Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Free Will

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Linkman226, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. Linkman226

    Linkman226 #anarchy

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Messages:
    2,493
    A theological question.

    The Bible says:

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

    But this implies God predestined Jesus' death. Wouldn't that be contrary to the Christian doctrine of free will? Did God force Pontius Pilates' hand? And Judas' too? What's more, Jesus knew that Judas would betray him. Did Jesus/ his Dad 'make' Judas betray him?

    Or more generally, are the concepts of free will and an omniscient creator compatible? And since omniscience implies predestination, can God be omnipotent if he can't change what is predestined?
     
  2. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Creator

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    62,628
    Location:
    The Dream
    A deity that knows all does not have to imply the lack of free will, since in many cases the actual link between that deity and everything else (such as the supposed agents of free will) may be one that allows for a free will despite what will be willed being already known by that deity (relative to what the state of that deity actually is, in terms which correlate to will and consciousness).

    Depends also on whether you define free will as something in relation to the agent of it, or to the deity. Although i think i am "free" to make decisions, it still is true that i am not "free" in the sense that i can make decisions for things i am not even aware of. So i am not entirely free anyway and no one else would be, unless they have deity-like status (and then again even a deity might not have "free will", if it is not conscious in any sense we think of that term; the prime numbers don't actually will to be following the last one in intervals calculated by Eratosthenes, yet they still are an eternal pattern, not conscious of itself, but part of the reality of the cosmos.
     
  3. TrafficJam

    TrafficJam Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    An omnipotent God does not imply that he can do absolutely anything and everything. It means that he has the power to do everything within the confines of his nature and will. God is truth, therefore he cannot lie. Does his not being able to lie make him not omnipotent? Similarly, he cannot act outside of his predetermined will, so him not being able to change what he predestined does not make him any less omnipotent.

    Interstingly, the pastor of my church is doing a series right now on the nature of God. He just spoke on God's omnipotence and sovereignty yesterday. If you care to listen to a few of his messages (he's a bit smarter than I am, so maybe his explanation will make more sense), they can be found at: http://www.mbcss.org/Sermons.html. (We're a pretty small church, so uploading sermons to our site doesn't always happen right away... I think the series started on 7/14, but 8/11's sermons aren't up there as of the typing of this post... hopefully they'll be up before too long).
     
  4. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    9,492
    Gender:
    Male
    Christian doctrine does not necessarily support Free Will. Calvinism, for instance, believes in divine predestination for everything. Disbelief in free will - as part of its belief in predistination - is one of the five main tenets of Calvinism. All suffering in the world is created and ordained by god, as vengeance for the fall of man, which god however pre-ordained to happen as well.

    Relevant to this discussion would also be the idea of unconditional election, that is, that the afterlife was predetermined for each person as well, regardless of belief in god or overall moral outlook or actions. According to Calvinism, everyone and everything serves god's plan, and those that inflict suffering may satisfy god's will, predestining them to heaven.
     
  5. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    9,445
    That is a bit of a stretch. Taking the fact that only the predestinated go to heaven, does not mean that those same people can get away with wrong doing and that wrong doing is God's will. If one is truly predestinated before creation, it would not matter what they did - is not they same as God telling them to do what is wrong. It may be that he did not stop or prevent evil.

    There is an interesting twist to all this God is bad because he allows evil ideology. Materialist seem to think that changing anything in the past would be wrong, even if it seemed right to do. Just because God knows what is going to happen but does not stop it, does not mean that he is not all powerful, or even evil in letting it happen. It just means that he chooses to let things work out the way they were meant to work out.

    Christian doctrine supports one's willingness to give up their will. Not that free will does not exist. If free will was absent, then no one would have a choice, and that is what Calvinist teach. That is one extreme, but hardly the whole of Christianity.

    Calvin was not wrong in one having no will. If one wants to be as close to God as possible, then they have to rely on God's will and not their own. How that translate into no will at all does not follow. There are plenty of people that make their own choices and do as their own will pleases.

    Were is the proof that God 'created' and 'ordained' suffering? That may be a creative explanation of the curse, but then what would be the correct definition of create and ordain?

    Even Jesus knew as the Christ that he was predestined to die and gave up his will at every choice that was presented to him. He could have avoided the cross, but chose to die any way.
     
  6. Part_Time_Civer

    Part_Time_Civer Warlord

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    How does this imply that God predestined Jezus' death?
     
  7. Part_Time_Civer

    Part_Time_Civer Warlord

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    This sentence has some innate beaty to it, it sounds like poetry to me...

    But on topic; why do people perceive a discrepancy between free will and predestination? If I may translate your post (if I got it right) into my own -less eloquent- words: my dog is free to piss wherever he likes, but if I know in advance where he'll do it than it's predestination (from my perspective) and free will (from his persepective). Correct?
     
  8. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Creator

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    62,628
    Location:
    The Dream
    Thanks for liking my sentence there :D

    There are many cases in which the free will can co-exist with pre-destination. They just include some relatively more "convoluted" idea of either terms (and of a deity) than what is seemingly the norm. :)
     
  9. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    9,445
    If it was predestination, you would force the dog to do what you already knew. Foreknowledge just means that you already knew what the dog would do of his own free will.
     
  10. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    9,492
    Gender:
    Male
    According to Calvinists, any choices, including sinful ones, are so willed by God. Unlike pretty much any other religious belief (save for some), Calvinism opposes free individual will because of divine providence. It's the atheist's argument against god from free will turned upside down.
     
  11. TrafficJam

    TrafficJam Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    This isn't exactly true. Calvinists don't believe that God wills people to sin, and that they are therefore forced to do so. It's more accurate to say that they believe God allows them to sin within the confines of his sovereign decree.

    For example, Jesus's crucifixion was a part of God's decree - it had to happen. God guided the circumstances that brought about the result, yet the men who crucified him freely chose to do so, and thus they are held accountable for their actions.

    Calvinists may deny free will (in terms of accomplishing one's own individual will apart from God's will), but they don't deny free choice and individual responsibility.
     
  12. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    9,445
    That is the difference between foreknowledge and predestination. You cannot have both terms mean the same thing.

    God knew that all would sin, but he did not will it. Even humans have morals and can create choices for themselves. One cannot say that humans are more moral than God is. If that were the case then God would be forced to punish himself. In other words, even satan could not stop Jesus from dying since everything was forced without any choices. Satan was forced to tempt Jesus, but Jesus avoided temptation because he was forced to.

    It seems that I am forced to post in this thread. I tried to the other day, but then decided not to. Then I saw your post and changed my mind. Unless of course, we are all forced to do what we do and have no choices in the matter.
     
  13. Gangor

    Gangor King

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Messages:
    825
    Location:
    Berks, UK
    Omnipotence is a tautology: God can either make an immovable object or move it, but not both.
     
  14. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2003
    Messages:
    5,947
    Location:
    (GMT-5)
    Two points on this:

    1)Many Christians believe in a personal God. One that they can have a relationship with as they would a person. But I'd think God having some kind of freedom would be a requisite for this, which would be manifest in how prayers are answered. If God does not have free will, then such behavior would be inconsistent.

    2) I would say that things such as prime numbers are not part of the cosmos, or for the more Christian term, not part of Creation. They don't exist in the same way physical things exist.
     
  15. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Messages:
    25,238
    Location:
    Freedonia
    And here I was hoping this was a thread about the Infinity Gauntlet.
     
  16. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    9,445
    Being all powerful is not a tautology. Moving an immovable is a fallacy. An immovable object by definition cannot be moved. Creating has little to do with power. Creating could be done with the mind although in God's case it was his spoken word. Of course if God spoke an object into existence that could not move, why would he want to move it? It was created to not move. Now I am sure that if God wanted it to move it would move, in fact he could just speak it back out of existence. It is not an engineering dilemma where humans are trying to figure out how this object can be moved. If we really thought about it, trying to keep an object from moving, may be a bigger impossibility.
     
  17. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Creator

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    62,628
    Location:
    The Dream
    It does make "sense" for christians to believe this, given that the bible states that god made man in his image and likeness. Of course this can be seen as ambiguous too (image and likeness in regards to what? most think it means the actual form of the body, but it could mean other things).

    Prime numbers can indeed be argued not to be part of the "creation", but they can also be argued to be part of it. If they weren't, that would relegate a creator god to something still bound by the natural laws. A programmer is not really bound to use a specific code though, and if he is a very notable one, he might even create his own coding language :)
     
  18. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    51,947
    Location:
    Stamford Bridge
  19. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Creator

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    62,628
    Location:
    The Dream
    That they are part of an existent pattern in the cosmos, regardless if that pattern is identified by more sentient beings or not. Regardless even if a deity is not conscious of itself, or prime numbers either. Much like computer code is part of how a computer works, regardless of whether the computer, any of its programs, or even any user of it -on some levels- is aware of the code.
     
  20. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    51,947
    Location:
    Stamford Bridge
    Ahh I see. Would you say that the Fibonacci sequence or any other sequence of integers (i.e. 1,2,3,4,5,6,etc. or 1,4,6,8,10,12,etc.) falls under this "existent pattern in teh cosmos" or do you see something even more special about integers?
     

Share This Page