March 31, 2015

Homework Help: Theology

Posted by Magnu on Monday, November 13, 2006 at 11:59am.

How can free will be compatible with predestination, when they hold two different views of creaiton?

Free will, that God created almost everything, and predestination, that he created everything.

Free will and predestination are not compatible. The concepts are also independent of whether there is a God or not. They have more to do with chaos theory and the uncertainty principle.

Whatever or whoever created the universe appears to have provided a set of physical laws that either allow free will, i.e, the ability to make decisions regarding the future, or to make unpredictable random choices, or to let the randomness happen. This differs greatly from the "predestination" promoted by Newtonian physics and certain religions.

Barbara, a devout Calvinistic Christian who believed in predestination, once explained this question to me. We were discussing this definition of predestination --
"the decree of God by which certain souls are foreordained to salvation."

She said that God had already foreordained whether she would go to Heaven or Hell. That was God's business. Her job was to live her life on Earth as well as she could. She had the free will to choose to do the right things.

Like many other issues in theology, this question of free will versus predestination is open to many interpretations.

Exercising free will alters the result.
Predestination means the result is fixed.
They are mutally exclusive.
Any attempt to describe a situation where both exist is illogical. In Barbras example, her actions have no reaction, she can choose "right", wrong, or no things to "do" and the result is the same. She has no "will" to express freely, as the predestination imlpies foreknowlege of all events leading to the result. She has reduced herself to an automoton, with all choices she thinks she is making "freely" already scripted.

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