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Old 12-22-2009, 01:31 AM
 
3,581 posts, read 457,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
I'm impressed with the level of discussion going on here. Im not terribly knowledgeable about the theological side of things--my interests and my study have leaned much more to the philosophical. (Heck, I'm in grad school right now working on philosophy!)

However, I'm a bit surprised and a little disappointed with seeing some arrogance and bickering. Gentleness and respect--especially with those who disagree with you. NOBODY has a perfect theology.

Sorry if this is out of line.
They have pretty thick skin here
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:52 AM
 
Location: RV Park
7,543 posts, read 11,564,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiloh1 View Post
Are you questioning the first sentence? If that is how you define Sovereignty then that is not correct. Did Adam have free will? What if freewill is not against His will? Then freewill was the Sovereign will of God.
That's exactly the point I was making. The circumstances may look as though they're contrary to Him, when in fact He's working on a scale far above our comprehension. Fact is, it's God that works in the heart of man.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiloh1 View Post
Are you questioning the first sentence? If that is how you define Sovereignty then that is not correct. Did Adam have free will? What if freewill is not against His will? Then freewill was the Sovereign will of God.
I think that is one way to describe it. But in that case the so-called "freewill" is not really free is it, because it is in accord with God's will, right?

Scripture says God works all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiloh1 View Post
I kind of like to think of Sovereignty as the right to override and the power to do so.
Then God can and does override our "freewill".

Again we see the term "freewill" used in this way really a misnomer. If we are simply talking about choice, God can and does influence our choice.

One of the biggest examples in scripture would be Saul's conversion to Paul. That was not a true "freewill" choice in the strict sense of the term, because Saul/Paul's choice to convert was heavily influenced by the fact that God scared the bejezus right out of him. If God appeared plainly in a booming voice and flash of light to someone, and you were thrown on the ground trembling, then you are going to convert. God made sure that Paul converted and became a great apostle.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by little elmer View Post
That's exactly the point I was making. The circumstances may look as though they're contrary to Him, when in fact He's working on a scale far above our comprehension. Fact is, it's God that works in the heart of man.
Yes! God's intention is to set us up in opposition to His will (ie. sinning) so that His true will can be revealed, and then we can be brought in line with His true will (ie. to not sin).

In order to understand a thing, we must also understand the opposite of that thing. God is teaching us big time.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:12 AM
 
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Default Free will CANNOT exist

Please try to Understand This:

Part of the problem with these debates is people have different meanings in mind when they say the term "free will".

Many people say "free will" to mean "choice", or "free choice". While it is very true that we make choices (probably thousands of choices every day), none of them are free.

"Free" means to be without restriction, uncaused, without influence.

The terms "free will" and "free choice" are really oxymorons or misnomers, which implies they cannot really exist because they are self contradictory; sort of like a "square circle" or a "larger half".

If you sit down and think about it for more than a minute, you will realize that every single choice you have ever made in this life has been made for a reason: that reason is the cause that influenced you to make the choice. Since all of your choices have a cause, none of them were free, therefore we cannot have a free will.

QED (Quite easily done ).
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Pikeville, Ky.
13,467 posts, read 21,222,914 times
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Good thread folks, but please remember to attack the idea not the person
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:59 AM
 
3,067 posts, read 3,490,198 times
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man has free will....
God is in charge of his creation..

The 2 things walk hand in hand...
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:14 AM
 
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Hi Legoman,

Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman View Post
Please try to Understand This:

Part of the problem with these debates is people have different meanings in mind when they say the term "free will".
I wholeheartedly agree with this. But I wholeheartedly disagree with what you say next.


Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman View Post
Many people say "free will" to mean "choice", or "free choice". While it is very true that we make choices (probably thousands of choices every day), none of them are free.

"Free" means to be without restriction, uncaused, without influence.

The terms "free will" and "free choice" are really oxymorons or misnomers, which implies they cannot really exist because they are self contradictory; sort of like a "square circle" or a "larger half".

If you sit down and think about it for more than a minute, you will realize that every single choice you have ever made in this life has been made for a reason: that reason is the cause that influenced you to make the choice. Since all of your choices have a cause, none of them were free, therefore we cannot have a free will.

QED (Quite easily done ).
First, if we are not free, then (1) it sure starts looking like we are not culpable, and (2) it sure seems as though God is the author of sin. Both are unacceptable.

Second, your argument doesn't show that we cannot have free will. To begin, I don't see why someone would accept your definition of "free." As you say, there are many different meanings of "free," and you just give one of them here--so why should someone accept your definition? Some people think being free means being able to choose either A or not A, where the choice has not been determined by any causal laws or antecedent conditions. (This is a basic definition of "libertarian freedom") But to add that freedom requires that there is no influence (as you suggest) seems, at least to me, excessive. In fact, I'm inclined to argue that your definition of "freedom" is impossible--for freedom, according to your definition, is an "uncaused act." In other words, one could say that such a free choice comes "from nothing." But that's impossible. There must be influences, or reasons, for choices--even for choices that God makes. For if God made choices without cause then why should He be praised? There would be no reason--hence, divine choices would not be made because they are good, or because He has a plan, etc. They would be completely random. And thus, they would not even flow from His nature.

So, in short, I think I actually agree with you, that freedom as you define it might be impossible. But I think this definition is too strong (for not even God is free in this way, in my opinion). And freedom is not inconsistent with "influences." What people usually claim is that freedom is inconsistent with determinism--that is, with prior causes that fully determine our choices. (But even then, some people claim that freedom really is consistent with determinism).
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Hi Legoman,



I wholeheartedly agree with this. But I wholeheartedly disagree with what you say next.




First, if we are not free, then (1) it sure starts looking like we are not culpable, and (2) it sure seems as though God is the author of sin. Both are unacceptable.

Second, your argument doesn't show that we cannot have free will. To begin, I don't see why someone would accept your definition of "free." As you say, there are many different meanings of "free," and you just give one of them here--so why should someone accept your definition? Some people think being free means being able to choose either A or not A, where the choice has not been determined by any causal laws or antecedent conditions. (This is a basic definition of "libertarian freedom") But to add that freedom requires that there is no influence (as you suggest) seems, at least to me, excessive. In fact, I'm inclined to argue that your definition of "freedom" is impossible--for freedom, according to your definition, is an "uncaused act." In other words, one could say that such a free choice comes "from nothing." But that's impossible. There must be influences, or reasons, for choices--even for choices that God makes. For if God made choices without cause then why should He be praised? There would be no reason--hence, divine choices would not be made because they are good, or because He has a plan, etc. They would be completely random. And thus, they would not even flow from His nature.

So, in short, I think I actually agree with you, that freedom as you define it might be impossible. But I think this definition is too strong (for not even God is free in this way, in my opinion). And freedom is not inconsistent with "influences." What people usually claim is that freedom is inconsistent with determinism--that is, with prior causes that fully determine our choices. (But even then, some people claim that freedom really is consistent with determinism).
Perhaps I am arguing too strongly over the meaning of the word "free", I would rather do away with the term free will altogether as it is ambiguous to so many people. People often assume the alternative to "free will" is "robots", which is also not true. It seems we have some agreement, we may be just arguing over semantics.


But in any case when you use the term "free" above, the definition must include the meaning of "free from cause and influence". Is there a difference between a cause and an influence? Not really. For it is that which influences us the most strongly that causes us to make a choice. The cause & influence is the reason for the choice. Therefore there are no choices that are without a cause and without influence - there are no choices that are free from these constraints.

Let me explain. In your first point you say that would make God the author of sin. Well what do you mean by "author"? If you mean God sins, then no, that is not correct. But certainly God is the first cause of everything, and that would include a universe which contains sin. God could have created a world without sin if He wanted. But you (or someone else) might say then we wouldn't have free will... and then we are back to where we started. But that is not really an answer unless we can keep a strict term for free will (which we have seen is difficult).



Why do we sin? Because we desire to sin. Our hearts are weak and deceitful. That is the cause, that is the influence, that is the reason why we choose to sin. Are we free to sin? Sure. Are we free to NOT sin? NO NO A THOUSAND TIMES NO! Now don't misunderstand me here. You might protest and say "sure we are free to not sin"... THEN WHY HAS NO ONE EVER DONE IT? (excepting Christ) Let me explain further...

If we truly have a free will, why has no one ever been able to NOT sin in their whole life? See where I'm going here? The fact that we all sin is due to our nature, which we have no control over!

Now where did our nature come from? Adam. But why did Adam have a sinful nature? There are different views here. So let me ask why did Adam sin? Because Satan tempted him, maybe because Adam also had a weak and deceitful heart.

So why was Satan in the garden to tempt Adam? Why did Adam have a weak heart that sinned at the first opportunity?

And the answer is:
BECAUSE God INTENDED IT!

God is the one who created Adam.
God is the one who put the tree of knowledge in the garden, in full view and easy access to Adam.
God is the one who made the tree of knowledge pleasing to the eye and desirous to be eaten from.
God is the one who put/let/allowed the serpent in the Garden to tempt Eve.

If God didn't really want Adam to eat of the tree, He did a fairly poor job of it don't you think?

Now we must ask ourselves. God, who created all, knows all, even knows all future events... did He really not want Adam to eat of the tree, or did He plan it all along? Of course God is no dummy and He knew exactly how it would go down. It was all part of God's plan.

God intended for there to be sin in this world. God intended for there to be evil in this world. God is showing us what sin and evil is. God is giving us an experience of evil (Ecc 1:13).

Does this make God the Author of sin? This is another loaded term, and it depends what you mean by Author. But let me says this:

God does not sin by showing us what sin is.

This is the imporant point and reason for us being here in this fallen world
. This, in a nutshell, explains why there is sin, why there is evil, and why we do not have a true free will. God is showing us sin and evil; God is giving us an experience of sin and evil, so we will know what it is! And also so we will gain many good character traits that can only be learned by overcoming sin and evil - endurance, patience, kindness, protecting, and ultimately LOVE. This is what is all about.

This post is long enough, I hope people will still read it...
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:08 PM
 
Location: RV Park
7,543 posts, read 11,564,856 times
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Indeed, God in His holiness can use evil just as a man in a white suit can walk a black dog. The picture of Satan on a leash was intended...he can't do anything without God's permission - or shall we say, command.
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