Omnipotence: God and Freedom

Introduction

The following hub is going to be a response to a hub by the user GodTalk but is not a direct response in the traditional sense. The hub in question is called Are You Really Free and can be found here. In this hub GodTalk argues that freedom is an illusion, in a sense, but rather than attempting any deep philosophic dialogue on the matter he merely argues that God is the slave-master of the Universe and that we must surrender our freedom to God in order to be free from sin.

In this hub I want to explore my own objections to the Christian God's omnipotence and touch upon the idea of God as King and slave-owner.

Jesus has a throne in Heaven, and many Christians plan on bowing before him for ETERNITY
Jesus has a throne in Heaven, and many Christians plan on bowing before him for ETERNITY

The God Between a Rock and a Hard Place

GodTalk argues that human beings SHOULD be free, or at least he seems to:

“We are living in a country that values our freedom. And that is not a bad thing, unless you believe freedom means that absolutely no one tells you what to do, including God”

But GodTalk also thinks there should be limits on that freedom, namely the limit of God's authority. What GT seems not to be aware of is that if his God did exist freedom would necessarily NOT. It is often argued that God created human beings with free will to make their own choices but this puts God in a funny place, because God is also against sin, and in the Bible God lays out his plan to punish unrepentant sinners.

In the Old Testament God seemed to take a much more hands-on approach to enforcing his rules, going so far as to directly smite people who disobeyed him. God sent war, famine, drought and disease often against his own people to pay them back for their sins. In the New Testament however God's immediate wrath seems lessened so that God is keeping track of your sins to hold them against you at a later court date.

So then, if God is less effective than the police then it would seem his authority is entirely ineffective. Why would we need legislatures to sit down and reason out the law if it was handed down from a divine and absolute authority? If God's law was in-line with nature's laws than naturally we wouldn't be able to act against God's will – we would be incapable of sinning.

So it follows that God wants us to have the freedom to sin, he wants us to have free choice. So God's will both wants us to be able to sin and wants to prevent us from sinning. God has a conflict of interest with himself?

And thus we have God between a rock and a hard place. Many will argue that God simply “doesn't want robots” and therefore we have free will, but lions and tigers don't sin, and yet they aren't robots either. And what of the angels? Apparently 2/3rds of them stayed on Yahweh's side during Lucifer's rebellion and never sinned and angels are not robots. So God specifically set out to create beings capable of sinning, even going to the trouble of making sure his new creations had no prior knowledge of good and evil the way angels who lived through the rebellion did.

Why would God create beings with free will so that they could make their own choices independent of his will and then punish them for making those choices? Surely he understands that free will is a guaranteed recipe for disobedience right?

(As an aside, if God wants people to be free, why does the First Commandment of the ten actually directly OUTLAW Freedom of Religion?)

Apart from God

There is a verse in scripture which says that 'apart from him we can do nothing...' meaning that without God we literally cannot act. This implies that any act, be it sinful or saintly, must be condoned by God. So God is an accomplice in every misdeed the human species has ever undertaken and he must be for he possesses all power and thus possesses all responsibility. The Bible even go so far as to say that we should obey earthly authorities because they were appointed by God and how could they not be? After all God is complicit in anything human beings do, and is aware of everything we do and is PRESENT when we are doing it.

And yet God allows sin and does not act despite his power to do so, he gives sin permission. That hardly seems like a benevolent and active God ready to help his followers, ready to heal the sick and let them move mountains with their faith. Every dark deed committed on this planet happened under the watchful eye of a super-hero more powerful than Super-Man could ever hope to be, yet he does not intervene.

An earthly authority, say a policeman, can stop a crime he sees in progress knowing that to usurp the criminals freedom does more good than harm. A man is being stabbed, the cop as a clear shot, he takes out his pistol and fires and suddenly he has taken away the criminals free will but in the process he has potentially saved the helpless victim. Meanwhile a God who could stop genocides with a mere thought looks on with sadness, caught between his desire to give people freedom and his desire to control everything. (of course the Biblical God often ENGAGES in sinful behaviors, such as killing innocent people, condoning slavery, etc, thus compounding the problem).

last son of krypton or only son of God?
last son of krypton or only son of God?

God is a Slave Master

Control. God is always in control so they say. So then why is there ever anything happening that is counter to God's will? How could it even be possible for a God to have control and not have control at the same time, especially one who is OMNIPOTENT? In GT's hub he describes God as a slave-master who we should all be serving, the irony being that if his God existed we wouldn't have a choice on who to serve. God is depicted as a King in the Bible and the imagery fits such a being perfectly because if Yahweh did exist he would essentially be the dictator of the Universe and thus the ultimate authority figure. Freedom from such a being would be impossible.

Even in the twisted world of Christian apologetic freedom exists only because it was given to us and even then it is conditional. God can revoke it at any time smiting whomever he chooses whenever the mood strikes him (Job learned that the hard way). Freedom is a merely a slightly longer length of chain attached to the end of our shackles. The fact that someone can think of God this way and not grow instantly disgusted is frightening yet GodTalk appears to like the idea.

“Let us this day choose whom we will serve. Those who choose Christ will never regret it, either now or in eternity.”

Well first of all we can call bullshit on the notion that no one regrets accepting Christianity, I know plenty of former Christians that would disagree with GodTalk there. Nothing against GT himself, I'm sure he's a fine person, he apparently has a blog about healthy living and weight loss, but to someone on the outside of Christianity telling people to choose who they want to be enslaved by is disturbing, AS IT SHOULD BE.

The equation of God to a slave master is one that I am familiar with and it proved to be one of my first faith-shaking realizations when I was only a teenager. I can recall being perhaps 16 or 17 and realizing that there could be no freedom, no escape and no peace.

Already at that point I was at odds with the idea of Heaven, it frightened me just as much as hell to think that I was never again going to feel sorrow, but be forced to feel joy with no context to put it in. Even more frightening to me was the idea that heaven never ended, here I was a young man who could barely fill up a weekend with things to do without growing bored asked to live for eternity with no conflict or emotional depth and essentially lounge beside the tree of life in between worshiping God.

Now I was faced with the realization that the God of the Bible wanted a servant, someone to bend to his will, someone willing to give up all their possessions, dreams and aspirations if God wanted them to. In fact Jesus even says that his “yoke is easy and his burden is light”, so you're a slave, but you're a well-treated slave. I wasn't sure I wanted to be a slave to anyone and I was pretty sure that ANY decent LOVING God would want his creations to be ACTUALLY free. That was one domino that eventually lead me farther away from the Biblical God and more towards my own version of God before eventually all the dominoes and gods fell by the wayside.

turns out Jesus abilities were exaggerated
turns out Jesus abilities were exaggerated | Source

Omnipotence Impossible?

Last but not least one of the big problems with monotheism and Christianity in general is the characteristic of omnipotence often attached to God. I've talked about this before I believe but it bears repeating that omnipotence is logically nonsensical and impossible no matter how you look at it.

Omnipotence as Infinite Power – One version of God's omnipotence stipulates that God has limitless or infinite power. The problem with this is that there is no way for God to know his power is infinite or for us to know that either. Infinity destroys the idea of quantity, it cannot be measured. Just as we could not measure time on an infinite scale we cannot measure power on it either.

If God were to show up tomorrow, heal the sick, raise the dead, or even create new Universes before our very eyes, we would not be able to declare said deity omnipotent.

Omnipotence as being All Powerful – The other version of omnipotence merely grants God all the power in existence, which would be a limited quantity of power but so much that God can essentially do anything. Again if this God were to show up we would be unable to measure his power as we have no accurate measurements about how much power is actually in existence.

God's omnipotence can never be proven, it can only be disproved by another God showing up and turning out to be more powerful. God cannot be sure whether a God more powerful than him exists as that God would necessarily be powerful enough to keep said information a secret. The same can be said for omniscience as well, since the only way to know whether or not God knows everything is to meet a smarter God, until then the first God is just the smartest SO-FAR.

Conclusion

It never ceases to amaze me the disturbing teachings Christianity gets away with in the 21st century and yet many of them I was subjected to as a child. Are we really free and if so in what ways are we free? In what ways are we constrained and in what ways SHOULD we be constrained. Does free will even exist? I don't know. What I can tell you is in what ways we are not constrained. There is no all powerful King to which you must submit and in the end submission to such a being is merely submission to self-delusion.

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Comments 13 comments

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

We are free to choose how we wish to live. Nobody super-imposes their will upon us. We are simply asked to choose the path we take.

This is God's way for us.


A Thousand Words profile image

A Thousand Words 4 years ago

@ Dave Mathews

I think this portion of Titen's post took care of that well.

"An earthly authority, say a policeman, can stop a crime he sees in progress knowing that to usurp the criminals freedom does more good than harm. A man is being stabbed, the cop as a clear shot, he takes out his pistol and fires and suddenly he has taken away the criminals free will but in the process he has potentially saved the helpless victim. Meanwhile a God who could stop genocides with a mere thought looks on with sadness, caught between his desire to give people freedom and his desire to control everything."


teacherjoe52 profile image

teacherjoe52 4 years ago

Here is th truth in simple language

There are two you can choose to serve

One is satan, which only leads to heartache in this life and eternal dammation in the next

The other is Christ. To be a bond Servant was to willingly serve.Christ fills the spirit with peace and joy of which the world can not know and laughs at. When He comes to take us home it will be a wonderful experience for eternity.

It is up to you to choose. Becareful, your etewrnity depends upon it.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 4 years ago from back in the lab again Author

@teacherjoe52

Except that inevitably there is a third choice, freedom, choosing not to choose. Most Christians believe that SATAN is the default choice, if you are not with God than you automatically fall on Satan's side. But if God created the world, the rules for the world, and the system of salvation/damnation, then how exactly is Satan and Hell the default? Unless your God is evil.

Lastly I find it ironic that God is violating his own commandment, he is coveting those who serve Satan, and thus he is coveting his neighbor's servant.


A Thousand Words profile image

A Thousand Words 4 years ago

LoL, Titen. You make me giggle, even though I'm fairly certain you're serious. Great points! Have you ever heard of Maltheism?


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Titen: In your closing comment to teacherjoe, you state that it is ironic that God violates his own command. I think not. Satan made his choices as to how he would view God's authority and rebelled. Satan must pay the consequences for his actions.

As for God coveting anything. No! God protects that which is His satan and satan's folowers are free to choose their path.


A Thousand Words profile image

A Thousand Words 4 years ago

Oh, but Dave Mathews, God is a jealous God is He not, according to your Bible? Why is He jealous? It is because He covets us. He wants us for Himself. Didn't your Jesus say we were children of the Devil, though? Hm... must mean we're not born children of God, then, right? And tht in order to become His children, we must accept Jesus. Surely we can't be both? Your book is full of so much contradiction, though, it's hard to say. Anyway, this God seems to hold us to standards that He doesn't hold Himself to. It seems the lawmaker is above the law. People find that despicable in other people, but if it's "God," then everything's fine and dandy.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Again - If God created all things, then he created Satan as well, along with all of the things associated with his creation (Satan).

So please, quit boring us with your platitudes and horribly misunderstood 2,500 year old books. Grow up.

Atheists are NOT Satanists and God does not exist. Neither does Satan. It's all pie in the sky.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Titen: are you a ventriiquist or something? I comment to you and someone else responds. What is the point in commenting?

You like to take scripture and twist it to suit your own purpose, or at least the person speaking on your behalf does.

Titen: If you are so Anti-God, as most Atheists are, then why even bother discussing something you do not even believe in.

If there is no God, why talk about Him and why do so in such a derogatory manner, since you doubt His existence?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

At the risk of being called a puppet of Titen (which I am not), the reasons we spout off against "Christians" is that they are obnoxious and ignorant.

We are trying to educate you about your contradictory beliefs and get you to stop trying to spread your ignorance to others - especially children.

Get it?


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Since Titen refuses to answer his own comments, Indeed you are Titen's puppet.

By the way what in fact are my faith and belief in contradiction with.

All the BOY has managed to do as well as his puppets is to attack others with factless statements.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 4 years ago from back in the lab again Author

@Dave Matthews

"Since Titen refuses to answer his own comments"

This may come as a surprise Dave, but I do have a life outside of the internet. I'm not refusing to comment, I do have things to do beyond being on hubpages at all hours and times. Sometimes I'm busier than at other times and can't get around to responding for a while, if others choose to address your comments that is their choice and I welcome people of all opinions to join in the discussion. This isn't a private discussion between the two of us, if you'd like to start one feel free to email me via hubpages email feature.

Now on to what you had to say:

"If you are so Anti-God, as most Atheists are, then why even bother discussing something you do not even believe in."

You believe in God correct? I used to believe in the same God you do and so do millions of people. If millions of adults decided to believe in Santa Claus, or converted to Scientology and believed in Lord Xenu the alien, I would be just as opposed to that.

Also, people get passionate debating and talking about fictional characters and stories all the time, from mythological ones, to pop culture (Star Wars for instance). I don't have to believe Jar Jar Binks is real to be anti-Binks do I?

"If there is no God, why talk about Him and why do so in such a derogatory manner, since you doubt His existence?"

Darth Vader is an evil character, he's also a whiny annoying emo kid in the prequels. Usually I try to avoid hyperbole though, unless in the interest of poking a little fun in the process. In actuality it isn't derogatory to call your God out for the evil character he is, because I can show the Biblical verses and aspects of Christian theology that make him evil.


Mohammad.Wasim 4 years ago

God, freedom, believe ?

God is invisible. No freedom in the world. Believe becomes a question mark due to the existence, bulk of religions and different way of believe execute war, hatred , jealousy.

According to religion. God failed to provide his power and freedom. When God built a man Mr.Adam and a group of angles were refused in front of God to bow his head or to accept God's manufactured Mr.Adam. I asked myself. How dared the angels to refuse the command of God. In another word , I can say that the angels were having the same authority or power as the God had. That is why angels were refused to accept the proposal. It might be a Ltd company where the God and Angels were key members of the organisation. Angle were used the veto against the product Mr.Adam to accept. So, started with violence . Again when I proceed towards the second chapter. God requested Mr.Adam and Mrs.Eve, please not to eat Apple of this tree. Powerful angles compel them to move against the order of God and both couple ate the Apple. Second time also God failed to use his power.

God became angry and threw the couple on the earth.

One child of Mr.Adam and Mrs Eve did a murder. The foundation of bloodshed was established. I proceed further. Why so many prophets , religions and holly-books. It seems to me that God did not love peace and freedom on this earth.

Due to that , started dispute in believe, war, killing, hatred, fragmentation of Earth and no more freedom among people .When I study very brief way. I have to say ridiculous .

God and freedom is hard to believe if I substract the whole situation. We human being have to work for the freedom on this earth. Let the God invisible and please do not disturb him.

People says that we have seen Ghost. So, Ghosts are visible and invisible. There are two qualities. But our God has a one quality that is he always invisible . Let us see in ferry tale book.

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