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Author Topic: Free will discussion  (Read 2888 times)

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legoman

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Free will discussion
« on: September 03, 2008, 02:51:48 AM »

Hi,

As I said I have been discussing free will a lot at another site, so I thought I would describe here what I believe the truth to be is.  If this isn't the right forum for this post please let me know.

And please let me know if you think I've got anything wrong.  This is all from Ray's teachings, but sometimes it takes a further study to get what he is saying. 

The logical argument

Free will cannot coexist with a God who is all-knowing and has perfect foreknowledge.  If God has perfect foreknowledge, then it is not possible to make a choice that contradicts that foreknowledge.  Therefore our choices are not "free".  QED.  Our choices are caused.  We don't have a "free" will, we have a "caused" will, because every decision we make is based on  some other cause.  If you trace all the causes back to the beginning of our life, eventually we get to our birth place, who our parents were, and what we were taught as children.  If you keep going, all causes eventually trace back to God.  God is the ultimate cause of everything.

The scriptural argument

There are many many scriptures that Ray and others have posted that make it clear we couldn't have free will.  God is the potter we are the clay.  God hardens pharaoh's heart.  We don't choose God, God chooses us.  Side note: not sure if you guys know of Martin Zender, but he has a pretty good website on the concepts.  I like to refer to his article on free will, it is a good intro to the topic (http://www.martinzender.com/Zenderature/free_will_and_the_oh_well_creed.htm).

I won't list all the scripture here as most people here know where to find them.

Implications

This is where I probably get into trouble :) so I would appreciate responses here if I am way off base.

All choices are caused and are based on our environment, what we have learned, our previous experiences, our circumstances, etc.  God sets up these causes.  God is the ultimate cause of everything.

Because we don't have free will, we have a caused will, we make choices that have been predetermined.  Ray says "we volunteer" to make the choice.  We volunteer to sin, even though God has set it all up.

This is where I have a bit of trouble. Ray says God is the cause of everything, but God doesn't force us to sin.  God just sets up the circumstances and then we come along and can do nothing but sin.  Does this sound right?  I always get people asking me well if God sets everything up, then he is the one that makes us sin.  It is hard to get away from that reasoning, but I sort of see what Ray means when he says "we volunteer to sin".  Comments welcome.

Original Sin

God intended to us to sin.  God designed us that way.  Does that mean God sinned?  No.  Did God create sin?  I'm not sure on this one.  Did he actually create the concept of sin?  Is it fair to say God create the "sin of this world" when he designed us to sin?  Likewise, did God create the concepts of goodness/sin, or were they intrinsic to himself/the universe?

God also designed satan to sin.  Satan didn't fall from being an angel.  He was created at the time of creation along with everything else - he sinned from the beginning, and god intended it that way.  Satan is the one who causes sin to enter the world - but who is in charge of Satan?  God is.  So in that way God causes sin to enter the world.  Is it fair to say this?

Examples

Here are some examples I like to use to help understand free will.  Again I appreciate any comments you have.

The robot example
This one is good because people always bring up the "I am not a robot" argument.

Making a choice does not imply free will. The robot argument will illustrate this. A robot is just a computer with some fancy mechanisms attached to it. The computer makes choices. But it doesn't have free will. No one claims a computer has free will. The computer takes input, and then makes a decision based on that input. It can do this very quickly, giving the appearance that it is "smart". But in reality it is just a bunch of bits, 0's and 1's, tiny transistors, switching on and off in different combinations and patterns. That's all a computer is.

Now, we do the same thing. We take input, and make a decision. That's it! We make choices, but they are not free - they are based on the "input" around us, what we have learned, what our environment is. In that way, we are the same as a computer.

But in another way we are completely different from a computer. We are superior to the computer. The computer doesn't know its a computer. We know we are human. We are self-aware, the computer (or robot) is not.  We have the capacity for love, emotion; we can learn and gain experience.

The ultimate point of it all is for us to learn good and bad - learn righteousness.  God does this by providing the experience he intends for each of us.  Its all part of God's plan.

The movie analogy
You could liken the creation to one giant movie/script. God wrote, produced, directed and even stars in this movie. We all play our roles as well.

God can fast-forward to the end to see how the movie plays out if he wants, but he doesn't really have to because he wrote, produced, and directed the movie. He knows how it turns out.

We make our choices, but its like the choices that characters make in a movie. No matter how many times you watch the movie, the characters still make the same choices. So it is with us (from God's perspective). Our choices are cast in stone, we are just following the script of God's plan. We don't have free will anymore than the characters in a movie have free will.

Notice I said God even stars in this movie. He plays the role he has written for himself. Of course he appears in the form of Jesus, and his resurrection, but in other ways as well. God answers prayers. God appears to some and speaks to them (Adam in the Garden, Moses, etc).

Its a process. We will learn good and evil. We will learn righteousness. We will gain experience. We will be perfected.

Summary

I apologize for the rambling length of this post.  This is just some stuff I've been discussing with other people that I've pasted together for your perusal.  If you think I'm way off base, please let me know.

It is still hard to accept it sometimes.  Its tough to unlearn 30 years of people telling you that you have free will.

I look forward to your comments.

Cheers,
Kevin (Legoman)
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Dave in Tenn

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 03:35:27 AM »

Random comments:

God certainly created Evil.  God gave the law, and the Law created Sin.  Without Law there would be no sin.  God created us not only capable of sinning but heavily drawn to and prone to sin.  If it weren't for the Grace of God acting in us, we would do nothing but sin.  Without the Grace of God acting in and around us, we would be incapable of any act of righteousness whatsoever.

If that's true, then I am GLAD we don't have a free will. 

The movie analogy falls down in that there are actors playing roles and they will have read at least their lines (if not the whole script) before delivering them.  I'm not sure we even rise to the level of actors in God's movie.  Maybe we are the script.  Don't want to follow that too far. 

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Heb 10:32  But you must continue to remember those earlier days, how after you were enlightened you endured a hard and painful struggle.

Heidi

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 07:36:02 AM »

I don't think that either example is correct....IMO God gave us an experience of good and evil to humble us by and to be transformed into the image of His Son.  You cannot experience anything without emotions, touch, smell, fear etc. involved; therefor the robot example wont work and neither your movie script example.  I agree with Dave...we don't know the script.  Praise God for that! :)
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Craig

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2008, 08:37:21 AM »

Before anyone debates or teaches, you would all be wise to study to show yourselves approved, then God will do the drawing and may draw a person to us to give an answer to their questions.  Did Ray call you on the phone or knock on your door to explain the truths of God to you?  Or did Ray spend years of study and God drew you to the truth he taught?  We would be wise to throw away the babylonian doctrine of "winning souls".  It is not scriptural so why do we insist on it.  I've been guilty of it as have most others here so it must be part of the journey, but unless God does the drawing we will fail.  If we don't study for many hours/years and we only understand the truths of His word and don't really die to self and live it we will fail and look foolish to those we are trying to convert.  We will probably make things worse rather than better.

Craig
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legoman

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2008, 10:33:30 AM »

Thanks for the comments.

Dave, God created evil - so God created sin (or at least the sin of this world)... correct?  I'm just trying to clarify this in my own mind.

Heidi, Dave - I know the examples aren't perfect.  Good point about the movie - the real life actors know the script as well, but we don't know it of course, because we don't have perfect foreknowledge.  And I should have mentioned the humility aspect as well.  So perhaps the real point of it all is to learn righteousness and humility so we can show/see God's glory? 

The examples were more to show how the flow of time works and how we can make decisions without actually having free will.  A lot of people seem to get hung up on the fact that we make decisions, therefore we must have free will.  "Obviously I could have chose to go to work or I could have chose to stay home, therefore I have free will!"  etc.  But they don't realize that whatever they decided, God already knew it, therefore they really had no "free" choice.

Craig, sorry if this is the wrong spot for debate.  I was more asking for clarification, not debate. I think I understand what you mean in that it takes years to really figure this stuff out, and if we start debating with people who have no clue (while we are just learning ourselves), we could do more damage, or push them away - but it would be God's will whatever we do correct?  And perhaps it may plant some seeds.  I don't view it as "winning souls", but trying to open eyes or plant a seed.  Perhaps my attempts will be futile (as others have said), but we don't know how God works, and as Kent said in my other thread, we don't know what effect we will have with our words.  Perhaps the person we are debating will be shut out, but other people reading may gain understanding.

There is no doubt I am just starting the personal journey as well.  That is the side I should really explore - how do "die" to the self?  I know God needs to lead me, but it is difficult for sure.

More comments are welcome please.  I'm trying to get a crystal clear picture of it all in my mind.  Should probably go continue with my 2nd reading of the LoF series :)

Cheers,
Legoman
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Samson

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2008, 11:28:50 AM »

Hello Kevin,

                Craig is correct, I wouldn't hold my breath and expect to convince people of another Site. It's certainly an enjoyable discussion(The Free Will Myth). In conversation with a relative about free will or Free Moral Agency, I mentioned to them that their aren't any Scriptures in the Bible that show we have Free Will and that I would welcome them producing one for me. Their is nothing wrong with discussing the Bible in harmony with 1 Peter. 3:15; otherwise be cautious so as to avoid senseless debates with those that are not ready to accept this deep truth.

                If someone shows sincere interest and has the desire for an answer and explanation as to our not having Free Will, that would be a good opening for dialogue with the prospect of leading them to this Site to read Ray's Articles or especially listen to his Free Will Audio's.

                Also, right on this General Discussion Section, Joe Hillsbororiver has an Old E-mail posted that explains quite well that God's RESPONSIBLE for everthing, but People are ACOUNTABLE for their actions(choices); this E-mail response of Ray's ties in quite nicely with this thread.


               Interestingly enough for me, at least, a good proof that we don't have Free Will is that their are many Biblical Examples showing we don't have Free Will: 1) Paul's Conversion on the road to Damascus, 2) Peter's predicted Denial by Jesus, 3) Pharaoh Ramses heart being hardened by God; 4) Job chapter 1 and 2, Satan didn't have free will in this case; 5) Jesus himself said he did nothing of his own initiative.

                Yet, in contrast with the above, their are no examples of anyone having Free Will( Uncaused Choices). I appreciate Ray's comment to people regarding Death, " Free Will yourself outta that " If we had Free Will, we would be able to prevent our Death and completely control the outcome of every choice we make. The CAUSE and EFFECT(choices) relationship is a Scientific Fact, it's irrefutable.

                    None of the above is meant or intended as a debate, for that is not my purpose here, but merely for a contribution to this thread. I don't like debates and the CAUSE for that is spending twenty years preaching and " teaching " with the Door to Door method(JW) and although I had some interesting and stimulating conversations over the years; I CERTAINLY DIDN'T WIN ANY SOULS. If it's God's Plan, individuals will eventually learn these Truths, it's All of God and not of Ourselves. I don't know of any Forum members that planned to find this Site, usually it happened unexpectedly.


                         Just some thoughts on this thread.

                                      Kind Regards, Samson.
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AK4

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2008, 02:43:58 PM »

Hey Legoman,

I like to throw at em-- "so, before you knew about this Truth of no free will, did you feel like a robot.  No? So why now that you know you are saying we're robots?"

I had this conversation with my girlfriend a little while back and i brought up what Ray said in a email or somewhere about asking your spouse if there is no cause that they/you love them/me. It went something like that.

Basically i said to her--- if there can be no cause for something, what if i said to you that i love you and there is absolutely nothing you've done, or do, or will do, that made me love you, love you now, or to me keep loving you.

You should have seen the look on her face.  Here was the phases of it--- ;D :o :( and then :-X

It was funny.  Then she started to get what i was meaning about no free will.  It sounds nice on the premise but when you/they think about it, its like !@#$%.

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Phil3:10

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2008, 04:31:43 PM »

Craig,
You are so very right. GOD does it all and uses mankind in the way HE sees fit. There are to many teachers who know too little and just confuse more. In over two years I have not been able to refute any of Ray Smith's teachings. However, it is so very easy to refute the teachings of all others. GOD is in total control.
Phil3:10
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legoman

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2008, 02:13:49 PM »

Hi Rodger,

I agree the anologies can only go so far, but they were more just to help give a tiny piece of understanding on how we percieve time and make decisions.

Anyway, when explaing free will to other people I keep running into this problem.

I give the standard logical reason:  God has complete foreknowledge, so we cannot make a choice that would contradict that foreknowledge.  Therefore we don't have free choices.  This makes complete logical sense to me.

But then the free-will believer will say, "but how did God get that foreknowledge?  Just because God knows what we will do doesn't mean we don't have free will.  God knows what we do by looking at our free will choices."

Argh.  It's hard to explain this with that kind of thinking.  I know for you and me, its obvious.  What this person has said is completely backwards.  They are essentially saying man's will is driving God's will.  God gets his foreknowledge by looking at us!

I then try to explain, well how can God be all-knowing if we have free will?  And the response is "because he is omniscient and has foreknowledge."

So frustrating.  Its like they are just dancing around the truth.  Should I just give up?  Perhaps it is futile to explain this to some people.

Kevin
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KristaD

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2008, 02:29:49 PM »

So frustrating.  Its like they are just dancing around the truth.  Should I just give up?  Perhaps it is futile to explain this to some people.

Kevin


Yes, exactly. There is nothing to be gained by arguing with them and even if you describe it perfectly they will not get it unless God wants them to. ONLY GOD CAN OPEN THEIR EYES and you are powerless to do anything. You are waving around big neon signs in front of people who can't see. Just study, pray and say what He leads you to, but don't spend a moment thinking about what you will say because He already said He will speak for us. This isn't something you have any power to do, you just have to let it go and trust Him, He's going to show them just wait. Everything else is irrelevant.
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Kat

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2008, 06:07:06 PM »


Hi Kevin,

Quote
I give the standard logical reason:  God has complete foreknowledge, so we cannot make a choice that would contradict that foreknowledge.  Therefore we don't have free choices.  This makes complete logical sense to me.

But then the free-will believer will say, "but how did God get that foreknowledge?  Just because God knows what we will do doesn't mean we don't have free will.  God knows what we do by looking at our free will choices."

Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning,
       And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
       Saying, "My counsel shall stand,
       And I will do all My pleasure,'

Now how can God "declare" (to state emphatically) what the end will be if we can make free will choices that are different from what He says He already knows will happen?  Free will would cause things to change constantly.  This is a really tangled web that the chuch has weaved.

mercy, peace and love
Kat

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legoman

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2008, 06:19:59 PM »


Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning,
       And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
       Saying, "My counsel shall stand,
       And I will do all My pleasure,'

Hey thanks for reminding me of this verse Kat!  Yes that one is pretty clear, it is God that declares the end, not us and our "free will".

And I realize you are all right in that some people will never understand (until the end), and only God can open their eyes.

But I'm still pretty green, and will continue to debate and spread the message for a while.  I'm sure God has planned that for me (since that is what I am doing) and he planned this so I would learn something - probably to learn not to debate with the foolish  :)  And probably so I would learn humility.

Rodger (I think) had said before, God had also planned I would debate against people who wouldn't have their eyes opened (at least not yet).  It does boggle the mind sometimes.

Cheers all...
Legoman

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AK4

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2008, 10:11:45 PM »

I found a nice view of Augustine's book, here is an excerpt:

On Grace and Free Will

Written by St. Augustine of Hippo in A.D. 426 or 427
Extract from Augustine's Retractions (Book II, Chapter 66): There are some persons who suppose that the freedom of the will is denied whenever God's grace is maintained, and who on their side defend their liberty of will so peremptorily as to deny the grace of God. This grace, as they assert, is bestowed according to our own merits. It is in consequence of their opinions that I wrote the book entitled On Grace and Free Will. This work I addressed to the monks of Adrumetum, in whose monastry first arose the controversy on that subject, and that in such a manner that some of them were obliged to consult me thereon. The work begins with these words: "With reference to those persons who so preach the liberty of the human will."
Addressed to Valentinus and the monks of Adrumetum, and completed in one book.
Chapter 1 [I.]— The Occasion and Argument of This Work.

With reference to those persons who so preach and defend man's free will, as boldly to deny, and endeavour to do away with, the grace of God which calls us to Him, and delivers us from our evil deserts, and by which we obtain the good deserts which lead to everlasting life: we have already said a good deal in discussion, and committed it to writing, so far as the Lord has vouchsafed to enable us. But since there are some persons who so defend God's grace as to deny man's free will, or who suppose that free will is denied when grace is defended, I have determined to write somewhat on this point to your Love, my brother Valentinus, and the rest of you, who are serving God together under the impulse of a mutual love. For it has been told me concerning you, brethren, by some members of your brotherhood who have visited us, and are the bearers of this communication of ours to you, that there are dissensions among you on this subject. This, then, being the case, dearly beloved, that you be not disturbed by the obscurity of this question, I counsel you first to thank God for such things as you understand; but as for all which is beyond the reach of your mind, pray for understanding from the Lord, observing, at the same time peace and love among yourselves; and until He Himself lead you to perceive what at present is beyond your comprehension, walk firmly on the ground of which you are sure. This is the advice of the Apostle Paul, who, after saying that he was not yet perfect, Philippians 3:12 a little later adds, Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded, Philippians 3:15 — meaning perfect to a certain extent, but not having attained to a perfection sufficient for us; and then immediately adds, And if, in any thing, you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereunto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. Philippians 3:16 For by walking in what we have attained, we shall be able to advance to what we have not yet attained,— God revealing it to us if in anything we are otherwise minded,— provided we do not give up what He has already revealed.
Chapter 2 [II.]— He Proves the Existence of Free Will in Man from the Precepts Addressed to Him by God.

Now He has revealed to us, through His Holy Scriptures, that there is in a man a free choice of will. But how He has revealed this I do not recount in human language, but in divine. There is, to begin with, the fact that God's precepts themselves would be of no use to a man unless he had free choice of will, so that by performing them he might obtain the promised rewards. For they are given that no one might be able to plead the excuse of ignorance, as the Lord says concerning the Jews in the gospel: If I had not come and spoken unto them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. John 15:22 Of what sin does He speak but of that great one which He foreknew, while speaking thus, that they would make their own— that is, the death they were going to inflict upon Him? For they did not have no sin before Christ came to them in the flesh. The apostle also says: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold back the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him are from the creation of the world clearly seen— being understood by the things that are made— even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are inexcusable. Romans 1:18-20 In what sense does he pronounce them to be inexcusable, except with reference to such excuse as human pride is apt to allege in such words as, If I had only known, I would have done it; did I not fail to do it because I was ignorant of it? or, I would do it if I knew how; but I do not know, therefore I do not do it? All such excuse is removed from them when the precept is given them, or the knowledge is made manifest to them how to avoid sin.

LOL.  Doesnt that part i highlighted sound like the trinity doctrine
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AK4

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2008, 11:15:58 PM »

whoops i didnt find that excerpt i copied and pasted it from someone who was saying we have free will
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hillsbororiver

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Re: Free will discussion
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2008, 01:32:28 PM »

There are so many more scriptural witnesses in Ray's Free Will series, here are just a few from the top of my head;

Isa 64:8  But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

Jer 10:23  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Jer 18:2  Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

Jer 18:6  O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Joh 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
 
Joh 6:65  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Joh 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
 
Rom 8:20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?

Rev 2:27  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Rev 9:6  And in those days shall men seek death and shall not find it; and shall desire to die and death shall flee from them.

Peace,

Joe
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