Ask Experts & Get Answers to Your Questions - ASAP
Hello. I can assist you with your question.
Of course, this can be answered many ways.
So what I can offer you is an opinion.
Human descriptions, particularly related to human psychology and human traits cannot be applied to something beyond our comprehension.
Humans are an evolved species, but they are a species. We often see things in ourselves that we think are unique to us, and then often later find out that they are not.
This demonstrates how little we know about other species on our planet. While from a religious standpoint, most would say my dog does not have free will, I don't see how that could even be reasoned. He gets up and walks away when he wants to. When he gets angry because I'm teasing him, he sometimes has the urge to snap at me and he restrains that behavior because he knows I'll punch him in the head.
So the first problem is that the definition of free will is subjective.
But beyond that, what is God?
Is it a guy with a beard and a robe?
What race is "he".
Or is the "he" and "it".
Personally, I've always been most comfortable with the understanding that there are so many things in the universe that we don't understand, that what we consider to be "god", by definition, would have to be even more incomprehensible than those things. So the only thing I understand about "God" is that my mind has not evolved to the point where I can even conceive what it is.
Therefore, assigning something as basic as "free will" to this concept of god is not logical.
At least with that concept of god.
There are those, however, who take literally the idea that humans were made in "His" image, and would argue that the answer to your question is much more simple. Based on us being made literally in "His" image would mean "He" shares all of our traits, is basically a divine human, and would dictate that he would have to have free will as we define it.
I don't subscribe to that - even though I was brought up as a Catholic in Catholic school, I find that concept to be OK for children, blindly believing something that doesn't make sense - even silly - is letting the fantastic brain we have been given, which is capable of extraordinarily complex critical thinking, go unused.
One last thought. Scientists this month discovered the Higgs Boson Particle - something we knew had to exist for our prevailing theories on physics to be valid.
And this particle is so important to physics as we know it - adding mass to every particle in the universe, since all other particles - electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks - have no mass of their own(technically - although what we are generally taught in school factors IN this particle, which is why we are conditioned to think particles have their own mass and also why if this particle didn't exist, would uproot mainstream phyisics). This particle has regularly been referred to as the "God Particle". Is it? Or is it an example of how abstract to us, yet real, this "God" is?
hi, i understand what you mean, the question as i phrased it is a bit vague. What I mean when i use the term 'god' is an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent being in the traditional christian sense. it doesn't really matter what christian denomination that would be, as long as it's a god that's said to have created humans with free will.
it is my hypothesis that that what little free will humans possess, and i don't believe they possess much at all, depends on how much knowledge they have. the more knowledge they have the more options they can draw on to make an informed decision. This makes them freer than if they had less knowledge.
if god has absolute knowledge then surely that means he has absolute freedom. he knows how every decision he makes will play out in reality before he makes it, so he knows which is the best decision to make.
that means this world, in spite of its misery and suffering, must be the best of all possible worlds to achieve whatever it god wants to achieve.
if this is true then he can't have absolute free will because he has been limited to only this one option. some alternative options must be permanenty beyond his capability. this means he can't know everything and he can't do everything. that means he can't be all powerful.
this also shows that no matter how much knowledge humans aquire in the future they will never aquire complete free will. that means humans can never become perfect. if god is imperfectable, in this respect, then neither are humans.
i realise i'm only an amatuer when it comes to this kind of deep philosophical/theological question, but i'd be interested to know if my logic is sound.
Everything you are saying is logical.
But since we are not all-knowing, we cannot know all options that are available to god. I would assume that ALL options would be, and if this is the case, making humans that are not perfect would be a deliberate choice. It seems unconscionable that this god would make such a choice. If "he" is all powerful, we can conclude he is not all loving.
I think the point you have made here is that the Christian view of "God" is not logical, and therefore unlikely to be the correct view.
correction - correct as in consistent with logic.
You're right. he must have chosen to make the first humans imperfect before he gave them free will, because if they were perfect they wouldn't have chosen to disobey him. so they were aleady tainted with 'original sin' before the 'original sin' is supposed to have happened.
I'm impressed with your reasoning and your grasp of pure logic.
Please remember to rate my level of service, and I've enjoyed our chat so far. If you have any followup questions, I'd be happy to work with you any time! You can open a question with me directly at any time here: http://www.justanswer.com/computer/expert-answers/
And also put my name in the subject to make sure it get's to me.
The second part of my reply didn't get sent off yesterday when i pressed 'reply'. What i went on to say after the 'original sin' stuff was this, i'm not all concerned, for the purposes of my question' about gods unfairness. ijust wanted to know from a pure logic standpoint whether it is possible for god, or anyone for that matter, to have free will.
i phrased the question as "does god have free will" because i was interested as to whether that might offer a solution to the problem. it was a sort of thought experiment using 'god' in a metaphorical sense. i don't believe the question only makes sense if you're talking about a god with human attributes. you could define him/her/it as everthing that is (a pantheistic god).
if you do define him as a being with human attributes then the obvious way to answer the question, i suppose, is to ask the question "do humans have free will?" once you've answered that you've killed two birds with one stone. maybe that's the question i should have asked.
the way i have often seen religious people solve the problem of free will is by resorting to quantum physics. they say that because there is uncertainty at the subatomic level that somehow leaves space for free will to exist. i'm not convinced by this arguement. i don't see how quantum indeterminacy causes us to be free. it seems like the equivelent of saying randomness causes us to have free will.
The other way that I've heard the question answered by theists is that because we have an immaterial soul it is outside the the mechanistic laws that govern the material world. this seems to me like the quantum indeterminacy arguement rephrased in religious language.
A question that seems to relate to this free will question is 'if god created the universe, then who created god?'. I asked a jehovahs witness this question once and they replied that "god doesn't have a cause he has always existed just like physicists say energy has always existed."
I don't think that is what physicists say, but the logic behind that statement is that god is an uncaused event. This is how many people justify the belief that they have free will. they believe that their freedom is an uncaused event. it's just something that happens. " i don't know why i did what i did but i did it because i wanted to therefore it must have been of my own free will".
Thankyou very much for your answer. You are someone who has exactly the level of expertise i was looking for. I agree that this kind of debate could have gone on for ever. That's why i wanted to wrap it up because i was felt i was getting a bit out of my depth.
It's easy for me to ask these deep questions but it's another thing trying to understand the answers i get to them.
I'm trying to improve my basic knowledge of quantum physics at the moment by reading Q.E.D by Richard Feynman.
I agree with you completley that Religion relies entirely on concepts that cannot be proven with human logic. The god concept is like an like one of those visual paradoxs by Escher. I thinks that is what 'god' is, a metaphor that helps people to visualize infinity, and that is maybe the reason for its long-term appeal.
Another book I'm reading at the moment is 'The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How irrationality makes us happy, healthy, and sane' by Matthew Hutson. His thesis is that we are all subject to 'magical thinking' because of the way our brains have evolved. He says this irrational way of thinking gave us an edge when it came to survival. At the end of the book he says " Whether magic exists or not, magical thinking got us to where we are, and for better or worse, it will take us to where we are going. We could no sooner escape it than we could escape consciousness".