Re: [asa] Contemplations on Chance & Free Will - Comments?

From: gordon brown <Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>
Date: Tue Jan 13 2009 - 22:57:04 EST

On Tue, 13 Jan 2009, Christine Smith wrote:

> But here's where I get stumped with this idea. If we can truly, actually choose between a pre-defined set of possibilities, such that any outcome we pick can become the reality, than this must mean (does it not?) that God does *not* have full knowledge of the future; partial knowledge - yes, but full knowledge - no. But, if you maintain that God must have full knowledge of the future, in the sense that He knows ahead of time what you will "choose", and that it *will not* be anything other than this foreseen conclusion, then this must mean (does it not?) that it never was really a true choice to begin with. To use an example, if a parent gives a child a choice between several pre-defined alternatives, the parent may be able to predict, with reasonable confidence, what choice the child will make. But they cannot *know* for certain until the child has actually made the choice. This is because although parents "create" their children, they do not "create"
> their children's entire timeline. This is free will within the parent-child relationship. But, in the case of God, before the universe (the "child" if you will) is ever created, God has the power to not only create the universe itself, but the entire timeline of the universe. So when He creates, logically, He must either a) create the universe and its complete timeline (has full knowledge of the future, equates to predestination; any "free will" we have is an illusion), or b) create the universe with an incomplete timeline (one that allows some variation depending on our choices, God has only partial knowledge of the future, equates to true free will).


To me free will does not mean the ability to fool God. Rather I see it as
the opposite of compulsion, of God overriding or forcing our decision

Since God is outside time, His knowledge of the future no more forces
future events than my knowledge of past events influences them. We don't
say that historic personalities had to do what they did in order to make
the history books correct.

Even though I don't believe that God's knowledge of the future requires
Him to coerce people to do what they do, I do believe that He determines
the future. Let me try to use analogies. What I don't believe is that God
wrote a script and recruited actors to follow it exactly. Rather I think
it is more like a TV network newscast in which someone chooses which clips
to show even though the photographer was only a spectator.

I apologize that I may be too brief to be clear.

Gordon Brown (ASA member)

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Received on Tue Jan 13 22:57:44 2009

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