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Omniscient God and free will?

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posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:05 PM

God is omniscient, but we were also given free will. How does that work? Is free will restricted to what God knows? Did God already hear Beethoven's 5th symphony before he composed it? I just can't wrap my brain around this. How does Christian teaching resolve this issue?

Thanks in advance for all your comments.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:09 PM
Free will is a myth. Anything you do in life and society is conditioned by rules and laws. If you wanted to drive 150 miles an hour through the city you probably wouldn't because of fear of being arrested. Thus, your so called free will has been impeded by pre-conditioning.

Think about it, how many things do you do , or not do but you would like to do or not do?

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:23 PM
afpoitew fsaui rwqpoiurew fdsaoiu reqwrwerwqererw piurejhfnnvnndv

I just randomly punched my keyboard. See, no laws or preconditioning :-) But God already knew what I was going to type ...

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:24 PM
Free will and pre destiny are perfectly compatible.

When you are born it is pretty much pre destined that you will go to high school. When you get to high school you get to choose which classes you will take and what you will major in.

Yes, you are destined for things, but you get to choose the path that leads you there.

The perfect educational system is to place a student in a world with unlimited choice and give them free will. Every choice they make will lead them to a lesson they need to learn.

You have a destiny. How you get there is up to you.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:38 PM
Does that mean God knows everything, or does She know my probability of going to high school?

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:46 PM

Originally posted by crestone
Does that mean God knows everything, or does She know my probability of going to high school?

If I knew the mind of God I wouldn't waste my time posting on ATS.

I'd be racking up some serious lottery numbers

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:15 PM
I'd be on the horse track in no time, too :-)

But seriously, how do Christians deal with this question? It seems to me you can't have it both ways?

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:23 PM
d00d, your brain is already telling your body that you're going to think about osmething and do something, a full 7 seconds before you even get the impulse to do it. Free will, I think not.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:53 PM

Originally posted by crestone

God is omniscient, but we were also given free will. How does that work? Is free will restricted to what God knows? Did God already hear Beethoven's 5th symphony before he composed it? I just can't wrap my brain around this. How does Christian teaching resolve this issue?

Thanks in advance for all your comments.

my thoery -

if god is omniscient, then it must be assumed that he has infinate abilities. questions like "how can he remember EVRYTHING" have to labeled as inconsequential. because if god cant remember everything, or cant think about an infinate number of things in an infinatly short time, then hes not omniscient.

so first, free will implies that when you arrive at a choice, there is more than one option. whether that is 2 options or infinity is inconsequential because its more than one.

so the first question is, why cant god know all possibilities?right or left? yes or no? maybe? its not beyond his ability to process that information. this is not limited to decisions we make, but it is infinite. every molecule that is affected my our decisions can be traced by god in EVRY possibility.

the only thing that raises a problem with this is prophecy. because it raises the question of how can god know what possibility will we arrive at.

the answer to that i believe lays in our predictability.

first is simple reaction. hand touchs a hot surface, we pull away. we see something about to hit us so we duc(sp?). stomach growls, so we eat. humans can predict this stuff, its not far fetched for god to know what will happen

second is conditioning. alittle harder to know, but with enough calculation god could definatly do it. for example. roger and marie go for a walk. roger's body frame and weight and experience gives him a certain stride. marie has a different stride. marie takes the perfect amount of steps from her house to step in a crack and break the heal of her shoe. roger steps over it with ease. with god's infinate mathamatical ability, im sure he can see which possibilities will happen.

third is pure decision. something happens, you must make a decision on something and your choices seem to be able to go either way. this is extremely rare. but if god knew us well enough (even better than ourselves) would if be difficult for him to see which possibility we would choose?

i know it seems contradictory, but just because god knows what decision your going to make, doesnt mean its not your decision.

even if god were to tell you the exact time and manner of your death doesnt mean it wasnt your decisions that led to it.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 02:45 AM

Originally posted by DaRAGE
d00d, your brain is already telling your body that you're going to think about osmething and do something, a full 7 seconds before you even get the impulse to do it. Free will, I think not.

The brain is part of your body, unless it's fallen out ... Unfortunately I can't follow your reasoning. Could you please clarify? The path from thought to muscle movement is neuro-chemical with a measurable delay. What does that have to do with free will?

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 02:52 AM
I don't know honestly what they think of that one.
But it seems to such a powerful entity would need to control itself.
Just because someone CAN do anything doesn't mean they SHOULD do anything.

If it was a entity that set the rules for the universe, don't you think it would be inclined to somewhat respect them and not throw the whole thing into chaos just because it can?

That is something I never really understood about this argument.
Don't people remember that just because you can do something doesn't always mean you should?

I mean I could kill my daughter.
It is well within my power to do so.
Maybe not get away with, but I could do it.
But why would I?

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 02:56 AM
reply to post by miriam0566

Are you familiar with Laplace's devil? Here is a quote from Wiki that describes his theory:

"We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes."

So a super-computer could be omniscient ...

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 03:05 AM
I don't think one's will is as free as we'd like it to be. Much is said about foreknowledge and omniscience, in place of God's sovereignty, that allows us "free will". But if God truly has the power to stop something and doesn't, isn't He the one ultimately responsible for letting it happen? If I have foreknowledge that my son is going to sure as heck eat too much candy on Halloween and get sick to his stomach, but I allow it passively don't I share in the responsibility? I'm not abdicating responsibility of man. But I think if something happens it is only because it was allowed by an omnipotent/omniscient God. And I'm not one to judge God; I'm sure there are reasons beyond my understanding for what He has set in motion.

That's my two pennies..

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 03:08 AM
reply to post by _Del_

Well, think about it this way, like I said, just because you CAN do something. Does it mean you SHOULD?
Especially in the view that sometimes good things come eventually from bad events?

I mean I find it rather silly that mankind seems to think that if there is a higher power out there that it should be some sorta super man out there saving people and etc.

[edit on 20-4-2008 by WraothAscendant]

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 03:16 AM
I agree with that as well. I think there are certainly good reasons beyond my understanding of why bad things are allowed to happen. We cause and allow bad things all the time in the name of the "greater good." I'm sure an omniscient Being would have a firmer grasp on the "greater good" than we would.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 03:18 AM
reply to post by miriam0566

it's not that your decisions led to your death. It's that regardless of your decisions you were going to die.

Everything has free will. I don't know y everyone makes such a big deal out of having it. There's nothing with a consciousness that doesn't.

Everything is predestined and choices you make are seemingly senseless at face value because of this.

However your choices do matter to you, even though in the grand scheme of things they do not amount to anything.

I have a demonstration of this in which i lay out 12 cards on a table. 6 red and six black. Face down. I put the colored cards in pairs. 3 black pairs and 3 red pairs. I don't tell the person which cards are which. I lay them "randomly" on the table. The paired cards across from each other. It ends up being a big circle, or 3 small circles depending on how i'm feeling. I place the cards on the table based on what i know of the person i am performing the demonstration for. I then tell them to pick 3 cards and that with each card they pick, they also pick the paired card across from it. Every time i have performed this demonstration the person choosing the cards picks all cards of the same color; whether it be red of black. They are always shocked when i reveal the cards they picked. "how did you do that?" they ask. And of course i tell them i didn't do anything. I merely set the cards up in such a way that their choices were of no consequence in regards to my ultimate goal.

Did their choices really matter? YES. But i complicate a very simplistic decision. They end up with 6 cards of the same color and in actuality, they chose all of those cards. But really they only chose 3 of each pair. Then when you get down to it. They really only chose 1 card because of the way i gear the demonstration. Depending on the first card they choose they will pick all of the red cards, or all of the black cards.

I understand my demonstration i normally perform to demonstrate free will/predestination might be hard to grasp without me actually showing you. so here's something more simplistic.

Let's simplify things into numbers

You are given a choice 1 or 2

You like 2


now your given a choice 2 or 3

you like 3


now you are given a choice 3 or 4

you still like 3


now you are given a final choice 4 or 5

you like 4

2+3+3+4= 11

You got what you wanted and it changed the "form" of the equation. But the complete opposite of choices still equals 11.

1+2+4+5= 11

Even more simply. In this mathematical demonstration i am gearing you to get a score of 10 or higher. Regardless of your choices, which do change the numbers involved- you cannot escape The plan.

[edit on 4/20/2008 by JPhish]

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 04:24 AM
I think this may be one of the most troubling concepts to wrap your mind around in any religion with the dual view of an omniscient god and humans with free will.

There have been groups that believed anyone who was to get to heaven was already chosen, and so whether or not someone chose to live a godly life had no bearing on their eternal destiny. In early American beliefs, this manifested as the desire to have a transcendent moment--there were apparently some suicides in the early states because people had gotten to forty, hadn't had these moments, and felt like they had no chance. What was probably happening was people being whipped up into that emotional fervor that can sometimes happen at these sorts of events, and then they "felt" saved, and then they knew they were good to go for eternity. God had chosen them and their choices didn't really make an impact on that. This has mostly fallen out of favor, but it still is seen sometimes in the states.

But in the wider spectrum, I believe it was CS Lewis who used the metaphor of God, omnipresent and outside of time, being like a man on a tall hill watching a parade, with humans at the roadside in the role of up-close spectators. The man on the hill can see all the floats at once, and knows what came before and after, but the spectators can only see one float at a time, or the others behind them dimly at best. So God is aware of everything that is happening, outside of time, whereas humans can only see their immediate actions. This doesn't mean that God chooses the actions for people, just that God is aware of what is happening, being outside the time construct.

I am not sure how the ancient Christian scholars resolved this though, so I will go look into that. Or were you looking for people's personal views? I could give you that too.

[edit on 20-4-2008 by albright]

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 04:32 AM
reply to post by albright

excellent post albright. CS Lewis is excellent at conveying conceptually conjectural ideas of things outside the human brains' ability to comprehend.

lol "conveying conceptually conjectural" say that three times fast.

I am interested, what do you personally think about free will albright?

[edit on 4/20/2008 by JPhish]

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 04:44 AM
reply to post by albright

Yes excellent use of metaphor!

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 05:22 AM
I remember this topic coming up on ATS before, and someone made a really good point about free will:

if you truly beleive you have free will.....will it so that you never get sick, or that you know when you will die.
If you don't know when you will die, or how you will die....then there is no free will.

And also, i have been thinking alot about this too lately, and in my mind, the ONLY way free will can possibly exist is if EVERYONE desires the same thing.

Otherwise, free will of two people clash. A 3 yr old being tortured and raped by her father......i am damn sure that is NOT her will. It IS, on the other hand, her fathers. So he wins out.

Which immediately makes free will invalid and impossible.

There IS no such thing. It's as simple as that.

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