Reconciling Free Will and Determinism

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Paul of Eugene, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Paul of Eugene

    Paul of Eugene
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    Personally I've come to the conclusion that the debate between Calvanists and Free Willies (I don't like the term Armenianist) is actually solvable, that is, the two points of view can be reconciled. However, the reconciliation requires the acceptance of certain points of modern physical science that are normally resisted.

    Oh, don't worry about evolution or age of the universe. That's a whole other debate. I'm talking about the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

    The physical reality is observed that photons and electrons and even whole atoms and molecules can travel paths in which the final destination of that path is open for alternative results.

    The many worlds interpretation is that all the alternative results are actually realized in alternative universes. This takes away the apparant arbitrariness of physical law that we have otherwise to ponder. But it gives us instead such a multitude of universes that many people simply quail at the prospect of this being real.

    Let us suppose that the many world's interpretation is true. What does this imply about God?

    God, of course, would be aware of every alternative universe. This is not a problem for the omniscient God of our theology. Considered as a whole, all the alternative universes would be, ultimately, fixed. This should make the Calvanists happy, although surprised.

    The alternative paths taken by all the subatomic particles add up to alternative paths for macroscopic creatures such as you and me. This means we face truly different alternative destinies in the life ahead of us and it turns out we traverse some destinies in some universes and other destinies in other universes.

    This begins to sound as if freedom of choice is somehow present. This should make the free willies happy, although surprised.

    There are some details to be worked out. Are all describable possibilities real? It would be possible to describe a universe in which Christ was prophesied and did not appear. We assume, therefore, that God has a way of seeing to it that some possibilities are "live" and others are "dead", not actualized, based on the need to keep such universes from being actualized.

    There may be a universe out there in which one of us mortals actually managed to live a sinless life. Presumably in that universe the Bible says "All but one have sinned and come short of the glory of God". (Or something equally appropriate).

    We already see at the basic particle level that some possible paths are not traversed because of interference from alternative possible paths. This is merely an extension of that principle to include factors involving spiritual laws as well as mechanical laws.

    As I live and breath I have an internal conviction that there is more to me than a mere fore-ordained structure in space and time. By my soul, I am not a set of pre-conditioned reflexes merely! I am more!

    That more is reflected, I am coming to believe, in the vast numbers of alternative paths that open before each of us to traverse as time marches on. It is in this way that God the Creator has given us the transcendence of personhood and not merely a fixed pattern in space and time. If there was only a single path fixed for me in space and time I would be like a statue. If there was one fork only in space and time I would still be like a statue, slightly more complicated. But the alternatives for me, as an eternal being in the life of God, are infinite. It is this infinite number of possibilities lying ahead of me that is correlated - in some sense, perhaps, the cause of - my sense of being more than a mere automaton.

    It means that there are some alternative universes out there where I reject God and suffer an eternity without Him, others where I accept Him and achieve salvation. Its that way for every soul.

    There is a certain grim fairness about this process that should appeal to every Calvanist and Free Willey out there.

    I don't expect very many Calvanists or Free Willies to go along with this view. But I felt a kind of perverse obligation to share this reconciling of the two views for the record.
     
  2. Helen

    Helen
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    I sort of prefer sticking to Scripture, Paul. Imagination is great, but probably not the best for theology.
     
  3. Paul of Eugene

    Paul of Eugene
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    Uh - what exactly do you see contrary to scripture in this?
     
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Lack of theological relevance leads me to close this thread. This is a thread about theology and Scripture, not scientific speculation.
     
  5. Yelsew

    Yelsew
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    Well we could talk about the circus in the same manner, but your theory or theorums would not prove true there either. so what's your point?
     

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