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Debate Score:65
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Total Votes:70
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 God's omniscience and our free will... (53)

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Mack(534) pic



God's omniscience and our free will...

I have heard Christians say God is omniscient (that he knows everything) and that he has given us the gift of free will.  It seems to me that these two ideas are contradictory, because if he knows everything he knows what we will do, and we therefore do not have free will - our future is set.  Have I misunderstood something?

On a similar note, does God also lack free will, or does his not being affected by time allow free will?
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4 points

In fact, would God ever have free will? If he is all good, does that mean there is only one possible set of choices he could make, those which were the morally right choices? If God doesn't have free will, then he isn't really all powerful. This is one reason why the idea of an all powerful, all knowing, all good being doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I'm misinterpreting what Christians believe about God, if that is the case, please enlighten me.

TzarPepe(793) Disputed
1 point

Good is determined by God. What that means is, if God does it, it is good.

The only free will is God. If you are going to say that God's will isn't free because only God's will can be done which makes God limited to God's will....

...well, I think that makes even less sense.

Yet this is what I believe, that God alone is good, and all things were created by the will of God.

Mack(534) Disputed
1 point

"if God does it, it is good."

This seems very arbitrary; if God decides to torture an innocent child without any consequences other than the child's suffering, is this automatically good? He sounds like the kid who owns the ball on the playground who gets to make up all the rules because of that, even if they are unfair rules.

3 points

Indeed there are many challenges to the omisisence argument , most lead down some incredibly complex philosophical pathways , the theist normally attempts to redefine the definition of omisisence or the “ nature “ of god to explain away the objections ,

Incidentally what you say about omisisence is perfectly rational and I agree .

Another attack on the omisisence claim is , if one eternal God can exist, why not another in an entirely different dimension and unbeknownst to the first God?

This is a reasonable position to put forward if one believes in a god , if one can allow for one god to exist why not two or several ?

What is important is that God could not know that he did not know this by the very nature of not knowing it!

This leaves a god in a position that cannot be defended . God is in a situation whereby he cannot know that he knows everything. He might think he knows everything. Epistemologically speaking, though, he cannot know i

1 point

Yes, I've always thought that God couldn't know if there was something else he didn't know about as you said.

I think maybe it is in human nature to assign properties like being all powerful, all knowing, or all good, to imagine something that is perfect, and to worship that, even if it doesn't make sense.

2 points

Yes , making sense never comes into it for most believers , they can always claim only a fool claims to know the nature of god or some other equally vague defence

NowASaint(1388) Clarified
0 points

Your twisted reasoning starts with the premise that God is not good and concludes with the same premise. You are trying to prove that God is not good, therefore He does not have the right to leave you dying forever in the fire of Hell. It's a fool's argument.

You are basically trying to say that if God must be able to be a round square. Your are presenting nonsense and claiming your ability to portray nonsensical ideas proves God is not there.

God was God before anything was created; He was there. It is not possible for something to be there which God does not know about. It is possible for things which you do not know of to be there because you are not God.

God created you because He wants to give you life; eternal life. You are basically saying you prefer to be in the fire of Hell forever; you are too proud of yourself to bow down to God so you would rather fry in Hell and if you keep on asking for it you are going to get it. If you think I'm calling you a fool, it's only because you are being a fool and trying to hide your foolishness with silly ideas.

NumberOne(445) Disputed
1 point

Indeed there are many challenges to the omisisence argument , most lead down some incredibly complex philosophical pathways , the theist normally attempts to redefine the definition of omisisence or the “ nature “ of god to explain away the objections

Omniscience brother.

There is a big problem with the claim that God is both omniscient (i.e. knows everything) and omnipotent (i.e. can do anything). I'll try to explain it if I can.

If God is omniscient then that must mean he knows the future.

But if God knows the future then that precludes him from changing it, because otherwise his original knowledge of the future would have been wrong.

Hence, God can be either omniscient or omnipotent, but not both simultaneously.

Mack(534) Clarified
3 points

I think he would agree with you there, as would I...................

Dermot(5453) Clarified
1 point

Thanks , it’s a tricky one to spell and I never checked , it will be interesting to see if the many usual tired out defences are offered up by the theists

1 point

This insinuation is so tired and worn out. Fools keep on saying it and will not listen to reason. God is reasonable, He is being more than reasonable with you: He is merciful; not giving you what you deserve for trying to trash Him so much.

God is more than Omniscient: He is Omnipresent and Omnipotent. To imply that He cannot be real if you have free will, or to imply that He is cruel for creating you while He knows the choices you will make is unwise.

Yes God knows if you will believe on His Son and be saved, or if you will never believe and will continue in your rebellion forever to be cast away in the fire of Hell. It is still your choice if you want to believe you are justified to exist outside of Hell or if you want to believe God is not justified in giving you eternal damnation which you deserve when you will not receive His Son as your Savior. He has done all He can do for you to save you from Hell and He's doing much more for you than you as a sinner deserve: He's giving you time. How much time do you think you have?

AlofRI(2805) Disputed
1 point

YOUR insinuation is so tired and worn out. Fools keep saying it and will not listen to reason. (Unless it is centuries old, mythical reason).

If he IS omnipotent, I don't think he was either reasonable or "merciful" last week in Florida. If I went out and challenged "his" reason and mercy, again, in the same way, I would also be locked up (or dead).

NowASaint(1388) Clarified
1 point

You are tired and worn out. Tick tock, tick tock, how long before you see the evidence of Hell which you insist cannot be shown to you old fool? If you had a lick of sense, you would repent of your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved...but you don't and you won't, correct? Yep, you won't ask God to save you, you think you are too stinking good for Hell and the smoke of your torments there will testify differently if you won't get saved. Tick tock.......

NowASaint(1388) Clarified
1 point

So you are saying God shot a bunch of school kids, and He is evil for doing so? Are you retarded, or just senile?

1 point

Perhaps God, being timeless, already knows the choices you made of your own free will in the future. This doesn't preclude free will because the future has already happened from God's perspective: because God may not bound by time. In other words, to a timeless being, you are seen as already having exerted your free will in the future. This means that on some level everything would happen at once, in the same way that we can move along the width dimension while still staying in the same place on the height dimension.

Alternatively, God may simply know every possible outcome and not the actual outcome. In other words, God would know everything that we could do, but not know what we would actually do. In this case God would be omniscient in that they know everything that is possible to know, but not omniscient in knowing everything.

I'd also wonder if a God would want to be omniscient, for surely (if God is anything like us) it would be a boring existence. Perhaps free-will exists in part for the purposes of the entertainment of God?

Mack(534) Clarified
1 point

With regards to your first paragraph, It doesn't really make sense to me. I'm not sure that's how timelessness would work. If the future has already happened from God's perspective, that would mean he is somehow affected by time. This seems different from everything happening at once on some level as you later mention. And if it has already happened from his perspective, it sounds to me like we don't have free will, that our future is set in stone.

Maybe look at it this way: We live in our present, moving through time. If God were to pop down from his timelessness and give one of us insight into everything he knows for some inexplicable reason, would that person have free will? I think not, as they would now know what they will do in the future, agreed?. Well, if God doesn't give that person that information, is anything truly any different other than that that person no longer knows what they will do? (they just have the illusion of free will) They will still do the same thing.

God is timeless but we are not, and if he exists knowing what decisions we will make (even if it's all simultaneous to him or something), we in the present, affected by time, cannot change our future, we are constrained by fate, and lack free will. Perhaps we make the same decisions we would have made if we truly had free will, but we don't truly have free will.

For your second paragraph, I think this bit doesn't make sense: "omniscient in that they know everything that is possible to know, but not omniscient in knowing everything." If he knows all of the possible outcomes, but not which one will come true, he might as well not know any possible outcomes, he doesn't know what will happen, so he doesn't know everything there is to know, so he isn't omniscient.

As for the last paragraph, if God isn't affected by time he probably won't get bored.

NowASaint(1388) Clarified
1 point

Mack, God is also Omnipotent. Being Omnipotent He has the ability to be aware of whatever He wants to be aware of at any given moment. You are not always aware of everything you know, are you? And you don't even know everything like God does.

The truth is always simple. You are letting atheistic/agnostic futile philosophies run you into the ground and the devil will happily make you feel proud of yourself, make you feel smart while you are doing it if that's the way you want to go out.

NowASaint(1388) Clarified
1 point

There is nothing which says God is timeless. Before He created anything, time was nothing, God was there. Why would God count time in eternity past before anything was created? In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth........that was the beginning of time.

Of course the guys post makes little sense when he meanders around with a goofy idea like "God is timeless". Then you take off on the indefinable idea and expand it so your comments make even less sense.

People who try to make themselves believe that they have no free will are only trying to deny responsibility for their wrong actions, words, and thoughts. The concept is insane and unrealistic. The more you try to uphold such nonsense, the more your mental meanderings will become esoteric nonsense or bold anti-Christ evil or a combination of the two. You can't win against God, you can only seal your doom and end up in Hell by trying to stand up against God. Anybody who applauds you in what you are doing that way is not your friend; they are cheering your dying while they seek acclaim for their own dying. They won't be enjoying each other's company while they roast like undying embers in the fire of Hell and if you go with them......well, you are making your choice and trying to blame God by implying He should stop you from being against Him is really kind of immature, isn't it?

WinstonC(1226) Clarified
1 point

"I'm not sure that's how timelessness would work. If the future has already happened from God's perspective, that would mean he is somehow affected by time."

From God's perspective the future would simultaneously have happened already while being yet to happen and the same applies to the past. I don't see a better way to think about timelessness, perhaps you can offer one?

"This seems different from everything happening at once on some level as you later mention."

Everything happening at once is how things happen if one is timeless. All things are simultaneously in the past, present and future.

"And if it has already happened from his perspective, it sounds to me like we don't have free will, that our future is set in stone."

If we existed outside of time then we would be yet to exert our free will while simultaneously having exerted it already. It's like if we existed out of time we would be yet to act while having acted already. In the same way that we cannot envision a tesseract: a 4d cube, it is also difficult to think about timelessness. It would be set in stone, yet we would already have exerted our free will when operating in our 3D world bound by time.

"Maybe look at it this way: We live in our present, moving through time. If God were to pop down from his timelessness and give one of us insight into everything he knows for some inexplicable reason, would that person have free will? I think not, as they would now know what they will do in the future, agreed?."

First of all, I think that if someone told you that you would do X, you would probably purposefully do Y. Information given about the future invariably changes the course of events, as is often the theme in movies and literature regarding prophecies. Secondly, just because someone knows what will happen does not preclude free will, if someone knows that you are about to eat dinner and informs you of this, you still eat the dinner of your own accord (assuming free will of course). In the same way that knowing past events does not preclude free will, coming from a dimension where where the future is equivalent to the past does not preclude free will.

"Well, if God doesn't give that person that information, is anything truly any different other than that that person no longer knows what they will do? (they just have the illusion of free will) They will still do the same thing. "

When you say that they will do the same thing, you're looking at things from a perspective constrained by time. From a timeless perspective it would be accurate to say they already did the action (and were yet to do the action, and currently performing it).

"God is timeless but we are not, and if he exists knowing what decisions we will make (even if it's all simultaneous to him or something), we in the present, affected by time, cannot change our future, we are constrained by fate, and lack free will. Perhaps we make the same decisions we would have made if we truly had free will, but we don't truly have free will."

We are in the present, enacting our free will. When we view things timelessly, we are both yet to use our free will to act and having already used our free will to act. It makes no sense to say "The past is set in stone and thus free will doesn't exist" and thus it also makes no sense to say "When we go outside of time everything has already occurred and is set in stone and thus free will doesn't exist".

"If he knows all of the possible outcomes, but not which one will come true, he might as well not know any possible outcomes"

I completely disagree, knowing everything that could happen is incredibly useful. We use far less sophisticated methods to make decisions as humans.

"he doesn't know what will happen, so he doesn't know everything there is to know, so he isn't omniscient."

I'm perfectly fine with agreeing that "true omniscience" isn't possible under my second line of reasoning. I don't like the idea of dismissing knowing everything that it's possible to know as incomparable to omniscience though. I think that knowing everything that it's possible to know is a kind of omniscience, especially if this is the only omniscience that's attainable.

"if God isn't affected by time he probably won't get bored."

Possibly, the thing is I'd expect a God to be conscious (or something similar to conscious) because consciousness seems fundamental to the universe. Who knows if consciousness is even compatible with Godhood or timelessness though.

What is omniscience? Is that to mean all knowing?....................................................................

1 point

Yes, omniscience is the state of knowing everything.................................

KJVPrewrath(979) Clarified
1 point

I don't think God knows how to be evil, But He does know a lot, jmo............................................

1 point

Your future is set if you will not believe Jesus is God who died for your sins so that He who rose bodily from the dead has the power and the right to forgive you while He leaves those who reject Him dying forever in the fire of Hell. Your future will change if you believe on the One who alone can save you from Hell. There is no other way, you are choosing death over life if you insist on going with the atheists, agnostics, and all other religious people who think that the power of their minds or the good things they do is enough to keep them from dying forever in the fire of Hell.

Trying to claim that God knows if you will be stupid and refuse to believe proves you have no choice, and God is at fault if He leaves you burning in Hell, will not get you out of dying or Hell.

If you are the type of person that needs to believe in something other than what can be seen and heard and you just know in your heart that there is something more out there thatvscience has not yet discovered or is supernatural in some way, please continue to read this.

“Surely the first ass who invented religion should be the first ass who is damned by it. “- Mark Twain

There is probably only one omnisciencent entity, or at least the only one we know about, and that is the Universe itself. It knows how it started, and it keeps close ties to each one of the organic life forms it has spawned. Unfortunately, the universe is selfish, keeping its secrets from us, forcing us to figure it out for ourselves, forcing us to make our own certifications and embellishments. And we have, we used our minds to come up with lifestyles, morals, ideas, ideals, and realistic interpretations of the natural space around us, and we used our minds to come up with god. Like any parent god holds our feet to the fire as individuals, forcing us to recognize our limitations and attempts to countervene human nature. Like any parent he also knows what is best and punishes anyone who falteres from that belief, because he knows that until the age of self reasoning, no one should be left to their own devices, because a feral human is of no use other than to himself.

So religion is really a societal aid, a way to ensure society won’t have to murder every person who commits a crime, especially in a world with no communication, as it was 5000 years ago. If you can see that things are necessary for society to function in the Bronze Age, then you can easily make parallels to the actual stories that have come out of religion. Every society is a little different, and the stories still parallel those parts of the world in thier particular niches today. Societies structure was determined by these memes.

It’s easy for a religious troll/turd to spout off and say your going to hell, or mentally blackmail you into rejecting secular ideals and beliefs, but it is much harder for them to come to true understanding and truly help people because that would mean denigrating the authority figure that they rely on to feel superior.

1 point

Foreknowledge is not the same as predestination. You have free will. God simply knows the choices you will make before you make them. How does that negate free will? This whole argument is simply a lame attempt to avoid responsibility for the choices you make.

1 point

You have free will. God simply knows the choices you will make before you make them.

That contradicts itself. If I am faced with a decision between left and right and God knows I am destined to choose right I am therefore forbidden to choose left, which takes free will off the table. I can't choose left so the choice (i.e. free will) I believed I had was a demonstrable illusion.

Gibby_Prime(38) Disputed
1 point

If I am faced with a decision between left and right and God knows I am destined to choose right I am therefore forbidden to choose left, which takes free will off the table.

But God never tells anyone directly. He just simply knows it. You were never forbidden to choose left. Even if he told you, you could still choose to go left.

I can't choose left so the choice

But you could've. Here's an example. If someone knows what I will do in the future, but without telling me, I will never know for sure. But let's say the person knows that I will get into a car crash and get injured. Certain events will then lead me to the car crash. I had no idea what was going to happen in the future, but the person did. Me, having free will, chose to go through certain events, and make my own decisions that eventually lead to the car crash with me having no idea.

Grugore(849) Disputed
1 point

There is no contradiction. If you could travel to the future as see what someone does a year from now, would that negate their free will? It's no different. God exists outside of time. He can see everything that will happen, because for Him it has already happened. It has no effect on free will.