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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

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    Feb 1 2013: According to Christian doctrine as delineated in the the Holy Bible God created Adam as a person able to obey his one and only rule (do not eat the fruit of one particular tree). Although perfectly able to not sin (disobey God) Adam chose to eat the forbidden fruit and the prescribed penalty (death) was carried-out. Death entered the world through one man, and ever since, all men die. Adam was not predestined to sin. It was possible for him to not sin. He chose of his own free-will to join in an alliance with his wife Eve (who was the first to eat the fruit and subsequently offer it to Adam) against God's clearly declared law. The God of the Holy Bible must, by necessity, be omniscient. If God is not omniscient the name is undeserved. Does God's omniscience demand the impossibility of free will? It does not. As a worldly example someone who knows you very well can predict what you will do in a particular situation. Does the fact that they knew what you would do mean that they influenced you to do it? Of course not.
    • Feb 1 2013: God knew when he created the world exactly what everyone in it would do. He created it anyway. Since he is the prime cause his is the prime responsibility.

      If I, in my imperfection, think I know beforehand what someone will do that is very different from an infallible being not only knowing what they will do but setting the whole thing in motion to begin with.
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        Feb 1 2013: Correct, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the one, true God. He is the uncaused cause of the universe. He made Man upright, able to not sin (die) but Man (Adam) chose not to obey. God did not force Adam to choose disobedience. When a person dies their eternal fate depends upon whether, or not, they had their many acts of disobedience forgiven and made right while they were alive. If they did not, then they perish through no fault of God. If they did, then they have eternal life. Again, just because God knew beforehand they would refuse His offer of forgiveness does not mean God forced them to perish.
        • Feb 1 2013: God caused Adam and Eve to exist in the first place. He created them in just a certain way even though he knew that way would cause them to disobey. In fact, if the entire rest of the Judeo-Christian belief system was to be created as God wanted then they had to disobey. If God had not wanted things to happen the way they did he could've just made them incapabale of disobeying and an entirely different world have resulted. He could've just as easily not done anything at all, but he chose to set in motion the events he knew would occur.

          If I am responsible for the consequences of my actions even though I often don't know how they will turn out why isn't God when he does know?
      • Feb 1 2013: It won't let me reply to your post about Adam and Eve. You're right, God created Adam and Eve like that on purpose. It was part of the plan for them to fall. If they hadn't fallen, they would never have had children and we wouldn't be here! And besides, a fallen world full of sin and pain and death was the whole point anyway. We can't grow in a perfect world. This life is a school, after all. We're here to get experiences we couldn't get any other way. On your note about responsibility, anyone who doesn't know the difference between right and wrong is not responsible for their actions. However, most people do. I mean really, in your heart of hearts you know what's right. You can feel it, but so many people just choose to bury that sense or smother it. God gives everyone plenty of chances to accept the truth and do what needs to happen. If they turn away, that's their own fault. He knows they'll reject Him, but He gives them the chance anyways just so nobody can say, "that's not fair!"
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        Feb 1 2013: Well Robert, you are missing my previous point. God did not commit the act of disobedience, Man chose to disobey, not because God pre-programmed him to do so, but because Adam freely selected from two available choices. Could God have made Adam (mankind) without free choice? Yes. But he didn't. Salvation (forgiveness and cleansing which brings eternal life) is available to all men. Most people reject the Christian message of salvation in Jesus Christ. They say it is just a fable and not worth considering. Those who adopt that assessment are bound to perish. In all this remember that God is not altogether like us. He is Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His wisdom, being,power, holiness, justness, goodness, and truth. We humans are made in His image, but we are not altogether like Him. Do you want God to be resposible for your disobedience so that you can plead blamelessness? Each time you disobey God, whether knowingly or not, you move further away from eternal life and that is your choice, not God's. God says, "Come, let us reason together." Most of mankind responds, "Sorry, that's not for me." Free will, as Mr. Law points-out above, is one of many unfathomable mysteries which are beyond human grasp.
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        Feb 2 2013: Well put, Robert. You've answered your own question (in large part)

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