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If God is sovereign - Do we truly have free will?
Is God sovereign or do we truly have a free will? asked by Jangaplanet
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God is Sovereign
I believe that God is sovereign, yet he does not know the choices we will make. I think he knows the choices that will be possible for us to choose from, but he leaves the choosing to us thus granting Free Will. The idea seems to present a problem with God being omniscient, in the sense it is currently understood. If part of being omniscient means that God knows everything past, present, and future, then there is a problem with God not knowing what choice we will make. My perception of this is that God chooses to not know what choices we will make. He could know, if he chose to, but that would not merit free will. This may still cause a problem with the current definition of omniscient, but doesn't really force one to change their beliefs about God. If God has the power to do anything possible, then he could deny himself knowledge of our choices in order to allow us free will. Or you might say God knows all of our options, and knows the possible outcome of each of those options, but allows us to choose for ourselves. For example, God knows that Jones can choose to do A, B, C, or D at a given time (T1). He also knows the possible outcomes of each of those actions, but the choice is still up to Jones as to which choice is chosen. Perhaps 80 years ago, or at any point in time since God created man God has known that Jones may have been faced with this decision, but at some point Jones’ Grandfather made a choice that brought about Jones having never been born, but God still knew it as a possibility.
Nonoverlapping Magisteria or NOMA is the idea that the teaching of science is of a different subject matter than the teaching of theology. I can relate to this idea, as it is how I have understood it for several years now. Science is based on facts relating to things that we can see and touch and measure, while theology is based on ideas that have been revealed to different prophets or visionaries through out history. The study of religion is of the spiritual revelations that have been given to man through out the ages. Each has its place in the fabric of society, and it is hard to imagine a world with-out either. I don’t believe that there is a problem with the existence and even truth in both areas of study. The argument is that some believe literally that God created the heavens and earth and all of life on Earth in 6 days and rested on the seventh, which does pose a problem to the idea that the Earth is millions of years old, and that man slowly evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. So, you find yourself in a situation where the two beliefs are contradictory. Therefore, either the science is wrong in some way or the religious text is wrong in some way. I find that admitting that the religious beliefs could just be metaphoric, rather than literal is the most logical answer. Of course, many will hold onto the idea that the word of God is absolute and complete, and that evolution could not have happened because of it. I do understand their fears, because if they admit that one portion of the divine word could be mistaken or misunderstood, than the entire work needs to be reevaluated, which would call for a possible change in many closely held beliefs.
I consider myself a very religious person, but I find that much of the Bible seems to be altered, manipulated, and or corrupted, just as everything that man has touched. I was raised as a faithful Christian, attended church every Sunday, and many Wednesdays, I went to church camp and studied the Bible in depth. I have since read it several times in its entirety, and prayed for understanding and guidance while doing so. Each time, I have felt that so much was missing or subjected to the ideas of man or perhaps Satan, that even the Holy Bible (KJV) may be susceptible to evil. I have prayed on this for years, and have slowly and very painfully researched the creation of what we know as the Bible today. I do understand that every possible precaution was taken to preserve and translate the writings that were used as the basis of the Bible, but the margin for error is enormous. To begin, almost all of the writings that were used had already been translated at least once, a few of the originals were supposedly available, but the records and footnotes of the group responsible for the translations show that there was much debate and uncertainty on literally thousands of passages. Many of these passages were left out altogether, along with many writings that could not be verified. The fact is that more of what was available was left out than what was included. On the other hand, you have Genesis the first book of the Bible, traditionally believed to be written by Moses, but never verified, and to top it off the belief is that he wrote it from stories that were passed down from generation to generation. I'm not saying that the Bible isn't the best we have, but it is still mans best effort and just as imperfect as we are.
God is sovereign, he is omniscient, he does know all, and we can still have free will. We can still examine everything from a scientific view to gain a better understanding of our world. We can choose to ponder philosophical ideas, or just accept what were told and go on about our business. We can develop our own understanding either from study or experience or both. Perhaps the experience is the point; maybe we are being primed for something else. I don’t really claim to have the answers; I’m just sharing some philosophical ideas as I have conceived them. I hope you have given the ideas expressed some thought, and if you feel so inclined please leave a comment. I also welcome sharing of all of my content so feel free to share if you would like. Thank you for reading and have an enlightening day.