp is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

Quote:
Originally Posted by curlycool89 View Post
The question of free will and God is a difficult philosophical question because there's a lot of nuance involved.

I once read a philosophical defense (by John Perry) that tried to say that God is omniscient, but He does not "look" into the future to preserve our free will (for example, God has a box with all our future details in it, but keeps it closed). It's all a bit ridicules really, because is God really omniscient if He doesn't use His omniscience?

The best answer comes out of the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (6th Century). He gives the example of a chariot race, and asks if whether you presently watching the race determines the outcome because you see what is happening. The answer is, of corse, no.

God is the same way, He sees everything as present. This is because God is at all times. For God, every time is always the present to Him. God is present to see what you are doing 10 years from now and God is present now, and so right now he knows what you are going to do in 10 years because He's there; God is not within time, because He is outside of time.
I think God would still be omniscient even if he chooses not to be at a moment. I do like your example though. The future will happen and it is something that we cannot avoid. It is something that was going to happen way before we were ever born. I think that the main thing would be the definition of free will and how one looks at it. To me free will would mean that God would not look at my future even though it is written, although even if he were to look at it nothing would change. It is a really deep topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TarkanAttila View Post
How does God's knowing what you will do prevent you, who neither knows nor is compulsed by God's foreknowledge, to freely choose whatever you want?

God is omnipotent by His nature. He must be. He is also omnipotent - capable of doing anything. But just because He is omnipotent or omniscient does not mean He wills everything He knows, or compels everything you do.

Ergo, free will is not at all contingent on non-omnipotence or non-omniscience.
It really doesn't prevent me, but I view it as not being free will. For example, if some guy gets out of jail but has to be on check up and in house arrest and whatnot, is he really free? He is free from jail but he is never really free. If God knows (which he can know) our future then I don't view us having an actual free will.

One thing I look at is when God gets "angry" at us in certain parts of The Bible. If God proactively knows something is going to happen, why would he get angry? Couldn't that be a sign that God chooses not to know what happens? Or what if God decides to know all of our possible outcomes and leaves it to us. He knows what could happen and lets us choose our path. If he wants to, he can know what we choose, but he could potentially choose not to.
Kind of like that guy from MIB 3 that can see the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian0404 View Post
It sounds as if you are very close to embracing "predestination" as the governing principal in your life, and as the foundation of "humanity" as given by GOD. This is a serious error but easily embraced due to it's simplicity.

I would suggest you enroll in the local RCIA class as a refresher as well as read some books suggested by your parish priest to help you grasp the grace of your free will. It is not to "do nothing" as everything is predetermined, but instead to chose GOD in all our choices.
I had never heard of predestination, I glanced through it really quick and it seems interesting! Although I will have to research it some more to really understand what it is.
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  #10  
Old May 13, '13, 12:16 am
engdlyzp engdlyzp is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Plato View Post
I am not clear that freely not using a capacity entails a restriction on that capacity. If I am a brilliant strategist does that mean I cannot be brilliant unless I use that capacity to, say, rob a bank? Or if I am an absolute prodigy as an engineer but I choose not to build the longest bridge in the world, does that mean I cannot be endowed with superlative engineering prowess just because I choose not to use it for a specific purpose?

Why cannot God have the capacity to know all things but freely chooses not to? Having an absolute capacity for knowing need not nullify absolute freedom of determination in the case of God.
This is really close to what I was thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanFromWichita View Post
When a husband asks the wife where to go for dinner, and the wife says, "wherever you want to go," this is NOT a free will choice for that man. If he really thinks it's about where HE wants to go, he is soon to get hurt. She gave him the choice so that she could see what he picked and from that deduce what's in his heart and how well he knows her.

Of course it isn't like that with all couples, or at least I've heard that it isn't.

What about God? Does God give us "free will" because He wanted us to have a choice in whether to get a blue car or a red car, or to test us to see whether we love Him? He sets before us a choice, one leading to life and the other death ... sounds more like a test than a choice, does it not?

Alan
Haha yea it does at times seems more like a test. In my case a really hard test!! I pray I pass it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curlycool89 View Post
It is a possible answer, but philosophically it is what we'd call a weaker answer. In contemporary philosophy, stronger claims (for example, that God does know everything right now) are generally taken to be better than a weaker claim (for example, God could know everything but chooses not to).

Perry is a contemporary philosopher and I spent the last semester looking at Aquinas, so I may have just looked through an Aristotelian lens to get that answer.

To say that God could know everything puts God in a state of potentiality towards that knowledge (in the same way, I am in a state of potentiality towards knowing Greek, because I don't know Greek but I could). This, however, does not fit with God because God is pure actuality in the Aristotelean/Thomistic tradition (quick lesson - 1st actuality means I know Greek, 2nd Actuality means I am currently speaking Greek, or using that "power"). So God must necessarily know everything (be actually omniscient) to fit with the conception of God.

The reason God is pure actuality is that there needed to be a first unmoved mover to set the cosmos in motion (it's in Aristotle's Physics, I can't remember where at the moment).
I hadn't thought about this before and it does make sense. Although that leaves us (in my opinion) in a semi free will. I could "choose" to not pray and not listen to God but in the end it was already a definite thing. I could also "choose" to be good and follow God, but in the end that would be the way it was suppose to be and it wouldn't be "free will".
Some say that God doesn't just show us a "video" of what choices we made and judge us from there. He doesn't do that since he wants us to know we have free will. But if everything is already written I don't see the free will in that.

Although in the end I am a joke when compared to God's infinite wisdom, so I am only looking at it from my limited point of view.
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Old May 13, '13, 12:48 am
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brian614 brian614 is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

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Originally Posted by engdlyzp View Post
This is really close to what I was thinking.


But if everything is already written I don't see the free will in that.
Your actually writing it right now, Just because God knows what you are going to write does not mean that you aren't writing it... At least that's how I look at it.
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Old May 14, '13, 6:34 pm
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curlycool89 curlycool89 is offline
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Default Re: Free will and God (my theory :p)

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Originally Posted by engdlyzp View Post
I hadn't thought about this before and it does make sense. Although that leaves us (in my opinion) in a semi free will. I could "choose" to not pray and not listen to God but in the end it was already a definite thing. I could also "choose" to be good and follow God, but in the end that would be the way it was suppose to be and it wouldn't be "free will".
I think the thing to remember is to keep the perspectives right.

God knows that you are going to pray in an hour (let's say) because God sees you praying at that time, but it not mean that you had to pray (in philosophical language, that you necessarily prayed); God is seeing you pray because you decided to pray.

But this is not God looking into a crystal ball and saying "What's he going to do in an hour?", it's just that God sees all time at once. Your praying was a contingent action, not a necessary one.

Free will becomes easier to understand when you connect it back to God, actually. This is because creation itself was ultimately a free act by God, and so freedom has been written into creation from the very beginning.

By the way, you are not the first to think of semi-free will; it's actually a position called Compatibilism (determinism is true and you have free will). It was mainly a British phenomenon, and it included thinkers like Hobbes, Hume, and Mill (personally I also put Leibniz here because of his insistence on no external relations).
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