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God's Perfection and Free Will

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    Sooner28posted 3 years ago

    God is perfect.  To my knowledge, no theist will deny this claim, so I'm not going to spend any time defending it.

    If God is perfect, then all the consequences of his actions must be perfect.  To deny this would be like claiming you had a perfect mechanic, but your car's brake pads and oil pump were not fixed properly.  It is in the very definition of perfection to be "without flaw."

    Since human beings are a result of the actions of God, all of our decisions must ultimately end up as fulfilling God's perfect plan, even if on an individual basis they would appear not to do so.

    But, in order for this to occur, our wills cannot really be free.  If our wills are free, then God could not ensure that his perfect plan would come to pass.  We could muck it up with our bad decisions. 

    Thus, we either don't have free will, or God is not perfect (which would mean denying premise 2 or 6).  Take your pick.

    1.  If God is perfect, then all the consequences of his actions must be perfect.

    2.  God is perfect.

    3.  Therefore, all the consequences of his actions must be perfect (1,2).

    4.  The existence of the will of a human being is the result of God's actions.

    5.  Therefore, every human being's will must end up producing perfect consequences (God's perfect plan). (3,4).

    6.  If every human being's will must end up producing perfect consequences, then our wills are not free.

    7.  Therefore, our wills are not free (5,6).

    This only applies to theists.  Atheists obviously deny God's existence so this argument is only focused on showing the dilemma faced by theists who hold to a traditional view of God.

    What say you?

    1. A Troubled Man profile image60
      A Troubled Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      What do you mean by "perfect"?

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Without flaw.

        1. A Troubled Man profile image60
          A Troubled Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Okay, what does that mean? What flaws are you talking about?

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            Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I'm not talking about any specific flaws.  Theists define God as perfect, and I am taking that in the traditional way.  The argument doesn't rest on quibbling over the meaning of perfect.

            It rests on God being perfect, but if that is so and he gives us free will, how can he achieve his perfect plan?

            1. A Troubled Man profile image60
              A Troubled Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Then, your claim of perfection has no meaning.



              Yes, traditionally meaningless, as it always has been.



              It absolutely does, because one could use the word supercalifragilisticexpealidocious, and the meaning, or lack thereof, doesn't change.



              Now, you're just going round in circles chasing a tale. What does perfect mean?

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                Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

                No.  God is defined as morally perfect, omniscient, and omnipotent. 

                To claim you don't fully understand what God's perfection entails does not mean that the traditional definition is meaningless.  It simply means we are not in a position to assess what God's actual plans are, but accepting that God exists means he does have plans!

                Anyway, I am an atheist, and I constructed this argument to undermine free will.

    2. kess profile image62
      kessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      The introduction of imperfection comes when you presume that the man when he sees the perfection of God will deliberately choose otherwise.

      Tell what about perfection that a man can view it as something to abhor?

      What ever your answer is, you would realise that the fault is not with perfection itself but with the man.

      And the only fault of the man is that he refuses to see perfection as perfect but has made it something else.

      This is the freedom that perfection offers, that despite it being what it is(ie perfect)..
      Men are given the opportunity to see it as otherwise (imperfection).

      But still maintain the confidence that, when perfection is seen by that man, he will choose it as the best option forsaking all other possibilities. Thus the freewill is bound only unto the freedom of perfection.

      The perfection dilemma when both sides work unto the same end.

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        Emile Rposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        It isn't often that I agree whole heartedly with your sentiments, but this response is, imo, quite good and dead on.

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        So we don't have free will and you accept my conclusion?

        1. kess profile image62
          kessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Maybe you do not realise I have answered the question you are asking....

          If you cant find the answer in what I have already said, then I cant help you further.

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            Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            So you are claiming premise 6 is false.  It's possible that our wills can be free and still produce perfect consequences.

            I don't see how "the freewill is bound only unto the freedom of perfection."  In order for a will to be free, it must have the possibility of doing what it wishes, and human wishes will not necessarily be in line with God's ultimate plan.

            1. kess profile image62
              kessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Listen,

              I am saying that you are negating your entire argument at the very beginning by assuming perfection is not actually perfect.

              whatsoever confusion arises after that is your creation....which I will not entertain

    3. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
      HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      The intent of God was that we have free will. The mere fact that we're capable of mucking things up means we are as He intended. And because the will is truly free, as in a will apart from His, then the consequences of our actions are not the consequences of His. Other than creating us as intended. And His allowance of imperfection is because His intent was for our wills to be free.

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago

    God exists as the Highest Being. We are lesser Beings.   When we pay attention to the Highest Being we profit. We get better. We just need to pay attention and intuit The Highest Being's will. That will is Love.
    So, why not pay attention and try to intuit the Omnipresent Consiousness of the Highest of "Beings?"
    This is all I will say about the matter. Just trying to be helpful.

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      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I appreciate your thoughts.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Thank You, Sooner.

    2. A Troubled Man profile image60
      A Troubled Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      And, where is this so-called "Highest Being" that we are to pay attention? Under the carpet?

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        No not under the carpet! Omnipresent Spirit must be intuited. Everyone knows that fact and thats why we meditate and pray!  Come On, A.T.M. !

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    Emile Rposted 3 years ago

    Where is the dilemma? Other than not being able to resolve this moment in time as perfect? Other than accepting that your will has not been done? Your idea of a perfect cosmic view has not been fulfilled?

    This argument is pointless because it not only attempts to sit in judgment of an unseen being, it also sits in judgment of all of humanity. It condemns reality.  It is never ending since if you reached an understanding that resolved the question it would be unique to you. The rest of humanity would not be satisfied. Where is the perfection in that?

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      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      To deny the conclusion of a logical argument, you must show the premises don't support the conclusion or that one or more of the premises are false.  The only ones a theist would question as false are premises 2 and 6. 

      Based on traditional theism, I'm not sure how you could deny premise 2 or 6.  But if you claim to be a rational person, and you can't deny any of my premises, then you should accept the conclusion that we don't have free will.

      If we don't have free will, then we are not responsible for our actions, and God cannot judge us without appearing to be a monster, because he is the one who set up the world in such a way that we would "sin."  That's why a lack of free will matters.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        -( I guess I do have more to say) We have free will within the boundaries set forth by the ten commandments and the Golden Rule: (loving ourselves, others and Omnipresent Spirit/Creator. )
        Is that logical?

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          Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I think we are using different definitions of free will (which may more accurately be described as free choice).  Anyway, you have the freedom to sin, to curse God, to do whatever.  That's the standard, traditional definition of libertarian free will most theists hold to.

          Given that, your free will cannot ensure that God's perfect plan comes to pass.  I suspect that's a huge problem.

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            "Given that, your free will cannot ensure that God's perfect plan comes to pass"

            Implicit in that statement, and in the OP, is that God's perfect plan does not include sections that humans would classify as imperfect.  It is nevertheless perfection.  By definition, anything God does is perfect, including designing and implementing a plan with pain, suffering and all the other evils on earth. 

            YOU don't get to define perfection, the theist does and has defined it as anything He does.  Should an asteroid hit tomorrow, one God did not send and did not want, it is still perfect because it is defined that way.

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              Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

              If the theist defines perfection as anything God does, just like they define morality as anything God commands, then the emptiness of the position is laid bare.

  4. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
    HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago

    The problem it seems, when these proposals that try to find contradiction between a perfect omniscient/omnibenevolent God and the concept of free will are proposed, is that the concept of free will is either misunderstood or underestimated in the thought process. Ironically, it is science that gives deeper meaning here.

    As science has shown, the material world is made up of matter that behaves in consistent, predictable ways. And it has shown us that the material universe and everything in it is governed by constant, unchanging natural laws. And much like the cells in a body adhering to the code of the body's DNA, all matter behaving in accordance to the natural laws makes the collective effort work. The nature of matter's behavior in the environment created by these natural laws results in this fantastical reality we see before us.

    Human behavior coming from a self-centered perspective and based in reason, is an anomaly in the natural world. Our ability to behave free, as in behavior not determined solely by our physical make-up, is what's significant. That's what the whole Adam/Eve story was about. The first chapter shows how the entirety of existence followed God's commands to the letter. Then comes Adam and Eve who are set in this very scientific-like test scenario where there's only one rule set by the same creator that all the rest of existence follows without question. And they break it. They're the first creation capable of behaving contrary to God's will. By design.

    Our having free will is the equivalent of each individual particle of matter having the capability to choose whether or not to adhere to the natural laws. Reality would unravel if that were the case. In this context, from a God as creator of the universe standpoint, the natural laws are God's will. And nature has shown that it works just fine as is. Afterall it resulted in us existing because it is the way it is. Like a well functioning body with all the individual parts behaving just as they should. Free will would be like cells in your body each adhering to their own DNA code different than the DNA code of the body they live within. Though there's no malice intent, those cells simply behaving in accordance to DNA code that doesn't belong to the body means there will be conflict. It makes those cells a potential cancer that endangers the body that they, and all the other cells of that body, depend on.

    Free will is the intention. It's the whole reason for all of this. But it's a volatile thing. It's well worth it because it's what makes existence worth living. Sure, we could exist in a perfect Utopia, but that would require that we all be drones. Like communism, where everyone has a specific duty that they must adhere to for the system to work. Much like cells in a body. But while communism may look good on paper, in practice it simply doesn't work because we humans aren't built that way and we'll reject being put in boxes like that. We don't like being told what to do.

    Equating death or disease or pain to evil or to imperfection is an error. Afterall, where would we be now if there were no death? It's a vital piece of this existence. It's necessary. It makes life urgent and makes each moment matter because there's an eventual end. And it's the diseases and the predators and the overall struggle to survive that forged these bodies of ours. We were shaped by it. All of it. God created an environment and a physical world that just so happens to be the ideal place to foster something like free will. Without the potential for pain, without the possibility that you or others can be hurt, without the risk and the weight of repercussions and consequences, free will has no meaning. The simple fact is, it must be this way. Can you imagine or conceive of an existence that is more perfect? Just try it and see what you end up with. Can you improve the design?

    1. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      You're assuming that it was free will that broke God's command. 

      But if A&E performed exactly according to God's will - exactly what He intended when He made them - then what?  His plan included them eating the apple, it included kicking them out of Eden and it included people that disobey His rules, what does that say about free will?

      We have a habit of declaring that God only does things that we find good, even as we know He does not, then saying that God's ways are "inscrutable".  So does that "inscrutable" include actions, intents and plans that contain disobedience from His creations?  Included, from the very beginning, death, pain and evil?  Did His plan include the birth of the man called Hitler, include Hitler killing millions of "chosen ones" in the 30's and 40's?

      His ways and His plans are inscrutable and not fathomable by man.  It is entirely possible that the movement of every atom, every thought by every person, has been carefully planned out and follows that perfect plan completely.  Even the lies fostering the idea of free will are according to plan.  Yes?

      1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
        HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        This is what I mean. It's an under-appreciation of the concept of free will. It's not that the plan was for them to eat the apple. The plan was to give them the capability and the choice. But they had to choose it. And they had to choose it of their own volition and for their own selfish wants (wisdom, good to eat). That's the key. Free will makes us creators ourselves. Hitler created his actions through his free will.

        Take the story of Abraham and Isaac for an example. Why would God, having knowledge of past and present, have to test Abraham? Because choices made of free will are not 'of God'. If God had not interjected into the timeline and created a situation that made Abraham choose whether or not to sacrifice his son, then his decision never would have existed and God actually would not have known whether or not Abraham would obey. See what I mean? Free will is a powerful thing. We are able to create, and add to this existence, decisions/actions/creations that are not 'of God' but are 'of us'.

        Yes, God could see what Hitler was going to do, but that was the result of free will. And free will would not have been free if He had put a stop to it. What would our ability to choose our behavior matter if anyone who had ever attempted to do anything "bad" was stopped by God? If nothing bad was ever allowed to happen because God would intercede? Would we truly be free?

        It is possible to behave of our own free will and still be within God's will. Free will isn't all bad, it just provides the potential for bad. God just requires that we acknowledge His authority and the rules He puts in place. Because it is our choice whether or not to acknowledge Him OR to follow His rules. We have to choose of our own free will whether or not we will play by the rules and respect His authority. It has to be our choice, and we must choose it willingly of our own volition.

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          "It's not that the plan was for them to eat the apple."

          Your proof?  How do you know that wasn't the plan?  Because the creature wanting you to believe a falsehood said so?

          "Why would God, having knowledge of past and present, have to test Abraham"   "What would our ability to choose our behavior matter if anyone who had ever attempted to do anything "bad" was stopped by God?"   

          These and all other questions as to why God does something all have the same answer - God's ways are inscrutable and unfathomable to mere man.  We cannot know.  It is possible that He, for some reason (or no reason) we don't understand, did it. 

          You're not understanding (or not wanting to) - as long as we refuse to hold God to the same standard as we hold ourselves we cannot honestly believe that He hasn't made the master plan down to the atomic level.  He made Hitler precisely because he would murder Jews.  He made Adam the way He did so that Adam would follow the plan and eat the apple.  He is, at the root, directly responsible for all the evil and pain in the world; it is a part of His plan, albeit a part we don't understand.  There is absolutely no free will, just God's plan.

          1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
            HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            So, let me get this straight, when a question or conundrum such as this is put forward, if I or anyone attempts to apply reasoning to it, we're told that "God's ways are inscrutable and unfathomable to mere man". So then why the question? Why have the discussion? If we're then not allowed to try to address them?

            My 'proof', as far as how to read that story, is the rest of the bible. That one part of the story is clearly told and makes clear throughout the rest of the bible that the entire theme to the whole thing is that humans behave contrary to God's will. He both rewarded the Israelites (manna from heaven) and punished them (striking down some in sight of others) to try to keep them in line with His commands. And over and over again the story is the same where one generation would fall in line, but within a generation or two it was right back to how it was. Don't you think things would have gone much more smoothly for God if it were all going to plan? Remember it says he 'regretted' having to send the flood. You don't have 'regret' if things are going to plan.

            Just read how the story is laid out. Everything in existence, the land, the plants, the animals, even pre-Adam humans, did exactly as God commanded. It doesn't say He physically molded existence like clay. It says He spoke and it became. Even the humans were given specific commands (fill the earth, establish dominance in animal kingdom) that would take numerous generations to accomplish and they did it. We know they did it because A) God then deemed all He created 'good', B) what the humans in Gen1 were commanded to do is exactly what homo sapiens did between 200 thousand and 10 thousand years ago.

            From the time of Adam on, humans have established class systems, making one group more important than others. Humans have killed, enslaved one another. And that same aggressive 'civilized' behavior spread from the birthplace of civilization out until it completely overtook the world. That's our history. Arriving on already inhabited land, deeming ourselves worthy of taking it, then killing/enslaving the inhabitants. That free will is what distinguishes us from indigenous humans. We're much more self-absorbed than they are. They are much more tribe-minded and much less individually minded, and there's a nearly universal idea that there's a spirit force that animates the world that they consider themselves a spiritual part of as well. We're much less content and have a much more pronounced disconnection from the natural world. It's a heavily documented difference. A difference that coincides with the psychological idea of a more pronounced ego, or a free will. An ego that feels separate from the natural world, separated from one another, even separate from our own physical bodies. It's what made us male-dominant, subjugating women still more tethered to the natural world than we are because of child-baring. It's what created the first societies with class stratification. And it's a psychological change that goes hand in hand with the human behavior change where personal possessions are concerned. A change also written about by the Greeks, Romans, and even in ancient Chinese mythology....

            The Roman poet Ovid's description of the human race's decline from the original golden age ...

            "There broke out ... all manner of evil, and shame fled, and truth and faith. In place of these came deceits and trickery and treachery and force and the accursed love of possession ... And the land, hitherto a common possession like the light of the sun and the breezes, the careful surveyor now marked out with long boundary lines."

            "In China, there are many legends speaking of a Golden Age before the time of constant warfare and social oppression, and archaeological evidence suggests that these aren't just myths."
            ...
            "But, again, this is also clear enough from the new culture they brought to China. The "Golden Age" of peace and sexual equality came to a cataclysmic end."
            - Steve Taylor, The Fall: The Insanity of the Ego in Human History and the Dawning of A New Era

            This goes hand in hand with what the bible says was different about Adam and Eve. And these also go hand in hand with the data that says patriarchal societies first began in southern Mesopotamia. The same societies that eventually became the first civilizations.

            You can keep trying to lay all the bad things at God's feet because, well, if He didn't create us at all then none of that would have happened. So, in that case you'd have a point. And nothing good that we love about life would have happened either. But the only other option is to create all of this and create us, only create us as drones that only behave as we're supposed to, but not of our own volition. We could have a Utopia if that were the case, but it would be meaningless. It wouldn't be of our own will and our own making. As soon as you add free will to the mix, it gets hairy.

            1. wilderness profile image96
              wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              But I am trying to answer the conundrum; the answer is that we don't have free will.  It goes as follows:

              God is perfect and has made a perfect plan.  This is in line with the OP.
              God lies when he tells us we have free will.  That lie is a part of the perfect plan and, as God's morality is not ours, does not make Him imperfect.
              We thus have no free will, just God's perfect plan.  The purpose behind the lie of free will is unknown as His ways are unfathomable and our morals do not apply to Him.  He is perfect no matter what He does.

              Conundrum solved; God is perfect, our free will is but an illusion for reasons we don't know.  The alternative is to decide God is NOT perfect (because the conundrum is logically correct and thus one or more premises are false) but that brings up a can of worms best left unopened.  Better to just accept that free will is an illusion.

              1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
                HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                But your answer is flawed. Flaw #1 is the juxtaposition of a 'perfect God' who's 'perfect plan' includes lying. Is it really a perfect plan if you have to lie? Flaw #2 seems to be that you're not considering free will a part of the perfect plan. If free will was the intention, the end goal, of the perfect plan, then free will existing as it does, and all the bad things that happen actually happening, means things are going to plan. Just because we're such a volatile piece of the equation doesn't mean a being who exists outside of this universe, thus outside space-time, who can then see past/present/future all at once, can't ensure His perfect plan still plays out. In fact, stories about a regrettable flood, dispersing the people of Babel because of what they were doing and not because it was 'part of the plan', punishing the Israelites to keep them in line, showing his power over the natural world to sway the behavior of free willed people, means He has taken action to ensure an outcome that He can see and we cannot. The intended end. Thus, a perfect plan. The ability to bring about an existence where free will actually exists that's still possible and not doomed to eventually deteriorate.

                Besides, why is it God's ways or reasonings are unfathomable, yet your assessment that a perfect God with a perfect plan cannot coexist with the concept of free will doesn't apply in the same way? Couldn't it be your limited perception (compared to God, not meant as a dig) is what makes the two so seemingly incompatible?

                1. wilderness profile image96
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  No.  You're not getting what I'm trying to say. 
                  1.  You keep applying earthly morality and concepts of right and wrong to God.  They do not apply; a perfect God cannot do wrong because, for Him, right is defined as whatever He does.  He can lie, steal, rape, murder - whatever He does is right and perfect.

                  2.  Free will and God's detailed plan cannot co-exist.  When individual humans can use their free will to determine how others will live their lives hundreds or thousands of years later, no plan could take that into account.  It becomes a random factor, always unexpected and never foreseen or in any plan.

                  Consider what Buddha, or Mohammed, did and what their actions did to future generations.  We see billions of people that never heard of the Christian god, simply because whole cultures formed around those two individuals.  Billions of lives that could not be in any plan because both men had free will to act as they did - they were the random factor that cannot be planned.  Note that this is by definition: God cannot know what free will will produce or it is no longer free will.  If God knew of Buddha's actions and the effect they would have, then those actions were pre-ordained and unchangeable,   The antithesis of free will.

                  1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
                    HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    1. I have not applied any moral concepts to God. I've only drawn the distinction between God's will and our will in an attempt to better define "free will". In this context God's will is the natural laws and our will is anything un-natural. Much in the same way we ourselves instinctively make the distinction between what's "natural" and what is "man-made". We are the only known beings/entities in all the known universe that willfully and deliberately create things born of a reasoning mind. We add to this universe by doing. We create things that didn't exist in the natural world previously. Whether it be skyscrapers, art, science, religion, war, bombs, etc. Things that can have a dramatic impact on how things play out. That is significant. Just think about that. When I say 'free will', that is what I mean. If God is the architect of the natural world, and the delicate balance of this natural world hinges so greatly on the consistent behavior of matter, then our ability to behave outside of that, just on a whim if we like, is a significant and powerful gift.

                    2. Here you are applying earthly/humanly limitations to the creator of the universe. If God created the universe, and time only exists within this universe, then how can God be limited by it? You and I make decisions of our own free will in the moment because we are within the dimension of time. We, in the moment, choose freely. God, being outside the universe and outside of the dimension of time, sees all at once. But His ability to see has nothing to do with your ability to choose freely. There's only one timeline that spans between the beginning and the end, and it only plays out one way, and the decisions you made in each moment are only made once. But they're made by you willfully. In the case of Abraham God intervened, creating a situation that would not have existed otherwise so Abraham would make a decision he wouldn't have otherwise. From God's perspective, there's only whether or not something happened, there's no "when".

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      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I am not entirely sure what part of my argument you are disagreeing with, based on the initial response.  However:

      Based on this: "he first chapter shows how the entirety of existence followed God's commands to the letter. Then comes Adam and Eve who are set in this very scientific-like test scenario where there's only one rule set by the same creator that all the rest of existence follows without question. And they break it. They're the first creation capable of behaving contrary to God's will. By design."

      "Take the story of Abraham and Isaac for an example. Why would God, having knowledge of past and present, have to test Abraham? Because choices made of free will are not 'of God'. If God had not interjected into the timeline and created a situation that made Abraham choose whether or not to sacrifice his son, then his decision never would have existed and God actually would not have known whether or not Abraham would obey. See what I mean? Free will is a powerful thing. We are able to create, and add to this existence, decisions/actions/creations that are not 'of God' but are 'of us'."


      and this: "His perfect plan still plays out. In fact, stories about a regrettable flood, dispersing the people of Babel because of what they were doing and not because it was 'part of the plan', punishing the Israelites to keep them in line, showing his power over the natural world to sway the behavior of free willed people, means He has taken action to ensure an outcome that He can see and we cannot. The intended end. Thus, a perfect plan. The ability to bring about an existence where free will actually exists that's still possible and not doomed to eventually deteriorate."

      "My 'proof', as far as how to read that story, is the rest of the bible. That one part of the story is clearly told and makes clear throughout the rest of the bible that the entire theme to the whole thing is that humans behave contrary to God's will. He both rewarded the Israelites (manna from heaven) and punished them (striking down some in sight of others) to try to keep them in line with His commands. And over and over again the story is the same where one generation would fall in line, but within a generation or two it was right back to how it was. Don't you think things would have gone much more smoothly for God if it were all going to plan? Remember it says he 'regretted' having to send the flood. You don't have 'regret' if things are going to plan. "



      and this: "Besides, why is it God's ways or reasonings are unfathomable, yet your assessment that a perfect God with a perfect plan cannot coexist with the concept of free will doesn't apply in the same way? Couldn't it be your limited perception (compared to God, not meant as a dig) is what makes the two so seemingly incompatible?"

      You appear to be denying premise 1 or 6.  I'm going to put them down again for clarity purposes. 

      Premise 1:   If God is perfect, then all the consequences of his actions must be perfect.

      Premise 6:  If every human being's will must end up producing perfect consequences, then our wills are not free.

      So I think you deny premise 1 by pointing out the flood.  God may be perfect, but the consequences of his actions need not necessarily be perfect.  Assuming I am understanding you correctly, this would be strange.  There is a huge debate in philosophy about whether intentions, consequences, or some combination of both are what matters when evaluating the ethics of a particular action.  What you seem to be claiming is that God has a plan that is perfect, but human beings free will is part of that plan, and since humans are not perfect and are free, every action God takes isn't necessarily perfect.  So in essence, God doesn't have the capacity to foresee everything in advance because of free will!  It places a knowledge restriction on him.

      As for premise 6, you seem to be claiming that, even though we do have free will,God is going to intervene to ensure that our free will is used "correctly."  So with the flood example, people misused their free will and God basically had to start over.  This is similar to saying that your child has free will, but anytime they make a decision that threatens the viability of your plan for their life, you intervene to get them back on track.  This sense of free will doesn't seem to be to do justice to what free will actually means.  If God wants our wills free, why would he continually intervene to ensure that, in the long run, we actually proceed with his plan?  That seems unnecessary.     

      Back to premise 1.  There is a problem with interpreting this premise, after I have read over it again.  Does it mean perfect consequences in the long run, or every consequence, long and short?  I think both interpretations are plausible, but I think long-term consequences probably adheres better with accounting for free will.  So in essence, you won't be able to deny premise 1 anymore, because God does ensure that his plan is fulfilled in the long run.

      This leaves premise 6.  I think you can plausibly deny it, but only by using a very restricted version of free will that does adhere with the meaning of free, but in a very odd way.  It seems to be saying, "you have free will, but only in as much as your will does not veer too far from my ultimate plan, which WILL be fulfilled."  If enough of our free will's violate God's plan (since one person not following won't necessarily endanger the plan), he will intervene by possibly killing us.  So, how this will be consistent with a God of love that truly lets human beings choose their course of actions, at this moment, escapes me.

      I also apologize for using snippets from your conversation with Wilderness.  I was looking for clarification with what you meant in your response.

      1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
        HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        It's a combination of 1 and 6 that are the problem because free will IS the goal. God is perfect, and perfectly created beings capable of behaving in accordance to their own individual wills. So, if free will is the intent, and free will inherently allows for "imperfection" because it is truly free, then the consequences of God's actions are perfect. Free will being free is the perfect outcome because that was the intent.

        But there is a knowledge restriction, by His own design. It's kind of like that whole 'can God create a stone so large even He can't lift it' kind of thing. He created us with a will that is totally independent of His. Now, you and I can't fool Him. Once free will existed in the world it plays out only one way along the one timeline. He adds a flood and it plays another way. He adds dispersing people at Babel and it plays out that way.

        Think of God like a programmer, with existence being a program and time only running when the program is. When it's all just His code, it behaves only one particular way. There's no input from anyone or anything else. It just runs beginning to end the same way. However, if code written by someone else passes data into that program it can have unintended affects. So, the programmer would code to anticipate that input and still arrive at the desired outcome.

        The flood wasn't God intervening to make sure we use our will "correctly". The flood was a necessary edit to still arrive at the desired outcome. He had created Adam and Eve to live with this capability, but descendants of Adam and Eve began marrying naturally evolved humans (Gen6) and passed on this capability to offspring. This is when it says there was 'wickedness' in humanity. These beings intermingling wasn't intended, thus warranting a flood. It's things like the flood that make it apparent that free will is very much something free of God's control, again, by design. That's what the whole book is about. Like the 10 commandments. What would be the point of even making rules in a 'perfect' scenario as you speak of it? And those people continually disobeying, as well, should show you that the premises you're setting up don't adhere to what's being described.

        The plan IS free will. And the plan succeeded. And God's involvement throughout the OT was to realize the birth of Jesus (the flood, Babel, Abraham, the Israelites, the Exodus, all those rules about who to procreate with that were specific to the line Jesus was eventually born of). Now it's our part. Now that we have our own individual will, we have to willfully choose to conform to His authority in the life to come. Free will in a finite/temporary existence can only be so destructive. But free will AND eternal life.. that's another story. Notice blocking Adam and Eve from the tree of life was the very first thing God did. If that is the plan, for free will to exist, and for free willed beings to experience free will in a finite existence where the impact can be controlled so that they can then choose of their own volition to participate in what's to come, then the plan is perfect with the existence of free will.

  5. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago

    Sex was the apple. Every day some teenager or young adult gets it into his mind to have sex and then his paradise is destroyed. I think the story of Adam and Eve is based on the child growing up into adulthood. What brings forth adulthood and wisdom? Finding a mate and having a family. The family home is paradise. The child is like Adam or Eve. Innocent, joyous, problem free. Until the apple is presented. Perhaps it's all part of the grand design for humans.

    1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
      HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I think your comparison is very on point. Sex is a 'forbidden fruit' to young people that does indeed bring with it wisdom. It's a temptation like many others that can greatly alter our trajectory in life and that brings with it invaluable, though not always welcomed or wanted, life lessons.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Yep!

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I cannot agree.  When the bible was written, or even compiled, sex was not the evil, forbidden subject that later church action turned it into.

          It was a natural thing, no different for man than barnyard animals "performing" - animals that everyone knew, owned and cared for.  Marriage and other rules grew up around the act, but the act itself was not dirty somehow or avoided in polite conversation.  Because of this there was no reason to couch the discussion in more acceptable terms or to talk around it; people of the time were comfortable with that natural act.

          1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
            Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Sex brings the energy down the cerebral centers to the lowest one. The higher the energy level up the spine the more happiness and bliss. It is science.   The Indian Yogi's got it right.  Look it up. There is tons of info about the science of religion.

            1. wilderness profile image96
              wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              I have zero idea what you are speaking of in the "energy level" of the spine.  Certainly there is bone there (no particular energy level) and certainly there are nerves there (an almost continual flow of electricity through the nervous tissue) but the "lowest cerebral center" or bring energy down those centers or up the spine - I have no idea what that means.  Are you speaking of kinetic energy, with the spine moving around in the body?  Electromagnetic, as in light particles or gamma radiation?  Electrical, as in movement of electrons?  Potential, as in potential energy of position?  What type of known energy are those Yogi's talking about?

              Likewise, I have no idea what the "science of religion" refers to unless you mean the stories and imaginations of ancient tribes.  Or the denial of known facts that modern science has uncovered and understands.  Whatever you mean, though, it doubt it has anything to do with the cultural attitude towards the human sexual act, which is what I was talking about.

              1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
                Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                chakras are the energy centers in the spine. There are seven. The base of the spine contains the first and is usually connected to the color red... the second chakra, orange and the third, yellow, the fourth, green. etc.  Look up chakras.

                1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
                  Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  "science" refers to the facts regarding the spiritual essence and design that we were made with.  Metaphysics pertains to that which is beyond the physical. ("meta" meaning beyond.) This is why God must be perceived through the sense of intuition. He is to be found/perceived on the spiritual plane, rather than seen with eyes, felt with fingers, or heard with ears on this physical plane. This is where meditation comes in. It is subtle, but Jesus brought us to the spiritual aspect of life.  He even even declared that He came to reveal things hidden in the past. However, He was talking to people who knew not about energy, electricity  light currents, electromagnetic energy. So, he spoke in parables. If your eye is single your whole body will be seen as light, he mentioned a couple times. If you meditate and perceive God you will perceive the truth, fact, scientific fact that your body is made of the energy (of God.) We know this to be true since to gets down to pure energy in the body that causes it to exist: cells, atoms, electrons, protons.
                  Right?

                2. wilderness profile image96
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  As far as I can see, "chakra" is medicine man mumbo jumbo that makes up for lack of biology knowledge.  There is nowhere on the spine that collects more energy than any other spot.  Energy does not collect in either bone or nervous tissue.

                  Pretty much the same for "metaphysics" and "spiritual plane".  While we can trick the brain into sensing things that aren't there, it doesn't mean there IS something there.  It means we tricked the brain.

                  There is no "sense of intuition", either; intuition comes from within the brain, examining all available data (often unperceived by the reasoning part of the mind) and adding it up to a conclusion.  It is not a "sense" in any form of the word.

                  Finally, when you decide God is made of energy you are either stating something you know nothing about or merely saying he is made of the same stuff we are.  That is extremely doubtful as He originated in an entirely different universe than ours.

                  1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
                    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    -have it your way. I wish I hadn't bothered. I will not be posting any more posts that will just be trampled.
                    I am sorry.

                  2. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
                    HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    While I understand what you're saying, this highlights something I find troubling about us modern people with our modern knowledge. While you're right in that there is little to no correlation between modern western medicine/physical science and concepts in eastern medicine and traditions, I cringe at how flippantly these age-old ideas of the past, formed before our scientific awakening, are dismissed as just dumb old humans making things up to explain what they didn't understand. It's like we're all too willing dismiss the concepts and ideas of our ancestors as if they were just ignorant people who had nothing of value to offer us in these modern times.

                    Science is only the study of the physical world. So, through a scientific lens, it would seem that the 'physical' world is all that actually exists. But is that true? Technically, science is blind to the human mind, yet we know the mind exists. Who's to say there's not an element to existence, also beyond the scope of the physical sciences, yet just as intertwined into this existence? Are we really so certain of our modern knowledge that we're so quick and so willing to dismiss the ideas and concepts of our ancestors that they held so dear? Do we not at least give some credit to their intuition? These kinds of concepts, like those associated with yoga and tantric practices, concepts employed by numerous generations of people over the course of many centuries, have meant a lot to a lot of people. Just because there's no "physical" evidence, does that mean there's absolutely nothing to this? Are we sure?

                    I can't shake the feeling that we can sometimes be a bit too flippant about our ancestors and they're contributions. It's like we modern humans with our modern knowledge are the equivalent of know-it-all teenagers who have gone off to college for a semester, read a few books, then came back home telling our parents they have no idea what they're talking about and everything they know is wrong. Human intuition brought humanity to where we are today. Should we be so quick to throw out these concepts held in such high regard by our ancestors? Are we really so confident in what we now know to say for certain that there's absolutely no value to any of the concepts and ideas born of humanity before the dawn of modern science?

          2. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
            HeadlyvonNogginposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Actually that's not true. Scholars estimate the books of Moses as being written between 950 and about 450 BC. Of course those are estimates based on hypothetical source texts as they are known to have come from older previously existing sources, but those older sources don't exist today as far as we know. The stories found in Genesis, like the flood story and such, date back to the oldest written stories, like the Epic of Gilgamesh, around 2700 BC.

            The Ubaid Period (5500-4000BC) is where it began. It's in this period in southern Mesopotamia that we see the first signs of "increasingly polarised social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubaid_period#Society

            Up until this point it's much as you said. And even in indigenous cultures sex acts are openly discussed and practiced. But starting first in that region and era came a huge wave of what's sometimes called "patrist" cultures, that supplanted the "matrist" cultures and spread like wildfire. And it's with these patrist cultures that you see a very different attitude towards sex that carries on through to this day in nearly every modern society to varying degrees. especially in the middle east. In fact, it's only been in recent decades/centuries that it's begun to relax. Sex has a long, LONG history of being treated as an "evil, forbidden" subject.

            For more on this you can check out James DeMeo's 'Saharasia' or Steve Taylor's 'The Fall'.

    2. 0
      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      If you want to interpret the Bible allegorically like this, I don't think I'd necessarily disagree.  You can get creative and pull out some moral lessons this way, without adhering to a literal interpretation.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        There is no way to understand the bible without understanding Eastern religion. We must become enlightened as far as the science behind God and His/Her creation. (I have recently learned that Father God is Causal, and Mother God is Nature.) Evolution was of course directed by Mother/Father God.
        MSTM   
        (Makes sense to me)

        In getting back to topic, here are questions for you:
        Was Jesus perfect?
        Was his will perfect?
        Was/Is his will free?
        Is he perfect in Heaven?
        What is "freedom" and what is "perfection?"
        What do you want, Sooner, freedom of will? If Father God was visible, we would not have free will.
        How much more free do you want it?

        I believe we are free to guide our own will.
        Don't you?
        You said God is perfect and this is a given.
        But I suspect you don't believe God is perfect.
        Hint:
        We are the ones who are not perfect.
        Proof? Compare us to Jesus.

    3. 0
      Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I believe it was referred to as the tree of knowledge and not the tree of sex. Eve took the first bite and had knowledge and wanted Adam to have the same knowledge so she told him to have a bite. So many of the religious here still don't want to have knowledge and claim all science is wrong. Some even claim to be under Gods will and not of their own free will. It's simply a story us becoming self aware. Free will is a necessary illusion.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        oh.  E v e r y t h i n g  is a necessary illusion... don't you think... put another way: a real illusion. HA HA HA!
        -except perfect God who gave us our free wills to guide.
        We can guide our free wills according to Illusion or Reality. Jesus shows us the way to Reality.
        These are Words To The Wise.
        WTTW
        (They are also words for those with the eyes to read and agree
        and not for those who do not agree.)

        1. 0
          Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          An interesting thought. If the tree in my backyard is an illusion is it necessary? Perhaps free will is a necessary delusion instead of illusion? Are all delusions necessary? No. Is it necessary that humans think we are free? Yes.

          1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
            Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I agree: Yes, the tree in your back yard is an illusion. It is not, however, a delusion. Illusions in general are necessary. But not delusions. Free will, however, is another story entirely. Especially if you consider the fact that perhaps each one of us at one time was one with Spirit/God, but broke away and became an Individual Spiritual Entity. In which case, the free will we have is absolutely REAL!
            Now who can argue that?
            NWCAT?

            1. 0
              Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Do you have any evidence that suggest we were once in spirit with God and then broke away. If not it's just made up stuff.

              1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
                Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Do you have the evidence it did not happen?  I actually had an intuitive visualization! Can I prove to you it was just my imagination? No.
                Oh well. Take it or leave it. It is entirely up to you.

                1. A Troubled Man profile image60
                  A Troubled Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  In other words, you imagined it.

  6. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    There is a science inclusive of God. That science states that science in its general form is a map, and in its broader, more modern form is inclusive of everything. Everything being God. While some claim they found the God particle, the progenitor of life, it cannot account for the spirit...for consciousness.

  7. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    That is, it can account for the 3 D world, but the 4D world, the world of consciousness remains illusive, unless you can name one person who's reproduced the soul.

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
      Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      -what if We all produced Ourselves?

    2. 0
      Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      The mind (or as you call it the soul) is a function of the brain. Consciousness is also a product of the brain and can be turned off by a few means one of which is a blow to the head. Humans are not the only self aware animals and we will eventually have self aware software.

      1. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
        PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Interesting theory.

        1. 0
          Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          It's not a theory it's a fact.

  8. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    ellusive.

  9. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    We are free, Rad Man, we just need to realize it and grab our freedom. We do have freewill, if we didn't we'd be robots. And you wouldn't be hear typing in this forum post  You would be programmed to do another person's will...like a computer. Unless we type on it, the computer no life. It leaves according to the typist. It does what the typist tells it to do.

    1. A Troubled Man profile image60
      A Troubled Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Or, more precisely, we'd just be human beings with brains to think.

  10. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    the computer has no life, it lives according to the typist.

    1. 0
      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I type, therefore it is.

      haha sorry I couldn't resist

  11. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    Yes, indeed. I drive therefore the car is driven, I mow the lawn therefore the lawnmower mows. etc.

  12. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago

    Yes and I,  as a stream of consciousness within a body, am driving that body. It is brilliant, really!   
    Did I do that?

  13. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago

    Just In:  The spirit world is beyond the world of physical science!

    So, uh oh...
    Q. How can ANYONE prove the existence of the spiritual Realm?
    Or   d i s p r o v e   it for that matter!!!!!
    I believe in Jesus, based on my faith that the words in the bible are true.
    No one at all can disprove what Jesus said or did.
    NO ONE!
    How does this relate to free will?
    I am not sure.

    1. 0
      Rad Manposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      It has nothing to do with free will.

  14. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago

    Here is my concrete dilemma regarding freedom of will. I have three dogs. I do not want any dogs at all. My daughter brought all dogs home while growing up...and I did not say no when I should have.  I loved her and I loved each dog she acquired. However, for various reasons, I now do not want any dogs at all. But I am stuck with them out of obligation and love. I do not have the freedom to act on my true will at all. I might be able to compromise, but I truly want a dog free house now that she is out of the nest. (No, she can't bring them to her apartment.)

    Help.

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
      Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Maybe God's perfect plan is just playing it by ear.  That's what I do day after day. I realized that I would be happy with my dogs if I truly loved them. Perhaps Love is the ultimate *Here Now*  goal, ambition of God. And so He plays it by ear.
      ( -and we can
      "Be Here Now..." (B. R. Dass)
      too.)

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
        Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        But, did God put us into a human body to just Be Here Now?
           When you sit around just Being Here Now suddenly you become so happy to have a human body in a world of time and concrete reality.   Yes, we're limited, but no we are not pre-programmed. We do have wills to guide according to certain things:  personal ambition, golden rule, ten commandments. We are not pre-conditioned or programmed. There is a constant Now hidden in time... a constant Freedom hidden in restriction.

  15. Jerami profile image79
    Jeramiposted 3 years ago

    It doesn't matter if you are a believer or nonbeliever ...  We should always take our thoughts one step further. Never believe we have obtained full awareness of the things we think we know.

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
      Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      like.

  16. Jerami profile image79
    Jeramiposted 3 years ago

    In Matthew 23 Jesus was telling the Pharisee of the evils of which they have done AND of things they would do such as beating and killing HIS messengers.  It was this which Peter James John and Andrew was asking when they ask, When will all these things be?
    Jesus told them in a PRIVATE conversation,  They will kill some of you and beat others, You will see such and such happen and then you will see this and that. Jesus then said “All of THESE” things will take place before “This” generation comes to pass.
      How ever;  Church has been interpreting SOooo much more into this chapter than what it actually says.
    The world coming to an end was not ever mentioned by Jesus.

  17. Farasucan profile image86
    Farasucanposted 3 years ago

    God is perfect; therefore, all the consequences of His actions are perfect.  A human being's will is the result of God's actions.  However, God created a human being's will to be independent of His own.  Because of that, a human being could choose to go against God's will, thereby producing imperfect consequences.  That is the problem; human beings do have free will, and chose to separate themselves from God's perfect will.  The solution is that we decide to follow God's will, and then someday we will live in a perfect world created by God.

  18. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    Human beings claiming to act on God's behalf should be sure that their motives and actions are aligned with his as well. Frankly, anyone can use the "I'm doing God's work" excuse to get away with whatever they are doing.

  19. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    That's in response to Farasucan's post about the consequences of God's actions.

  20. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    Not saying that he does used it to his advantage. Just that there are so many people out there that preach and so many of them do use it to their advantage. But I agree, separate yourself from God's will then the road will be messy. His will is a map.

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
      Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      The question is, what is God's will? I am sure It is based on Love. Within certain perimeters we have freedom.  We have to know what those perimeters are. The Ten Commandments and The Golden Rule serve us well as perimeters/guidelines/boundaries toward our own good. We have Freedom  of Will within boundaries. In this light we are allowed to work for our own good according to our own selves.
      I would say.
      IWS

      1. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
        PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Well, I do want to give love to this ever fractured world, in whatever form that comes in. That  is the will of God.

  21. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
    PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago

    1. educating, 2. volunteering at hospitals, 3. visiting prisoners in prison etc. The list goes on and on  of what a person can do.

  22. 60
    rob chambersposted 3 years ago

    Perfect is a human concept. It doesn't really exist.

    1. PeppermintPaddy profile image78
      PeppermintPaddyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I agree with that. As perfect as we can be. There's always room for improvement.

 
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