Does God Have Free Will?


#1

I looked for a pre-existing thread on this topic and did not find it.

But if God exists outside the flow of time, then does He have free will?


#2

I think He only wills one thing, but He willed/wills it freely.


#3

He freely willed creation. He freely contracted w Adam and Eve a glorious, protected existence in Eden. He freely punished them when they failed Him. He freely plans to bring us home to Him in heaven. He sent His Son, freely, to suffer and die for us to open the gates of heaven once again, so we could come back to Him. Thank you Jesus. Jesus, who cried out,"Father if you could take this cup from me,please. But not my will but Thine be done."God has the free will to be filled up w mercy to pour out on us as we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord. Yes, God has free will.

in Christs love
tweedlealice :slight_smile:


#4

It sounds like a line of questioning frequently posted by a certain member in the Philosophy forum, not to name names. Still, it’s an interesting question. Does free will require time? We think of free will as existing in time; there is a prior time, then we will, then we act, then there are consequences, and so on. That is not to say that free will couldn’t exist at some higher, timeless level. We just can’t imagine what it would be like.


#5

I don’t think we can say God has a free will. That only applies to us. Having free will means that we can either choose for or against God. God is himself. He has a will, he can will anything he wants to and whatever he wills is good.

There’s no standard above God which he has to adhere to. There’s no good or bad choice that transcends God. Good is choosing God, bad is not choosing God.


#6

God can’t sin. It’s impossible. Having free will means that we have the option to sin. Aquinas writes,“To sin is to fall short of a perfect action; hence to be able to sin is to fall short in action, which is repugnant to omnipotence.”

God can’t sin because it’s logically impossible because he is omnipotent. It would be like asking God to make a non-existent cat that exists or a square circle. Such concepts are meaningless contradictions; these challenges to God ultimately boil down to gibberish, nonsensical word play.


#7

Searching for threads in the Philosophy forum with both words “God” and “will” in the title, I found quite a few. They raise several arguments, perhaps inter-related and perhaps even equivalent, that God does not have free will (or at least not as we understand it in human terms). One argument is based on time, as your original post. Another is based on his perfection; since he is perfect, how can he choose other than to do that which is the most good? (See this thread from 5 years ago, also titled “Does God have free will?”) Another is based on his omniscience; since God knows all his acts, how does that leave room for choice or will?

Good luck in your quest for truth!


#8

Ludwig Ott says it is dogma that God created the world freely, without any necessity: “God loves Himself of necessity, but loves and wills the creation of extra-Divine things, on the other hand, with freedom. (De fide.)”

I think he got this from Canon 1.5 of the First Vatican Council: “[Whoever] holds that God did not create by his will free from all necessity, but as necessarily as he necessarily loves himself; or denies that the world was created for the glory of God: let him be anathema.”


#9

Sorry, I meant to say that God doesn’t have free will in the way that us humans do; we can choose to sin against God. Sure God is free and not a robot. God’s a person. He chose to create the universe freely, he wasn’t programmed or obligated to. But God can never sin because that would be a logical contradiction.


#10

:thumbsup: That is my understanding as well.

Except perhaps where you say “God’s a person.” I would say He is three Persons. But you probably agree with that as well. :slight_smile:


#11

Yes, three persons, one being. You seem like a smart guy. I’m wondering what you think about this: if being omnipotent means doing all things that are logically possible (God can’t sin or make a square circle) then how do you explain the resurrection? Surely atheists would claim that the resurrection isn’t logically possible. Anyway I could refute this?


#12

Perhaps this quote from Lewis could shed some light: “[God’s] omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to him, but not nonsense.”


#13

Thanks!

I’m wondering what you think about this: if being omnipotent means doing all things that are logically possible (God can’t sin or make a square circle) then how do you explain the resurrection? Surely atheists would claim that the resurrection isn’t logically possible. Anyway I could refute this?

I think you could refute this using the laws of logic.

In order for a statement to be logically impossible, it has to violate one of the three fundamental laws of logic: the law of identity, the law of contradiction, or the law of excluded middle. By using those laws to examine the statement “a dead person could live again,” you can show that it does not violate any fundamental law of logic, and is therefore logically possible.

The law of identity states that any statement is the same as itself. An atheist might say the statement we are looking at violates this law because it implies that a dead person is not dead. But our statement does not imply that. It implies that a Resurrected person is not dead. The resurrection is different from a zombie scenario because Jesus is not undead, He is at least as alive as you and me.

The law of contradiction says that a statement cannot be both true and false in the same way and at the same time. An atheist might say that our statement violates this law because our doctrine implies that Jesus, as God, was both dead in the tomb and alive as God at the same time. But this argument forgets that the law of contradiction is not violated when something is asserted to be both true and false in two different senses. Jesus was dead physically, but was alive spiritually. Those are two different ways of being alive, so our statement does not violate the law of contradiction.

The law of excluded middle says that every statement is either true or false. This gets close to where the battle rages with the atheists: they say the Resurrection is false, and we say it is true. But we do Not say that it is both true and false, and neither do the atheists, so neither our statement nor theirs violates the law of excluded middle.

There you have it! The Resurrection does not violate the laws of logic, and therefore it is logically possible. The question then moves to whether there is evidence for it. But that should be the subject of another thread.

I hope that helps. :thumbsup: God bless!


#14

Wow thank you! There’s something I could put in my theology journal.


#15

Thank you everyone for your responses, and the Beryllos for the link.

An atheist friend of my wife’s asked her to ask me this question as it related to the Euthyphro Dilemna. It has been a while since I read up on the subject or discussed it with anyone, and concerning the question of God’s sovereignty over good the question of His Free Will came up, and I said He does not have Free Will due to being outside the flow of time, but then I started having second thoughts.

So I knew I could get help here, and thanks again!


#16

It’s a false dilemma. God is goodness and goodness is God.


#17

On one hand, God can do whatever he wants.

On the other hand, God has self-imposed limitations. For example, he won’t break his covenants.


#18

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