T Nation

Free Will and Predestination


This question is for those who believe in God, although if you dont, you can give an opinion as well.

I was told that God knows everything and sees everything and controls everything. That being the case everything we do was determined before we were born.

So I guess my question is, do we really have free will or are we actors just going by a pre determined script?

I read the book of Genesis and there were two trees. One was forbidden but they ate it any way and it brought doom and gloom into the world.

If God knew they would eat it and it would have catastrophic results for all of humanity for millenias to come, why was it there in the first place? God could have just as easily not put it there and the problem would be solved. Like, if I had a two year old child, I know if i leave that child in a room with a open bottle of bleach and put a do not touch sign around it and the child drinks it and dies, who would be blamed?

I cant say, I forbid the child from drinking it so it is the childs fault when Im the adult and was the one that knew better. I should have just removed the bleach from the room.


To start this off, I am Roman Catholic.

Many hold that the story in Genesis is meant to be an allegory or parable illustrating the fall of man, so this is not truly applicable.

Regarding Free Will, yes, God knows all, sees all, etc yet He chooses to allow us our free will. The responsibility to follow Him, live a good life, etc are all our responsibility. We choose our own destiny. While God can see the consequences of our decisions, He does not make them for us. There is a difference between knowing someones choice and making the choice for them.

Regarding all will happen "according to the Will of God," I heard it once described as such: history is slowly rotating as through a whirlpool, eventually moving towards and ending at a certain point in time. God has determined that the world will move to wear He wills, as to what we do in that time between now and the end of the world is completely up to us.


would you kill God for $15,000?


This is a bit of a loaded subject but I'l givee it a try cause I really enjoy talking about religion - as long as it doesn't turn into a nasty fight. There's no point in that.

Here's what I believe - Adam fell that men might be. Why? Because if Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the 'forbidden fruit' they would have stayed in the Garden of Eden and the whole plan of salvation and happiness would have been a moot point. They were innocent at that point - meaning that they had no idea what sex was or that it even existed. Kind of like a three year old. We all know you have to have sex to make babies - which would begin the human race on earth. They had to do it so that we could all have the chance to come to earth, receive our mortal bodies, be tested and prove oursleves and then return to live with our Heavenly Father.

God is omnipotent and all knowing and as such He gave us our agency. I do believe He knows exactly what is going to happen and when, but He doesn't interfere with our agency. He wants us to learn for ourselves. If we didn't fall down and stumble and have to pick ourselves up again we'd never learn anything.

I don't believe God controls everything - there are natural consequences to every action. However, I also believe that He knows each and every one of us more intimately thatn we know ourselves and that He can and does bring about blessings and such as we need them and ask for them.

My human brain struggles with things like the mother who suffocated her baby twice - I wonder why He didn't just take that poor baby the first time - but like I said before -- I don't believe that he interferes with our agency and unfortunately that mother chose to do that to her baby.

When life gets confusing and hard I try to remember that I am a spiritual being on a human journey - where we are now is not going to last for forever and we are all destined for much greater things if we choose the right. :slight_smile:


Well if im reading correctly, werent they supposed to be fruitful and multiply? And this was before they ate from the magic tree. So they had to know what sex was


Yeah - you're right. I forgot that God told them that before He told them not to eat the fruit. Still - they were innocent and would stay that way as long as they were in the garden. Satan knew what God had told them also and that was one of the reasons he gave to why she should eat the fruit. She knew that if they were to follow all off God's commandments and know good versus evil, and everything that goes with that they had to eat the fruit. In the scriptures it says that Eve was 'beguiled' by the serpent.

The English language doesn't have the correct words to fully explain what that means. It's also why my religion doesn't view what she did so much a 'sin' as a transgression. They have different meanings. Eve knew that if they stayed in the garden they wouldn't be able to have children and that the wholoe plan would be for nothing. Adam ate the fruit because he knew that if Eve was cast out of the garden and he wasn't then the same thing would happen - no human family - and that the plan would be wasted. So they both made the choice to eat the fruit.


do you guys believe the scriptures in the bible to be accurate historical accounts, not so much for documented people such as Moses and so forth but the events of say Jesus walking on water, Cain actually talking to God or God having conversations with anyone at all?


do you believe that those aforementioned things are just stories and are there to serve a moral purpose by the same means of many other stories?

personally, i believe the later. i think that to actually have belief in the former is flat out crazy.

i actually had a convo about the same thing over Facebook with DirtyGerdy today but i pretty much believe that there is something greater than us. i think of God being a force of nature. scientists today have discovered the origins of the universe; the splitting of strong nuclear, weak nuclear, gravity and electromagnetic force.http://books.google.com/books?id=o6OmdAFDTVQC&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=strong+nuclear+weak+nuclear+gravity+big+bang&source=bl&ots=kbrB_pcg30&sig=hU_8tjm1OIHiEbt_bsBxP2oTLpU&hl=en&ei=91knStKvN8eMtgew8vDcBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4

but where did those 4 elements come from? since that is unknown i believe that there is much, much, MUCH more to be discovered and explained.

the way that events unfold are complex yet simple. its a combination of nature and "cause and effect".
part of the things you do are instinctual, another part of the things you do are learned, learning is basically psychological adaptation. the third portion comes from nature basically enviorment.

every single thing that happens is based off of 1 of those three causes; natural, learned/cognitive, and environmental. they all interact off each other creating a ripple effect. basically all things in the universe are connected through one way or another. think of the movie Crash. multiple different interactions between seemingly unrelated events came together to create more substantial events and of course if the movie had continued those events would have caused other ones. essentially you could go even deeper and examine effects on to natural systems such as water or livestock and the effects they have on creating poverty which leads to effects globally which could influence something as minuscule as what you have on your iPod.
all these things, including the very start of the universe which created life, which created humans, which made us today sitting and typing these thoughts are all related and are all traceable from one effect to another tracing all the way back to the start of the universe. the thing that created the very first cause which lead to the very fist effect which kept growing, an uncountable ammount of times, that is God, not some guy with a beard who smites people for taking his name in vain. thats all too human for something so significant.


Colleen, are you LDS?


you do make some pretty interesting threads clip.

beating up girls, killing people for money...now predestination and free will.

at least your avatars generally remain consistent and predictable.


I so would. Just to spice things up.

Guess I'll be God then?


That's true. I believe the last 3 were some big-ass women... God bless 'em.


clip the question we all want answered is this...

you are extremely heterosexual as you like to make clear in pretty much all of your threads. you say you would literally kill someone for a few thousand dollars, but you wouldnt even touch one single man even for millions. now to the question:

would you have sex with God if He said it would make you immortal?

cos if God says its ok, does that make it ok?



Seems he has no problem letting millions die all the time.


As an atheist I realize this thread is not meant for me - but the topic does interest me. I do not believe in free will - but I do not believe that we are following a "script" either. Basically, for free will to exist, at some point the elementary particles composing your brain have to cease following the laws of physics - they must respond to some external force (let's call it a soul) rather than to gravity, electromagnetic forces, and the like.

There is no reason to believe this - and the sense of free will that we experience is actually far more specious than we like to think. When you read this post - try to isolate the exact moment that you choose what to do with it - whether to respond, scroll down, or Ctrl+Tab back to redtube. You won't be able to.


Uh... am I that obvious?? I guess I don't sound Catholic do I?? :slightly_smiling:




Logic and sensibility doesn't blend well with religion. A 8 year old could point out a fundamental logical problem after 5 mins reading the bible.

Of course, you can always respond to these problems with some logical acrobatics combined with careful cherry picking of what's actually valid and not valid in the bible, in that particular case so it can seemingly back up your what you are saying.


Thats an extremely left field question because thats an impossible scenario........in fact, why am I entertaining such as foolish question?


Thats what im having a problem with, it doesnt line up with a logical thought pattern....like for instance, a talking snake! Or the whole Red Sea being parted....


dude you read my question?! cos you know if you even thought about having sex with God that makes you like totally gay!

do you believe in God clip? what if while you sleep tonight He decides that He wants you to wake up and spend the rest of your life as a homo? would you kill yourself once you realised?