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Thoughts About Free Will And Predestination

Updated on June 19, 2012
To an unknown future!
To an unknown future! | Source

I have no intention of writing a thesis about free will and predestination. This is just the ramblings of an average guy who thinks a little bit about life and should be pretty easy reading for most. I’m sure this is a subject that many of you have thought about, perhaps when things don’t go your way, or when you are faced with a major life-changing decision.

Before getting our feet wet, let’s talk a little about predestination. There are two views on the meaning of predestination. The first view is more religious, with a meaning that relates to a person’s destiny. The general idea is that a person is born to fulfill a certain destiny, a certain path in life that he is supposed or predestined to take. The second view is scientific, relating to how predictable the future is.

As I do not even know whether it was Abel who killed Cain, or Cain who killed Abel, I think I would be better off talking about predestination in the scientific sense.

The most natural and logical place to start would be with Newton’s classical universe. In his universe, everything is 100% predictable. Take two billiard balls, representing the smallest possible particles. In such a universe, so long as you know everything there is to know about the billiard balls at a certain point in time, you can extrapolate indefinitely into the past and the future. You will know exactly where the balls have been and where they will be, whether it is a minute, a year, or a million years, in the past or into the future.

Our universe has a lot more billiard balls. Assuming the model of Newton’s universe is correct, despite the much larger number of billiard balls, our universe is no less predictable than a universe with 2 billiard balls. Our universe is still 100% predictable indefinitely into the past and the future.

And when you consider that we are also part of this universe, and that we are also made of these same 100% predictable billiard balls, does that not make us also 100% predictable?

Current scientific opinion has moved away from the idea of a billiard ball which is 100% knowable. The billiard ball, although still knowable to a very large extent, contains a slight fuzziness. In other words, we still can know everything there is to know about the billiard ball, but with a very slight margin of error. This margin or fuzziness is built into the character of the billiard ball itself. To bring God into the picture for a moment, I would like to say that even God himself cannot iron out the fuzziness.

I would think that it is probably a combination of free will and predestination at work in our lives. We have no control over where we are born, who our parents are, and how we were brought up. That is predestination, or the destiny that we were born into. If we were born into a poor, uneducated family in a poor country, then we are destined to die poor and uneducated, and probably even in the same village that we were born in.

But we can exercise our free will to rise above our circumstances. We can be more than what our destiny says we should be. It will be difficult, and many will fail, but I believe that it is in our very nature to try. And perhaps, if there is a creator, and all of this is his masterpiece, then perhaps this is the way it is meant to be.


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    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 6 years ago from Singapore

      alanlsg - Maybe you were destined to find my hub exactly the moment that you did, and maybe you were meant to write those exact same comments and I was meant to reply with this exact same words.

      But then again, maybe not. :)

    • alanlsg profile image

      Alan Bowman 6 years ago from The World

      It may be 7 months from the last comment and was it predestined I should find your hub now, who knows, but for sure it was great to read it and thanks for putting it together for us.

      Hope all is well with you and yours.

      Kind regards


    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      I wonder if some of the questions can ever be resolved. But it is going to be very interesting to try. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      These are the mysteries of life which make life itself interesting. Probably it would take ages before many of tham are solved. However it is fully worth discussing and comparing notes. A very interesting topic I would say. Thanks for starting this discussion. :)

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      Whikat - You're right. And anyway, it will be much more difficult to change a crowd. :)

      dallas93444 - Don't get me started on quantum physics. :) But it does seem that the facade that we call reality is starting to unravel. Science is discovering things that it cannot explain, not by a long shot.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      Jeremey - I can identify with you and I know it's not easy. Whenever you take a step forward, something happens to pull you back. Not sure if it is relevant in your case, but sometimes, you are the one holding yourself back.

      I have a piece of an upcoming hub about the fear of change or coming out of your comfort zone which, again, I don't know if it is relevant:

      "But the fear mentioned here is not that type of fear, it is a more insidious type of fear. It hides deep inside of you, so that even you do not know that it is there. But it will make its presence felt every time we step out of our comfort zone into uncharted territory. It will do whatever it can to keep us where we are, comfortable and safe, but ultimately, stagnant."

      Come to think of it, you say that you are a product of your environment. Perhaps you are brought up in a poor environment and programmed to think poor. Maybe you have been approaching things wrongly. Maybe you have been approaching things from the perspective of a poor person. Perhaps you can see how to approach things from a rich person's perspective.

      Anyway, just my two cents. :)

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Perhaps from the quantum physics point-of-view, we are every possibility, past, present and future NOW...

    • profile image

      Whikat 7 years ago

      I think that trying to make a difference one person at a time has a better effect, than trying to change a crowd all at once. I believe in the ripple effect. :)

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      Whikat - Thanks! I'm not sure about making "a big enough positive difference to effect the generations in the future.", for now, I only try to make a difference one person at a time. :)

      Hello, hello, - Thanks! :)

    • Jeremey profile image

      Jeremey 7 years ago from Arizona

      I have been struggling to "overcome" my own predetermined "destiny" of coming out of the poor life. My freewill is there and guiding me, but over and over I get "put back in my place" because of my lack of wealth. It is a difficult struggle and I prefer to not see it as destiny or predetermined but that rather that I am a product of my environment, and must hold true to my freewill to remove myself from the environment that keeps me down!

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      richtwf - Your comment reminds me of people who believe in fate. Every time something bad happens to them, they shrug their shoulders and attribute it to fate. I wonder what they will say if I were to tell them that they might actually be avoiding taking responsibility for their lives.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Perfectly worked through hub. Thank you. Ver thought-provoking

    • profile image

      Whikat 7 years ago

      Hi Wandererh,

      Excellent and well thought out perspective. You don't have to "hope" you made a difference, You have made a difference! The only hope we all can have, is that we made a big enough positive difference to effect the generations in the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      toknowinfo - If God created this world, I can't believe that its end is already known at the time of creation. It would truly be an exercise in futility. So, I carry on, living my life the best way I know how, and hoping that when all is said and done, I made a difference. :)

    • richtwf profile image

      richtwf 7 years ago

      Excellent thought-provoking hub and thanks for sharing this food for thought with us. It's a timely reminder for all of us as we live in very uncertain times that we have a personal responsibility to take control of our lives rather than live indifferently and always just accepting what happens around us and thinking that we can't influence our own lives to make it a better one for all of us. Thanks for sharing your wonderful message.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      You took on a challenge of a very tough and deeply philosophical topic. Your hub lends itself to great discussions that get us all to think. Science needs to base it's theories on preciseness and predictability. Nature is flawed and we are all part of nature, so if predestiny exists it may have flaws. Maybe it is our free will that is supposed to fix these flaws. Great hub! Rated up

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      chinemeremz - Thanks! Although I'm not quite sure that Newton meant for his Second Law Of Motion to be applied in this particular way. But if it serves to inspire and to replace poverty with wealth and failure with success, I don't think he would mind. :)

    • chinemeremz profile image

      chinemeremz 7 years ago

      Thanks Wander for this beautiful and well laid out hub. Now if I should add, on the issue of predestination; going by Newton's Second Law of Motion which states that "to every action there's an equal and opposite reaction" now going by your assertion and backing it with what Newton propounded: if you are hit by poverty, hit poverty back by becoming wealthy, if you are always faced with failures and limitations, overcome this by attracting success and buoyancy in your life. Our destinies lie in our hands, the only thing we need to do is take charge of our lives. Thanks for this I really enjoyed it.