Free Will

You gotta love Foxtrot for asking these deep questions:

Foxtrot on Free Will
click to see the original

This is your homework for today – go home and ponder this.

I typed up this long insightful thing about this question really being a question about the nature of faith, but somehow Firefox managed to eat this post when I accidentally hit Ctrl+R (refresh) instead of Ctrl+T (new tab). Sigh… I’m not retyping that whole thing. It’s probably a topic for a whole other post anyway.

Anyways, here is my take on this. I always said that God cannot have free will because of his omniscience. Complete omniscience (total knowledge of all past, present and future) requires God to know what choices is he going to make in the future before he makes them. All his actions must therefore be preordained, perhaps to his own plan, but fixed nevertheless. Any departure from the preordained sequence of choices God knows about invalidates his omniscience.

The Gnostic Demirug being omnipotent but not omniscient would technically have free will. But the Judeo-Christian God does not. Existence of a omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent being therefore hints at the fact that universe must be preordained. Randomness and omniscience are mutually exclusive.

Thus, Free Will must simply be illusion – an artifact of the way we perceive time and space. We are completely free because to us universe would appear to be completely random whether or not it was subject to the will of some infinite omniscient being…

But then again by virtue of his own decree God grants humans free will. Since God is supposed to be infallible we must assume that all the choices we make are therefore our own. God is merely aware of them (and has been aware of all of them since the beginning of time), but he does not control them.

But that’s just my take on this. What is yours?

[tags]foxtrot, religion, omnipotence, omniscience, god, free will[/tags]

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4 Responses to Free Will

  1. new.atheist UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Being an atheist, I like to start with god not being involved at all.

    Suppose there is no god, do we have free will? If you consider time another dimension of space, it theoretically could be traveled just as we can go forward or backwards down a road. Every decision that is made is like a fork in the road. After so many decision points, there are many parallel roads; parallel universes. So if every possibility of every choice ever, exists in a parallel dimension somewhere, do we have free will? Did parallele universes exist before the occurrence of life that could make choices? (String theory might suggest so) Or are we mere chemical-computers that don’t truly make choices at all but obey our chemical programming?

    Throw a god into the mix, a god that knows how it’s all going down in the past, the future, and every conceivable parallel universe, and from his point of view we have neither free-will nor is anything pre-ordained since all possibilities exist.

    Ok, my head hurts.

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  2. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I started assuming existence of God because the question asked about divine preordination. But we might just as well talk about fate, or time-space continuum or whatnot.

    But as you suggest, this might actually be a deeper question – is universe preordained or random? If it is, then theoretically we could time-travel into the future.

    If it is random, then the future is a blank slate, and past is a jumble of ever expanding parallel dimensions.

    But here is another question – what happens if we combine parallel dimension theory with God? Does each dimension have it’s own infinite God or do all of them share it?

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  3. new.atheist UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    If the definition of god is all-knowing/all-powerful, then he’d have to be the ultimate infinite god of all infinite universes… at least that’s what I’d think.

    The main thing that still makes me question the existance of god now & then is Schroeder’s cat. If outcome of chance is only determined by observation, who is observing?

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  4. Pingback: We really do believe we’ve got more free will than the other guy. | Neurotic Physiology WordPress

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