A Free Will Universe

04/30/2011

When I ask people whether or not we live in a free will universe they almost always say yes.  That’s not surprising because who would deny that we have free will.  However, when I ask them other unrelated questions they often respond with answers which would not allow for the existence of free will.  So I’m confused, or maybe I’m just curious.

I’m curious because I was raised in a strong Christian environment and even considered becoming a minister one day.  Although I never did become a minister, the whole discussion concerning a prime creator still fascinates me to this day.  So at the risk of offending some people’s belief systems on this subject, here’s what I’ve learned.

The paradox concerning free will most often comes up in the context of God’s interaction with His creation.  For example, how many times have you heard someone pray to God?  No doubt many of you have yourself.  Now here’s the rub.  God can’t answer your prayers because if He did it would violate our free will.  Not only that but neither can He interfere with the affairs of man.  After all, man is either free or he isn’t.  You can’t have it both ways.

All of which brings us to the question of sin and the Christian dogma of the fall of man and his redemption by grace.  Down through history, this has been one of the most perplexing questions in theology and philosophy.  For how can man have free will and yet be judged because he supposedly broke God’s commandments?  On the other hand, how can you have a world where there is no personal responsibility?

Believe it or not, the answer mostly has to do with how we define God and how we view who and what we are.  The explanation of those issues I will leave to a later date as it would probably require several blogs to explain.  Suffice it to say that God gave us free will so that we could exercise it.  That’s why they call it free (will).  However, being omnipotent, God actually knows the choices that we will make and, furthermore, that good choices and bad choices (i.e. duality) are both actually necessary in order for man to come to a complete understanding of God (and by extension himself).

So there you have it – the good, the bad and the ugly, all of which are part of God’s creation.  So the next time you hear someone say that God works in mysterious ways, remember that God’s creation doesn’t necessarily define God himself.  By that I mean that the mystery is not the work of the invisible hand of God but rather the work of the world created by Him, a world which we don’t understand.   It’s a world which has become what it is based solely on our free will and the choices that we make.  If you want to change it, or change yourself, you need to look within instead of appealing for divine intervention.  God has nothing to do with it.  Besides… He has seen this movie before and already knows how it will end.

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