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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 2 2013: Hello Tedsters,

    After reading some comments, I've become compelled to dig a bit.

    Why did the Judeo-Christian God make Adam and Eve with anything forbidden in the first place?

    I view it as: you're cute pets that I programmed and here is a toy I'm going to dangle right within your reach, and I'm going to see how long you last in this environment while not touching it, then I will train you to be who I ultimately want you to be like if you fail to abide by my laws, even though I could have either created you to always obey my laws or give you absolute freedom to do whatever you like, so I would never have to see my creations scrapped and have to make new ones.

    I just don't get why this God had to be the shepard that led his flock out to graze and pointed at a random patch of grass and told it not to graze that specific patch.

    I could probably continue with these analogies, but it just seems irrelevant for someone so mighty to create something that seems more like amusement to this God than creations to "work with God". I can only assume that is where humankinds need to make reality tv shows comes from.

    On the other hand, religion is amazing for the fact that it spreads collaborative and kind ideals usually. I find that to be the best side about religion, but some of the tales are a bit too tall for me to fathom.

    So, in response to the question, God is either not omniscient and ultimately imperfect, but has a lot of pull in what happens in the universe or another great tale made by humankind.
    • Feb 2 2013: Those were exactly my conclusions as well.
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      Feb 2 2013: Derek, do you think we may all have stories we live by that are how we assemble our understanding of the world? People often believe they have "real" evidence for their own stories while other people's stories are myth. Some stories have names- religions, particular mystical traditions or pseudoscience that may be closely associated with a particular person who disseminates (and offers "evidence" for) that teaching, cultural/traditional- and some are more individual, with not enough popular following to have a name.

      It is ironic that this commonality among people instead turns into such a source of hatred, disrespect, intolerance, and strife.
      I appreciate your consistently open-minded attitude of looking for the value in others
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        Feb 4 2013: Thank you for such a high compliment Fritzie! I think I should give credit to the numerous mistakes I have made in my life that I am now consistently open-minded in looking for the value in others. Like the saying goes "do unto others, as one wants done unto thyself", or something like that.

        I usually see something similar in everyone's strife, and that also gives me understanding and pre-used solutions that can be reshaped, then reused to aid in those similar issues, or at least that is what I think I'm aware of.
    • Feb 3 2013: Hi Derek, maybe this will help. In the Swedenborgian understanding of the Garden of Eden, in fact of everything in the first 11 chapters of Genesis, is that it is has a spiritual meaning. It was copied into the Old Testament by Mozes from an earlier Revelation.

      The whole story has nothing to do with an actual garden or actual trees. The Tree of Life (which was in the midst of the garden) portrays a willingness to be led by God and do His will. To love Him and the neighbour.

      The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is an approach to life that is totally wrong. It is trying to figure out spiritual things (and God) based on sense experiences and human ideas and arguments. This approach is so wrong, and useless, that it was, and still is, forbidden. The story of the serpent (which portrays the human senses) is to warn that we cannot explain and proof higher, spiritual, things from our lower, natural level.

      As you may know, at some point later in Genesis, that bad tree has taken the place in the midst of the Garden instead of the Tree of Life. In many minds it still is.

      This is only the tip of the tip.. but if you'd like more details on the subject this is the link and if there are any questions or concerns, I'd love to hear them. http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/studies/Parable_Adam_Eve.pdf

      Come to think of it, if you'd like to see the actual book all this is based on, which deals with Genesis chapters 1 to 9, then this is it
      http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/Arcana%20Coelestia%2001.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

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