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Author Topic:   Free Will and Biblical Prophecy: Are They Mutually Exclusive?
Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 227 (494545)
01-16-2009 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by PaulK
01-16-2009 6:25 PM


Re: God's Smart
PaulK writes:
More generally - If we, as humans, can know certain future events as a matter of God given certainty how can we be said to have free-will regarding the actions required to make those outcomes happen?
Good question. If it is a good angel or a bonafide Holy Spirit energized prophet which makes the prophecy, the prophecy will be of such a nature that the subjected person relative to the prophecy will either willing to receive whatever the prophecy proclaims or the prophecy will foretell the result of the person's determined actions.
Example: Saul. After Saul consulted the witch of Endor to bring up Samuel, the prophet to prophesy to him, Samuel prophesied the end of the Saul's kingdom and the demise of Saul because of King Saul's evil deeds as King of Israel. Saul went away, I'm sure, a frightened and very discouraged man. But King Saul, being the kind of person Samuel knew he was, came to a period of crisis for Israel when the enemies of Israel were waging war on the kingdom. He and his sons went into battle and all came out dead, leaving the kingdom to eventually end up in the hands of David, the righteous inheritor of the kingdom whom King Saul sought to kill.
Example 2. Acts 21:10. A prophet named Agabus prophesied to the apostle Paul that if he went up to Jerusalem, this and this and this bad stuff would happen to him. Paul's response, knowing the status of Agabus as prophet, was that he was determined to go to Jerusalem in order to do the things God wanted him to do and endure the evil things that would happen to him at the hands of his adversaries which Agabus had prophesied.
Did Agabus's prophecy relative to foreknowledge have anything to do with what happened to Paul after he did indeed go to Jerusalem? No. The prophecy was effected by the omniscient knowledge of the Biblical god, Jehovah, the intelligent designer of the universe and the majesty of the universe, all powerful, all knowing all just and who is merciful and righteous in all matters in the unimaginably (Buzism)vast cosmos and here on this itty bitty speck called planet earth. PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME, JEHOVAH/THE I AM/THE ONLY TRUE EXISTING GOD!

BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by PaulK, posted 01-16-2009 6:25 PM PaulK has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2803 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 17 of 227 (494586)
01-16-2009 11:52 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Stile
01-16-2009 11:15 AM


Re: God's Smart
Hi, Stile.
First, let me apologize for my message: I spent far too much time writing my thoughts and far too little time addressing your post. The whole thing had a flavor of irrelevancy to it. So, I'll restrict myself to what I feel is the most important thing to mention from your post:
Stile writes:
So, if God is not in the driver's seat, even with an immutable prediction about a certain situation... isn't that Free Will still there?
Your scenario is asking me to accept, as a premise, that my argument is flawed. So, yes, if we assume that my argument is wrong, then I agree that your conclusion is logically valid.
But, I’m not arguing that free will is destroyed when the green premise and the pink premise coexist.
Rather, I am arguing that the green premise cannot coexist with the pink premise.
That is to say, the prophecy can only be immutable if God is in total control. Otherwise, He can either watch, like the rest of us, as the tiniest modicum of spontaneity derails the entire future, or He can stick in His fingers, unlike the rest of us, and manipulate events to keep His prophecy intact. Either way, pink and green do not mix.
Edited by Mantis, : Correction of a stupid statement.

I'm Bluejay.
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Stile, posted 01-16-2009 11:15 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 10:20 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 149 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 18 of 227 (494628)
01-17-2009 10:03 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by ICANT
01-16-2009 6:16 PM


Re: God's Smart
ICANT writes:
God can see the beginning of the universe and the end of the universe at the same time.
I'm not sure if this is actually how God works. I'm not even sure if God actually exists.
I'm just trying to say that it would be possible for an omnipotent, a-temporal being. Whether or not such a being is actually a part of this reality is another question entirely.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by ICANT, posted 01-16-2009 6:16 PM ICANT has not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 149 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 19 of 227 (494629)
01-17-2009 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by PaulK
01-16-2009 6:25 PM


Re: God's Smart
PaulK writes:
If someone is told what they are going to do, can they change it ? Under any circumstances ? If not, then how could we be said to have free will ?
I would say that if the answer to this question is "no", then Free Will would have been removed.
My arguement is that it is possible for this answer to be "yes", and in such cases Free Will is still intact. Perhaps it takes a certain kind of person... but no one has yet been able to show that such a thing is strictly impossible.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by PaulK, posted 01-16-2009 6:25 PM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by PaulK, posted 01-17-2009 3:04 PM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 149 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 20 of 227 (494630)
01-17-2009 10:20 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Blue Jay
01-16-2009 11:52 PM


Re: God's Smart
Mantis writes:
First, let me apologize for my message:
I won't have anything of the sort Your messages are always quite clear and easy-to-read. I like replying to them. I do believe you helped me elucidate my arguement to a point that I couldn't have achieved had you not posted. Thanks for your input.
Your scenario is asking me to accept, as a premise, that my argument is flawed. So, yes, if we assume that my argument is wrong, then I agree that your conclusion is logically valid.
I am asking you to accept that your arguement is flawed, yes. But I'm not asking you to assume that it is wrong, I'm showing you exactly how it is flawed. By providing an alternative definition for Free Will, and showing you how this definition of Free Will can remain intact with certain immutable prophecies in certain situations... I am showing you that the absolute statement "immutable prophecy and Free Will cannot co-exist" is false.
All you need to do is show how my definition of Free Will is incomplete or incorrect... you have yet to do so. Actually, you have yet to even attempt to do so.
Rather, I am arguing that the green premise cannot coexist with the pink premise.
That is to say, the prophecy can only be immutable if God is in total control. Otherwise, He can either watch, like the rest of us, as the tiniest modicum of spontaneity derails the entire future, or He can stick in His fingers, unlike the rest of us, and manipulate events to keep His prophecy intact. Either way, pink and green do not mix.
I understand exactly what you are attempting to say. What you have yet to do is show that what you say is actually for real. Why can they "not mix"? Especially when I've showed you a situation where they certainly do mix? Why do you say it is impossible... especially when I'm showing you that it is possible.
You cannot tear down my arguement by simply stating the opposite. The only way to tear down my arguement is to show a flaw in it... something neither you nor Straggler has yet to do. In fact, the two of you have been explicitly avoiding dealing with my definition or my examples. I think that is because you are unable to discover a flaw.
Again, if you want to show that what I say is incorrect, you need to use what I say, and then show that this is incorrect. This is what I say:
quote:
If every outcome for every choice in your life is exactly what you want, and no one forces you into any alternative you don't approve of... how can you possibly say that you do not have Free Will?
Why cannot the definition of Free Will be:
"Having the ability to get exactly what you want from every situation presented to you."
I have shown that the above definitions can exist along with an immutable prophecy. I certainly think it's difficult since the immutable prophecy would be required to exactly match the choice the being would make without the immutable prophecy in place. I just don't think that such a problem is that big of a deal for an all-knowing, all-powerful, a-temporal God.
Certainly no one has shown that such a thing is strictly impossible.
Perhaps it should be noted that I am not talking about literal Biblical Prophecy... I am simply stating that there is at least one special case where immutable prophecy (regardless of how it comes about) can co-exist with Free Will (as defined by me). I am definitely not saying that literal biblical prophecy does not remove Free Will.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Blue Jay, posted 01-16-2009 11:52 PM Blue Jay has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 12:33 PM Stile has replied
 Message 25 by onifre, posted 01-17-2009 2:07 PM Stile has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2803 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 21 of 227 (494646)
01-17-2009 12:33 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Stile
01-17-2009 10:20 AM


Re: God's Smart
Hi, Stile.
Stile writes:
Your messages are always quite clear and easy-to-read. I like replying to them. I do believe you helped me elucidate my arguement to a point that I couldn't have achieved had you not posted. Thanks for your input.
Same to you, man.
-----
There’s got to be somewhere where we’re talking past each other, because I thought I had addressed your definition directly in my last post. Let me see if I can get it right this time.
Stile writes:
Why cannot the definition of Free Will be:
"Having the ability to get exactly what you want from every situation presented to you."
What is to stop God from manipulating a person’s desires such that they can only want the future that He has already immutably decreed? Your definition of "free will" includes such a scenario.
What is the difference between controlling what somebody gets and controlling what somebody wants to get?
I argue that, in this context, there is very little, if any, difference, because both allow total control by a single entity. So, there is no meaningful distinction to be made between them. Thus, your definition is meaningless.
However, there is a meaningful distinction to be made between a universe with one ultimate controller, and a universe with multiple, independent contributors.

I'm Bluejay.
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 10:20 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by ICANT, posted 01-17-2009 12:51 PM Blue Jay has replied
 Message 29 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 7:55 PM Blue Jay has replied

  
ICANT
Member (Idle past 133 days)
Posts: 6769
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 22 of 227 (494649)
01-17-2009 12:51 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Blue Jay
01-17-2009 12:33 PM


Re: God's Smart
Hi jay,
Mantis writes:
What is to stop God from manipulating a person’s desires such that they can only want the future that He has already immutably decreed? Your definition of "free will" includes such a scenario.
Are you saying that because God is able to see what you are going to do tomorrow that He controls you and makes you do it?
Keep in mind God has no tomorrow. He only has now.
God Bless,

"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 12:33 PM Blue Jay has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 12:56 PM ICANT has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2803 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 23 of 227 (494650)
01-17-2009 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by ICANT
01-17-2009 12:51 PM


Re: God's Smart
Hi, ICANT.
ICANT writes:
Are you saying that because God is able to see what you are going to do tomorrow that He controls you and makes you do it?
No, I'm not actually saying that.
I'm saying that, if we used Stile's definition of "free will," God could do that while still claiming that we have free will.

I'm Bluejay.
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by ICANT, posted 01-17-2009 12:51 PM ICANT has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by ICANT, posted 01-17-2009 1:03 PM Blue Jay has replied

  
ICANT
Member (Idle past 133 days)
Posts: 6769
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 24 of 227 (494651)
01-17-2009 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Blue Jay
01-17-2009 12:56 PM


Re: God's Smart
Hi jay,
Mantis writes:
I'm saying that, if we used Stile's definition of "free will," God could do that while still claiming that we have free will.
Well as a child of God's I will testify that He will not change your mind and He will not make you do anything.
I wish that He would because He could have kept me from making a lot of mistakes if He had.
God Bless,

"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 12:56 PM Blue Jay has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 4:29 PM ICANT has replied

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 3057 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 25 of 227 (494655)
01-17-2009 2:07 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Stile
01-17-2009 10:20 AM


Re: God's Smart
Hi Stile,
If every outcome for every choice in your life is exactly what you want, and no one forces you into any alternative you don't approve of... how can you possibly say that you do not have Free Will?
Why cannot the definition of Free Will be:
"Having the ability to get exactly what you want from every situation presented to you."
The only problem is that even if you decided, it was still caused by an outside agent. Your actions are still deterministic so the causes lead up to the decision. Is that really free will?
Also, does a person who is obsessive, or an addict, or deranged have free will? How will their ability to react to situations be affected by their condition and in turn affect their sense of free will? They will NOT have the ability to get what they want from a situation so it violates your definition.
We make decisions based off of the considerations of what matters the most. If we are not capable of this due to some neuro condition or some other outside agent free will is gone. So, free will and the capability of the persons brain to function properly go hand-and-hand; you can't have free will without a properly functioning brain.
We feel "will" because we see a causal connection between thought and actions. So we say things like "my thoughts caused it", when really there's an underlying brain process that simultaneously causes our awareness of an intention and also the action, so we think there's a causal relationship when there isn't. This gives a false sense of "I" willed it when really it was just neuro functions causing the actions.

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks
"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 10:20 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 8:05 PM onifre has not replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17848
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 26 of 227 (494660)
01-17-2009 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Stile
01-17-2009 10:05 AM


Re: God's Smart
Unlike Buz, at least you have answered the question to an extent.
quote:
My arguement is that it is possible for this answer to be "yes", and in such cases Free Will is still intact. Perhaps it takes a certain kind of person...
If it took a particular sort of person then I'd have to say that only that sort of person could really have free will.
Nevertheless the whole idea is worth thinking about, since it should provide insights into how prophecy could interact with the flow of events, For instance any "yes" answer implies that either God an be wrong or that the future can change.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 10:05 AM Stile has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by Stile, posted 01-17-2009 8:18 PM PaulK has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2803 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 27 of 227 (494664)
01-17-2009 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by ICANT
01-17-2009 1:03 PM


Re: God's Smart
Hi, ICANT.
ICANT writes:
Well as a child of God's I will testify that He will not change your mind and He will not make you do anything.
We're not discussing what God actually does do: we're only discussing the constraints and allowances of crtain definitions.
Unfortunately, I don't hold a lot of optimism for your assertion, because I haven't yet been (re)convinced that a God with the ability to prophesy inerrantly leaves any room for personal choice.

I'm Bluejay.
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by ICANT, posted 01-17-2009 1:03 PM ICANT has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by ICANT, posted 01-17-2009 5:32 PM Blue Jay has replied

  
ICANT
Member (Idle past 133 days)
Posts: 6769
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 28 of 227 (494670)
01-17-2009 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Blue Jay
01-17-2009 4:29 PM


Re: God's Smart
Hi jay,
Mantis writes:
Unfortunately, I don't hold a lot of optimism for your assertion, because I haven't yet been (re)convinced that a God with the ability to prophesy inerrantly leaves any room for personal choice.
So are you saying God writes the script and everyone has to follow the script regardless of what they want to do?
That is pretty much what my great aunt used to say. She was a pastor of a church that believed whatever was going to be would be it didn't make any difference what we did.
You were born to go to heaven or hell and no amount of evangelizing, preaching or praying would ever change anybody. So why bother.
I think that was one of Calvin's doctrines. It is not found in the Bible.
God Bless,

"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 4:29 PM Blue Jay has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 8:38 PM ICANT has not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 149 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 29 of 227 (494687)
01-17-2009 7:55 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Blue Jay
01-17-2009 12:33 PM


We are moving forward... I think
Mantis writes:
What is to stop God from manipulating a person’s desires such that they can only want the future that He has already immutably decreed?
I would say nothing stops God from doing this. And I would say that if God did manipulate a person's desires as you say, then Free Will does not exist.
I would also say that nothing forces God to do this, and it's possible for such a situation to occur where God does no forcing. In such a situation, even with an immutable prophecy, I would say that Free Will is still intact.
Your definition of "free will" includes such a scenario.
Fair enough. I agree that my previous definition of Free Will was inadequate. Of course, I'll now add another qualifier
Free Will: Having the ability to get exactly what you want from every situation presented to you with absolutely no interference from any outside entity.
How about that?
Such a definition could certainly exist with an immutable prophecy... if that prophecy exactly matched the true wishes of the individual.
And I leave you with the same question... what about this definition is not equivalent to Free Will?
What is the difference between controlling what somebody gets and controlling what somebody wants to get?
I certainly agree with you that if any control is involved whatsoever... then Free Will is removed.
My point is to provide a situation in which there is no control. A situation where the immutable prophecy matches the true desires of the individual anyway. If such a situation existed... I would then say that Free Will is still intact.
I do admit that such a situation would be an extreme special case, and very difficult to produce. I do not admit that this difficulty is beyond an omnipotent God.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 12:33 PM Blue Jay has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by Blue Jay, posted 01-17-2009 9:55 PM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 149 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 30 of 227 (494688)
01-17-2009 8:05 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by onifre
01-17-2009 2:07 PM


Are we arguing the same thing?
onifre writes:
The only problem is that even if you decided, it was still caused by an outside agent.
How, exactly, was something "caused" by an outside agent given that it was me who decided?
Your actions are still deterministic so the causes lead up to the decision. Is that really free will?
If the actions are all completely deterministic, then I agree that there is no Free Will. I am not talking about such a situation, in all the situations I am discussing, there is at least some portion of the actions that is non-deterministic.
Also, does a person who is obsessive, or an addict, or deranged have free will? How will their ability to react to situations be affected by their condition and in turn affect their sense of free will? They will NOT have the ability to get what they want from a situation so it violates your definition.
"Want" needs a lot of qualifiers... I'm talking about immediately, in that situation. In the sense that no one forced or controlled or coerced them to choose anything. A lot of people think "oh, I didn't want that..." but this is more of a hind-sight thing. What they really mean is "with what I knew then, I did want this, but with what I know now... I no longer want it".
We make decisions based off of the considerations of what matters the most.
Exactly. What matters most... at the time of the decision.
If we are not capable of this due to some neuro condition or some other outside agent free will is gone. So, free will and the capability of the persons brain to function properly go hand-and-hand; you can't have free will without a properly functioning brain.
Okay. I have no arguement with this. What part of my arguement do you think this invalidates?
I'm not saying that all immutable prophecies on any person always keep Free Will intact. I am simply saying that the absolute statement "immutable prophecy and Free Will cannot co-exist" is false. There are certain special-case scenarios. There are, however, plenty of non-special case scenarios where Free Will is removed. I certainly admit to all of those.
We feel "will" because we see a causal connection between thought and actions. So we say things like "my thoughts caused it", when really there's an underlying brain process that simultaneously causes our awareness of an intention and also the action, so we think there's a causal relationship when there isn't. This gives a false sense of "I" willed it when really it was just neuro functions causing the actions.
I agree that it is quite possible that in this reality Free Will does not exist. This does not invalidate my arguement that it is possible for immutable prophecy and Free Will to co-exist in one extreme special case. I fully admit that my special case may not exist in this reality. In fact, I really doubt it does since it would require an omnipotent God and I don't think God exists.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by onifre, posted 01-17-2009 2:07 PM onifre has not replied

  
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