Why God and Free Will can’t Technically Co-exist

Definition of FREE WILL

1: voluntary choice or decision <I do this of my own free will>
2: freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention
It was about 1534 when a guy by the name of John Calvin started writing of a “correct” version of Christian theology. Calvin believed that, contrary to previous teachings on Christianity, all men were not meant to love God, but instead were meant to love themselves. The few people that truly believed in Christ and worked for him did not do so of their own choice but because God had chosen them to be saved as opposed to the rest of us wretches. Calvinism has risen and fallen in popularity since John first introduced his ideas. The fall from high public opinion can be attributed, in part, to the fact that Calvin said (in essence) that God favored people of wealth to be saved whereas he had chosen poor people to suffer and then burn after that.
However, Calvin introduced a legitimate idea that has been debated by many philosophers but has been avoided by the masses for the most part: If there is an all-powerful, omnipotent and omniscient God; how can free will exist? Calvin’s answer: It doesn’t.
…And he is absolutely right.

Oh crap, here we go…

Firstly, I want everyone to know that I actually haven’t had a Facebook conversation with the almighty, so I’m not qualified to say this is how it is. However, I’m looking at a classic philosophical question as an if-then statement, and here is the logical conclusion…

If the God in question has the power to do anything he wants to and nobody else has power to rival that, then he can easily control every single decision that we make.

“But Ryan, wouldn’t we know if we didn’t have free will?” you ask me thoughtfully.

No we wouldn’t, if free will doesn’t exist, then we have no tangible way of telling the difference between having free will or not. The thought that there is a possibility that we have never experienced free will is kind of heavy, so I’ll toss the load on you later. For now let’s consider a different argument:

“Ryan, God just doesn’t dictate our every decision, even if he does have the power to.”

It sure feels that way, doesn’t it? Here’s the rub (“Problem” in Shakespeare speak): If God is omniscient, then he knows every decision we are going to make. There is no point in eternity that God hasn’t known that you were going to read this article. Because he has omnipotent powers, he could have stopped you from reading this article, but he didn’t. If God demonstrates a restraint of control, that does not mean that you have free will either. In theory, God created everything at the start. Even if that was his only influence in the history of time, since he knows exactly how everything is going to play out after that, you are already pre-destined and you have no free will.

This guy knows a thing or two about destiny.

This is not to say that God can’t exist when free will can. God must be different than our expectations. Either he is not all-powerful, or he is not omniscient. If you remove either of those two factors, free will can exist, but if God possesses both of those traits together, then it cannot.

So when a little kid decides to run on a slippery floor and falls and hurts himself, then either God caused him to slip or God knew he was going to slip and let him do it anyway, either way, there is no free will for the child.

But lets end on a brighter note than kids getting bruises. In the end, the question of whether you have free will or not is actually irrelevant. You could decide (ironically) that you have free will, or you could decide (ironically) that you don’t. Either way, it does not change anything about your life because it doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong.

If you think you have free will, then you should choose to enjoy every day.

If you think you don’t have free will, then you should enjoy every day.

Hopefully that doesn’t sound too nutty!


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