Vexen Crabtree 2015

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Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


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Vexen Crabtree 2015
vexen

God has no free will.

"God Has No Free Will" by Vexen Crabtree (2002).

Omniscience and free will.

(Anonymous)
The logical argument is valid (in the sense that he conclusion logically follows from the premises) but I do not see how it is sound (because both premises appear to be untrue).
If you are all-knowing, you know your future actions, what choices you will make, and you cannot change them otherwise your knowledge would be wrong
The same sort of argument has been used for alleged contradiction between omniscience and the free will of humanity, and it fails for essentially the same reason. I think you may be confusing “can’t” with “won’t.” It doesn’t logically follow that God and humanity won’t do something because they can’t. For example, suppose I use a time machine to travel from the present to the year 1995. I know that the American people will elect George W. Bush in the year 2000. But this foreknowledge does not imply predestination. I don’t take away the people’s free will simply by knowing what will happen. But what if people choose to vote for Al Gore instead? In that case, I would correspondingly have always known that when I traveled from the present to the year 1995.

It’s the same with God’s omniscience. Let’s face it, either I will eat an apple tomorrow or I won’t. Suppose I choose to eat an apple tomorrow. If God knew it ahead of time, would that remove my free will? No. What if, at the last minute, I choose not to eat an apple? Then God would correspondingly have always known that I wouldn’t eat an apple. It’s like traveling back in time before George W. Bush was elected. Simply because I know that the people would vote for George does not in the least imply that I have removed their free will, just like God knowing who would be elected does not imply that He removed their free will.

Re: Omniscience and free will.

Your arguement is more suited to created beings (such as us) who are not omniscient. An omniscient, all-powerful God who knows (at the moment of his creation) every action he will ever take does not have an instant in His life where He had free will.

Upon the slightest thought an Omniscient being knows all he will do in the future -- he does not make any choices but merely follows His own destiny -- the very first instant such a being has consciousness all their future actions are unchangable. There is not a living moment when such a being has a chance to change their mind or make a choice.

It is true that because God knows what we will choose that it doesn't imply he forces us too... but God does not have that release. All of God's actions (if he is omniscient) must be set in stone from the very beginning, they are part of God himself as God transends time itself. (If he is infinite, he must transcend time).

Benevolence and free will.

(Anonymous)
What is the point of saying that God is moral, if God cannot choose to do anything bad?
Again, I think you may be confusing “can’t” with “won’t.” For example, I am not suicidal. I will not kill myself because it’s not in my nature (a nature that I choose to possess). But it doesn’t logically follow that I won’t commit suicide because I can’t. Similarly, it’s possible that God does not commit anything unethical because he chooses not to do so, not because he is unable to do so.

Re: Benevolence and free will.

This is a good argument.

  • Your argument is that God has chosen his own nature to be that he can freely choose never to do anything bad.

    If this is possible then why did God not create us in the same way? God could have created us with the same nature... a nature that allows us to always freely choose the good paths. That he didn't create us in the same way would mean:
    1. God is not-omnibenevolent. Not all-good. or
    2. God has no free will to choose evil

  • You'll hear from me again

    (Anonymous)
    First, God is all knowing as you say, but this does not mean that he has a future and knows all decisions in the future. This is because, if he has a future, he has a beginning. But God (At least the true God from the bible) does not have a future because he does not live in any form of time CONSTRAINT, he is FREE from this.

    Second,God always makes the most moral choice as you say. In this you are correct. But, GOD IS NOT UNDER/CONSTRAINED BY ANY MORAL CODE OF HIS OWN. In other words, we know morality because we know the goodness of God and its opposite, evil. We can make decisions in terms of more moral, most moral, least moral, and so forth. But God is not under this type of code. Every decision that he makes is equally and perfectly good, because he is the epitome of good. He is good and could not make an evil choice if he wanted to, and if he did, his evil choice would become good. In short, goodness is God and their is no moral code above him. If he chose to do what we refer to as evil, then we would have a new moral code of instead of the one we currently understand, because GOD TELLS US WHAT A MORAL CODE IS AND WHAT IS GOOD AND EVIL. We have a moral code because God set one down.

    You must be misinterpreting Free-will as merely the ability to choose but this is not free-will. Rather Free-will is THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE WITHOUT BEING IMPRISONED/CONSTRAINED BY ANYTHING WHATSOEVER SO THAT YOU TRULY ARE FREE.

    You try and deny God's free-will by referring to two categories: omniscient, all good God. However, your forgetting something: God's PLEASURE. In this way he is free to create anything he chooses according to his pleasure. One more thing, if there is a God, he must have a free choice otherwise THIS CREATION, ALONG WITH YOURSELF, MUST BE ONE BIG IMAGINARY ILLUSION! If not, then a choice was made to create it along with all of its intricate detail somewhere in the realm of eternity. But if we can imagine it, we must be real: God must therefore have a free choice and made this world according to His purpose and PLEASURE, which is exactly what the bible says he created it for.

    Re: You'll hear from me again

    (Anonymous)
    Knowing something before its occurence does not make it happen,but it prove that it cannot be otherwise, God has no freewill.

    You know, I don't know who you are, but some sad day(perhaps when it's too late) you are going to realize how misled you are and how you've had a hand in misleading others. Are you trying to walk in Darwin's footsteps?? If that's ever crossed your mind, know that he went against his own theory before he died and accepted Christ into his heart. God is true and does know what will happen before it happens. This does not mean that He takes away your free will!! He will prompt you to do what is right, or send people your direction to guide you. EACH INDIVIDUAL PERSON MAKES THE ULTIMATE DECISION THOUGH!!!! You can either listen to the promting of the Christ or not. God allows good and evil, but He doesn't cause you to sin. No sin can be in the presence of God. Satan, you know that fallen angel, well he is the one who will prompt you to make those decisions that are not so nice. Such as, blatant killing, theft, lying, adultry.....I could go on and on. Do you actually think that God is going to give you the 10 commandments to follow and then tell you to go commit adultry???? DON'T THINK SO!!! That Vexen, would be a person's own personal lust and desire.

    Why don't you do everyone a favor and jump off your bandwagon and go sit in the back of a church and listen with your heart open. Maybe one day you will find the truth and accept it too.

    May God open your heart!!!

    big ups to you playa' (Anonymous) Expand

    Crazy

    (Anonymous)
    Who says that if God new he was going to turn the light on he couldn't change his mind? Do you just think these things up like you are all knowing? If God new he didn't want a light turned on, and he was already going to turn it on, and he wanted to change his mind, he would. He is all knowing, he is all powerful, meaning, he can do what he wants. He is benevolent as well, and if you've ever watched a tragedy in someones life you'd see that something good always comes from things that happen like that, but some people are so self righteous that they just don't swim out of their pity enough to realize it.

    You said it yourself: God is all knowing.

    If God knows he was going to turn the light on at 11pm tonite, God cannot be wrong in his knowledge, therefore he cannot change his mind.

    If he knew he wasn't going to turn it on at 11pm, then he wouldn't turn it on, because he is all-knowing, and if he turned it on it would mean he wasn't all-knowing, because his prediction would have been wrong.

    If God is all knowing, and God thinks that something will happen, then that thing *will* happen no matter what, otherwise his knowledge would have been wrong.

    Vexen, you make a valid point regarding the incompatibility of God having exhaustive foreknowledge and freewill. However, if omniscience is defined as knowing everything that is knowable and if the future is not knowable, then God can have freewill while being omniscient.

    Your benevolence argument against freewill makes two fatal assumptions. One, not all choices involve morality. God's decision to create the world, His decision to create mankind, His willingness to provide beyond a persons needs, etc. None of these are moral decisions.

    Even when a decision involves morality, there can be than one morally correct choice. For example, a person sins and incurs the penalty of death. God is just, so He cannot overlook injustice. God is truth, so He cannot ignore the penalty He pronounced. Therefore, the immoral choice is to simply ignore the sin. The moral choice is to carry out the penalty. However, there is a third choice. God can pay the penalty to satisfy the justice and the integrity of His word. Then He can offer forgiveness by His mercy and grace. Morality does not limit every decision to one choice.

    God's omniscince and morality do not keep Him from having freewill.

    Our Free Will

    (Anonymous)
    Why doesn't God just make us unable to do evil? God gave us free will even if he cannot choose it for himself. If we were given the ability to only do good, we would be God's slaves. Slaves, as seen many times throughout history, wanted to get away from their master to be free. Since he is an all knowing God, he would know this, and gave Adam and Eve, and Christ, free will, we on the other hand do not, you either have faith in Christ or do not, you can call him an evil God for not saving us but it is we who choose damnation, we do not want to associate ourselves with God and it is not possible to forgive someone who rejects forgiveness as we do, without making them a slave.

    Re: Our Free Will (Anonymous) Expand
    Re: Our Free Will (Anonymous) Expand

    huh

    (Anonymous)
    God does have free will, He is love, or "moral" how you put it (or something like that). So if He is made up totally of love or "good morals" then that is who He is. He could do anything He wanted, but His whole being is made up love so he really has no care to do anything else. I mean that's who He is.

    If God knows something before its occurence does not cause the occurence to happen, but it prove it can;t be otherwise,therefore God has no freewill. Thank;s

    hey vexen

    (Anonymous)
    hey, my name is chris and i'm a philosophy major and really enjoy your website. it's extremely important, in my opinion, to promote thought and insight and in this context i see your site (bias as it is) is a very worthy venture..

    i am an agnostic and for, what i feel, are very good reasons. the 'problem of evil' is the most formidable opponent to the adoption of theistic beliefs however it also suffers from some very serious fallacies when considering the idea of 'god'.

    the problem is that the arguement revolves around a very simple and philosophical and most importantly anthromorphic god. people like soren keirkegaard and some other early theistic existentialists have pointed out that fidiesm may be a sound result of not sound rationalization but sound experience (a similar arguement being that of the problem of evil, where the real concentration or problem seems to emerge from trying to integrate the evil and pain and suffering we feel in our own lives and the idea of an all good, all loving, all powerful creator). i would not adopt this arguement, but i feel kierkegaard was right when he asserted that ultimately value and 'essence' must be ground in god but not humanity.
    the arguement i purpose is similar to this, i purpose that 'god' does not objectively exist as a 'person' 'out there', that it would in effect be better to say that 'god' is no-thing instead of some knowledgable thing. by this i don't mean that god doesn't exist, but that god as a supreme reality is the ground for all being, not a being in itself.
    i am not saying that faith is contrary to reason, this was kierkegaard's assertion, just that faith must be consistantly checked with reason, but reason by no means can come to understand 'god', or that 'god' is of such a transcendent nature that it is cerebally inacessable (which as a 'person' would make sense that 'god' would pull away, if god didnt by what grounds would we have faith? it wouldn't be faith, it would be logic).
    the god of christianity, judaism, and islam is a highly personable god on the surface, that is in a literalistic sense. if that stories are meant to be taken for their symbolism and meditated on we might consider the god (yes, with all of it's contradictories)as a reflection of an inner quality produced by a subjective state within the grounds of the person percieving them.
    unfortunantly many theists write their god in stone, and this god fortunantly has gone under the rails of the rational engine. evolution, big bang cosmology (discovered by a vatican ordained physicist), evil, all of these things are problems for an anthromorphic objective 'god' that exists 'out there' with all of it's possible perfections listed by the philosopher. i say this god doesnt exist. 'god' is not man written big. faith in god is faith in an inner reality (the one known to the spiritual nature of man) that reflects not the Greatest Conceivable Being, but a being that is ultimately not-known and at the same time the very ground for being and existance itself.

    for further reading i recommend: "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong, and then "Mysticism" By Evelyn Underhill and "Why God Wont Go Away" By Dr. Armstrong.

    i think that cerebally looking for God without a mystical experiece is like looking into a mirror without any sense of self. it would lead to agnosticism, could or couldnt. as a subjective certainty, this knowledge could bear fruit.

    just my opinion, i would like to see some feed back on it!
    Thanks!

    what

    (Anonymous)
    Let me know who created free will in the first place? Who created Time? What you want to say is that good cannot exist without bad and bad cannot without good, this is true. When it comes to God, God is not good or bad, we cannot define God with human like attributes. God is more like pure, a state that we are not seen so cannot explain with words. As for free will, the question even doesnt exist. God do not need will, as God do not have needs. We are the ones who are in need of Gods favours. Imagine this, in the end what ever we do or who ever we become God wins. So it is not a question here, we cannot define a God who created us using the attributes within us. So try to say the most beautiful words that you can ever imagin and attribute it to God... even than it is not close to accurate.

    Shunan

    what

    (Anonymous)
    Let me know who created free will in the first place? Who created Time? What you want to say is that good cannot exist without bad and bad cannot without good, this is true. When it comes to God, God is not good or bad, we cannot define God with human like attributes. God is more like pure, a state that we are not seen so cannot explain with words. As for free will, the question even doesnt exist. God do not need will, as God do not have needs. We are the ones who are in need of Gods favours. Imagine this, in the end what ever we do or who ever we become God wins. So it is not a question here, we cannot define a God who created us using the attributes within us. So try to say the most beautiful words that you can ever imagine and attribute it to God... even than it is not close to accurate.

    Shunan

    What created the universe? http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/assumptions.html will compare the assumptions of atheists and theists, you'll find that it's more logical that atheism is true and the creative force is not conscious, not a god of any kind.

    I believe in God, and I believe in Christ. No I do not believe Muslims, atheists, Jews or communists are going to be punished for not being Christian. I believe God is a personal God, but She is beyond anything we can articulate with any accuracy. I also believe we have a responsibility to actively seek God. Being "Born Again" just doesn't wash with me. Just saying the words doesn't make it so. I can't accept that a prisoner who is "born again" two days before his execution is in the same spiritual condition as a Rabbi who teaches morals, or a teacher who takes time to contemplate or an atheist who devotes time to help her community. I believe a person can have a mystical union with God on earth, but it is the most difficult thing in the universe to achieve. And at the same time, I'm never without God. I can no more be without God than I can live without air, because God is that air. In the last analysis, however, I know I can never find God. He'll have to reach down and find me. I have have doubts and disappointments like anybody else. I get angry with God frequently and I succumb to error and evil, but I also believe God exists and I believe in the words, "Seek and You Will Find."

    The statement "An omniscient God has no free will" is a perfectly rational statement. It stands up as a rational argument. But when we speak of God, rational argument is never enough. It will never be enough to explain, prove or disprove God. The reason is GOD IS NOT RATIONAL. I mean God is not just rational. God is also passionate. The problem people have when speaking of God is that they usually either argue from one point of view or the other. Both are needed. God is found in rational thought, contradiction, opposites and absurdities. When you can believe simultaneously two contradictory statements about God, it's a start. When you can understand that "God is bound by Her nature" and at the same time He has an infinitely free will", you're on the right track.

    Does god have a Free Will or Can God commit evil?

    God is bound by His nature and NO, God cannot sin. God can no more sin than a cat can bark. Can God create another God as equally powerful? NO! The same question put another way. Can God create a rock so heavy, She can't lift it? NO. By it's very definition, there can be only one ABSOLUTE. If God could create another God as equally powerful, He wouldn't be God. This is also the answer to the too often used atheist question,"If God created the universe, who created God?" God is the only ABSOLUTE in the universe and it is because of this, She is God. It's more accurate to say God is bound by His nature than to say that God has no free will.

    At the same time, God has free will in infinite abundance. The one aspect of Christianity that I find most compelling is this dual nature of God (the Holy Spirit, also God, is the love of the Father and Son) God can not commit evil. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is also God and in Him, God experiences Her free will. Christ freely chose to be incarnated as man on earth and He was 100% man. Of course He had a free will. Christ, as a man could have sinned. Christ as a man was tempted, perhaps as no man before Him. Christ went through pure agony the night before His death and it is quite possible He could have failed. Most Christians think that's heresy, but without the possibility of failure, it would not have been His free will. There have been countless commentaries on the last words of Jesus on the cross, but when He screamed "My God,why have You forsaken me", I think He meant just that." He felt God had forsaken Him, an experience most of us feel at one time or another. Perhaps, Jesus expected God to take His soul directly to heaven from the cross. But this didn't happen and I believe Christ panicked. It was only on Easter morning did Christ fully realize God did keep Her promise.

    After His Resurrection, Christ was again took His place as God, but it was a God who had ironically experienced His free will most profoundly as a man. God is in the details, and God is certainly in opposites and contradictions.




    Hi, there!
    I strongly agree with your arguments on morals being just picked up from society.
    In effect, all our principles that for our so-called "conscience" are borrowed from someone or the other.

    But I have one question for you:
    Look at nature around you, you see the human body is so perfect. Just the right amount of enzymes, hormones which catalyse various reactions and we have the ability to think too. Nobody has been able to make anything like that. Like our eye, for instance. It's just perfect. I can distinguish lakhs of colours and the view in front of me is just perfect, millions of millions of millions of pixels. And I have the ability to change the focal length of my eye as I desire.
    Or the brain for instance. The brain gets signals from so many different parts of our body and we can actually take decisions based upon them.

    Don't you feel from all of the perfection of nature that the world around us is not an accident? There is someone who has made it the way it is.
    I do agree with the idea of all-knowing, or all-powerful God or moral God who deals with good and bad as futile.
    But God has definitely made nature the way it is. It is made by a perfect Creator.

    There are many animals with much better eyes than us, our eyes have evolved to suit the purposes to which we've needed to put them in order to stay alive. We may consider them "perfect" because they HAVE evolved to suit our purposes. All eyes are imperfect in different ways; we can only focus on things slowly, we can be fooled by patterns and visual tricks, we only have limited range of eyesight, and can't focus on things that are too close. Our eyes aren't perfect. Our eyes are also varied from person to person; many people have various problems with colour perception, focusing, eye dominance, etc.

    So although you may not find that your own eyes shortcomings affect your life, it's because you're naturally attuned to how you're eyes are. They could be much better!

    Our hormones and what-not are not perfect either. Everyone has to learn over time to control their emotions and bodies, we only remain viable as long as remain on top of our complex bodies. This "keeping on top" would not be required if our chemicals, hormones, emotions, neural pathways, and biochemical make-up, was "perfect".

    Our brains are the most imperfect of all; mathematically dumb, our brain guesses, forgets, confuses, whirls around uncontrollable, has immense subconscious depths beyond our control that we frequently could do with being more in touch with, etc... it is only in small steps that our modern sapient nature has evolved to become a dictator of our emotional and homeostatic bodies.

    So before you announce perfection... just take time to reflect on how many imperfections are only just beneath the surface... instead proclaim the wonder of human society, that teaches us how to overcome our emotions, irrationality, diseases and bodily dysfunctions.

    Our organs fail, we have masses of mutated, dysfunctional, disabled DNA, unused tissues and folds, out-of-date teeth and toes... before you proclaim perfection, reflect on how much more perfect we could be if only we could remove the problems and errors of evolution!

    Your argument that god has no free will is foolish...

    (Anonymous)
    When the christians say that god is omniscient, they aren't saying that he knows everything, not entirely. I'd say that the assumption would be that he knows everything in the universe, and that he's something outside of it. He can have any influence within it, but is not part of it himself. This makes sense, really. Also, your idea of omniscience is too simple. You assume that there is only one possible path of things, but we've seen that often times, things are less certian, and adhere closer to probabalistic rules. Can we, then, say that the future is uncertain, for the most part? I would argue that the omniscient god knows all possible futures, and what happens, including the futures of any action he himself could make at any time in this universe. As for the statement that god is all good... well, this is impossible. If it was so, there could be no evil in the world. God, as the author of all things, and knower of all futures, would have to have allowed evil to come about, and therefore, he cannot truly be a benevolent god. Make sense? Good...

    Re: Your argument that god has no free will is foolish...

    When outside of time, you see all choices as already made, you see all paths from the beginning to their end. Outside of time means that God DOESN'T see the fourth dimension as a progression of 3D universes, changing per frame, but that it sees the whole Universe, from beginning to end, all at once. Hence omniscience, and hence God being "outside of time" and "eternal".

    I agree, with an all-powerful all-knowing God, it could not also be benevolent.

    Ive not read everyones comments so sorry if I say something someones already said. God did not create us with His nature because Life is a test, whether we should get heaven or not. God wants to see if WE can EARN his nature, and the people closest to his nature will undoubtably gain heaven. It would not be fair if we started the 'test' with all the 'answers'

    ?

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