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Does God have a Free Will

  1. Oct 17, 2004 #1
    Is God free to do as he please's?

    If so what certaintly do we have that he ultimatly is not evil, or weaher he has the capacity to be or not be evil?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2004 #2
    God has "free will". Although that seems too small of a term to define a quality of such a Divine power.

    God does not need free will. Since the choices he has, "good" or "evil" do not apply to him. Because God is believed to be good by theists, he would not need the second choice of "evil".
    --
    "If so what certaintly do we have that he ultimatly is not evil, or weaher he has the capacity to be or not be evil?"

    There is little certainty in theism, imho. Most of theism is a mistery.
     
  4. Oct 17, 2004 #3
    If he CANNOT choose evil, then he is not able to choose freely and therefore I deduce that he has no freewill.

    And if he indeed commited an "evil" how would we know he did?

    In essance then 'good' and 'bad' to not apply to god.
    Therefore one can infer that god has no morality?
     
  5. Oct 17, 2004 #4

    JasonRox

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    Einstein once asked "How much choice did God have in creating the universe?"

    Think about it.
     
  6. Oct 17, 2004 #5

    selfAdjoint

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    This is part of what is known as the Euthyphro dichotomy, from Plato's dialogues. Either God (or the gods) has free will or not. If he has free will, then his judgements might have been different, and we are not bound to obey a contingent directive. But if he has not got free will he is less than a god, and we do not have to obey such a finite being.
     
  7. Oct 17, 2004 #6
    Not a very positive procpect. I was actually hoping someone could provide a better defense for god.

    I at times wish logic could be just a little more forgiving of our human nature.

    It is a good thing that me a Plato came to the same conclusion, even if thousands of years apart and in ignorance of each other. Somethings I guess never change.
     
  8. Oct 17, 2004 #7
    Please explain how you know this to be true.

    Why would god have something the she does not need?

    How do you know that she has only these two choices?

    Are you saying that god cannot do evil? If true, then she does not have free will?

    I would agree with this. However, you certainly seem sure of the points that you made here, although I do not know on what basis you could have made them.
     
  9. Oct 18, 2004 #8
    I came across this interesting paradox. If a being is omniscient, then it has no free will for if a being knows what it's going to do in five minutes then it can't change what it will do. Ignorance is free will?

    Anyways, what "basis" would suffice? Empericism, some abstract epistemology, intuition backed by circumstantial evidence, a math equation?

    You're never going to prove or disprove that God
    a. exists and
    b. that it has free will
    unless you arbitrarily select the criteria for proof, meet them, and consider yourself done with the issue.

    Don't forget that the other form of evidence is self-evidence but keep in mind that not everything that is self-evident is necessarily obvious.
     
  10. Oct 18, 2004 #9
    Interesting idea.
     
  11. Oct 18, 2004 #10
    Of course God must have free will. If God created all things then every thing that he created must have some attribute of his. Man has free will therefore one of God’s attribute must be that of free will.

    Can God turn his free will on himself? No. God must be self-consistent. Being a being of eternity if he had any inconsistency he never would be. Inconsistency is self-destructive.

    Evil is a direction away from the consistency of God. That is why every evil must have a counter balance to keep all things consistent. God does not punish evil it is automatic because it is against the nature of God and all creation.
     
  12. Oct 18, 2004 #11
    I would say Man does not have free will. Rather that freewill is an illusion. We have "will" but it is not free. All of our decisions are bound by our environment, as is everything that we are. "free" would be to imply that there are no conditions on our actions. You can't deny our relationship to the external world. Try to explain choice free of boundaries, its impossible. The decisions we make are based on what we know, what we've experienced, what we remember what our immediate environment is.. where does this idea of "free" come in?
     
  13. Oct 18, 2004 #12

    hypnagogue

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    We must agree on what we mean by 'God' and 'free will' before we can continue. It is plain to see that the nuances of what we mean by these terms will shape the form of prospective arguments, and it is also plain to see that different people are using the terms differently.

    Preator Fenix, since you started this thread, do you care to elaborate on what you mean by 'God' and 'free will'? At the least, you should provide the essential properties that something must possess in order for it to be called 'God,' and the essential conditions under which we can call a given act an act of 'free will.'

    edit: also, please specify what you mean by 'good' and 'evil' such that we can agree upon a common set of criteria by which to distinguish the two.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2004
  14. Oct 18, 2004 #13
    If you are a pantheist, God may be the only entity with free will. Those pantheists that believe in a God, believe God is the universe en toto, that is, everything that exists combined equals God. Hence, God has free will if for no other reason than because by definition there is nothing to constrain God. Also, it is an oxymoron then to talk of God creating the universe because God is the universe.

    When you move beyond pantheism into transendent beliefs, anything goes.
     
  15. Oct 18, 2004 #14

    hypnagogue

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    Sure there is something to constrain such a pantheistic God, and this is just its internal constitution itself. Its causal powers must be limited by the ways in which the causal powers of everything that exists can be combined to form this entity. The only way such a God would be free of constraint would be if all the parts of existence somehow could combine in such a way as to create some sort of top-down mechanism that could override any and all properties and constraints of any and all of its constituent parts. While such a scenario might be possible in principle, it certainly does not immediately follow from the definition you have provided.
     
  16. Oct 18, 2004 #15
    God = As defined by Judo-Christain/Muslim Culture and complementary religous and quasi-religous texts. Based on my observations this can be summrized into a Father figure like humanistic emotional seeming entity with no observable physical compentes with the capacity to completely alter entire local and non-local enviroments seeming driving enegry from an unknown source and at times in a way that goes against agreed scientific data, all of course under the assumption that all "god" does is "good" but with no sure mechanism of verifying.

    Free will= a. avalibilty of a choice c. statiscal possiblity that a certain choice may or may not be taken in a non determinable way. As an analogy compare to wave theory of quatum mechanics; under observation particules follow discreet and spefic paths with no possiblity of choice under their power to change/ without observation there exist PROBALITIES of differnt paths.

    Good/Bad = The laymens understanding of common good and bad. Vanacular definetion of good and bad.


    ---I tend towards pantheism
     
  17. Oct 18, 2004 #16
    I haven't read all the replies here, but this topic reminds me of something Stephen Hawking asked: "Did God have a choice when he created the universe?"
    I asked that to a philosopher of science @ my school who asked me what do people expect to get from theoretical physics? Is theoretical physics supposed to find out the 'truth' about the real world, or explan other, theological, things?
     
  18. Oct 18, 2004 #17

    hypnagogue

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    I'm still not sure exactly how you mean this term. Do you mean that if X has free will, then X's choice is not wholly determined by the environment? Or do you mean that if X has free will, then X's choice is not wholly determined by anything (thus having some degree of freedom that is completely free of all causal constraint)? Or do you mean something else?

    I'm not sure this is enough to get everyone on the same page. Would the layman say it is good to kill one person in order to save the life of two others? Are you working with a utilitarian concept of good and bad here, or a deontological one, or what?
     
  19. Oct 18, 2004 #18
    Free Will=X's choice may or may not be determined to any degree by the enviorment. It is considered "free" as long as it is in the of real possiblity, not weather it is wholly indepandant of the enviroment.

    Good/Bad= As esthablised by modern legal system/thinking and current opinion. The United States legal definitions can be used as a refrance.
     
  20. Oct 19, 2004 #19
    Because humans need/have it. Why assume that what humans need/have, God also needs or has?

    I suppose we don't. We do however, know there is a good -- and therefore, there must be a bad. However, this might not apply in the metaphysical world.

    God can be evil, although it is not in his nature.
     
  21. Oct 19, 2004 #20
    Well if he CAN be evil, why am I trusting him with my eteranl soul?

    If he is just a fallible as anyone of use, it falls ON HIM to prove to us beyound any doubt that his intentions are good, not the other way around.

    So far he has been very lazy in convincing anyone that he exits, let alone trust him.
     
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