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Vexen Crabtree 2015


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

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

Existence of an omniscient or omnipotent God denies Humans free will

"The Existence of God Contradicts Free Will" by Vexen Crabtree (2002)

Existence of an omniscient or omnipotent God denies Human free will

Then Jesus said "There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be your son; treat me like one of your hired hands." So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' but the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe-the best one-and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate.(luke15:11-24)

This is an example of how God gives us free will and is still omniscient. In this parable the father represents God and the younger son represents someone who has sinned and moved away from God-there is an older son in the parable too, but he's not important in this discussion. Anyways, the younger son asks the father for his share of the inheritance. No one in the story, father included, forces the son to ask for the inheritance, he ask of his own free will. Also, no one in the story forces the youngest son to leave and take up residence in a foreign land, he does it of his own free will.

In the end of the story the son returns and is welcomed back by the father, who is quite prepared for his return, having the best robe, a ring, and sandals setting out somewhere upon his return. Also, the father interrupts the son and does not allow him to finish speaking, the son is never allowed to say "treat me like one of your hired servants." The father knows what the son will say before he says it.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation1:8)

This is another way of showing how God is both omniscient but allows us to have free will. God is the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end. Hence, God created-along with everything else-time. God controls time, he's seen the beginning, he's seen the end, he's seen everything in between. Of course, to be omniscient-all knowing-and omnipresent-in all places at once-he'd have to be in all times at once, also-but you knew that, right! Anyways, we all have free will, and have the power to choose what we do, but God knows what we will do, because he's been there. God hasn't just seen the future, he's been there. Knowing what one will do, is not the same as controlling what one will do.

Re: Existence of an omniscient or omnipotent God denies Human free will

The parable of the prodigal son is not an example of free will. Actually the fact that there is no free will is overcomplicated by most people. It is very simple. All things have a cause. Any so-called choice you think you make is predetermined by previous conditions that are the effect of other causes. If someone tells you to kill your family hopefully you are one of most who would "choose" not to do so. This is not a choice but merely your predictable reaction because you do not want your family dead. Every so-called decision has it's own causes and in your example of the prodigal son he did not "choose to ask for his inheritance but had no choice due to the causes of the famine and all that followed plus many other causes and effects leading up to that point. There are no "random" events. Even the flip of a coin is not a random event since if all the factors involved leading up to the landing of the coin were known then it would be possible to predict the outcome with one hundred percent accuracy. The factors would include but not be limited to the force with which the coin was flipped, the original position of the coin, the angular momentum imparted to the coin, the barometric pressure, the wind velocity and direction, the surface elasticity where the coin would land and on and on. Nothing happens without a reason and all happenings affect other happenings. Actually God is responsible for all misdeeds of humans. He creates them and he knows the future. Whether or not he is in one time or all time at once is irrelavent. When a man fathers a son who grows up to be a murderer, since the father had no way to know this would happen could not be held responsible. However God knows everything so when he creates a human he knows what they will do before they do it. If he is in all time at once then he certainly would know what all a given human will do and he creates them anyway and then sends them off to the fires of hell because they did what he knew they would do before he created them and he created them in spite of it all. This makes him ultimately responsible for everything. God is said to have created all that was. It is said that everything that is did God create. It is said that nothing exists that he did not create. He created the earth, the sun, the stars, the humans, the animals, the Hitlers, aids, sickness, suffering, death, etc. Many have said that one can change the future by making certain decisions. This is untrue for the so-called "decisions" you think you make is not changing the future but is simply part of the future. We all live as though we make decisions but in the final analysis we only will have done what we had to do under the given circumstances.

Firstly thanks for writing that - i find it pretty interesting. Here is my attempt to disagree with you ;)

We have limited free will in that there is a limited number of options available to us - we can only choose between certain things. If I wish to grow wings fly to the moon, no amount of free will make that happen. So when I say free will, i mean the ability to choose between the options that are available to us.

God being all knowing doesn't deny humans free will unless we are governed completely by our situation and have not choice at all in anything - ie we are mere mechanical objects operating in response to what happens around us. The clockwork theory i think...

For example, if I travelled into the future and saw what you would do tomorrow, would that then mean that you do not have any choice in tomorrows activities? Just because I know what you "will" choose doesn't deny the fact that you still "get" to choose. My knowing your future wouldn't mean that your choices were any more or less "free".

People can accept that the past is a single set of events. And whilst there are, from our view point, millions of possible futures for us, we will go along only a single one. Often people feel that this takes their free will away, but i don't see how that works...

I think that we would only cease to have free will if we ourselves were transcendent because if we knew everything, and every outcome to our choices, then with such great knowledge we would only ever be able to let ourselves choose the "best" option becuase we would see the damage choosing any other option would cause. We would thus be unable to choose anything except the "best" option - i think...

God, in managing every minute detail of our lives, has "caused" (indirectly) the existence of all the factors that make our minds up. I.e., the cirumstances of our lives (playing a massively important role in decision-making) are beyond our free will.

How would God go about breaking the causily of cause-and-affect clockwork humans, without also breaking the methods by which it tries to influence us? For example: If our actions affect others' decisions, then, others' "free" decisions are restricted by our own actions and our own free will. The more powerfully we indoctrinate, or affect, another person, the more of their free will we can take away.

If the being doing the manipulating, with an incredible amount of micromanagement, how can there be any free will left?

If circumstances are NOT the sole causes of choices then this would undermine (even God's) systems of justice and punishment, which are completely designed around the fact that real-life events and persuasions affect peoples' "choices".

hello (Anonymous) Expand
Re: hello (Anonymous) Expand

my name is Chris

man does have free will, and i'm an agnostic that i feel has little bias in this area.

it's about the modal modifier (used in symbolic logic) that pertains to necessity, where you place the modal modifier makes the differance.

God knows i will do x and i do x,
i do x and god knows i will do x.

now on which of these statements do you place the necessity? on the first there is no free will, on the second there is. this solves the theistic problem of free will, also God can be everlasting and omniscient at the same time. meaning god doesnt necessarily "see the future" but all the choices humans make and their interactions, what choices we make is up to us and god does little to nothing to change them since it would be illogical, and god being god can do nothing illogical (such as make a rock to big for him to lift, or be anything other than god).

Re: my name is Chris

There's a problem with your second example.

"i do x and god knows i will do x."

"i do x" means that you are currently doing x. You cannot follow this with "god knows i will do x." because it is being done. If it's being done, God can't know that you "will" do it because it's untrue.

For instance:

"I eat the apple and God knows I will eat the apple."

God cannot know that I will eat the apple if I've just done it, because the apple no longer exists in an edible state--it's in my body.

Since your example is fallacious, it may be discarded. That leaves your first.

Re: my name is Chris (Anonymous) Expand

Choices that are not free

Here's my spin on free will. We are driven by internal and external forces -- developmental, familial / cultural conditioning which mold us, one moment leading and setting the stage for the next moment, ad finitum. We are caught in the creative act(Creation unfolding aka evolution). Along the way, we have moments where the forces converge and a decision / choice is required. At that point we make the decision as a natural (or divine) progression of all that has preceded. In this culture in this zeitgeist with all of its trained perceptions, we have to believe we have free will in order to move forward with the least bit of mental anquish (not to say mental anguish may not be part of the process). When our perception of free will leads us far enough astray (from where we believe we should be or would like to be or where the pain is sufficient to awaken us...) and we recognize that the only will is "Thy" will (God as Creator unfolding toward Omega in the space-time theatre) and our intent shifts toward surrendering to the
C-creative process and our experiences and our perceptions and our beliefs begin to change. Still, we have to make decisions (to release creative tension energies --> bifurcations) and we gradually learn to trust the Will that is guiding us in every moment without getting in our own (ego) way(and dance rather than wrestle with ourselves). NOTE: Creation was not a one time event -- every moment is the new alpha (the omega precedes the alpha) -- and if God is everything then God is that same creation still unfolding every moment, everywhere. Of course, if God is only sort of everything, sort of infinite, then all bets are off. Glad I found your page as Ive been learning to dance without free will for some time now and it's nice to see someone breaking trail. Michael

having cake and eating it too.

i had a telemarketing preacher tell me i will never find an answer to the question "If god is all knowing, then how can we have free will?" the preacher added that people will never be able to understand god. (something about a superior intelect). well that may be. at the same time i should have asked him "if you conceed that we cannot understand him, or at least your interpretation of what god says, you must also concede that we should not be making laws based on a book that we admit no one fully understands.

i believe preachers are woried that there bread and butter are threatened for the first time in the history of the USA. (admiting that there are clear contradictions/imposibilities in the bible or at least their interpretation of the bible. the day they cannot convince the masses that everything in the bible or their interpretation is sensible/true/possible/timelessly ethical.... is the day they risk loosing thier power grip over many well meaning people looking for leadership, absolutes, understanding ,and rocks to cling to in this sometimes scary, confusing world.

i believe most, if not all christian preachers hate the thought of the masses utilizing religions such as buddism. not because they care about people , but because they care about parts of their bottom line. money, power, fame, ect.

all of about 200 preachers (registerd and non registered ) i have questioned believe god is and omnipotent and free will exist. that seems like wanting to have cake and wanting to eat it too. i dont believe that both can exist simultaneously. therefore i believe that preachers have to choose. either way, if they choose , they are admiting fault with thier bible or their interpreation

Re: having cake and eating it too; ALT

i don't understand what power and fame you speak of that preachers have. You talk about priests as if they had political ties and controlled mass industries. Here is the bottom line priests voulentarilly chose to live a life of poverty,and there main goal is to get as many souls to heaven as possible.

Honestly i don't think you can understand God's plan considering his omnipresence, ominiscience, and the fact that he is not bound by time. I see the human race as being ants compared to God. Imagine in ant trying to understand what a human is.

Free Will

When I make a choice, either my mental process has causes or it doesn't. If it has causes then I don't have free will. If it doesn't have causes then it is random. I know which I prefer to believe. Ibso factum anus penis (as Andy Valdar once said).

Re: Free Will

Right on. All things have causes. We many times can not say or are unaware of what the causes are but that doesn't mean there are none. Even if I set out to try to do a chain of random events such as get in my car and each time I come to an intersection turn either right or left as the mood strikes me doesn't work either since each time we "choose" right or left there is a reason for our "decision". The fact that we do not know the reason matters not but we may turn right at one intersection because we turned left at the last two and thought we had better go left this time so not to always turn left. There is no getting around it. Sometimes we may base a decision on the sub-concious thought that we liked our red tricycle that we had as a child or whatever.

Is God in control?

Either God is in control or he isn't. I guess you don't think he's out of control, therefore you must believe he is in control. Therefore anything I do or think is OK.

Re: Is God in control?

This is indeed logical thinking - everything you do MUST be ok if God is all-powerful and reality goes according to it's plan.

But there's a slightly more sensible option... to admit that NO-ONE is control, and there is no God. Simple!

Re: Is God in control? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Is God in control? (Anonymous) Expand

Just some thoughts....

I've two points to make, neither of which I have had the time to properly think and fully support, nevertheless, I would like to hear some opinions on these thoughts.

First, has anyone thought that we are asking the wrong questions? If there is an all-powerful, all-knowing god, how can we possibly expect to understand God's will/plans/actions. We cannot, if for no other reason than God (being all knowing) is not subject to the constraints of time as we know it; God must know things that we cannot begin to imagine - thus we cannot attempt to explain/understand god's will. We should therefore not be asking the question 'does a god exist' because this can never be answered. Instead we should be asking 'do current organized religion make sense, and are they of use to use?' (in which case I must must plead a resounding no)

Nevertheless, that is a whole other discussion, and I should get back to the discussion at hand: free will....remember I'm not even going to touch on the existence of god, just the idea of free will.

If god does not exist, then of course free will exists.

However, that is a pretty boring argument, so let's assume that a god exists, but we just cannot comprehend the magnitude of that, and our current attempts are way off.

So, for both free-will and god to exist, god cannot be both all-powerful and all-knowing; god must be one or the other. For the sake of simplicity, I will not touch on god being all-powerful and not all-knowing, as that argument brings in the whole aspect of benevolence and morality. Therefore, let's stick to god being all-knowing, but not all powerful.

Assuming God is all-knowing...draw this comparison: A scientist, performing an experiment that has a known reaction (think baking soda and vinegar). The scientist 'knows' the outcome of the experiment, and can thus be considered 'all-knowing' in the realm of that particular experiment. However, on a molecular level, the expected reaction does not take place with every molecule, nor does the scientist know the time at which particular molecules will undergo the reaction. Does this comparison not allow for an all-knowing god AND free will?..in that god knows the overall outcome of the universe, but does not (or particularly care about) the actions of the indivual being at specific times?

Taking this comparison one step further, if performing an experiment for furthering knowledge...as many variables must be controlled as possible and a hypothesis must be made. Generally the hypothesis is based on theory and is often proven by the experiemnt if good technique is observed. Could a similar comparison be made (in that god is merely using humans/the world/the universe to prove a hypothesis he had?) In which case, the uncontrolled variable could account for free will as well as the un-guaranteed result of the experiment (god does not know what is going to happen...but has a pretty good idea).

Well, that's my two cents for now...hope it all was written clearly...

Logic and God cannot be linked, especially through the arguments of free will. God does indeed know what we will do, but God also knows what we CHOOSE to do. It's like advanced prediction. Just because God knows that we'll do, doesn't make it any less of our choice. I had a good think about this one and I think Ive been pondering it all my life ever since Ive been told that God knows everything. So let's say God KNOWS what we're about to do, and that's unchanging because God KNOWS what we're about to do. However, if we set out to do something, and we change our minds, God knows that we'll change our minds about doing it. Do you see what I'm saying? God knows that we'll make up our minds about something, and that doesn't necessarily take away our freewill. It's a very hard concept to explain, but I hope you understand.




You asay this god is like a father that loves his children yet this so called father if believed by the bible condemns us al to death because of the actions of some ansector who commited sin almost 6,000 years ago ,

Also free will is a very small thing like if you which to eat an a;pple or orange you basically know which fruit you like better so say you program like this

if huamn_creature attacted to apple +70% then apple
decide against apple =50%
if huamn_creature chosses organge 40% then orange

I mean the above exaple isn't exactly right but I am sayint to a certain extent free will is a little bit predetermined

i enjoyed reading "The existnce of god contradicts free will", but i have a few comments i would like to make. I have also read your section on the immutability of god, and it seems that these two sections stand in contrast with one another. It seems your main point in this paper is that god will know what you are going to decide tomorrow because of his all knowing, all powerful existense. But if we are to view time as a line, we should view god as the paper that this line is written on. He experiences every single moment as "now." If that is true, seeing whether i choose and apple or an orange tomorrow doesn't mean that my free will is gone, it simply means that god experiences every moment and experiences every choice as the present. As C.S. Lewis once said, the present is the closest physical manifestation of eternity.

Another point you seem to make is that a cause and effect relationship between everything means that free will is impossible since god's original actions will influence everything afterwards. But if god made us with free will, knowing that some of us may make poor decisions, and decided a universe with beings using free will is worth it despite that fact, his all knowing, all powerful nature would mean free will and its possibility for evil is more important than any alternative.

If god experiences all of time the way we experience the present, dedided that free will is a paramount virtue, and is all powerful and intelligent, i can see no reason not to believe in god using the arguements you have presented. but thats me. I know i articulated a lot of that strangely, but maybe i can better articulate what im saying in later postings.

haha i like how he hasnt responded to your post

Flaw with the argument

simply because one is all knowing, doesn't mean one always acts on that knowledge. even if what he said was true, and he knew everything that was going to happen, it would only count as invalidating free will if he changed his mind to change the outcome. If he created the world without taking that into account, it doesn't matter. I can know that my posting an article will make people angry, but if I'm not doing it to make them angry, I'm not overriding their free will. I'm not forcing them to be angry.

You interest me... It's been a long while since I found any sort of intellectual to reason with.

I do like some of your argumentation.

I greatly respect (and here I am speaking of vexen, and not many of the people posting comments), that you have given more than a fleeting moment to posit and logically construct your arguments.

I won't do you the discourtesy of advancing my thoughts on the matter of freewill (such as they are) without first giving more careful consideration to what you've put forth.

I will however leave this simple thought.

The more complex/grandiose an issue is, the fewer options there are to solve it. In the case of God, we are only left with two options.

1) God

2) No God

What I suggest to you is that we all are basing are arguments about God/god(s)/"god" on our presupposed option (Either 1 or 2).

I think we do ourselves a disservice when we look at an issue in this way. So, while I won't bother you with my specifics on freewill (at least until I understand more fully your own), I will say that "The Existence of God Contradicts Free Will," only if God doesn't in fact exist.

Omniscience/ Omnipotence

Read this webpage http://kahlonism.wetpaint.com it explains this contradictory explanation.

free will

There is no free will GOD is in control of all.JESUS is the SAVIOR off all,every man will be saved by fire(GODS holiness consuming that what is not of rightesness).GOD created us for him period.it is not about us it is all about him he created us for him.he is making children and he is making children to be just like him(knowing good and evil) and this is how he has choosen to do it.we are the clay he is the potter.this must be the best and perfect way to make us.who are we mere man to ask GOD why have you made us this way.IT is all GODS perfect plan.he even tells how he it does it all.we just have to study not read his WORD.dig deep