TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

If God is omniscient is free will an illusion?

I'm agnostic but interested in the truth so I do a lot of thinking and research on philosophy and religious issues in order to keep an open mind. It occurred to me when I was thinking one day that if God exists and he already knows everything I'm ever going to do then every decision I'm ever going to make has effectively already been made. This would mean that there is no such thing as free will. Since free will is a necessary ingredient for sin to be meaningful this has some pretty astounding implications. Thoughts?

Topics: religion

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Feb 1 2013: Robert,
    I am not seeing omniscience as related to free will. Omniscience means to know all, but how can God know the decisions of persons not yet born? Even God cannot know the unknowable. Each person is sovereign over his will and this God does not usurp or in any way abrogate the will of any individual.

    Each person has the gift of will to choose to know God (more so in time) or to reject a relationship. Omniscience may be a fact for God to know human nature and all the possible choices we humans face, but to know in advance what the will of a person will decide, is probably too much to ascribe even to God.

    Your concept revealing potential astounding implications suggests we humans could be lazy and never DO anything to correct an error or to help anyone!!! It suggests we can't do anything to change the outcome of any situation! To know we are going to sin? It just takes the concept too far if one accepts we are endowed with free will. Like you say, what is the point of human choice if God's choices are made in advance, which would invalidate our choices. I have trouble accepting our choices are made in advance and that we have no power to improve life for self or others.

    Is this helpful or not?
    • Feb 1 2013: Great comment. The implications are that we cannot do anything but follow the program that is already laid out. Therefore, we can only be lazy if it that is what God has foreseen. I don't pretend to know the answer fully one way or the other. I just thought it would make a good conversation topic. Our acceptance of reality often has little impact on its actual course.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.