If God knows everything that we do past present and future and he knows the destiny of all things, then how exactly do we humans have free will?


13 Answers

Corey The Goofyhawk Profile
Corey The Goofyhawk , Epic has no limit, answered

I'm not a Bible scholar or anything but the way I see it is that I have the free will to choose either Option A or B as I see fit. However, God knows me so well that He knows that I will choose option B. The best example I can conjure up is that when I post a picture on an answer, it is often very large. Rooster will come behind me and adjust the size to make it smaller. I thank him for that, by the way. He has the free will of whether or not to adjust the size for me, but I know, in the end, that he will choose to help me out. That is the best way to explain my thought process. Good day, my friend.

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Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
One of the better answers I have seen in a While. Although one might not to compare with Rooster . . . there is physical evidence in the past and acknowledgment from him in having interacted in such a way.
Simply put, it is impossible to compare the natural with what is purely Supernatural.
I like the that God already knows every choice you will make because He would have predestined it. I shared the concept of the Omniscient Ice Cream man with a believer once.
Ice Cream vender has Chocolate or Vanilla cones to sell. He is 15 minutes from closing and already KNOWS he has no vanilla cones left. Does he restock for the last 15 minutes? . . . NO.
Why? Because he is Omniscient. He has seen only two more patrons whom will enter in and debate whether to get chocolate or Vanilla. They cannot see what he has left behind the counter, so the choice is VERY real to them . . however, having seen the choices the patrons both make ahead of time, he simply sits back and says "What'll it be?" . . . After an agonizing 9 minutes, the first says . . Vanilla, and as the Ice Cream man reaches to the empty side of his counter, they say "Wait! . . no Chocolate!!" . . another satisfied customer.
The second can't decide . . . back and forth until Chocolate is chosen as foreseen.
In this scenario, there seemed to be a choice but it was only a façade . . . each choice was already seen and came into fruition.
Didge Doo Profile
Didge Doo answered

Foreknowledge is not predestination. There's no conflict, really. Your hypothetical guy-in-the-sky may be prescient and know what we're going to do but that doesn't mean that we are compelled to do such things. It would  still be our own choice.

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Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
It's more than a little ironic that, in supporting God, I'm playing Devil's advocate. It was never my suggestion that "God" in whatever form should have a plan for us. In fact, in my opinion, if such a god existed he would create his universe, set certain immutable laws in motion (the laws of nature, the laws of science) and let the whole thing rumble along by itself until, eventually, it developed a wobbly wheel and slowly rolled to a stop.

But I'm playing nice today and don't want to say what I really think about Himself -- at least, in the manner he's portrayed by his fan club. An interviewer once asked Richard Dawkins, "Hypothetically, if you died and found yourself face-to-face with God, what would you say to him?" And without batting an eyelid, Dawkins said, "How do you explain child cancer?"
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
"In fact, in my opinion, if such a god existed he would create his universe, set certain immutable laws in motion (the laws of nature, the laws of science) and let the whole thing rumble along by itself until, eventually, it developed a wobbly wheel and slowly rolled to a stop." - Cheers my old friend . . that is Deism in a nutshell (mind you not a literal nutshell . . . or is it?)
Much love to you Didge, you know how I love to play these games, it is akin to playing "Make Believe".
Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
Of course. And if you're going to build a make-believe character you might as well go for a biggie. :)
Ancient Hippy Profile
Ancient Hippy answered

That's a good and perplexing question. I'm anxious to see some of the answers that you get.

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Ancient Hippy
Ancient Hippy commented
I TRY to avoid them but sometimes I just can't. I LOVE reading the answers and comments too.
Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
I've tried to avoid them in the past but they're just so much darned fun.
Ancient Hippy
Ancient Hippy commented
That they are Didge. I like when the thumpers get Bible quote happy.
Darik Majoren Profile
Darik Majoren answered

THAT, my friend, is one of greatest paradox's to the concept of an "All Knowing" (Omniscient) and "All Powerful" (Omnipotent) God concept where "Free Will" is supposed to be part of the scenario.

A God that is Perfect, can only be Righteous, and Just based on His COMPLETE knowledge of past, present and future events. Giving Man the notion that it is their decision to accept or reject Him, only allows for a complete break down of ALL of those things which make up God's nature. The best question to ask any Christian is "Can you kill a man that God has plans for here on earth?" If you answer "Yes, you have free will you are not a robot.", then you immediately change a Perfect God to a Reactionary God, eliminating Perfection, Righteousness, Omniscience, Omnipotence and being Just. "If you say "No, you cannot go against the will or plan of God." then you are freely admitting that Free Will is a façade. Your actions are either free (and you reap rewards or punishment) or they are predestined (you have no fate other then what God has declared for your role).

IF we consider one to be Predestined, then ALL indoctrination of any kind, be it raising of children or evangelizing, is not only NOT needed, but wholly unwarranted.

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ZombieE Lee
ZombieE Lee commented
I would guess that his "perfection" or omniscience is like a Jackson Pollock painting in that he makes decisions with a pre-destined plan but leaves some leeway so that the people or things can make improvised decisions for him. Jackson Pollock would specifically make motions with his brush to paint but where the paint landed on the canvas was semi-random. If one were so inclined he could argue that God's "omniscience" works the same way. Occasionally he makes a plan but he leaves room for the plan to change or for us to pitch in. Life is simultaneously chaotic and organized, if you want to look at it that way. Too many Biblical scholars want option a or option b when they could just weld this stuff together /:
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
"Occasionally he makes a plan but he leaves room for the plan to change or for us to pitch in" - Interesting concept, BUT . . perfection has an absolute value when considering it alongside Omniscience. If one knows all, then formulating a perfect plan only needs one last component . . Omnipotence. If one can see all things, and their very nature is driven to seek out the absolute value of "Perfection", then if they also have the power to achieve this . . they will. IN fact, one might say God would be both a slave to perfection and His own Omniscience that guides Him there. He cannot deviate from the path of perfection . . . but then does His own nature limit His power . . . does He forfeit Omnipotence to ONLY be able to embrace the path to perfection? . . . yes.
AnnNettie Paradise Profile

To fit into such a scheme God would have to create each individual in such a way that it would automatically do just what he had predestined for it to do. Yes we as humans were created with free will. Do you realize what a precious gift that is? God has made countless animals, and these are driven largely by instinct. (Proverbs 30:24) Man has made some robots that can be programmed to follow every command. Would we be happy if God had made us like that? No, we are glad to have the freedom to make choices about what kind of person to become, what course of life to pursue, what friendships to form, and so on. We love to have a measure of freedom, and that is what God wants us to enjoy.  Therefore it we did not possess free will, but instead our course were fixed for us, we would not have the power of molding our minds according to our wishes, according to the things we chose to take into the brain.

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Walt O'Reagun
Walt O'Reagun commented
But if god made us like robots ... we would not know the difference. Unless he programmed us to. So we would be as happy with that existence, as we are currently.
AnnNettie Paradise
I really appreciate the precious gift of free will.
Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered

For Catholics, when God "establishes his eternal plan of ‘predestination,’ he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace." Thus, anyone who is finally saved will have been predestined by God because it was God’s predestined plan and God’s grace that went before him and enabled him to be saved.

However, this does not mean that God has predestined anyone for hell. Indeed, the Bible cannot be any plainer than to say God is, "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Pt 3:9). God wills all to be saved. To be damned, a person must willfully reject God’s "predestined plan" for his salvation (cf. CCC 2037): Simple enough.


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Tom  Jackson
Tom Jackson commented
@Dark Majinn

Of course I realize that "this is public for all to see."

If it weren't public, there would be no point in continuing to engage you.

You do recall that I said earlier in one of my comments to you that there was no personal advantage to me in continuing discussions such as these.
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
Aux you only need to expand the conversation to see your "Warning" ushered to Tom. Not thinking anything biased is going on here.
Darik Majoren
Darik Majoren commented
"Of course I realize that "this is public for all to see." - I was hoping my comment was one of those added to "It goes without saying" but you seem to think I am all over the place when I clearly (to all whom read this post) have stayed not only "On Topic" but with deft accuracy to conversation.
It is usually when a Theist finds himself backed into a corner that they throw Straw men up and claim the conversation has deviated from its course . . I can Copy/Paste if you desire so you re-read.
Pepper pot Profile
Pepper pot answered

I'll take a shot :)

We are always in Gods presence because we are part of it, but blinded by ideas like time, and what is deemed reality ie things we can only see or experience with our limited senses ie the flesh, we believe we are separate from it and each other, we have become convinced in all types of things and ideas.  The more we are taught about how to experience this world the further away from the supreme being we become.

Being with the God we experience no separateness, no fear, no violence, fleeting desires are crushed, we are fulfilled. 

We were given choice to be independent. The more violence we carry out the less we remember who we really are. When a baby leaves the womb it is a violent onslaught to the senses, coldness, pain, hunger etc. Hence we become acquainted with fulfilling the senses but never the spirit.

So the free will lies in a choice to experience separateness, the omniscient lies in the fact that God knows in reality we are not apart from it.

Right that's enough hot chocolate for me, methinks, time for bed :)

Nina Tay Profile
Nina Tay answered

God does give people the opportunity to choose what they do with their life.  (Deuteronomy 30:19,20) While He has the ability to know things in advance, He does not always chose to use it. 

Cookie Hill Profile
Cookie Hill answered

It is true that God has the ability to look into the future if he so chooses.  Our having free will means we can choose our own path in life to worship or not worship him., and like a good Father he has revealed the out come for the path we choose.  Proverbs 16:25,"There is a way that seems right to a man, But in the end it leads to death." John 17:3 " This means everlasting life,their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ."  We have free will to choose which path to take no one is forced it is up to the individual person.

ZombieE Lee Profile
ZombieE Lee answered

I don't think it matters. He may or may not know the destiny of all things but I sure as hell don't know my own destiny or his plan. Whether or not I have free will doesn't change the fact that I or you don't know what tomorrow will bring. So unless him or somebody that works for him tells me what he has planned I'm going to go ahead and think that I have some say in how I run my life.

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