The "Free Will" Dilemma

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janxharris

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Since God knows everything that’s going to happen in the future the future is fixed and can only happen as God has foreknown it will turn out, therefore everything is predestined to happen as He has foreknown it, which means that human beings have no free will to alter and decide something different than God knows we’ll choose.

If this were true (as you have written) then there would be no human culpability. I agree that we can't choose other than what God foreknows, but that, in itself, does not preclude free will.

So since we can’t choose to do anything different than God knows we’ll choose we don’t have free will, as free will means you have the ability to make a contrary choice which alters the future.

Rather, free will is the ability to choose without a set path having been decided upon beforehand.

The argument that God foreknows what people with free will will decide to do is bogus, as freedom is opposed to omniscience. Freedom means you can invalidate any prediction of your future choices as you have the freedom to choose differently than forecast you will do.

No it does not. Freedom is not opposed to omniscience if God sees human history as if he were watching a video.

Therefore everything is predestined to happen as is taught in Isaiah “remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:9-10 ESV)

A purpose can be accomplished without foreordaining all events without exception.

Isaiah 45:18,19
For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.



With respect to why we don’t have free will to believe the Gospel and become Christians Christ in John 6 says that the reason why people are unbelievers isn’t because they choose not to believe, but is because God the Father hasn’t drawn them to Christ and granted them the ability to believe: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day…. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:44, 64-65, ESV).

You conveniently leave out verse 45:
As it is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard the father and learned from Him will come to me.


So only those who God chooses to save can become Christians

Which you have not shown. How did God choose before if there is no before or after for God?

and since God makes this choice before people are born and predestines them to be saved as is taught by Paul in Romans 8 & 9 and Ephesians “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will”, (Ephesians 1:11 ESV) there’s no free will to choose to become Christians. God chooses us and regenerates us and we become Christians just as happened to St Paul who was changed from a violent opponent to Christianity to being a Christian. Paul didn’t become a Christian through free will because God had to first change his violently opposed will so that he would willingly be a Christian. Before we’re regenerated and become Christians we’re all slaves to sin and incapable of choosing to repent and believe in Christ.

Paul could have chosen a different path.

Those who aren’t predestined to be saved are of course predestined to be damned but since the human race is sinful through original sin, God’s consigning of them to hell doesn’t mean this is like punishing people for crimes they didn’t commit.

So suddenly a man's sin which is foreknown by God is helpful to your argument? You have already said (above):

...everything is predestined to happen...
 
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Edward65

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If the will can only choose what the heart desires, such that the heart is predetermined to an evil bias, and a single set of choices is possible, then it is hardly 'choice' at all. Unregenerate man has a conscience, so his hostility to God is in some way balanced out.

I agree that if the human will can only choose what the heart desires and the heart always desires what is wrong that the will can’t be described as free. However the fact that unregenerate man has a conscience doesn’t affect the will. Their inner voice telling them that something they desire to do is wrong doesn’t change their desire to do it. It can and often will deter a person from carrying out the deed from fear of divine punishment or punishment from society if it’s a crime, but it doesn’t stop their desire to do so. The desire to do what they know they shouldn’t remains regardless of how strong their conscience is.

I don't know why people get so hung up on free will. The will is free to choose whatever the heart desires. It's the desires of the heart that are broken. Unregenerate man does not desire God. That is the problem. Unregenerate man is a slave to sin. The mind of unregenerate man is set on the flesh, and is hostile to God. The heart must have divine surgery, whereby the heart of stone is replaced by a heart of flesh. Then and only then will a man desire God. Then and only then will the will choose aright.

If as you rightly say unregenerate man is a slave to sin then it’s not just that man is unwilling to choose to repent but also that he’s incapable of choosing to repent, and since he’s incapable then he doesn’t have free will. Also free will is incompatible with predestination. If a person is predestined by God to be damned then he’s not just unwilling to choose to repent, but he’s actually incapable of it.

Also for free will to exist it must have been exercised at least once otherwise it’s just a figment of imagination. So if no one ever uses their supposed free will to choose to repent, the only conclusion is that in reality it doesn’t exist.
 
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Hammster

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What would the guaranteed outcome of such a free will choice be of a man who is born into original sin whilst having a conscience?

A change of nature, ie regeneration.
 
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If this were true (as you have written) then there would be no human culpability. I agree that we can't choose other than what God foreknows, but that, in itself, does not preclude free will.

So what happens now although God knows before hand is still according to mans free will?

Rather, free will is the ability to choose without a set path having been decided upon beforehand.

As we know God has foreordained what is going to happen, Remember our lives have already been written in the book of Life.


No it does not. Freedom is not opposed to omniscience if God sees human history as if he were watching a video.

So you believe that it is co-incedence that what happens to you just happens to you and you have free will to choose altough it has already been seen by God?

A purpose can be accomplished without foreordaining all events without exception.

How so?"

Isaiah 45:18,19
For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.





You conveniently leave out verse 45:
As it is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard the father and learned from Him will come to me.


Yes.. Now notice it is those who has heard the Father. Not just by the free will of man.

Which you have not shown. How did God choose before if there is no before or after for God?

Because He knows all things and is soveriegn over all things.

Paul could have chosen a different path.

Really. So what God has already seen would just be what then? A lie?

So suddenly a man's sin which is foreknown by God is helpful to your argument? You have already said (above):

...everything is predestined to happen...
my reponses to you are written in blue A man is born with sin in his heart already. This is why it takes God to draw us to Christ.
 
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guuila

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If the will can only choose what the heart desires, such that the heart is predetermined to an evil bias, and a single set of choices is possible, then it is hardly 'choice' at all.

What verse says this?

Unregenerate man has a conscience, so his hostility to God is in some way balanced out.

What verse says this?

I can't understand why you don't recognise the contradiction of compatibilsm.

I'm sorry.

The only real disagreement is regarding the extent of God's regenerating influence and it's efficacy.

Your problem is you believe man is capable of moving himself closer to God while in the flesh with a dead heart of stone.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV)

Well I guess that settles it. Thanks Paul!

You need to quit allowing philosophy to form your worldview and stick to what Scripture plainly teaches. Quit trying to convince us fallen man is better than he really is.
 
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guuila

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If as you rightly say unregenerate man is a slave to sin then it’s not just that man is unwilling to choose to repent but also that he’s incapable of choosing to repent, and since he’s incapable then he doesn’t have free will. Also free will is incompatible with predestination. If a person is predestined by God to be damned then he’s not just unwilling to choose to repent, but he’s actually incapable of it.

He's incapable precisely because he is unwilling. As long as a person is unregenerate, they are unwilling to repent, thus they are incapable of repenting.

Also for free will to exist it must have been exercised at least once otherwise it’s just a figment of imagination. So if no one ever uses their supposed free will to choose to repent, the only conclusion is that in reality it doesn’t exist.

You lost me here. We're better off just sticking to what Scripture says and not going down philosophical rabbit holes.
 
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shturt678

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I agree that if the human will can only choose what the heart desires and the heart always desires what is wrong that the will can’t be described as free. However the fact that unregenerate man has a conscience doesn’t affect the will. Their inner voice telling them that something they desire to do is wrong doesn’t change their desire to do it. It can and often will deter a person from carrying out the deed from fear of divine punishment or punishment from society if it’s a crime, but it doesn’t stop their desire to do so. The desire to do what they know they shouldn’t remains regardless of how strong their conscience is.



If as you rightly say unregenerate man is a slave to sin then it’s not just that man is unwilling to choose to repent but also that he’s incapable of choosing to repent, and since he’s incapable then he doesn’t have free will. Also free will is incompatible with predestination. If a person is predestined by God to be damned then he’s not just unwilling to choose to repent, but he’s actually incapable of it.

Also for free will to exist it must have been exercised at least once otherwise it’s just a figment of imagination. So if no one ever uses their supposed free will to choose to repent, the only conclusion is that in reality it doesn’t exist.

:):) :thumbsup:
 
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OzSpen

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Edward65

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Freedom is not opposed to omniscience if God sees human history as if he were watching a video....

Free will and omniscience are incompatible. To maintain that God foreknows the future with total accuracy when people have complete freedom to reach their own independent decisions, involves one in performing mental gymnastics in order to try and explain what is logically impossible.

With regards to “I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right”. (Isaiah 45:19 ESV). This doesn’t teach free will. God says He didn’t say to the Israelites “seek me in vain” in other words God didn’t say to them if they look for Him they won't find Him. But from this it doesn’t follow that they had the ability to seek Him from free will.

You comment on my quoting of John 6 that I conveniently left out verse 45. I wrote: With respect to why we don’t have free will to believe the Gospel and become Christians Christ in John 6 says that the reason why people are unbelievers isn’t because they choose not to believe, but is because God the Father hasn’t drawn them to Christ and granted them the ability to believe: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day…. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:44, 64-65, ESV).

I fail to see how verse 45 alters what I've said above. I didn’t include it because it was unnecessary to do so. Verses 44 and 45 read: [44] No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. [45] It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— (John 6:44-45 ESV). How does verse 45 teach free will? That everyone who has learned from the Father comes to Christ doesn't teach free will. Are you understanding it as meaning everyone learns from the Father? But the text reads everyone who has learned i.e. those who have learned as opposed to those who haven’t learned from the Father. Verse 45 teaches predestination in that only those who have learned from the Father come to Christ. The rest who haven't learned from the Father because the Father hasn't taught them don't come to Christ.

With respect to Paul he was extremely opposed to Christians and the idea that he could have willed to become one when he was violently opposed to them is obviously untenable. It needed God to intervene and regenerate him before he could become a Christian.

You commented on my saying: Those who aren’t predestined to be saved are of course predestined to be damned but since the human race is sinful through original sin, God’s consigning of them to hell doesn’t mean this is like punishing people for crimes they didn’t commit. by saying: “So suddenly a man's sin which is foreknown by God is helpful to your argument? You have already said (above): ...everything is predestined to happen..” However I'm not following what exactly you're arguing here. Even though people are predestined to be damned they still will to do the wrong they’ve been predestined to commit and that’s what they’re punished for. People don’t unwillingly commit sin. Just because they can’t choose to repent it doesn’t mean they are compelled to sin against their will. They will to commit actual sin because their will has been corrupted by original sin for which God isn’t to be blamed, and this is what they’re punished for.
 
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OzSpen

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If this were true (as you have written) then there would be no human culpability. I agree that we can't choose other than what God foreknows, but that, in itself, does not preclude free will.

Rather, free will is the ability to choose without a set path having been decided upon beforehand.

No it does not. Freedom is not opposed to omniscience if God sees human history as if he were watching a video.

A purpose can be accomplished without foreordaining all events without exception.

Isaiah 45:18,19
For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

You conveniently leave out verse 45:
As it is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard the father and learned from Him will come to me.

Which you have not shown. How did God choose before if there is no before or after for God?

Paul could have chosen a different path.

So suddenly a man's sin which is foreknown by God is helpful to your argument? You have already said (above):

...everything is predestined to happen...
Jan,

You have given superb responses here. It amazes me how Calvinists cannot see that God's omniscience and human free will decision cannot be included in God's understanding of omniscience.

When we define away a concept such as free will from God's omniscience, then it becomes easy to impose a non-free will supposition on one's exposition.

'(You) believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved'.

Oz

P.S. We are experiencing some chilly winter winds in the sub-tropics of SE Qld. Temperature range for today is 9-19C.
 
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guuila

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You conveniently leave out verse 45:
As it is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard the father and learned from Him will come to me.

What's funny is this verse actually supports the reformed understanding. Jesus says everyone who has heard from the father and learned from Him WILL come. 100% of them. You're trying to teach us that people hear and learn from the Father and end up not coming to Jesus. So you might want to rethink your understanding of this verse. Either that or start "conveniently" leaving it out of your arguments since it doesn't support them. :cool:
 
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Edward65

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We're better off just sticking to what Scripture says and not going down philosophical rabbit holes.

I agree that we should all stick to Scripture but proposing that we have free will isn't sticking to Scripture. Where does it say in Scripture that we have free will?
 
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shturt678

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Can prevenient grace be resisted?

:):) Hi griff. Let's see, if prevenient grace can be resisted coupled with "enslaved-will" then = / = no "Prevenient Grace," correct? JMy friend Oz, we sent u to school and bought you books + internet, how could u go in the wrong direction? Just your ol' buddy Jack. :thumbsup:
 
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Free will?

The reality is, man has the ability to choose, but choices aren't made in a vacuum. Choice builds upon, and reflects, precious choices, and influences future choices. Unless acted on by an outside influence, a man's choices are predictable.

So can the will be said to be truly free?

The answer is "No!"
 
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shturt678

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Free will?

The reality is, man has the ability to choose, but choices aren't made in a vacuum. Choice builds upon, and reflects, precious choices, and influences future choices. Unless acted on by an outside influence, a man's choices are predictable.

So can the will be said to be truly free?

The answer is "No!"

:):) We don't have that much liberty to choose salvation or not? Ie, more like an "enslaved-will"? :idea:
 
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Nanopants

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Free will?

The reality is, man has the ability to choose, but choices aren't made in a vacuum. Choice builds upon, and reflects, precious choices, and influences future choices. Unless acted on by an outside influence, a man's choices are predictable.

So can the will be said to be truly free?

The answer is "No!"

If a choice isn't a choice, then there is no such thing as a choice. Nobody who argues in favor of free will can reasonably suggest that the will is totally free, since if that were the case, we could freely will to shoot off into space and go sightseeing in Andromeda and be back for supper. No, naturally, the freedom of the will is limited by the bounds determined by our sovereign Creator, but if the will is not totally free, does that necessarily mean we have no freedom to make choices at all? Of course not.
 
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