This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

God's Nature Vs. Man's Free Will

1915 words - 8 pages

God's Nature vs. Man's Free Will

The reconciliation of God's nature and Man's free will has long been a subject of debate for philosophers and theologians. Christianity rests upon certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe. The Bible speaks of God as eternal, all-knowing, and as the very author of reality. The concept of God as a benevolent, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent entity is rooted in thousands of years of church tradition. This tradition is so ingrained in Western culture, that, when one mentions "God", these ideas almost invariably come to mind.

The idea of Man's free will is also a well-established tradition in Christianity. The very need for Christian redemption is based upon the choices made by Adam and Eve at the very beginning of history. There is an idea that Man either chooses to sin against God, or chooses to obey Him. This ability to choose between two options allows good and evil to exist as opposites on the spectrum of morality. This in turn necessitates a need for an atonement process by which Man can be redeemed for the evils that are committed. Without this doctrine, Christianity is unnecessary. Redemption is not required for those who commit no wrong.

The above ideas seem relatively straightforward when presented as independent beliefs. A great deal of confusion does arise, however, when the ideas are brought together as a system of beliefs. Some parts of God's nature seem to disallow the possibility of free will. How can God's knowledge of all actions - past, present, and future - allow any human to make a choice of his own volition? By its very nature, omniscience is infallible, therefore it seems that one is not free to choose anything other than that which God knows. This apparent dichotomy was presented to Augustine by his disciple Evodius. In his answer, Augustine states that God knows the will of man, but does not actually cause that will to be so. He explains that,

"...although God foreknows our wills to be, it does not thereby follow that we do not will a thing by our will. [A] culpable sill, if you are going to have one, will be none the less your own will because God foreknows that it is to be so." (Augustine 260)

Evodius seems happy enough to accept this explanation, and proclaims that he says the error in his previous thinking.

Augustine's view of God's foreknowledge apparently worked for his disciple, however later philosophers were not quite so content. As the debate continued through the years, some became convinced that Augustine's explanation was lacking. Nelson Pike thought that Augustine's reasoning was flawed in that one's will to do X at a given time (T2), if foreknown by God at a previous time (T1), could not change to not do X at T2. Pike argued that the definition of omniscience would not allow God's knowledge to be changed by Man (Pike 262).

An important thing to note about Pike's argument is that he argued against the compatibility of...

Find Another Essay On God's Nature vs. Man's Free Will

Free Will Vs. Determinism Essay

1248 words - 5 pages Free Will vs. Determinism Would it be a strange notion to consider that every event or action had an adequate cause, which brought that event about? In this day in age that idea does seem to be comprehendible. After a deadly plane crash people immediately search for the cause of that crash. Can it be imagined after such a serious event occurring; there might be no cause at all? It doesn't just happen for any reason at all. The types of human

Free Will vs. Determinism Essay

1833 words - 7 pages deceiving because we have no free will at all except in one thing, but besides that one thing, all that we do is dictated by inner and outer nature. My purpose in writing this paper is to persuade individuals to stop placating their egotism by believing in pseudo-philosophical ideas. In order to discover where our freedom really lies we need to look at a level of life below ours to understand the factors that are employed. The first factor is our

Free Will Vs. Determinism

2775 words - 11 pages Free Will Vs. Determinism I. Determinism      Before one can properly evaluate the entire debate that enshrouds the Free Will/Determinism, each term must have a meaning, but before we explore the meaning of each term, we must give a general definition. Determinism is, "Everything that happens is caused to happen. (Clifford Williams. "Free Will and Determinism: A Dialogue" pg 3). This is the position that Daniel, a character in Williams

Free Will vs Determinism

1413 words - 6 pages are primarily thought to include our biological make-up, family environment, socio-economic status and the laws of nature (Bartol, 1995). This debate is important to Criminology as it holds the key to prediction of risk and therefore prediction of crime. There are three major stances on determinism that are known as hard determinism, soft determinism and non-determinism (also known as free will) (Williams, 1991).The key issue stemming from the

Determinism Vs. Free Will

1946 words - 8 pages people are not typically determined by nature and nurture to perform the evil actions they do. I will identify what determinism is, the different forms of determinism, why people find it to be true, why I find it false, and show different examples of why. I will then go on to discuss free will, the different forms of free will, and why people do things out of free will. The definition of determinism “The world is governed by (or is under the sway

Free Will vs. Determinism

2766 words - 11 pages take. Thus, if all the circumstances were the same, there can only be one outcome.When Frederick still stands by his arguments, a big question arises. If we are so free, then why is the human nature so predictable? If we could choose differently than what we do choose, then why can we predict what others will do? These questions are best answered by Sartre. To illustrate that human nature is predictable, Sartre uses the example of leaving a bag of

Fate vs Free Will

754 words - 4 pages In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is responsible for the tragedy of his downfall. Fate and free will are two opposing ideas that Sophocles seems to blend together and brings up an interesting argument. Sophocles ultimately leaves it up to the reader of the play to view and decide the truth though. Oedipus is presented with a series of choices throughout the play, his stubborn nature and arrogance push him to act without thinking and

The Debate over Election: Predestination vs. Free Will

1411 words - 6 pages salvation is not up for man’s free will (“Predestination”). It is not humans’ choice to decide salvation because they are faulty in nature and have fleshly desires. God has a perfect plan to get those that deserve Heaven into Heaven. God elects specific people because he understands if they deserve Heaven or Hell (“Calvinism”). God is perfect enough to understand who is going to serve heaven and who is going to serve Hell. A multitude of biblical verses

The Witches in Macbeth: Corruption and Fate vs. Free will in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

867 words - 3 pages when suppressed with guilt. Further influencing more deaths is the power of guilt and corruption that plagues both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, witches symbolize characters' imaginary tools to represent the power of corruption, and the inner demonic conscience of man.In "Macbeth", the characters struggle with the prophecies and free will vs. fate. Shakespeare makes the true nature of these prophecies unknown to the

Free Will vs Determinism in A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

1580 words - 7 pages . In turn, he uses this justification to senselessly beat a man up for simply not liking him. This could be supported by a quote from an article about the study of free will vs determinism, which states, “freedom to choose fits comfortably with the assumption that people deserve what they get” (Carey 133). Alex could agree that someone of his own violent nature deserves this moment, or that the man deserved the beating. However, in a critical

Free Will vs. Fate in David Guterson’s novel, Snow Falling on Cedars

2081 words - 9 pages There are many unpredictable and ungovernable accidents, coincidences, and chances that drive the universe and can ultimately affect the events of a person’s life. One of the main concepts surrounding David Guterson’s novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, is the power of free will vs. fate. The last sentence of the novel: “accident ruled every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart” explains the lack of control that humans have

Similar Essays

The Crusades: God's Will Or Man's?

4954 words - 20 pages capturing many, destroying churches and laying waste to the kingdom of God. So, if you leave them alone much longer they will further grind under their heels the faithful of God." The Pope called on Christian knights to set out for the Holy Land and to free it from the savagery of the pagan Seljuk Turks. He promised any combatants who fought in the Holy Land that "…[they could earn] the remission of sins and be sure of the incorruptible glory

Grace, Free Will, And Human Nature

1303 words - 6 pages . Erasmus’ dim view of human nature is reflected throughout his argument. Although he favors the idea that men possess some free will, he takes a position much more akin to Luther’s, discussed briefly in the previous paragraph, than Pelagius’, which he describes on pages 562 and 563: “Pelagius taught that no new grace was needed once grace had liberated and healed the free will of man. Thus the free will by itself was deemed sufficient to achieve

Grace, Free Will, And Human Nature

2041 words - 9 pages will do no good, but extraordinary individuals can gain success through exercise of their own faculties. Erasmus shares this elitist and negative view of human nature. In his diatribe “On Free Will,” he says, “mankind is lazy, indolent, malicious, and, in addition, incorrigibly prone to every impious outrage…People are universally ignorant and carnal-minded. They tend towards wickedness, unbelief, and blasphemy. There is no sense in pouring oil

Free Will Vs. Determinism Essay

1371 words - 5 pages Free will vs. determinism is an argument as complex, intertwined, and co-dependent as nature vs. nurture or the age-old question of whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first. Philosophers have contemplated the question for ages, and arrived at no satisfactory answer. While considering which topic to address for this assignment, I posed the question of free will vs. determinism to a philosopher friend, whose response was “I