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Free-will and God's Knowledge

Discussion in 'Questions by Non-Christians (Archived)' started by Chris†opher Paul, May 30, 2002.

  1. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    God knows all and everything that happens in the world has his mark on it, right? Even our sins he can predict, right? This is a core belief of Christians, right?

    Then how does free-will fit into the picture? The above statement sounds like determinism, which is in contradiction to free-will.

    Also, related to this problem, why do we pray, other than to communicate with God? It is believed that we can ask Him to change things in our lives, but if everything has His mark on it already, what's the point? Why not just trust Him and go about our business, so to speak?
     
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  2. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    Note: I have my own answer, but I want to see how it lines up with yours.

    Josephus? Othniel? Anyone? :)
     
  3. Josephus

    Josephus <b>Co-Founder Christian Forums</b> Supporter

    +257
    Messianic
    I disagree. There is nothing in the bible that shows that God knows what choices we will make. God DOES knows what choices ARE available to us, but to say He knows what choice we WILL make I believe goes beyond the evidence of scripture. Often, it is God appealing us to make the right decision - even if we fail. Why would God appeal to us in vain if he already knew the outcome?

    Free will is something God has given us, and though God already knows the ending of all things, there is nothing in the bible that states or even indicates that God knows WHO exactly will make what choice. He's pretty good at guessing though. He's awefully smart in psychology and knows our minds very well to guess what we WOULD do, but he either limits himself to seeing what choices we will make, or it's not possible for him to. What we do know, is that God does not know what choices we as individuals will make.



    Why do we pray?

    That seriously is another thread. :) But in simplicity, we pray to communiate with God. To engage him. He wants us to engage him. He didn't make us free-will choosers to simply give up making a choice to relate to Him. I've recently begun to think along this mystery as to why we pray if God already wills it. I think what God is waiting for, is SOMEONE with whom to work WITH so that He is glorified when in fact God answers someone's prayer!

    So in short, we need to communicate with God for God's will to happen because God wants someone to observe just how good he is when He actually does something!

    God is glory-hungry, me thinks. And for good reason: He created us! He wants to PROVE he loves us. Not just love us. That's why he sent Jesus. That's why he encourages us to pray today.
     
  4. TheBear

    TheBear NON-WOKED

    +1,733
    United States
    Atheist
    Private
    Josephus,

    May I interject with something here?


    John
     
  5. Josephus

    Josephus <b>Co-Founder Christian Forums</b> Supporter

    +257
    Messianic
    Sure thing. :) Thanks for asking. :)
     
  6. TheBear

    TheBear NON-WOKED

    +1,733
    United States
    Atheist
    Private
    Thanks, Josephus.


    s0uljah,

    God is not bound by time. In John 8:58, Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." Therefore, any refference to time, such as past, present or future, is only percieved by man.

    That being said, there is a HUGE difference between God knowing what we percieve as the future, an God orchestrating our actions and descision. And, if you really believe that God is some kind of puppiteer, then you would also have to say that Jesus' suffering and dying, and rising from the dead, was for absolutely nothing.


    John
     
  7. Neo

    Neo the one

    +18
    Matthew 26:34
    "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."

    1 John 3:20
    For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything

    John 16:30
    "Now we can see that you know all things.."
     
  8. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    See, I used to think along these lines, but it doesn't make sense if you really think about it. God can't know what we will choose, else free-will is meaningless.

    However, He can keep track of an infinite number of possibilities for every choice that we can make. His ability to do this, allows Him to script some events that must happen. The evidence of this is Jesus fufilling prophecies, and the example Neo posted.

    Agree?
     
  9. Neo

    Neo the one

    +18
    Check your private messages.
     
  10. Josephus

    Josephus <b>Co-Founder Christian Forums</b> Supporter

    +257
    Messianic
    So you're saying Peter had no choice but to disown him? What if Peter left Jerusalem altogether and stayed hidden in a closet? Would he not have been given the chance to disown him? Of course! So what does Jesus mean? It's simple. Jesus knew how Peter would respond; and being God, he knew what chances Peter would have to make the right or wrong choice that night. Fully knowing well what was in Peter's heart, Jesus practically was telling Peter he was a liar for claiming that he would follow him to the point of death. Jesus was sadly pointing out that in Peter's heart, that really wasn't the case... and God would prove it that night. After all, look at the context of that scripture. Right before it, Peter is claiming something quite contrary to what Jesus says here.

    FOR? FOR? I love it when people chop up scripture to get it to say whatever they want. What does "FOR" mean here? It's not just inserted for sport I'm sure. "For" means there was an idea attached to this statement, and idea to be found by reading the previous verses!

    Starting with verse 18: Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in God's presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, and recieve from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

    Notice that "everything" here then refers to the "condition of our hearts"? MY GOODNESS you just proved by this scripture how Jesus KNEW what was in Peter's heart when he said he would never deny him.


    You still don't know how to use the bible. Please go to my reference to "How to Study the Bible" in the Bibliology forum.

    You still haven't proven a single scripture or story that proves God knows what choices we will make from the vantage point of knowing the future of our decisions. But there is overwhelming scripture that proves God knows the conditions of a man's heart, and is able to predict what they will do with absolute certainty. That is what we do see, and I've been saying that all along. Free will is maintained, never puppeteered.

    If there was a scripture that said "In 40 years, 13 days, 2 hours, 4 minutes, 5 seconds, Mr. Smith will decide to eat an apple rather than to eat an orange." or anything similiar where God singles out a specific person, then I'd believe you. But since there isn't, you can't prove it. Until then, my position seems the more simpler and better explanation.
     
  11. Defender of the Faith 777

    Defender of the Faith 777 Well-Known Member

    +4
    United Ch. of Christ
    I don't know where I stand. At first, I believed that we had boundaries to our free will. I thought that God knew our desicions, gave us a chance and confirmed our path. Like pharoah. And look what good came out of it. I viewed Romans 8:28 as a sidekick of this. Is this biblical? I'll just have one of those "peace that transcends understanding" thingamajigs.
     
  12. Neo

    Neo the one

    +18

    Yes. Peter did exactly what God wanted him to do.

    For God to know what decisions we will make, he would need to know our 'hearts', so you just proved my point..



    I know how to use the bible. If my interpretation is wrong, then please tell me, what did John really mean when he said "Now we can see that you know all things..".
     
  13. Josephus

    Josephus <b>Co-Founder Christian Forums</b> Supporter

    +257
    Messianic
    "For God to know what decisions we will make, he would need to know our 'hearts', so you just proved my point.."

    I'd like to point out that "God knowing our hearts" and "God knowing our future decisions" are two entirely different things, Neo.


    "I know how to use the bible. If my interpretation is wrong, then please tell me, what did John really mean when he said "Now we can see that you know all things.."."

    - easy. If you claim you know how to use the bible, look at the context. Jesus is talking about his knowlede of the Father in the preceeding verses, and is doing so in a clear way - a way the disciples see now as proof as his knowledge and understanding of what he is talking about, thus their reference to him knowing "all things" is their belief that Jesus knows what he's talking about and thus no one needs to ask him questions to make sure he knows what he's talking about. :)

    "Now we can see that you know all things AND that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions."


    Why doesn't he need anyone to ask him questions? I thought if your perspectie is correct and God knows all things, that people would need to ask him questions! This verse, according to you, is better translated "Now we see you know all things, and that people need to ask you questions." But obviously it doesn't say that. Why? Because your persepective that "all things" refers to Jesus knowing our decisions is an assumption taken way out of context of the passage.
     
  14. Neo

    Neo the one

    +18
    They don't need to ask him anymore questions, because they now know that he is whom he says he is.

    I'm still waiting for an explanation of what John actually meant, if he did not mean that God knows everything.

    If Yahweh does not know what decisions we will make, then he is not omniscient, and if he is not omniscient, then he isn't omnipotent. If Yahweh is not omnipotent, why call him God?
     
  15. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    151
    +0
    Does God know all things?

    Christ said, "Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." Matthew 6:8

    Yet, Christ calls us to repent, to make a choice for Him. He tells He chose us, but He also calls people hypocrites (which is really strange if they don't have a choice about what they do.)

    By far the most important thing to realize before addressing this topic, which really is a very high theological question, is that we cannot understand God. His ways are not our ways, nor are His thougts our thoughts. Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding.

    Once a person has established a faith which puts trust in God before their own logic or reasoning, then this issue almost becomes childlike in simplicity.

    Question: How does God know what we will do, and yet give us free will? How does He use all our actions for the good of those who love Him in line with His perfect plan, yet allow us to make the choices which cause those actions?

    Answer: (and it's really easy) because He's God.

    That little "um this isn't logical" in your mind cannot apply to a God who is all powerful and above and beyond all things. Christ isn't logical either. Justice and Mercy as the same being really don't make sense from a human standpoint. It's called a paradox , and you'll find God is full of them. Just look at His nature...the Trinity...its not logical, but, the crazy part is that if you accept it on faith its starts to make sense! It can't be argued to an atheist, but to those who have the Spirit inside it can be described with pictures and words.

    My favorite picture in regards to predestination and free will and God's knowledge, which helps me, is this...but if it doesn't help you, don't worry about it...it's just my words and they are very fallible.

    Imagine that at the beginning of life we all start at the middle of a circle, and begin running away from it. God is at the middle, but we, as sinners, do everything we can to get as far away from Him as possible. The only problem is that He's also our source of energy and life, so the farther we get, the harder it is to keep going, so we trip and fall. For a while we can pick ourselves up, and the most determined, the most self-confident and prideful often can pick themselves up for their entire lives. But there are some of us who are weak, we're poor and we're know it and we don't like it. And we get to a pointwhere we fall and we just can't get up any more. That's where God comes in. He picks us up. He gives us strength, and He turns around to face Him again, and says, Come to me. Now, we have a choice, though its not a choice made by our own strength. We can come to Him, or we can turn around and use that strength to escape Him again. Now, God knows the choice we'll make, but He still gives us the chance and the strength to make that choice. In this way, we have both free will, yet it is only because God has picked us up, and known we will come, that we come.
    :holy:

    That's just one illustration. And it won't hold up against intense scrutiny, but it may help one see a paradox in a Spiritual light.

    Yet, we must remember, free will and God's omnipotence is a paradox, and the only way to truly understand it is to know that we are simply incapable of understanding it. Be still, and know that He is God, and His Spirit will teach you all that you need to know. :bow:

    Peace to all who seek it,
    <><
     
  16. Josephus

    Josephus <b>Co-Founder Christian Forums</b> Supporter

    +257
    Messianic
    Amen Othniel.


    "If Yahweh does not know what decisions we will make, then he is not omniscient, and if he is not omniscient, then he isn't omnipotent. If Yahweh is not omnipotent, why call him God?"

    Omnicience does not infer omnipotence. To assume knowing the choices of free-will invidividuals falls under the category of omnicience is a fallacy of logic, since free-will can not co-exist with the exact foreknowledge of its will; nor can exact foreknowledge of will co-exist with free-will. One or the other must exist. The bible says the first one does. Since God is not omnicient in terms of knowing our free-will choices ahead of time, then the term or definition for omnicience must not include such a fallacy of logic.

    As Othniel pointed out: God simply states: "Be still and know that I am God." We can apprehend this truth, but I am almost certain we can not fully understand it. We can only see it. We can't fully comprehend it, but we certainly try.

    And I think I've pointed it out why I think I'm right: that it's a fallacy of logic. And in a universe of absolutes, there are no paradoxes, hence, there is an answer: such a fallacy can not exist. Thus, we have free will, since God does not know what choices we will make. Omnicience does not include such a paradox of knowing the future of choices.
     
  17. Neo

    Neo the one

    +18
    If there is something that Yahweh does not know, then he is no omniscient, period. If Yahweh is not omniscient, then he has limitations, and is therefore not omnipotent. If Yahweh is neither omniscient, or omnipotent, then he is not God.

    Explain this paradox then:

    The perfect creator God would create a perfect universe, the universe is not perfect, therefore the perfect creator God does not exist.
     
  18. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    151
    +0
    By nature your asking me to do something I cannot do. No answer will answer that. How do I accept it..by faith. The Bible says that God created us perfect, and then we fell. That in itself is a paradox...why would something perfect make itself imperfect. What the Bible tells us for sure is that however it happened, God is perfect and He has a perfect purpose which is being illustrated right under our noses. THe more we submit to the Truth of what we don't understand, the more we are able to see it play out, and the more the Spirit inside enlightens our understanding so that I can say God created us perfect so that we could fall so that He could restore us, yet did not create evil, nor is He the author of it!

    How? He is God.

    Why? "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authoritis in the heavenly realms , according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eph.3:10

    Peace to all who seek it, and just let the paradoxes be! :holy:
    <><
     
  19. Neo

    Neo the one

    +18

    "Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits."
    --Dan Barker
     
  20. Neo

    Neo the one

    +18
    If God created us perfectly, we would be perfect.. but we're not, so he didn't.

    And yes, God did create evil:

    Isaiah 45:6-7
    I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things.

    Proverbs 16:4
    The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil
     
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