Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why didn't God only make people who would follow Him?

I think if we understood it really well then we'd know that free will is *like* a random process in a couple of ways. Creating a person is kind of like flipping a coin that will come up 50/50 heads or tails. This is important because if a process is random then you can't make it go heads or tails. So God making a person is kind of like flipping the coin in the sense that God can't make someone on the basis of how they're going to choose, just like I can't make a random coin toss go the way I want. But unlike flipping the coin God *can* predict how we'll turn out - He just can't make only the people who will choose the way He wants.

So in some ways free will is *like* randomness, but it's not really random because randomness is a terrible thing in people. It's somehow a 'third option' out of cause and effect that mimics randomness in this aspect, but is overall a genuine, great thing to have.

In Matt 13:24-29 God says that there's some kind of ratio of people who'll choose the way He wants and people who won't. Salvation is kind of like a statistical generalisation of e.g. X:Y ratio that becomes meaningless on an individual level because individually everyone has the power to choose the way God wants. It's just that on a generalised statistical level God knows X:Y ratio will be saved. It's like individually most philosophy students can choose to study metaphysics but statistically only a certain proportion will. Individually every Internet user can visit Apple.com but statistically only a certain proportion will.

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Anonymous Stephanie James said...

How does this not bring into question the "all knowing" characteristic generally accepted with God. The "knew you before you were born" part of God seems pretty contradictory with God not knowing our decisions. Not that I have any sort of solution.

Blogger Will G said...

I think God does know everything we'll do before we're born, but God still can't make or not make people based on this knowledge. So God still knows, it's just that it's not actionable.

Anonymous Stephanie James said...

What is the limitation of God then exactly? Though I guess we can only speculate if God can or cannot do something when we only "see" what he does.

The whole topic of hell is rather fascinating in this area because there's such precious little information about it. We almost need to have a few assumptions it build any theory off of what's said biblically.

Blogger Will G said...

That's true, I think usually some theoretical assumptions can be very helpful, although one has to be careful not to veer off into something totally unsubstantiated...

I think the limitation is one that is very mysterious/obscure. Basically, it's a limitation not on knowledge, but on one particular action based on that knowledge. If I had to substantiate it more, and this is complete and utter speculation, it might be that once a soul exists God knows everything about it, including how it will choose in all possible situations, but without making the soul there is nothing can God know about it because the knowing is based on the soul actually existing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize this is a late comment to join in the speculation and pondering here, but I just came across this blog and the comments, and to add my personal point of view (whatever it may prove worthy of), I believe that God still creates people who he knows are destined to turn away from him, because it was perhaps still their (the human, that is) choice, due to active free will, whether or not they want harmony with God or not. In other words, perhaps since we cannot understand the vast realms of time and all the different factors and results in proportion to that, I believe that even though God knows what the person will choose, he still creates them because THEY WILL CHOOSE in their future life what they want to do, and God still creates them (the people who turn away from him), because it is their duty to fulfill that fate and choice on earth (why they must do this, is a whole another topic. Simply stated, it is still, conclusively, the human's choice, but God cannot just "pull them out of the race" so to speak, because that would then defeat the whole purpose of will, and our life on earth entirely, being that all people who are going to choose to be with God will end up with Him, and those who don't will just never be created. No free will is present then, and one could then argue that God does not give us a fair chance, and perhaps that person would have chosen to be with God (do you see what I am saying?).


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