Question about free will...

I know all humans have free will to do whatever they want while alive here on earth, and God makes this very clear all thru out the bible, but I am wondering why a person who uses this free will and chooses to live life as they see fit INSTEAD of following God and his commandments, would be sent to hell/ place of suffering just for exercising their God given free will?

This sounds like a parent telling a young kid he can choose what he wants to do all day, but also let them know if they choose the ‘wrong’ thing, they will be punished later for it, this is not really free will in my opinion, its more like, Sure, do what you want in life, BUT… follow my rules, worship me, or else you will spend eternity suffering in a place of torment., yes there is a choice, but it is clear what will happen to us if we choose the wrong path.

In my opinion, if we had true free will, we would be free to choose and do whatever we like while alive here on earth, either enjoy the world and live a life dedicated to the world, or worship and follow any type of God we chose to, with no punishment in the afterlife for whatever choice we made. Doesnt this sound more like TRUE free will?

Just another flaw in Christianity. :rolleyes:

****I think you are looking at your analogy wrongly.

You can choose to do drugs or not, to follow traffic laws or not, accept the law of gravity or not, have miscellaneous unprotected sex or not etc etc etc.

You are free!

God’s laws point to happiness, life and the good. God has given us the chance to these things by giving us His law (just as our traffic laws offer us a safe course, accepting gravity tells us we better not jump off buildings, etc etc).

God does not throw you into a hell… you do it to yourself!

When you try jumping off a building because you choose to accept the law of gravity…you break your legs or die.

When you choose to break the traffic laws and neglect red lights or go the wrong way down a One Way…there are consequences

If you choose to have miscellaneous unprotected sex…there are consequences!

So too when we go against Gods law. The laws where not the heavy hand of a God…but a liberating and lifegiving gift!

People always look at the story of the ten commandments and separate the moment of the people getting the commandments from the story prior to them receiving this gift. The people were a nomad people without a home, a culture, a place in the world and they were in slavery to the Egyptians dying while being worked to death. …God goes to battle for them, frees them, feeds and guides them in a dessert and makes them his own! THEN…He gives the laws…the laws being to give them a home, a culture, a way to live. They are happy when they are given the law!

As too should we be who choose to live under it! God did not need us…He permits us to share in His own blessed life and consciousness. The law is life-giving and sustaining…the world is made in such a way (as are we)…so that the law and how we are asked to live in this world is our natural habitat. If you choose to live outside it…you go against the grain and you suffer…you put yourself in your own hell. AND …you begin living out that hell here on earth (after death when time stops…it simply becomes permanent).

God bless

Our existence is about love. To love someone (God or other humans) requires a free will - freely choosing to love. God created us out of love and He desires us to love Him and others.
LOVE MEANS DESIRING AND DOING WHAT IS FOR THE GOOD OF THE OTHER PERSON.

Because of His love for us, one of the things God has done is to reveal which acts are good and beneficial to us and which acts are harmful to our well being. We show our love for ourselves and for Him by trusting His word and choosing to do what He wants us to do.

This sounds like a parent telling a young kid he can choose what he wants to do all day, but also let them know if they choose the ‘wrong’ thing, they will be punished later for it, this is not really free will in my opinion, its more like, Sure, do what you want in life, BUT… follow my rules, worship me, or else you will spend eternity suffering in a place of torment., yes there is a choice, but it is clear what will happen to us if we choose the wrong path.

It’s actually like a parent telling a child “you shall not run out into the street because if you do you will get killed”. The parent tells the child this because he loves his child and desires his well-being. If the child chooses to disobey and runs out into the traffic and is killed, his death is not a punishment inflicted on him by the parent; it is what results from his choice to reject his parent/reject his instructions.

[quote]In my opinion, if we had true free will, we would be free to choose and do whatever we like while alive here on earth, either enjoy the world and live a life dedicated to the world, or worship and follow any type of God we chose to, with no punishment in the afterlife for whatever choice we made. Doesnt this sound more like TRUE free will?

As I said above, what you call “punishment in the afterlife” is merely what you freely choose (to reject God - His thoughts/teaching) - to choose not to be united to Him. That is hell – eternity separated from God.
[/quote]

No, because if that were true it would mean that Christ’s life, passion, and death were meaningless. Evil is real and unless it is punished it would be universally pervasive, human life would be impossible. It would mean that the totality of Divine Revelation is a lie, that God is a lier. Do you think God is a lier?

If these ideas of yours are serious and not just idle thinking, it would indicate a serious fault in your spiritual life. Catholics are not free to entertain such ideas. Rather they should be dismissed as temptations. Ignore them whatever their source and steep yourself in the spiritual life and the life of the Church and the Sacraments. And study your Catechism !!! vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

Linus2nd

Yikes!
Too much indoctrination by consumerist media, I fear.
Free does not mean what you think it does.
You are free to do what you want, but that act and its consequences ripple through time. That is why there is a final judgement, where all actions are seen to their ultimate conclusion.

Friend OP, imagine this:

A father places his son at a crossroads and says “You can take any path, but only one leads home.” The father even points out which path is the one that leads home.

Now imagine the son saying, “But that’s not fair; I should be able to go north, south, east or west, and still arrive at home!”

Free will means the ability to choose something. It does not mean the ability to choose anything, even opposite things, and get the same result.

I really like Equites Christi’s answer.

Here’s the way I look at it, we are free to choose whatever we want, but those choices make us different people. We can choose to tell the truth and become an honest person, or to tell a lie and become a liar. We can choose to return money when someone gives us too much change, or steal money from a gas station; both these options also make us into different people.

When we choose, our choices form us as a person and this is reflected in our soul, which we can’t see but God can. When we choose good things, our souls become good. When we choose bad things, our souls become bad (like if we choose to be liars, or thieves, or murderers). In the end, only good souls go to heaven, because bad souls, having freely chosen to be bad, cannot stand to be in the presence of such an all-good being (which is God). And if you’ve ever talked to someone who bends the rules a lot or simply doesn’t care much for “church rules,” it’s often evident that these people resent being around people who are “goody-goodys”. How much more might they resent standing before someone who has never done anything bad?

Or another way of phrasing your question, it’s like saying I should be able to do whatever I want even if it means hurting other people and there should be no consequences. There are actually quite a few people who live their lives this way and everything works out. They never have to talk to or deal with the people they hurt, they never have to think about them. But God does, and the consequences that come to those who, through their actions/inactions/words, have hurt others can then be seen as justice for the people who have been hurt.

I hope this helps.

I know plenty of people who are honestly good people, they do nothing to harm anyone else, they help others in need, whether it be giving them money, or food, or something else they can use. yet they also choose not to have God in their lives, and not attend or be affiliated with any church of belief system, so this person is sending themselves to hell, just for living life they way they see fit, and this particular type of life is not really suffering, so they are not experiencing any type of hell on earth, and therefore, after they die, I would expect this would continue on a permanent basis(as mentioned above) so it will just be a life without God, that may be a good thing in many peoples eyes, so it will not be the hellish torture in everyones case.

Thanks for all the great replies!

Hi mikekle,

I see a lot of snares in the last message you posted but someone wiser than me will have to start that discussion; however I do want to comment on the last part there, which I touched on in my last post:

All good things come from God. All of them. So the little things that happen in our lives, the fortunate coincidences and “lucky” breaks, they are all sent from God. And when we do good things for others, we are responding to His prompts to us in our lives to do good things, so these also are from God.

A place without God is a place where there are no good things: hell. As I touched on in my last post, there are those who, from what they do to themselves in this life, will not be able to stand in the presence of an all-good being, and so hell can almost be seen as God’s mercy. But think for a second what it would truly be like, to be in a place without God, that is without ANY good thing, and with other people who are also not good.

How can this happen to a person who has done good deeds, some of them exceedingly good deeds, perhaps all their lives? Their sins rack up. These are the little things we all do day-to-day and the big things that we do on occasion that we (or most of us) really feel guilty about for long times afterward. For Catholics, we have confession where we are washed clean in the blood of Jesus, to free us from our sins. Others do not have this.

However I’m not so quick to write off those who are not in the faith as going to hell. First, you know in law, ignorance is not an excuse. You can’t say to an officer who pulled you over, sorry, I didn’t know the speed limit was 25mph so I was doing 60, you’ll still get a ticket. But with God, ignorance is an excuse (true ignorance). Mother Theresa said something to the effect, if you are not Christian, then be a good Jew, be a good Muslim or whatever. You will be judged then according to how good a person you were to the best of your ability to be a good person (you have a conscience, did you follow it? did you follow the rules of your moral conduct?). Second, there are people in the faith who pray ceaselessly for the conversion and spiritual well-being of others, and I think their prayers do a lot more for the good of others than we maybe know.

My friend
God gave us free will so that we would love Him by our choice. In the same way He gave free will to the angels before man was created. They had the free will to rebel against Him. As we do.

Free will without the restraint of Law or moral code or common sense will always result in chaos which is exactly what Lucifer wants.

We have the freedom to oppose God’s will in the same sense that we have the freedom to jump off a cliff-but it will produce only harm and no happiness/satisfaction in the end.

God will not force anybody to be with him. He created us to share his love with us but if we reject him then he will not force us to be with him in Heaven. Hell was created for Satan and the other angels who chose to reject God and any human who rejects God will be given what they want. We show whether we want to be with God through our faith and works.

Yes, and hell is a place of torment and suffering, In my opinion, just because a person chooses to live their life without God in it, that does not mean they should be sent to the same place as a group of fallen angels who had MUCH worse intentions and actually enjoy the torment of Gods humans, There is a HUGE difference in a fallen angel who wants to be God and be worshipped, and actively attempts to interfere in humans lives to accomplish this and a person who simply wants to live a ‘worldly’ life and not worship any god, even though they still are good to other people and are nice people in general.

Catholic teaching is that there are different levels or degrees of hell - just as there are different levels of heaven.

Eg. From the Council of Florence:
web.archive.org/web/20110724134447/http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma7.php

  1. …And that the souls of those, who after the reception of baptism have incurred no stain of sin at all, and also those, who after the contraction of the stain of sin whether in their bodies, or when released from the same bodies, as we have said before, are purged, are immediately received into heaven, and see clearly the one and triune God Himself just as He is, yet according to the diversity of merits, one more perfectly than another. Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds.

They chose to live their life without God which is exactly what Satan and his angels did as well. Without Hell everybody would be forced to be with God so free will would be imaginary and would not matter at all. Regardless of what you did you would go to heaven. Salvation is a free gift that you simply have to accept from God. The intentions do not matter when you reject God. You don’t burn in hell in pain forever, you are just separated from God which is how they chose to live their life on Earth.

I’d say we really don’t know just what hell will be like. At the end of the world, resurrected bodies will be reunited to the souls in hell. The body will also experience hell in some manner. Jesus certainly used the expression “eternal fire” in speaking of where the damned would go. I think it is the image He used most often.

Matthew 13:42 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. (Repeated again in Mt. 13: 49)

Matthew 18:8=9 …it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet . to be thrown into the eternal fire… it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;

Hi mikekle

I’m not so sure the bible does teach a completely free will. There seem, at least, to be constraints around that freedom (such as slavery to sin, the natural man not seeking God, etc.). Augustine and Aquinas both seem to steer a direction away from free will, and more in a direction (concerning the sovereignty of God’s verses our will) that is close to what we would now call Calvinist or Reformed theology.

I like a phrase of R.C.Sproul’s which I think captures the tension: I have free will, and God has free will, but when my will comes up against God’s will then God’s will wins.

Yes, Ive heard those statements many times and it sounds very frightening, but also does not make sense, if hell is just permanent separation from God, how does that translate into torture of someones body causing them to weep and gnash their teeth? This sounds an awful lot like…“worship and follow my rules, or else”

Also does not make sense about man physical body entering into this realm, I believe in the bible, many times, it is said God is the only one whose entire body was able to go into the afterlife realm, but if everyones body can, then that surely changes alot of things.

One could interpret it this way. But to do so, one must ignor Jesus’ message of love.

Also does not make sense about man physical body entering into this realm, I believe in the bible, many times, it is said God is the only one whose entire body was able to go into the afterlife realm, but if everyones body can, then that surely changes alot of things.

Catholic teaching is that our bodies will be reunited will our souls at the resurrection. This will occur whether ones destination is heaven or hell.

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