Free will and God himself


#1

If god knows from the beginning without a doubt that I am going to die an atheist, can I change and become a theist?


#2

we cannot know the mind of God and should not test God. Faith is a theological virtue and a gift from God. It is God’s will that we all be saved, but He gives us free will to know, love, and serve Him.


#3

So, god doesn’t want you to understand him? It seems pretty simple to me. If someone knows without a doubt what is going to happen, then you can not change it. (no free will)
Does anything happen that is not your gods will? If not, isn’t everyone going to be saved? What are You saved from? Could you not use faith to justify belief in anything?


#4

Are you referring to God as someone who knows without a doubt what is going to happen or yourself? There is free will in every decision you make and that is a grace from God for you to do with it what you will No it is not God’d will that we go out and destroy our lives by going against the commandments and risking our eternal souls. You ask what we are saved from, an eternity in oblivion and will never have the chance again to redeem our lives.Faith is what leads to Love itself and His name is Jesus I hope one day you find your way to Him…Will remember you in my prayers…God Bless you :butterfly::butterfly::butterfly:


#5

“there is absolutely no predestination to sin as a means to eternal damnation.”

According to the doctrinal decisions of general and particular synods,

  • God infallibly foresees and immutably preordains from eternity all future events (cf. Denzinger, n. 1784),
  • all fatalistic necessity, however, being barred and human liberty remaining intact (Denz., n. 607).
  • Consequently man is free whether he accepts grace and does good or whether he rejects it and does evil (Denz., n. 797).
  • Just as it is God’s true and sincere will that all men, no one excepted, shall obtain eternal happiness, so, too, Christ has died for all (Denz., n. 794),
  • not only for the predestined (Denz., n. 1096),
  • or for the faithful (Denz., n. 1294),
  • though it is true that in reality not all avail themselves of the benefits of redemption (Denz., n. 795).
  • Though God preordained both eternal happiness and the good works of the elect (Denz., n. 322),
  • yet, on the other hand, He predestined no one positively to hell, much less to sin (Denz., nn. 200, 816).
  • Consequently, just as no one is saved against his will (Denz., n. 1363),
  • so the reprobate perish solely on account of their wickedness (Denz., nn. 318, 321).
  • God foresaw the everlasting pains of the impious from all eternity, and preordained this punishment on account of their sins (Denz., n. 322),
  • though He does not fail therefore to hold out the grace of conversion to sinners (Denz., n. 807),
  • or pass over those who are not predestined (Denz., n. 827).
  • As long as the reprobate live on earth, they may be accounted true Christians and members of the Church, just as on the other hand the predestined may be outside the pale of Christianity and of the Church (Denz., nn. 628, 631).
  • Without special revelation no one can know with certainty that he belongs to the number of the elect (Denz., nn. 805 sq., 825 sq.).

Pohle, J. (1911). Predestination. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm

Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum: http://patristica.net/denzinger/


#6

If God knows that you will die an atheist, it is only because you die an atheist. His knowledge does not cause you to die an atheist, your choice to die as an atheist is the source of God’s knowledge.

You have the cause and affect backwards. God doesn’t know things by causing them to occur, He knows them because that it what occurs. All of eternity exists as an ever-present NOW to Him. To use your example, let’s say you do die an atheist. From God’s perspective, you will die an atheist, are dying as an atheist, and have died as an atheist, simultaneously. All states are equally present to Him, eternally.

Yes, God knows without a doubt whether or not you will be an atheist when you die, but it is not because He is causing that reality, but rather because that it what happens. If, on the other hand, you become a believer and die in that state, then God knows that you will die a theist. Your oscillating back and forth in life doesn’t cause God’s knowledge of the final outcome to change because there can only be one final outcome, based on your final choice.


#7

You’re asking two distinct and different questions. They operate in different realms.

So… yes, you do have the power to ‘change’. It’s inherent in your human nature.

And yes, God does know what you’ll decide to do.

However, what you’re trying to do here is say “if God knows something, am I powerless to change it?”. That’s not how God’s omnipotence works. He doesn’t cause these things to happen, so He doesn’t thwart your ability to make things happen.


#8

No, it was just one question. What do you mean by " different realms"? How do I change and become a theist If god knows without a doubt that I will die an atheist? If I can change and become a theist, doesn’t that mean that your god doesn’t know everything?


#9

If god knows without a doubt that I will die an atheist, how can I change and become a theist? If I change and become a theist doesn’t that mean that your god doesn’t know everything?


#10

I’m sorry, but I have to ask. Are you being intentionally obtuse? It’s like you didn’t read anything that I, or any of the other posters, actually wrote.

If you change and become a theist, then God doesn’t know you die an atheist, He knows you die a theist. You only die once, and you only have one specific state when you die. God knows that state, whatever it may be.

God knows what is, by virtue of the fact that it is. Whatever your final state is in life, God knows that. He can’t “know” you die an atheist if you actually die a theist, because you don’t die an atheist, you die a theist.
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.
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If God knows you die an atheist, then that it because, at the end of your life, you are an atheist. He did not make you that way, it is the sum result of your choices. If, prior to your death, you chose to become a theist, and remain one until you die, then God knows that you die a theist. His knowledge is of what is, whatever that may be.


#11

I haven’t really read others’ responses, but what I would say is this:

God knows everything. God is also outside of time. That means the past, present, and future is not how God thinks.

God sees everything at once. He does know your future; he knows what you will choose. He would know if you go to Heaven or not.

But he also gives you free will. He lets you choose if you want Him or not because He will not force His love on you, making you a robot. Through sin we separated ourselves from God. WE were the ones who decided this. God may know if you will go to Heaven, but that does not mean He will give you less graces or will treat you less. YOU are ultimately the decider in this. God just watches from above and patiently waits for you to ask for Him. So in a way, our choices can predetermine where we will go in the next life.


#12

Actually, I did read your post and the others. You may want to think about my question a little more. It doesn’t matter either way. If I die an atheist or a theist and your god knows which one, I can not change and become the other.


#13

Gosh i understand that, and that fact scares me and requires severe digestion. I kust mever thought of it like that. I wish i could memorize it. Perhaps you could whittle it dowm for me knowing that i believe the basics
Thanks


#14

You can change and become the other. God’s knowing of that is just Him knowing. That’s it. It doesn’t affect anything whatsoever.


#15

No, it really is a matter of two distinct concepts, which you’ve sandwiched into a single question.

By “different realms” I mean that your thoughts, choices, and actions happen within the framework of the created universe. That means that they happen within a temporal context. (Yesterday, you thought that chocolate ice cream was the best in the world. Today, you’re thinking that vanilla is better. Tomorrow, you might order pistachio.) Each of the thoughts, choices, and actions that you take belong to you – you have free will, and therefore, you are making actual decisions. No one is forcing your hand (well, unless your girlfriend gives you a look and asks, “don’t you think that pistachio ice cream is the best in the world?” (“Why… umm… yes, dear.”)

However, God created the universe. That means that He’s not constrained by it. He exists outside of space and time (in other words, He’s not “the man with a grey beard in the sky”). His knowledge is complete and immediate. (That is, He doesn’t learn stuff, and He doesn’t experience it sequentially in a temporal time-frame. Rather, He knows everything, all at once.)

Two different realms; two different frames of reference. Your question kinda tries to conflate the two, but they’re distinct. That’s why there’s really two questions going on in your OP.

You do what you do, because you want to do it. God also knows what you will do, but doesn’t force you.

If you want to become a theist, and do it, God knows. If you want to remain an atheist, God knows. He doesn’t force your hand, though, nor does he prevent you from doing anything.

Nope.


#16

Go back and read my question again. Think about it. If god knows without a doubt that, If I die an atheist or a theist, I can not change and become the other. Did your god have options in what kind of universe he created?


#17

Go back and read my answer again… and think about it. :wink:

Whatever you decide, God knows the answer. It’s not that God is forcing your hand – it’s that, whatever you choose, God knows.

Yep. And he chose what we’re experiencing.


#18

(Shortened for length)
Your question is nothing new, it gets asked here at least once a week. I have thought about it and answered it more times than I can count. I addressed it in my first post.

In one sense you are correct, if God knows that you are going to die an atheist, there is nothing you can do to change that.

HOWEVER

The cause an effect relationship is very important when considering this.

What you are arguing is that God’s knowledge is the cause of our choice. In reality, His knowledge is an effect of our choice.

If God knows you are going to die an atheist, it is only because at the moment of your death you are an atheist. Your state of being an atheist is what causes His knowledge to be what it is. If you do change, and become a theist before your death, then He KNOWS that you are going to die a theist. He never knew that you are going to die an atheist because you don’t die as an atheist God’s knowledge ifs a reflection of what is.

God knowing something does not negate the free will that goes into our choices. Take this conversation for example. God has known for all eternity that we were going to be having this conversation at this exact moment, and that I would be typing these exact words. That does not change the fact that I have made the choice to respond to your post. I could just as easily have chosen not to. Had I chosen not to, God’s knowledge would reflect that fact. He never would have known that I will respond to your argument because I never do.

Your problem stems from being unable or unwilling to consider the nature of God’s knowledge, and how it is different from our own. We learn things like this:

<—Past----Present----Future—>
We experience things as a sequence of events, the effect of each cause being unknown until we experience it.

God’s knowledge is like this:
O

It simply IS. There is no cause an effect, no gradual unveiling of the effects of each choice. It is absolute, complete. It contains all that ever was, is, or will be, equally present to God in an eternal Now. He knows the sums total of our choices, because from His perspective we will make them, are making them, and have made them simultaneously. Every moment of what we perceive of as time coexists simultaneously in God’s understanding. To Him, we will have this conversation, are having it, and have had it, all at once. The only reason He knows we have had it is because we are having it, and the only reason He knows we will have it is because we are having it. Our choice to have the conversation is the source of His knowledge of its potential and actualized existence.

Likewise, when I die, I will either go to Heaven or to Hell. God knows the final outcome because He knows the sum total of the choices I have made, am making, and will make in my life. This does not diminish the fact that they are my choices which I make freely. God does not cause them, but He does know them.


#19

I’m sorry, but could you clarify what exactly you want me to whittle down? I’d be happy to, I just need to know what you’d like expanded on.


#20

So, IF god had options in which Universe he chose, he chose this specific Universe. The Universe where I am an Atheist. Why would he choose to create a Universe where I choose ( I’m not convinced that belief is a choice, but I will use it here for the argument) not to believe in him and will be tortured for eternity? Why would he not choose to create a Universe that I choose to believe in him?


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