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Old 19th April 2010, 10:56 PM
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Biblical examples of God overriding Free-will

Hi all,

I think this is my first post ever. I have to introduce myself as ex-christian/agnostic. My 'deconvertion' has happened very recently. I have posted a similar thread on a different forum, but since there seems to be more traffic on this forum, here I am .

Since free will seems to be a favorite concept for christians/theists to use as counterargument for anything, it would be great if we can make a list of all those instances in the Bible where God himself overrides free will, which clearly contradicts theists when they say "oh, God cannot get rid of hunger and evil because this would violate free will".
If free will is sooo important that God himself cannot violate it, how come he DOES violate it on various occasions in the Bible!?

I can quickly think of a couple, although I'm pretty sure there are more:

1. God hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he refused to let God's people go. There's no way around it, the Bible clearly says so. The moment god decided to do this, Pharaoh's free will was nullified and Pharaoh was doomed.
2. Anytime that God ordered the killing of entire cities, including their infants and toddlers, he was squashing those poor kids' free will in a vile way, since they were clearly not mature enough to be able to decide between good and evil. Yet God didn't stop to think about this for a second, "Kill them all" was his usual response for everything. Even poor animals who don't even have the capacity to think!!

Can you guys think of more examples?
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Old 19th April 2010, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by skepticlogician View Post
Hi all,

I think this is my first post ever. I have to introduce myself as ex-christian/agnostic. My 'deconvertion' has happened very recently. I have posted a similar thread on a different forum, but since there seems to be more traffic on this forum, here I am .

Since free will seems to be a favorite concept for christians/theists to use as counterargument for anything, it would be great if we can make a list of all those instances in the Bible where God himself overrides free will, which clearly contradicts theists when they say "oh, God cannot get rid of hunger and evil because this would violate free will".
If free will is sooo important that God himself cannot violate it, how come he DOES violate it on various occasions in the Bible!?

I can quickly think of a couple, although I'm pretty sure there are more:

1. God hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he refused to let God's people go. There's no way around it, the Bible clearly says so. The moment god decided to do this, Pharaoh's free will was nullified and Pharaoh was doomed.
2. Anytime that God ordered the killing of entire cities, including their infants and toddlers, he was squashing those poor kids' free will in a vile way, since they were clearly not mature enough to be able to decide between good and evil. Yet God didn't stop to think about this for a second, "Kill them all" was his usual response for everything. Even poor animals who don't even have the capacity to think!!

Can you guys think of more examples?
I believe that you simply misunderstand what free will actually is.
I believe "free will" to be the ability to choose an action outside of the expressed will of God. In essence Free will is the ability to sin.

Free will is not the ability to do whatever one wants. If that were the case then gravity would be impeding upon my free will.

Even with Pharaoh's harden heart he could still choose to sin. As could all of those who were slaughtered... As far as the animals are concerned if you've ever eaten meat then, you shouldn't have much to say about that.

What's next?
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Old 19th April 2010, 11:13 PM
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Old 20th April 2010, 12:54 AM
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Old 20th April 2010, 01:44 AM
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The definition of "free will" is "to make a choice without restraint."

I actually contend that it would be impossible for omniscience & free will to both exist.
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Old 20th April 2010, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Lithp View Post
The definition of "free will" is "to make a choice without restraint."

I actually contend that it would be impossible for omniscience & free will to both exist.

As you define it I agree. but since we are speaking to the "Free will" as defined by God/The Bible then we must adhere to the definitions provided by them.
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Old 20th April 2010, 10:25 AM
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Hi all,

I think this is my first post ever. I have to introduce myself as ex-christian/agnostic. My 'deconvertion' has happened very recently. I have posted a similar thread on a different forum, but since there seems to be more traffic on this forum, here I am .
Hello.

Since free will seems to be a favorite concept for christians/theists to use as counterargument for anything,
"For anything"? Really? I don't think so...

...it would be great if we can make a list of all those instances in the Bible where God himself overrides free will, which clearly contradicts theists when they say "oh, God cannot get rid of hunger and evil because this would violate free will".
If free will is sooo important that God himself cannot violate it, how come he DOES violate it on various occasions in the Bible!?
Because He's God and is Sovereign over the universe. God directly supercedes our will when it suits His purposes to do so. That He does this on occasion doesn't mean that we never exercise free will, however.

I can quickly think of a couple, although I'm pretty sure there are more:

1. God hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he refused to let God's people go. There's no way around it, the Bible clearly says so. The moment god decided to do this, Pharaoh's free will was nullified and Pharaoh was doomed.
This is the prerogative of the One who made Pharaoh.

2. Anytime that God ordered the killing of entire cities, including their infants and toddlers, he was squashing those poor kids' free will in a vile way, since they were clearly not mature enough to be able to decide between good and evil. Yet God didn't stop to think about this for a second, "Kill them all" was his usual response for everything. Even poor animals who don't even have the capacity to think!!
This is a carticature of the facts. It largely ignores the biblical record that provides the reasons as to why God wiped out the evil, pagan nations that He did.

Peace.
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Old 20th April 2010, 02:50 PM
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1)Yes, that scripture is always misunderstood by those who haven't studied the bible. Gods judgement hardened Pharaohs heart- God judged and there was an angry reaction from Pharaoh. Pharaoh did this to his heart-he made himself angry. Thus, he had the free will to get angry and rebel.

2)God has the right to judge sin. He did this to protect Israel against paganism and evil. People also ask why were the children killed? Because they would have grown up and do the same wickedness. Again a question asked by those who are not familiar with the bible.
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Old 20th April 2010, 08:54 PM
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With the pharaoh example, something worth pondering is why was the guy who was pharaoh, pharaoh? There have been billions of people born throughout history and yet God chose one specific person to play the part of 'pharaoh'. Why him in particular?

The reason must be that pharaoh has a character or personality that makes him a good 'fit' for the role. This probably included being stubborn, being authoritarian, not very nice, power hungry, and so on.

So even though God set the situation up so that pharaoh would 'harden his heart', pharaoh is responsible for making choices that make him a good 'fit' for the role of pharaoh in the Bible. Maybe, e.g. God foresaw pharaoh would reject God's grace?

So the responsibility is not entirely on God for pharaoh's predicament.
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Old 21st April 2010, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by skepticlogician View Post
Hi all,

I think this is my first post ever. I have to introduce myself as ex-christian/agnostic. My 'deconvertion' has happened very recently. I have posted a similar thread on a different forum, but since there seems to be more traffic on this forum, here I am .

Since free will seems to be a favorite concept for christians/theists to use as counterargument for anything, it would be great if we can make a list of all those instances in the Bible where God himself overrides free will, which clearly contradicts theists when they say "oh, God cannot get rid of hunger and evil because this would violate free will".
If free will is sooo important that God himself cannot violate it, how come he DOES violate it on various occasions in the Bible!?

I can quickly think of a couple, although I'm pretty sure there are more:

1. God hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he refused to let God's people go. There's no way around it, the Bible clearly says so. The moment god decided to do this, Pharaoh's free will was nullified and Pharaoh was doomed.
2. Anytime that God ordered the killing of entire cities, including their infants and toddlers, he was squashing those poor kids' free will in a vile way, since they were clearly not mature enough to be able to decide between good and evil. Yet God didn't stop to think about this for a second, "Kill them all" was his usual response for everything. Even poor animals who don't even have the capacity to think!!

Can you guys think of more examples?

If I may say something to dispel some things... People often speak harshly of things they do not understand. Yes, sometimes we see things one way, but we don't really understand what's going on. And so we judge, and our judgement is not according to the truth.

First, I would like to note that God knows this fact: evil grows. God is keeping a lid on evil by pruning the evil once in a while because He wants the earth to be in one piece until a certain time (which is pre-set). If God did not destroy the most evil cities, then evil would spread too fast and this earth wouldn't last until our days.

This idea is expressed in the Bible: when the cup of evil is full, then the city is destroyed. As was Egypt, as was Sodom and Gommora and others..

God DID NOT want to destroy Nineva even though their evil was coming to the edge of the cup. Why? Because God saw that there was a chance to save them, so He sent Jonah to preach to them (book of Jonah). Jonah wanted them destroyed but God told him: you are not the one who raised them (like one would raise a plant) so you are not sorry for them, but I am.

God destroys only those cities in which He sees no hope of redemption. (But I am talking temporary redemption. Destroying is a temporary thing too. These souls simply go from this world and enter another one..they do not cease to exist)

Another thing God has to consider is: every action has consequences. Some people (infants) having survived might cause big problems for humanity in some cases. He sees ahead all the choices people would make and has to coordinate things in a best possible way.

Unfortunately, God chose to use people to do his pruning. If it was God himself, He would probably just put the infants to sleep. In one place God said about Israel's enemies: you punished her (Israel) much more than I intended... So people do more violence than necessary...but such are the tools He is using...

It says in the Bible that God does NOT desire the death of the wicked, but for him to repent and live. To repent mean - to stop doing evil. Unfortunately nobody wants to stop doing evil....and they do it and then blame God for their own deeds...

As far as Him not stopping the evil: there are different things.
Maybe He wants to show the world the results of disobeying His laws and choosing to do evil - so that it would never happen again. (if people were so tempted in the future)
Second, He may be using these circumstances for purging evil out of our souls. We and the evil are intertwined: like cancer cells and healthy cells in one body. And in order to kill the cancer cells, the chemotherapy also affects the healthy cells making the whole person suffer (in order to heal them). So that's partly what God's purpose is.

SECOND, this life on earth is NOT meant for pleasure and comfort. The 70 years pass as a smoke. This life has a different purpose. This life is more about "chemotherapy" procedure. It's more about the testing and the schooling. The life that we all dream about (filled with happiness and peace and love) that's one is in the future. It's going to be here when Jesus is the ruler of the world. It cannot be so yet because the evil was not purged from the children of men yet.

God allows all the trouble on the earth (the earth that He really loves) only for a time and only for a purpose. He has prepared an eternity of bliss for his creation (AFTER He purges the EVIL out of them.) And there is no eternal hell either. Because God is love. And He would not think of preparing such a thing for the creation which He loves. The problem was in interpreting /translating the scriptures and trying to translate ancient words/ideas by using modern words. That's the problem and has led to a mistaken view of eternity. And the other way that I know this is because God told me. He said that He is going to cause everyone to be born again and "saved" (but not here, not yet). And I've understood a tiny bit of some of His plans.

In the Bible it says that the eyes of some people were blinded to the truth. And me and somebody else asked God: why is that? That doesn't seem fair. His answer was that it was so because He was sparing them. How?
Well, there is this rule: whoever knows more, will be beaten more. He knows that their hearts are hard and they won't be able to obey. And he wants to spare them too much knowledge that way they don't get punished too much. The less they know, the less they will get punished.

So see, seeming a very bad action, but actually is done out of compassion and mercy. And there are many such things.

Even death. It's not as bad as people assume. Death doesn't mean something bad. Sometimes death is rest, peace, reward. Some people are only to happy "to go home". So death can be viewed as something good, if viewed from the right perspective. The verses

Isa 57:1 The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

To be taken away in death from this earth is not necessary a bad thing. Some infants (who are not born) are probably much luckier than the ones who were born. Some kids who died young maybe are luckier than the ones who lived a full and sinful life. Dying is simply leaving this world and entering another one.

God is so loving and everybody will find out at some point and will be ashamed of all the evil.

Eze 16:63 You will remember your sins and cover your mouth in silent shame when I forgive you of all that you have done. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!"

But He will forgive. Because that's His nature. He is love. Love gives and forgives and overlooks and does not seek its own. He does things for our good. We hurt Him all the time, a lot, every day. And He also hurts for us, he feels our pain. (He told me so). So He will forgive all this hurt we are causing Him as well. And He teaches us to be like Him and to forgive as well.
Judgement and punishment are necessary (as we know in raising children). But the purpose of it all is - preservation of life and good and for corrective purposes.

If you really want to know the truth about God, ask Him. Or you can guess and be wrong. The only problem is that God is not talking to those who don't seek Him or love Him. So unless you do that, I won't be surprised to hear that He did not answer. It's not His goal to bicker with the evil. It's not His goal to justify His actions. He only tells the truth to those who come close to Him and get to know Him. He knows that the rest will know the truth eventually. They will find out just how much God has carried the world on His shoulders and just how much He did for everybody. And that our own evil is the cause of all the problems. AND that our evil causes a lot of pain for God as well (and much more than for us). And that God is working on a solution to the "evil in us" problem.
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