Are Decisions That Are Foreknown Really Free Decisions?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Monergist, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    Non-Calvinists object to the idea that God pre-ordains every human decision and action on the grounds that it makes men to be some kind of mechanical robot or the victim of some kind of fatalism; in short, they say, man cannot exercise total and unhindered 'free-will' which they insist that man must be able to exercise if he is to be responsible for his actions. Instead of saying that God pre-ordains everything, He merely 'fore-knows' what man's actions and decisions will be. But does this alternative solve their objection? The answer is no.

    For how can a person whose choices are foreknown make choices different from those that are already known? If God knows from eternity past that John will at a particular time choose 'A' instead of 'B' then how could John possibly choose 'B'? If he is unable to choose 'B' then how can his choice be defined as free? For example, I just went to Bojangles and purchased a steak biscuit and a milk for breakfast. God knew before He created me that at a certain time this day I would in fact stop at a certain restaraunt and purchase these particular items. The fact that He foreknew this made it certain to happen. I say that I chose to do this of my own free-will-- but could I chosen to have done differently. Could I have ordered a coffee and sausage biscuit instead, when God knew that I would order a steak bisciut and milk? Could I have not stopped at all?

    What applies to something as insignificant as what I had for breakfast will certianly apply to greater things as well. The old proposed solution to the problems that we associate with reconciling God' foreordination and man's free-will does not solve anything at all. For if God knew beforehand that person 'A' would accept Christ and person 'B' would reject him, then the fact of the outcome of their choice was determined before they were ever born, and they are hence unable to choose otherwise.
     
  2. Wes Outwest

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    Monergist,
    Why would God create man with a brain and all the associated "mechanics" such as hearing, thought, reason, comprehension, meditation, etc., which by the way, the scriptures demand that we use, If God wanted to control our every thought and process?

    The Scriptures tell us "think on these things", "dwell in the scriptures", "Hear the word", "choose you this day", etc. Why would God do that to us if we were not to have free will?

    Why are we told "the spirit is the life of the flesh, the flesh is of no importance" if we indeed were not to behave in accordance with what is in our spirit?

    I am convinced that you are badly informed about God and man.
     
  3. natters

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    Monergist, God is greater than that. He knows and is able to allow true free choice while knowing what choices will be taken.

    What you describe makes God ultimately responsible for the sins we commit, for "the outcome of their choice was determined before they were ever born, and they are hence unable to choose otherwise." Yet scripture says that God will provide an escape when we are tempted - we really have a choice.
     
  4. webdog

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    Don't try to figure God out, it will make your head hurt, and you never will. Calvinists try do just that.
     
  5. Monergist

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    Please understand that I am not trying to figure out some perceived inconsistency with God. Rather, I am trying to figure out an inconsistency with those who reject the scriptural teaching of God's fore-ordination on the grounds that it violates the so-called 'free-will' of man.

    Maybe I'm not being clear in stating my case, so I will attempt to restate it.

    Natters says:
    I'm not denying that. As a Calvinist, I must all for the fact that God has pre-ordained all that comes to pass (this involves by neccessity ordaining human choices) and also reconcile that with the fact that choices made by men are in fact free choices. Is this a difficulty? Yes. I cannot fully understand it, yet I accept it as truth because that is what scripture teaches. I merely have to rest on the fact that with God all things are possible, and though I must accept it as being difficult to undertstand, I cannot accept it as true and yet at the same time hold it to be an inconsistency or a contradiction, for such do not exist with God.

    My point is that what applies to one side of the argument must likewise apply to the opposing side. They argue that if God establishes what will come to pass by pre-ordaining it, then the choice that man ultimately makes in the matter is not free. Yet they refuse to apply the same principle to their argument-- if they did it would be stated like this-- "if God establishes what will come to pass by fore-knowing it, then the choice that man ultimately makes in the matter is not free." They will state as natters says "He knows and is able to allow true free choice while knowing what choices will be taken," but they will not allow for "He knows and is able to allow true free choice while foreordaining what choices will be taken." Either way the matter is settled; If God pre-ordains a thing then it must come to pass, if He merely foreknows a matter it too must come to pass.

    That my friend, is inconsistent. There is no inconsistency with God. There is inconsistency with a view being put forth in contradiction to an opposing view with an unwillingness to subject their own view to the same criticisms which they level against the other.

    In other words, the pot says to the kettle--"thou art black."

    Lastly, this quip needs to be addressed;
    .

    God can be known as He has revealed Himself to us. The idea that we cannot know God is a serious error that is not suited to the Christain faith. I'm not sure what you meant by this statement, but that type of thinking leads down a seriusly dangerous path.
     
  6. dianetavegia

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    Re 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

    Re 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

    Re 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
     
  7. dianetavegia

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    If I watch a movie, I know how it ends. If I watch it with my husband another night, the ending doesn't change even tho I know what the ending will be.
     
  8. natters

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    I disagree, for the preordaining makes God ultimately responsible for sinful actions. God says when we are tempted, we will not be tempted beyond what we are able to bear and that a way of escape will be provided. Calvinism seems to require that if we give into temptation, it was because it was preordained and we ultimately had no possibility of choosing the escape. I will not accept this.

    But doesn't Calvinism require God to be inconsistent, telling us not to sin but preordaining our sins?
     
  9. BobRyan

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    You have just argued yourself into the corner of saying that God does not have free will.

    God predicted Christ's life and KNEW all of it - before it happened.

    God even knows when HE will initiate the 2nd coming.

    Arminians STILL Think God has free will ANYWAY!

    For Some Calvinists - this is a choking point.

    IN Christ,

    Bob
     
  10. whatever

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    You have just argued yourself into the corner of saying that God does not have free will.

    God predicted Christ's life and KNEW all of it - before it happened.

    God even knows when HE will initiate the 2nd coming.

    Arminians STILL Think God has free will ANYWAY!

    For Some Calvinists - this is a choking point.

    IN Christ,

    Bob
    </font>[/QUOTE]Hi Bob,

    I think you missed the point. When non-Calvinists say that preordained actions cannot be compatible with free will they deny God's free will. The non-Calvinist must drop this objection to Calvinism if he is to contend that God will do all that He has said He would do, and at the same time that God is free to do whatever He wishes.
     
  11. whatever

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    You have just argued yourself into the corner of saying that God does not have free will.

    God predicted Christ's life and KNEW all of it - before it happened.

    God even knows when HE will initiate the 2nd coming.

    Arminians STILL Think God has free will ANYWAY!

    For Some Calvinists - this is a choking point.

    IN Christ,

    Bob
    </font>[/QUOTE]Hi Bob,

    I think you missed the point. When non-Calvinists say that preordained actions cannot be compatible with free will they deny God's free will. The non-Calvinist must drop this objection to Calvinism if he is to contend that God is bound to do all that He has said He would do, and at the same time that God is free to do whatever He wishes.
    </font>[/QUOTE]
     
  12. whatever

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    You have just argued yourself into the corner of saying that God does not have free will.

    God predicted Christ's life and KNEW all of it - before it happened.

    God even knows when HE will initiate the 2nd coming.

    Arminians STILL Think God has free will ANYWAY!

    For Some Calvinists - this is a choking point.

    IN Christ,

    Bob
    </font>[/QUOTE]Hi Bob,

    I think you missed the point. When non-Calvinists say that preordained actions cannot be compatible with free will they deny God's free will. The non-Calvinist must drop this objection to Calvinism if he is to contend that God is bound to do all that He has said He would do, and at the same time that God is free to do whatever He wishes.
     
  13. dianetavegia

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    Sounds to me like boths sides want to put God in a box. God IS and God CAN!

    Adonai- Elohim- El Shaddai- Jehova- Jehova-Jireh- Jehova-Nissi- Jehova-Raah- Jehova-Rapha- Jehova-Shalom- Jehova-Shammah- Jehova-Tsidkenu- Father Abba- John 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."


    God preordained and foreknew the death of Christ on the cross. WHY did Jesus pray this prayer?

    Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."


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  14. BobRyan

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    I agree that some Arminians are drawing a line that leaves them exposed on that point.

    I am simply pointing out that when Calvinists argue against free will on the basis of God's foreknowing the future - they are taking free will away from God.

    The problem is a double-edged sword catching "some people" in both groups that are not careful in their position.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. whatever

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    And I agree with that. I just didn't think that was what Monergist was saying. I just reread what he said and I suppose he was a litle ambiguous on the point. Maybe he'll clarify.
     
  16. BobRyan

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    That is pretty much it. That argument results in God having "no free will".

    It also means that sinless angels and unfallen Adam had "no free will". And it means that the lack of "free will" has nothing to do with "total depravity" and everything to do with God's foreknowledge.

    Some Arminians try to solve the problem by denying that God has foreknowledge.

    Some Calvinists try to solve the problem by ignoring it.

    I solve the problem by simply observing that - "our innability to BE God is not what defines free will or limits foreknowledge".
     

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