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Author Topic: Pre-Destined Free Will?  (Read 2099 times) Average Rating: 0
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spartacus
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« on: September 30, 2004, 03:40:08 PM »

Has God already pre-destined whom will be welcomed into the Kingdom and whom will not, before the Earth even was created?

Is everything we do, believe and say pre-destined by God's Will?

If this is true...then how can Free Will truly exist?

If God has Pre-destined everything then what is the point of life here on Earth.

Personally, I think God's plan is a general one for us as humans and as individuals. Yes, He knows everything about us...and wants to see how we choose. In a very simple way of explaining a complex idea...it is like a child's video game where there are characters and the child makes choices and depending on the choice, the game ends a particular way...but on an infinite scale...God has written the perfect program...we are the children...and God is watching how we choose...and will help when we ask for it...and sometmes won't help just to see how we choose without His help.

I have been studying Scripture and meditating on this for a while and would appreciate reading other's input.

I have not listed any Scripture because I did not want to limit people's focus merely on what I have been studying....
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Doubting Thomas
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2004, 08:23:27 PM »

Yes Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2004, 08:38:43 PM »

Perhaps my background is showing here, but I think that account is a little to weak.  I think that God does predestine everything.  Everything happens, ultimately, because God decided it would happen.  This includes everything from missionaries preaching Christianity and saving souls all the way down to the fall of man and the holocaust.  The question is how much God uses His foreknowledge and prescience in making these decisions.  I think God does use His prescience of our choices to make room for free will, but ultimately it is God who energized us to be able to make the choice, it is God who decreed that the situation of the choice would come about, and it is God who decides not to override your free will to keep you from doing otherwise.
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Doubting Thomas
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2004, 08:58:04 PM »

Perhaps my background is showing here, but I think that account is a little to weak.  I think that God does predestine everything.  Everything happens, ultimately, because God decided it would happen.  This includes everything from missionaries preaching Christianity and saving souls all the way down to the fall of man and the holocaust.  The question is how much God uses His foreknowledge and prescience in making these decisions.  I think God does use His prescience of our choices to make room for free will, but ultimately it is God who energized us to be able to make the choice, it is God who decreed that the situation of the choice would come about, and it is God who decides not to override your free will to keep you from doing otherwise.

That sounds about right.  God is providentially sovereign over creation, and  He takes into account the free moral choices of men and angels in His decrees.
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spartacus
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2004, 10:04:57 PM »

Perhaps my background is showing here, but I think that account is a little to weak.  I think that God does predestine everything.  Everything happens, ultimately, because God decided it would happen.  This includes everything from missionaries preaching Christianity and saving souls all the way down to the fall of man and the holocaust.  The question is how much God uses His foreknowledge and prescience in making these decisions.  I think God does use His prescience of our choices to make room for free will, but ultimately it is God who energized us to be able to make the choice, it is God who decreed that the situation of the choice would come about, and it is God who decides not to override your free will to keep you from doing otherwise.

So God wanted the Holocaust?

How can God predestine everything...and yet Free Will still exist. Free Will by its definition connotes a real choice...If God pre-destines every little thing...then Free Will can not exist...and there is no purpose to this life.

The more I think about it the more I think my video game analogy...as lame as it is...holds true. God has predestined the universe in General...but within this general predertiminition...there is an infinite number of possibilities based on our Free Will choices. God is still in control....but within the parameters of the program He has written...we do have choices.

God did not want the Holocaust or any evil thing to happen. He calls us to him...but when we don't listen He says "Ok have it your way"
« Last Edit: September 30, 2004, 10:06:30 PM by spartacus » Logged
lellimore
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2004, 12:37:16 AM »

I don't quite think I can meet you there.  Isaiah 45:7 says God is "the one who creates well-being and brings calamity."  Free will exists because God makes use of His foreknowledge in deciding which events to predestine.  Every free choice we make (I'm inclined to think we make relatively few) is specially prepared by God, and God could just as easily have compelled us to follow a certain course of action.  God is the One who "speaks and it comes to pass."
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Doubting Thomas
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2004, 08:27:54 AM »

I think the confusion arises when one doesn't distinguish primary Cause (God) and secondary causes (angels and men) or between God permitting something based on His foreknowledge of other moral agents' free acts and His more "direct" intervention.  I think we should be content to know that God is in charge of the universe with nothing taking Him by surprise and that we are responsible for the moral choices we make.  Both truths--God's sovereignty and man's responsiblity--are taught in Scripture side by side.
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2004, 10:38:45 AM »


A few points from a former Calvinist:

1) This whole argument assumes that speaking of God's 'foreknowledge' isn't an anthropomorphism.  I.e. it assumes that you can speak univocally about the Divine Essence.  Put another way, for God to be able to know things 'before they happen', He would have to be subject to time, i.e. there would have to be a past, present, and future for God.  This is where Fatalism comes into the picture.  St. Augustine brought 'necessity' into his philosophical view of God's nature based on his pre-Christian Platonism.  We however must reject that philosophical notion in favor of confessing the Truth that God is outside of all categories of time, that He created time, and is not subject to it.  What does this concretely mean?  Dunno.  Can't conceive of it, because we're completely submerged in time (the created order).  Welcome to Apophatic Theology. Smiley

2) Most of the Calvinist argument is predicated on the idea that God's Sovereignty over the created order is predicated upon His actually controlling/causing everything which transpires in the created order.  But this doesn't follow at all logically, as they claim.  For God to be Sovereign over the created order, everything in the created order must be subject to Him, meaning, He must have the Power to control every part of the created order.  Having that Power makes Him sovereign, He doesn't have to exercise it in every case.  Put another way, God is actually far more sovereign than Calvinists think.  He's so Sovereign that He can give humanity free will, and still remain Sovereign.  (As an aside here, imagine if we apply the Calvinist definition of sovereignty (complete control) to civil government, or to a husband's sovereignty in his home...we'd call that petty tyranny, so how does it not make God a petty tyrant?)

3) St. John Cassian is my patron for a reason. Smiley  Recommended Orthodox reading on this topic (in criticism of St. Augustine at the time he lived at this point) is Conference XIII.  You can read it online here:

http://www.ccel.org/fathers/NPNF2-11/jcassian/conferen/book2/conf13.html

Hope that might be helpful.
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2004, 11:00:11 AM »

There is something about this at http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/freewill.aspx

ICXC
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lellimore
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2004, 11:18:06 AM »


A few points from a former Calvinist:

1) This whole argument assumes that speaking of God's 'foreknowledge' isn't an anthropomorphism.  I.e. it assumes that you can speak univocally about the Divine Essence.  Put another way, for God to be able to know things 'before they happen', He would have to be subject to time, i.e. there would have to be a past, present, and future for God.  This is where Fatalism comes into the picture.  St. Augustine brought 'necessity' into his philosophical view of God's nature based on his pre-Christian Platonism.  We however must reject that philosophical notion in favor of confessing the Truth that God is outside of all categories of time, that He created time, and is not subject to it.  What does this concretely mean?  Dunno.  Can't conceive of it, because we're completely submerged in time (the created order).  Welcome to Apophatic Theology. Smiley

2) Most of the Calvinist argument is predicated on the idea that God's Sovereignty over the created order is predicated upon His actually controlling/causing everything which transpires in the created order.  But this doesn't follow at all logically, as they claim.  For God to be Sovereign over the created order, everything in the created order must be subject to Him, meaning, He must have the Power to control every part of the created order.  Having that Power makes Him sovereign, He doesn't have to exercise it in every case.  Put another way, God is actually far more sovereign than Calvinists think.  He's so Sovereign that He can give humanity free will, and still remain Sovereign.  (As an aside here, imagine if we apply the Calvinist definition of sovereignty (complete control) to civil government, or to a husband's sovereignty in his home...we'd call that petty tyranny, so how does it not make God a petty tyrant?)

3) St. John Cassian is my patron for a reason. Smiley  Recommended Orthodox reading on this topic (in criticism of St. Augustine at the time he lived at this point) is Conference XIII.  You can read it online here:

http://www.ccel.org/fathers/NPNF2-11/jcassian/conferen/book2/conf13.html

Hope that might be helpful.
Yes, I can pretty much agree with that.  It's just that I don't seem to have separated myself from my background as much as you have, so I'm given to explaining myself in its terminology, even if I don't use that terminology to say quite the same things as I used to.  On the other hand...a couple of your statements sound a little semi-Pelagian to me  Tongue
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spartacus
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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2004, 11:19:42 AM »

There is something about this at http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/freewill.aspx

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Well OK...I'm about to get lamer and even more pedestrian in my comments.

I have come to view it like God writing the infinite program that is the universe....with all the possibilities and consequences determined by our Fee Will choices. It is up to the indiviual human soul to play the program God has written. God keeps score on how we play the game. We van reset our score when we come to be truly repentant of the wrongs we have done...though being repentant does not entitle us to a "do over". God calls us to choose wisely and emulate His Son...only by doing this do we score record points and get our names posted on the high score board.

God does have the knowledge of all...afterall He wrote the program...but within the parameters of the program he has left it possible for us to make free choices...How else could God score us and have something by which to Judge? God can change the program whenever He desires...or intervene as He sees fit...or not.

It is only through this pitiful analogy that I can see God having pre-ordained everything..and yet still allowing for Free Will.

Of Course God knows and controls all -- He wrote the program and remains the Master and Ultimate Authority.
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2004, 11:37:41 AM »

On the other hand...a couple of your statements sound a little semi-Pelagian to me  Tongue

Define Semi-Pelagian?  Smiley

As a little background, the term 'Semi-Pelagian' doesn't antedate the Reformation.  It was a pejorative used by the Reformers against the Roman Catholic system of condine and congruent merit (neither of which have I in any way endorsed, obviously).

Modern Reformed folk try to tie it into Marsillianism, the heresy condemned at the Second Council of Orange in the 6th Century.  That council condemned the view that someone could merit their own Baptism, as well as condemning the view that some are predestined to damnation (i.e. reprobation).

None of that, of course, has anything to do with the reality revealed to us in Scripture that man has to be a willing participant in his own salvation or he won't be saved.

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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2004, 02:32:54 PM »

I was actually just joking, because I remember your caption used to say "not a semi-Pelagian".  But I didn't know some of that history, so that's appreciated Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2013, 01:37:50 PM »

I don't quite think I can meet you there.  Isaiah 45:7 says God is "the one who creates well-being and brings calamity."  Free will exists because God makes use of His foreknowledge in deciding which events to predestine.  Every free choice we make (I'm inclined to think we make relatively few) is specially prepared by God, and God could just as easily have compelled us to follow a certain course of action.  God is the One who "speaks and it comes to pass."

I feel that explains a lot about my life. I Have been planning for about a month now, that for a change, i will listen to music videos on youtube, and play facebook games. In fact I have been making my list for about a month or two now, everyday before I go to the internet cafe, or the Library, I will do the above things. Instead by the minute I am on the internet, I am here in this site instead. Sometimes I feel that someone wills me to do something, that I am not really willing to do.
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« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2013, 01:42:32 PM »

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« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2013, 01:44:08 PM »

That lellimore guy is going to be so excited when he sees that one of his posts were responded to after 7 1/2 years of staying away from the forum.  Tongue
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