I must ask: how free is our will?
Assuming the theist is right, God created human beings with the ability to choose. This is claimed to be the case because a world of free creatures is better than world without, and real love requires a choice, not coercion.
However, under traditional Christianity, there is no sin in heaven. We all worship God forever more, and because of his glory and goodness, we are simply satisfied.
Where is free will in this story? In order to be consistent with the reason why Christians claim we have free will to begin with, we must be able to continue reaffirm our love for God. Yet, there is no place for this reaffirmation in heaven under traditional Christianity. God is willing to exterminate our free will, or something mysterious. I don't really know what all theists say, but according to this conservative Christian website in response to the question, "Will it be possible for us to sin in Heaven?:
"What does that mean for us? If there is no possibility of sin, does that mean we will no longer have a free will in heaven? Perhaps in heaven, our ability to choose will be similar to that of the angels. The angels had a one-time choice to obey God or follow Satan. There is no possibility of further angels sinning and joining Satan in his rebellion. The holy angels are "elect angels" (1 Timothy 5:21). Similarly, the elect in heaven will be "sealed" in their decision to forsake sin and trust in Christ. We will not even have the choice to sin. At the same time, having been delivered from sin and evil, and viewing the wonderful glories of heaven, we would not choose sin even if we had the choice."
So there is a "one-time" choice that then forever binds someone to God. This isn't free will at all! It's similar to me saying, "Person X has the one-time choice to marry person Y. After person X has made that choice, person X will no longer have any choice at all, but will automatically love person Y forever."
This isn't love, and this is barely removed from turning human beings into obsequious automatons.
The argument can be summarized as follows:
1. If human beings lack free will, then they cannot make choices.
2. If human beings cannot make choices. then their love for God is not real.
3. Therefore, if human beings lack free will, then their love for God is not real. (1,2).
4. In heaven, human beings lack free will.
5. Therefore, in heaven, human being's love for God is not real (3,4).
There is a further problem here. The famed theist philosopher Alvin Plantinga has defended the problem of evil by...appealing to free will!
...To create creates capable of moral good, therefore, he [God] must create creatures capable of moral evil; and he cannot leave these creatures free to perform evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so. God did in fact create significantly free creatures, but some of them went wrong in the exercise of their freedom: this is the source of moral evil..."
So, in response to one version of the problem of evil—which clams that God and evil are logically incompatible—Plantinga falls back on the famed free will defense, used by theists everywhere.
Yet, many who agree with Plantinga are also conservative Christians with a traditional conception of heaven, which is radically inconsistent with Plantinga's free will. In fact, according to Plantinga, if there is no free will, there is no moral calculus at all! Thus, in heaven, there is no possibility of humans even being moral! What a strange conclusion for a Christian to come to.
There is also a question of whether God can act morally, without the real choice of acting immorally, assuming Plantinga's conception of free will is correct. I'm not going to pursue that here though.
Given the traditional conception of Heaven, and the acceptance by many conservative Christians that free will is an answer to the claim that God and evil are logically incompatible, I am quite puzzled. God is perfectly willing to annihilate free will in heaven, but not on earth. Why? This seems like an arbitrary, unjustified distinction. God seems all too willingly to only temporarily grant free will, and then rescind it later, once the participant has made the "ultimate choice" that "seals" them.
Returning to Plantinga, he claims of "significant freedom: "A person is free with respect to action A at time t only if no causal laws and antecedent conditions determine either that he performs A at t or that he refrains from doing so."
I'll object in the form of an argument, which assumes the traditional definition of heaven.
1. A person is free with respect to action A at time t only if no causal laws and antecedent conditions determine either that he performs A at t or that he refrains from doing so.
2. In heaven, causal laws and antecedent conditions do determine either that a person performs A at t or that he refrains from doing so.
3. Therefore, In heaven, no person is free. (1,2)
4. Heaven is the place of the highest morality. (Revelation 21:27).
5. In the place of the highest morality, no person is free (3,4).
6. If in the place of highest morality, no person is free, then free will is not required for morality.
7. Therefore, free will is not required for morality. (5,6)
8. The argument against the incompatibility of God and evil is defended based on free will being required for morality.
9. Therefore, the free will defense against the incompatibility of God and evil fails. (7,8).
10. Therefore, if the free will defense is the only way to account for moral evil in the world, then the existence of moral evil and God are logically inconsistent claims.
11. Therefore, God is not morally perfect.
Reminder: both arguments assume the traditional version of heaven and Christianity.
In summation, my first argument was to show that God does really want automatons in heaven; otherwise, he would allow people to continually choose to love him or not.
The second argument uses the very fact that there is no free will in heaven to show that the free will defense of moral evil is flawed.
What say you?
Reason and Religious Belief: Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach, and David Basinger.
I see and understand the conundrum. Where that conservative christian site gets the idea of angels having free will at one time, but not able to choose to rebel now, I have no idea where these kinds of ideas come from. Well, I have some idea, at least as far as the idea of angels having free will is concerned. Personally I think that's all based on a misinterpretation of Gen6:1-3 where it's thought by many that the 'sons of God' are angels. Though this concept contradicts the rest of the bible.
I can tell you what I think. The primary issue with free will has to do with the fact that we, being the willful decision makers, do not have the knowledge of God as far as the universe is concerned. We have a very limited individual perspective and a very limited understanding. We have no way of even knowing most times the full extent of the consequences of our actions because it's simply beyond our knowledge base or comprehension. So, though we're capable of something so truly powerful, we lack the wisdom to wield it responsibly and knowingly. So, if you were God, how would you instill the wisdom necessary for eternal life and free will to coexist in a sin-free environment?
Imagine that once in heaven every human who ever lived were to be spiritually interconnected to one another. Once free of our physical forms we are able to see and understand each and every person's life, each moment, each decision made in each situation, as if it were our own. We're able to feel every moment of heartbreak, every action done in anger, everything, good or bad. The entirety of human history in that regard would be the kind of knowledge base you would need. Like having a large database of 'what not to do' and why. Only then, as a collective sharing each others' lives and experiences, would we have the wisdom needed for free will to thrive in heaven. With such an in depth knowledge of human history you simply would not want to sin because you'd have a much more complete understanding of what happens when you do and why it must not be allowed.
So, in this context, this life is a means to an end to realize the ultimate existence, eternal life with free will. Wisdom cannot simply be given. It must be earned. Just as you cannot tell a child all they'll need to know to prepare them for life. Ultimately, they have to learn by living life. This life, at least in my mind and in how I understand it, is the means God is employing to imbue us free willed beings with the wisdom needed to make that ideal existence possible.
That's my take, anyway.
Look in the book of Jude for interesting stuff about angels.
How does your take take into account the very young who die before experiencing any life? What will they be able to share in heaven and what about language?
From this perspective, every life, no matter how short or tragic, has something to teach, giving each and every life meaning and purpose. For example, even those whose life was cut short before they were able to experience much of anything have the circumstances that brought about their drastically shortened life to learn from, which, in not all but many cases, will most likely be related in some way to the choices of others. Whether they be directly or indirectly related. As for language, language is a means we've had to develop to connect with one another in this finite existence because we cannot know each others' minds and experiences. And as we prove day in and day out on these forums, language is a limited and clunky means of communication that often leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Spiritual interconnection like I'm talking about wouldn't require language as the whole point of language is to overcome the disconnectedness.
Thoughts and memories use language that's why we have no memory of our early childhood.
But keep in mind that's your physical brain. It's not going with you. In this context the physical body is the means by which you (your spiritual self/soul) interact with this finite existence. Including collecting and gathering information, physical information (sights, sounds, words, smells, etc.) gathered through physical senses to allow you to relate to and interact with the physical world. What I'm talking about would not be tied to the same physical limitations.
Right, you can't take your memories or consciousness with you even if a soul exists as the memories are stored in the brain and consciousness is a process or product of the brain. It appears the only evidence that such a soul exists is that we want one to. It's all just wishful thinking.
First, Christian are not the Final authority on the nature of God..
what ever the get correct is usually applied incorrectly anyway.
So my response is not meant to defend their theology.
Now let us begin with the concept of freedom,
As we would notice that the concept of freedom without any qualifications,
Should be taken to mean without limits whatsoever. Thus we refer to it as an absolute.
Let us look at the concept of Existence...
Again without any qualifications, would appear exactly as Freedom.
Then take the concept perfect...
It is another absolute
Now we see a relationship to the concept God.
We see that His attributes consist of concepts that are absolute in nature.
Which lead to the conclusion that God himself is Absolute.
To approach the issue concerning free will, you concern yourself with the freedom of choice as in between " Do This and Do Not To Do That ".
And to make your point you must first presume that God, is not an absolute.
So therefore, perfect is not quite perfect.
Freedom is not so free
Existence, does not quite exist.
Have you considered that the operation of the God Concept Free will is actually
the Choice of having to choose amongst unlimited choices with, absolute nothing forbidden?
Then the only bondage implied here is the bondage to freedom.
And the freedom that exist in heaven is extended to earth, and whosoever find this freedom here on earth have already found heaven, while still on earth.
If you have considered this and still classify it as bondage other than described, then there is nothing further for me to say but leave you to dispute with that which is already Perfect.
-using the intellect alone is limiting in the quest for truth,
I would say...
The crux of both your arguments is the premise that human beings have no free will in heaven. Traditional Christian theology challenges that premise, which is the Achilles heel in both arguments. That's where I would start if I was inclined to try to invalidate them. An example would be:
Beatific vision is said to be the ultimate direct, self-communication of god to an individual who is redeemed and has reached perfect salvation, i.e. heaven. It is essentially meeting god "face to face" and is described as the most perfect union with god. In Summa Theologiae, Aquinas explores this idea by quoting St. Paul: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." So historically theologians have argued that in heaven free will is maintained, but that people naturally choose that which is the will of god. By definition that is always good.
The way I see things is that the question of right and wrong exists only in the physical world where we have access to the five physical senses and where there is a separation of thought on the scale we experience. I would venture to guess that all things classified as sin are impossible to imagine, desire or feel; when separated from a physical body. So, within the parameters of the traditional Christian view I can see where the absence of sin on a different plane of existence does not equate to the loss of free will.
The question of eternal worship is dependent on the definition of worship, I suppose. If it involves the idea that you either grovel or get exterminated, I would think (at some point) every person would eventually be exterminated; if free will were a factor. But, if worship involves simply adoration I would think a being who was consistently perfect could feasibly be adored eternally.
Problems always arise, when wrong assumptions are made.
In heaven, there is no "t"
This renders the hypothesis false.
If there is no TIME in heaven, then how is your experience in heaven going to make any sense? Could you demonstrate? Thanks...
Getit!! Been a minute.. Good to see you still breathing
Besides being a writer and author, I am also an actor. I just finished a stage play that I began preparing for in April. Been really busy with preparations and rehearsals....then came the show. Eight performances in two weeks....which went great! The cast was amazing.
Glad to be back on hubpages....until the next audition.
Cool. I'd ask what play it was, but I don't want to infringe in your privacy.
That's cool.. Well as you can see not much has changed here.
You mean, like demonstrate the colour red to a person born blind?
Perhaps you can explain that to me.
No that's not what I mean. What a childish and desperate way to try to win an extremely flawed position. I have better things to do with my time, dj.
You actually want me to be convinced that you can fathom what a realm devoid of time would be like....but I wouldn't understand, because I am blind....but you...ha ha! You are vividly aware of the what that is like.
Instead of being dishonest, why don't you explain, TO ME, how something can make sense without the concept of time? I have a history of grasping very complex concepts, such as accounting and statistics....so instead of declaring me brain dead(blind)why don't you explain it first--see if I can grasp it--then if I can't, then you can declare me blind....but only if your explanation is sound and not just childish nonsense.
Now that's funny.
You assert your intellect to be superior to mine, yet I can grasp a concept quite easily.
Wilful blindness is a sad state to be in.
Hence, I have no pity for you.
Obviously you are happy in your ignorance, and I'm happy to let you live in it.
dj, please stop misrepresenting me. I never said any such thing.
BTW, if you possess any advanced knowledge about the properties of black holes, and how the laws of Physics break down....and even time stops....then I am willing to try and grasp it from you. Is that what you are referring to?
Which is exactly why those who prefer mythology to reality are in a pathetic state.
How very Christian of you. And completely irrelevant.
I don't understand. You could at least attempt to educate me, but you prefer to just declare me unreachable...devoid of the tools required to learn. What would you think of a teacher that behaved in such a profoundly ignorant and nonproductive manner? If I were the principal, I would certainly fire the teacher, and recommend that she never be allowed to step foot in a classroom again...ever!
Again....how very Christian of you. Do you see why I'm not a Christian now? I could never stoop to the level of inhumane behavior that Christians do. No desire to understand others, no patience with others, no trust in the abilities of others, prejudging others, and dismissing them before they have even had a chance to redeem themselves. Yes, these are all good Christian values...Right?
And all I asked is that you explain how anything would make sense without the concept of time. In my opinion, if you really had a real answer, there would have been no need for you to become defensive and insulting. How utterly absurd....
"t" = time.
Heaven is "outside" of time. There is NO time.
Void of time. Irrelevant, or unrelated to time.
Therefore, you cannot use a time concept to explain actions or states of being in heaven.
You're certain heaven is outside our universe?
Where does time not exist.. Outside our universe. Unless you no another place where time (as we know it) does not exist.
Who do you know time doesn't exist in heaven? I know it does as the only place heaven exists is in minds of those who believe in heaven.
I'm glad you know what you know.
It seems you know what I said more than I do.
Good luck with that.
PS, you might want to work on your grammer.
Yes thanks, I am working on my grammar. Grammar is a challenge for dyslexics.
PS, It does seem I have a better understanding of what you attempted to say.
I thought it was spelled G-R-A-M-M-A-R!
Of course, you are probably right, and I just don't understand Australian English.
After perusing the Internet, it appears that it is spelled G-R-A-M-M-A-R in Australia too.
Actually, modern cosmology believes that time began at the big bang, so yes time would be a part of our universe. It's called "spacetime." That is what you said.
Furthermore, I don't quite understand your criticism. How does the negation of time affect the argument? Are you claiming all actions will be simultaneous?
It's in the BIble its scripture it's truth.
Let's run with that then.
If the "Big Bang" which BTW is a disputed theory in itself, started time, what was there "before" time began?
It's written GOD IS LOVE. WHOEVER LIVES IN LOVE LIVES IN HIM. IN THIS WAY, LOVE IS MADE COMPLETE AMONG US SO THAT WE WILL HAVE CONFIDENCE ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, BECAUSE IN THIS WORLD WE ARE LIKE HIM. THERE IS NO FEAR IN LOVE, BECAUSE FEAR HAS TO DO WITH PUNISHMENT. THE ONE WHO FEARS IS NOT MADE PERFECT IN LOVE. WE LOVE BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVE US. WHO EVER LOVES HIS BROTHER LOVES GOD CAUSE WE ARE MADE IN HIS IMAGE.AND REMEMBER ADAM AND EVE SIN CAUSE DEATH BUT THE FREE GIFT IS LIVE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR.
by Debra Allen5 weeks ago
The Bible says that all one has to do is ask for forgiveness. Now being that, do you think that Satan might have already asked God for forgiveness? Now before you rattle off scripture.....I don't...
by Sooner284 years ago
Most conservative Christians will tell you that there can be no sin in heaven. Jesus died for our sins, and the only way those sins can be forgiven is if we accept this "free gift" offered. ...
by Jane Bovary6 years ago
One of the many stumbling blocks non-believers face in the path of christian doctrine is accepting the notion of a loving God, for how could such a God allow such terrible suffering down here on Earth? This is commonly...
by stephengoswami12 months ago
Certainly all ghosts are not demons. Some help even to God. My atheist family told me that there is no ghost. But after accepting Christ 53 years ago I ministered among refugees and Muslims. I found many instances of...
by Sooner284 years ago
Theists often times have trouble defending God against gratuitous evil, such as a person burning to death slowly with no clear reason the suffering has to be so severe. In any event, there is another problem that...
by Johnny Dennis7 years ago
Freewill, Preference, or Choice had nothing to do with sex; but it was an obedience-disobedience thing. The Bible is clear when it says that God created all things. in the case of man God created him a male...
Copyright © 2016 HubPages Inc. and respective owners.
Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.
HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc.
HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.