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legoman
Oct 21st 2008, 04:44 PM
This comes up quite often when talking about God's sovereignty and free will.

"God doesn't want a bunch of robots that are programmed to love him, therefore we must freely choose to love him of our own free will".

Well is love a free choice? I don't deny it is a choice, but is it a free choice? A free choice is a choice that is unconstrained and has no external causes.

So lets look at love. I would propose that love is one of the worst examples of a so-called "free" will choice. The very nature of love means it has many external causes.

Do you love someone just because you decided to? "Hm, I think I'll fall in love today. No particular reason at all, just my own free will in action." Nope, not quite that easy. In fact most people don't even choose to fall in love, let alone freely choose to fall in love.

Here is a test. Go home tonight and tell your wife (or husband) something like the following: "Hi honey, just wanted to let you know that I love you for no particular reason. Nothing causes me to love you." After you get slapped, you may find yourself sleeping on the couch for a couple nights :)

When someone falls in love, they are responding to many many different influences and desires that cause them to feel a certain way, and effectively cause them to fall in love. Physical attractiveness, emotional connection, desire to have a soul-mate, etc all play a role and we don't have any control over it.

That is the first stage, but then a choice is made to enter into a relationship. Is it a free choice? No, it is heavily influenced by all the things that caused you to fall in love in the first place. Many other circumstances constrain the choice as well. All of these influences and circumstances let you make a choice, but it is by no means a free choice.


Now lets look at another example of love. Your children. Does anyone choose to love their children? "Hm, my wife just gave birth to our first child, I guess I better use my free will to decide if I will love the child or not." Nope, doesn't work that way. I would submit that most people don't even think about choosing to love their children, they just do it. No choice is even made. And with good reason. Most parents will love their children, no matter what they do. They may be disappointed or upset with them at times, but they will still love them.

Now there may be very rare circumstances where a parent could no longer love its child. In order for that to happen there would have to be some very extreme and painful circumstances that occur. Now in this sad scenario, does the parent use its free will to not love the child? "Hm, I freely choose to not love my own child anymore. No external cause or no particular reason." No! Of course not. It was the very extreme and painful circumstances that caused the parent to be no longer able to love the child. The parent had a choice, but it was not a free choice. Anyone else in the exact same situation would have done the exact same thing!

So, for Love to be true, do we need free will? No. So does God need to force us to love him? How about influence/cause/inspire? Those could be a type of "force". And that is what the scriptures say:

John 6:44 no one is able to come unto me, if the Father who sent me may not draw him, and I will raise him up in the last day;

John 6:65 and he said, `Because of this I have said to you -- No one is able to come unto me, if it may not have been given him from my Father.'


And truthfully speaking, if God did plainly reveal himself to a person, why would that person reject him? There would be no reason to. No force necessary, just plain inspiration.

Look at Saul's/Paul's conversion. The Lord revealed himself with a flash of light and a booming voice. Paul was thrown to the ground trembling. Did Paul then decide freely that he should follow Christ? Not likely. It probably took about 5 seconds for him to be converted. He made the choice but it was not a free choice. It was a caused choice. Caused by all the flash and boom and trembling. :)

Cheers,
Legoman

Elouise
Oct 21st 2008, 05:18 PM
I have to admit of the theodicical arguements the Free will defence strikes me as pretty illogical on both philosophical and theological grounds. It may be popular but its pretty shakey on determinism.

Is love a universal given that it can be seen as both abstract and subjective?

Then we should consider as this world knows suffering and humanity appears to contain flaws can we truly share knowledge with a perfect 'other' to ourselves. If God IS love and God is perfect how can we who are like God but not God and therefore imperfect understand love as God does?

Love could be said to be an irrational action from hormonal surges causing an affect upon the human organism that can be perceieved as pain or pleasure. It can also be argued that it is essential to promote care for others that gives the human species an advantage. I think I prefer to argue that it is a pale reflection of that which is other to us that IS perfect love beyond both our knowledge and capacity to understand.

Paul was a Hebrew, a pharisee, on my reading of Hebrew Theodical reasonnings to date there is not free will. God is simply God.

matthew94
Oct 21st 2008, 05:21 PM
Your initial premise blurs the reality of what people actually believe


Well is love a free choice? I don't deny it is a choice, but is it a free choice? A free choice is a choice that is unconstrained and has no external causes. You're assuming, it seems, that people who talk about free will are using the term 'free' in the sense that it is FREE from all external forces. This is simply not the case. Arminians believe our choice is co-operative with the grace of God. It is not 'free' in the sense of having nothing to do with anything but self, it is 'free' in the sense that it is not forced.

Friend of I AM
Oct 21st 2008, 05:37 PM
We love him, because he first loved us. And God is Love. I think that both scriptural passages kind of answer the initial topic question in a nutshell. We didn't really know what love was before God, and thus God in a sense is working through us when love(scriptural love) is present since love in itself comes from him and since he has defined himself as love.

Now I guess the underlying question is what makes God loving? A lot of answers to that question I'm sure. My personal opinion would be to say that it could be his choice to freely share his freedom and love with others.

God bless in Christ,

Stephen

Edit: To answer the initial question regarding Paul, he was working freely when God awakened his spirit within him, since God's spirit is freedom personified.

legoman
Oct 21st 2008, 06:04 PM
Your initial premise blurs the reality of what people actually believe

You're assuming, it seems, that people who talk about free will are using the term 'free' in the sense that it is FREE from all external forces. This is simply not the case. Arminians believe our choice is co-operative with the grace of God. It is not 'free' in the sense of having nothing to do with anything but self, it is 'free' in the sense that it is not forced.

Well thats sort of the point. People don't actually think it through when they say we have free will. People believe we have 'free' will, but its not really 'free'. People say, "Well I make my own decisions, I do it all by myself, therefore I have a free will." Not so. The decisions we make are actually very constrained by the circumstances we are in and by our experiences in life.

A decision or choice is just selecting what you prefer among some options. Nothing more. We make choices all day long. I'm making choices right now as I decide what words to use in this post.

Every choice we make has a reason or cause. We evaluate the circumstances and options, and this causes us to make a choice. Given the exact same circumstances and options, the choice will be made the same way every time. God knows this. Who controls all circumstances? God.

Back to the example of loving your children. Why do you choose to love your children? Because you chose to have them in the first place! But thats not the only reason or cause. You were raised a certain way, to take care of others, to love your family, etc. Essentially you have a life of learning and experience to draw on. This all influences you so that you automatically choose to love your children. Definitely not a free choice. Because of who you are, you cannot choose to not love your children.

Now take another case. A deadbeat dad gets a girl pregnant and then runs out on her. He has chosen to not love the child. Was this a free choice? No. He had a different set of morals, life experiences. From that he concluded he was not going to stick around and love the child. He had reasons and made the decisions. That was the only outcome possible, based on who he was. Now does this make it ok what he did? Absolutely not. He made the completely wrong decision. But because of who he was he could not have made the right decision.

Now when it comes to choosing God, again same thing applies. We make the decision based on the circumstances and what we know. John 6:65 even says no one can come to him unless God enables him. If God has not enabled us, we won't know about him or believe him, and therefore will not choose God. If God has enabled us, we will choose him.

Anyway, the point is that a free will is not required to love something. In fact the will is anything but free.

matthew94
Oct 21st 2008, 06:31 PM
Just because many people interpret the term 'free will' incorrectly doesn't mean the term is not worth using. If people think their choices aren't IMPACTED by their environment and, of course, by God, then they are certainly incorrect. But the rest of your post paints a picture in which the ENVIRONMENT and/or GOD actually force us to make whatever choice we end up making. Such is simply not the case. Circumstances can only make certain choices more likely or attractive. That is why kids, raised in the same household, with incredibly similiar environments can make incredibly different choices. Yours is a very mechanistic world. Mine is a very organic world.

The term 'free will' is, granted, redundant. 'Will' implies freedom in the sense that I originally declared. It's a freedom from being forced to choose. It's not a freedom from external influence (such a freedom isn't possible).

Firefighter
Oct 21st 2008, 06:42 PM
God is Love.

Love (unconditional Agape love) is not something we can choose to do. It is a fruit (if not THE fruit) of the Spirit. What we can do is get ourselves out of the way long enough to let the Holy Spirit do His thing. When we do that, we will love.

legoman
Oct 21st 2008, 06:53 PM
Just because many people interpret the term 'free will' incorrectly doesn't mean the term is not worth using. If people think their choices aren't IMPACTED by their environment and, of course, by God, then they are certainly incorrect. But the rest of your post paints a picture in which the ENVIRONMENT and/or GOD actually force us to make whatever choice we end up making. Such is simply not the case. Circumstances can only make certain choices more likely or attractive. That is why kids, raised in the same household, with incredibly similiar environments can make incredibly different choices. Yours is a very mechanistic world. Mine is a very organic world.


Hi Matthew,

Thanks for engaging the argument. Yes, the term "free will" is quite often used incorrectly.

Your comment I believe is that circumstances/environment/God/external forces/whatever can only impact the choice so far, but then the final decision is left to us.

But I think you are not thinking broad enough when we talk about circumstances and environment. Circumstances also includes things like the physical traits of our body, our own desires, and the chemical makeup of our own brain. Some people are shy and gentle, others are outgoing and aggresive. We don't have any control over these attributes, but they definitely affect how we make choices. Who gave us these attributes? God of course.

Now we as mere humans cannot even identify all the attributes of our personality and physical makeup that might have an affect on any decisions we make. Not to mention the literally hundreds and thosands of tiny circumstances that could affect our decisions. But God knows them all. Take all of these thousands of events and attributes into account, and our choice has been predetermined.



The term 'free will' is, granted, redundant. 'Will' implies freedom in the sense that I originally declared. It's a freedom from being forced to choose. It's not a freedom from external influence (such a freedom isn't possible).
Regarding the idea of "being forced" - I maintain it is simply a poor description. A better term would be "influenced" or "inspired".

Perhaps you can answer me this: Do you feel you are "forced" to love your children? (I have no idea if you have kids Matt, but just for example).

Cheers,
Legoman

matthew94
Oct 21st 2008, 07:10 PM
I don't deny that there are a multitude of ways in which circumstances and environment play a role in our decisions. But the fact remains that God asks us to make a 'choice' and that holds us 'responsible' for the choices that we make. This responsibility dictates that we could have chosen differently. It's one thing to attempt to understand the different factors that led one to make a choice, but an entirely different thing to say those factors negate the very idea of choice. Predetermined choice is, in that sense, a contradiction.

I agree that our choices are influenced and, at that (at least our good choices) are inspired. If all you are fighting for is the usage of those terms in describing our choice, I am in complete agreement with you! It's the predetermined language that negates the meaning of the very word 'choice' that I am at odds with.

If I had kids (I do not, I only this weekend got engaged), I would undoubtedly not feel forced to love them. It would feel natural. I would feel inspired. AND I would voluntarily choose to love them.

Partaker of Christ
Oct 21st 2008, 08:13 PM
John 5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

John 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

How can anyone love 'free will' or otherwise, unless God were your Father? they have not the love of God in them, so were is the choice?

Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The 'commandment' to love God and our neighbour (in the law) did not work, because the flesh was weak. Man is finite and his love is limited, but the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts, as given to us by the Holy Ghost, is infinite. Then we can 'freely' love God, love the brethren, love our neighbour, love the unlovable and even love our enemies.

Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

If you love the world, it is because the love of the Father is not in you. It has nothing to do with choice. If we do not love the world, it is only because we have the love of the Father in us.

1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
1Jn 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
1Jn 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1Jn 3:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

1Jn 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

It is not about choice. If we are born of God 'WE WILL' love one another.

1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jn 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1Jn 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1Jn 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jn 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
1Jn 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

I believe that this is key: Have we "known and believed" the love that God hath to us? I know of many Christians who do struggle with this fact, that God loves them. God loves us because God 'IS' Love. Nothing I did and nothing I will or can do, can make Him love me, or stop Him loving me. I cannot change who God IS.....God 'IS' Holy. Can anything I do stop Him from being Holy?

1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
1Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

1Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1Jn 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

This commandment, is not a law 'thou shalt' but a commission 'you will', because He commanded it to be so. He who loves God, will love his brethren. The world will know that we are His disciples, because we love one another. It is not a choice matter.

legoman
Oct 21st 2008, 08:24 PM
I don't deny that there are a multitude of ways in which circumstances and environment play a role in our decisions. But the fact remains that God asks us to make a 'choice' and that holds us 'responsible' for the choices that we make. This responsibility dictates that we could have chosen differently. It's one thing to attempt to understand the different factors that led one to make a choice, but an entirely different thing to say those factors negate the very idea of choice. Predetermined choice is, in that sense, a contradiction.


I look at it this way. At one moment in time, we can look at the circumstances, weigh the options, and make a choice for good or bad. Whatever choice we make, that is the only choice that could have been made. The other option was never a possibility, since God knew that we would make the choice.

BUT (this is a big BUT), at that moment in time we are the ones who made the choice. God did not force us. We looked at options and made the decision. If it was a choice for bad, we will be accountable for it. This is all still true, even though the choice for bad had to happen and the choice for good could not happen.

Its tough to wrap your head around. We in our finite sense of self-awareness, made the choice. No one forced us.



I agree that our choices are influenced and, at that (at least our good choices) are inspired. If all you are fighting for is the usage of those terms in describing our choice, I am in complete agreement with you! It's the predetermined language that negates the meaning of the very word 'choice' that I am at odds with.
I admit this is a very tough subject. For myself, I have been thinking and meditating on this for most of the year. Before that, I would have said I was firmly in the free will camp. Part of it as you say is the word usage, and people not realizing our choices are influenced, etc. If you think it through logically, you can see that our choices and the path of our lives is influenced much more than we could ever realize. I have come to accept that we must be predestined. But the illusion of free will is tough to give up.

If you really want to get into some deep discussions, jump into "The One Timeline" thread, I would be curious how you view some of the scriptures I've presented over there. Isaiah 46:10-11 is the starting point.



If I had kids (I do not, I only this weekend got engaged), I would undoubtedly not feel forced to love them. It would feel natural. I would feel inspired. AND I would voluntarily choose to love them.Yes that is a good way to describe it. No force necessary, it is natural. Now being forced to not love your children - that would be unnatural and truly forced. It would be going against your nature.

I guess that is a good way to sum it up: we make choices according to our nature, and our nature is completely influenced by our circumstances, our environment, and ultimately, God.

Congrats on getting engaged.

Cheers,
Legoman

John146
Oct 21st 2008, 09:11 PM
Well thats sort of the point. People don't actually think it through when they say we have free will. People believe we have 'free' will, but its not really 'free'. People say, "Well I make my own decisions, I do it all by myself, therefore I have a free will."No one here is saying that, are they?


Not so. The decisions we make are actually very constrained by the circumstances we are in and by our experiences in life.Our circumstances and experiences can have an effect on our choices but they do not determine our choices.


A decision or choice is just selecting what you prefer among some options. Nothing more. We make choices all day long. I'm making choices right now as I decide what words to use in this post.Yes, you have the freedom to make those choices.


Every choice we make has a reason or cause. We evaluate the circumstances and options, and this causes us to make a choice. Given the exact same circumstances and options, the choice will be made the same way every time.Where do you come up with this? That would be true of robots who are programmed to do a certain thing based on certain situations. But we are not robots.


Back to the example of loving your children. Why do you choose to love your children? Because you chose to have them in the first place!How do you explain the people who don't love their children despite having chosen to have them in the first place?


But thats not the only reason or cause. You were raised a certain way, to take care of others, to love your family, etc. Essentially you have a life of learning and experience to draw on. This all influences you so that you automatically choose to love your children. Definitely not a free choice. Because of who you are, you cannot choose to not love your children.This doesn't make any sense. My wife grew up being physically abused by her parents. Yet, she would never dream of doing that to our kids. How do you explain that?


Now take another case. A deadbeat dad gets a girl pregnant and then runs out on her. He has chosen to not love the child. Was this a free choice? No. He had a different set of morals, life experiences.How do you know he didn't choose to have a different set of morals which led to different life experiences?


From that he concluded he was not going to stick around and love the child. He had reasons and made the decisions. That was the only outcome possible, based on who he was. Now does this make it ok what he did? Absolutely not. He made the completely wrong decision. But because of who he was he could not have made the right decision.This is simply not true. You can find two people who grew up in very similar circumstances who made very different choices in life. Nothing you're saying here is valid in reality.


Now when it comes to choosing God, again same thing applies. We make the decision based on the circumstances and what we know. John 6:65 even says no one can come to him unless God enables him. If God has not enabled us, we won't know about him or believe him, and therefore will not choose God. If God has enabled us, we will choose him.You're missing the context of that verse. God enables those who believe in Christ to come to Him. We must first choose to believe in Christ.

John146
Oct 21st 2008, 09:13 PM
I look at it this way. At one moment in time, we can look at the circumstances, weigh the options, and make a choice for good or bad. Whatever choice we make, that is the only choice that could have been made. The other option was never a possibility, since God knew that we would make the choice.This doesn't make any sense at all. God knowing something beforehand is not the same as God making something happen beforehand. Why would Jesus have said what He did in the following verse if an alternative choice was never a possibility for the unbelieving Jews?

Matthew 23
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

John146
Oct 21st 2008, 09:16 PM
Just because many people interpret the term 'free will' incorrectly doesn't mean the term is not worth using. If people think their choices aren't IMPACTED by their environment and, of course, by God, then they are certainly incorrect. But the rest of your post paints a picture in which the ENVIRONMENT and/or GOD actually force us to make whatever choice we end up making. Such is simply not the case. Circumstances can only make certain choices more likely or attractive. That is why kids, raised in the same household, with incredibly similiar environments can make incredibly different choices. Yours is a very mechanistic world. Mine is a very organic world.

The term 'free will' is, granted, redundant. 'Will' implies freedom in the sense that I originally declared. It's a freedom from being forced to choose. It's not a freedom from external influence (such a freedom isn't possible).Exactly. What you said about people raised in very similar environments making very different choices is true. This is something that it seems our friend legoman is not properly taking into account.

Emanate
Oct 22nd 2008, 01:31 AM
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

It would appear that we have a completely wrong definition of love. We like to define love by what we feel for our spouses or our children. Very touchy feely ways to think, yet completely wrong.

Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

Love is obviously something based on freewill, for we have the choice to reveal our love, or to not.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous

legoman
Oct 22nd 2008, 01:52 AM
This doesn't make any sense at all. God knowing something beforehand is not the same as God making something happen beforehand. Why would Jesus have said what He did in the following verse if an alternative choice was never a possibility for the unbelieving Jews?

Matthew 23
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

I already covered these and similar verses in the other threads.

But with respect to our choices and God's foreknowledge: I am always confused by your thinking. Do you think God's foreknowledge changes in some way based on our choices? I don't believe it does. God already knows our choices before we make them, therefore the alternatives to those choices can never be made.

If you don't mind, could you answer these questions for me.

Do you believe God knows the day when each person will die (Job 14:5 says as much)? Then, do you believe an individual can do something that would then change the date of their death?

Legoman

legoman
Oct 22nd 2008, 02:09 AM
Exactly. What you said about people raised in very similar environments making very different choices is true. This is something that it seems our friend legoman is not properly taking into account.

Of course there are many examples of people growing up in the same family environment that end up making completely different choices.

But the family environment is not the only thing influencing that person. A person is influenced by the whole world. But that may not even be the biggest influence on a person. The biggest influence on a person is how God made them: their skills & gifts, their physical makeup, their mental makeup, their disposition, and their personality.

Many siblings have completely different personality and completely different gifts. That will have a huge effect on what choices a person makes.

Often even the smallest trait can have a huge effect. For example: poor eyesight. When a kid is growing up, having to wear glasses brings about a whole new set of experiences (positive and negative) that the child will have to deal with. Seems like a simple thing but it can radically change your course.

To be honest there are so many thousands of circumstances that are beyond our control: social pressures, work pressure, health, family, place of birth, physical attributes, mental competancy, personality, what we like, what we dislike, what our abilities are... the list goes on and on. And we have no say in any of them.

legoman
Oct 22nd 2008, 02:44 AM
Our circumstances and experiences can have an effect on our choices but they do not determine our choices.
Your not thinking broad enough. I'm talking about every cirumstance and detail that could possibly effect us. From the size of your shoes, to the temperature of the room at that moment, to the chemical makeup of your brain, to what you had for lunch, to where you live, etc, etc, etc. If one could categorize and quantify every possible thing that could affect your decision, then they would be able to determine exactly what decision you would make. And that is what God is able to do.



Where do you come up with this? That would be true of robots who are programmed to do a certain thing based on certain situations. But we are not robots.
The concept of a robot is too limiting for an analogy. Do you feel like a robot? No, and neither do I. We are so advanced it is amazing that people can think that God did not create us. Yet that does not change the fact that all of our decisions are based on causes, or "input". Mmmmm, need input.... ;)



How do you explain the people who don't love their children despite having chosen to have them in the first place?
I don't know, maybe ask a psychologist. But perhaps they weren't ready for kids? Perhaps they weren't mature enough to have kids? I'm not sure what you are getting at. People make mistakes. People make bad decisions. But they make those decisions based on the circumstances and environment and the options available.



This doesn't make any sense. My wife grew up being physically abused by her parents. Yet, she would never dream of doing that to our kids. How do you explain that?
Well again, maybe ask a psychologist. But I would guess that your wife has a better sense of right and wrong than her parents did. There could be many reasons for that. But it is probably based on her life experience and circumstances.




Now take another case. A deadbeat dad gets a girl pregnant and then runs out on her. He has chosen to not love the child. Was this a free choice? No. He had a different set of morals, life experiences.How do you know he didn't choose to have a different set of morals which led to different life experiences?
Its just an example. But you are correct, he did choose a different set of morals. The question is why? Something caused him to choose poor morals. Perhaps he wasn't taught what's right. Perhaps he had a bad family life. Perhaps he was rebelling. Perhaps he was scared. Perhaps he is just an uncaring idiot. Who knows (well God does) - there is a million reasons that all could have caused him to make the stupid decision.



But because of who he was he could not have made the right decision. This is simply not true. You can find two people who grew up in very similar circumstances who made very different choices in life. Nothing you're saying here is valid in reality.
Actually it is quite true. You are not considering how wide-ranging and all-encompassing the circumstances really are. I addressed this in the previous post, but basically no two people are the same. Even if they grew up with the same family in the same house in the same bedroom. Why do identical twins quite often have opposite dispositions (ie. one shy, one outgoing)? Free will? Hardly. God and their experiences growing up made them that way.

Emanate
Oct 22nd 2008, 03:02 AM
I addressed this in the previous post, but basically no two people are the same. Even if they grew up with the same family in the same house in the same bedroom. Why do identical twins quite often have opposite dispositions (ie. one shy, one outgoing)? Free will? Hardly. God and their experiences growing up made them that way.


Personalities are the biggest proof of free will.

legoman
Oct 24th 2008, 01:23 PM
Personalities are the biggest proof of free will.

I'm not sure how you would come to that conclusion. Do we have a choice in the matter of our personality? Our personality is our nature, what we naturally feel in expressing ourselves. I would say God picked our personality for us, we didn't 'make' our personality with our own 'free will'.

I would say personality is an example of an attribute we have no control over. Example: I am naturally shy by nature. Sure I can work to be more outgoing in certain situations, but I would always be more comfortable in my 'shy' nature.

Cheers,
Legoman

John146
Oct 24th 2008, 05:18 PM
I already covered these and similar verses in the other threads.

But with respect to our choices and God's foreknowledge: I am always confused by your thinking. Do you think God's foreknowledge changes in some way based on our choices? I don't believe it does. God already knows our choices before we make them, therefore the alternatives to those choices can never be made.But they are our choices. That's what you seem to have trouble understanding, for whatever reason.


If you don't mind, could you answer these questions for me.

Do you believe God knows the day when each person will die (Job 14:5 says as much)? Then, do you believe an individual can do something that would then change the date of their death?

LegomanOf course if God knows when something will happen then that's when it will happen. It doesn't mean He necessarily causes it to happen. He allows things to happen, but He doesn't cause every single thing that happens.

John146
Oct 24th 2008, 05:22 PM
Of course there are many examples of people growing up in the same family environment that end up making completely different choices.

But the family environment is not the only thing influencing that person. A person is influenced by the whole world. But that may not even be the biggest influence on a person. The biggest influence on a person is how God made them: their skills & gifts, their physical makeup, their mental makeup, their disposition, and their personality.

Many siblings have completely different personality and completely different gifts. That will have a huge effect on what choices a person makes.

Often even the smallest trait can have a huge effect. For example: poor eyesight. When a kid is growing up, having to wear glasses brings about a whole new set of experiences (positive and negative) that the child will have to deal with. Seems like a simple thing but it can radically change your course.

To be honest there are so many thousands of circumstances that are beyond our control: social pressures, work pressure, health, family, place of birth, physical attributes, mental competancy, personality, what we like, what we dislike, what our abilities are... the list goes on and on. And we have no say in any of them.No one is denying any of that. The issue is whether one can choose to repent and give their lives to Christ or not. Scripture says that we have a say in who we want to serve.

Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

John146
Oct 24th 2008, 05:29 PM
Your not thinking broad enough. I'm talking about every cirumstance and detail that could possibly effect us. From the size of your shoes, to the temperature of the room at that moment, to the chemical makeup of your brain, to what you had for lunch, to where you live, etc, etc, etc. If one could categorize and quantify every possible thing that could affect your decision, then they would be able to determine exactly what decision you would make. And that is what God is able to do.Show me scripture that says that. You have all these opinions with no scripture to back them up.


The concept of a robot is too limiting for an analogy. Do you feel like a robot? No, and neither do I. We are so advanced it is amazing that people can think that God did not create us. Yet that does not change the fact that all of our decisions are based on causes, or "input". Mmmmm, need input.... ;) Joshua, in Joshua 24:15, didn't seem to care what circumstances the people he was talking to were in: he said they needed to choose who they were going to serve. He knew each of them had the ability to make that choice and that choice was not determined entirely by their circumstances, environment and so on.


I don't know, maybe ask a psychologist. But perhaps they weren't ready for kids? Perhaps they weren't mature enough to have kids? I'm not sure what you are getting at. People make mistakes. People make bad decisions. But they make those decisions based on the circumstances and environment and the options available.Right. People make decisions based on being given different options. Their circumstances and environment have some influence on their decision, but people are not confined to making decisions entirely based on their given circumstances and environments.


Well again, maybe ask a psychologist. But I would guess that your wife has a better sense of right and wrong than her parents did. There could be many reasons for that. But it is probably based on her life experience and circumstances.She has had different life experiences because of choices that she made despite the bad influences she had. Your view has no explanation for that.


Its just an example. But you are correct, he did choose a different set of morals. The question is why? Something caused him to choose poor morals. Perhaps he wasn't taught what's right. Perhaps he had a bad family life. Perhaps he was rebelling. Perhaps he was scared. Perhaps he is just an uncaring idiot. Who knows (well God does) - there is a million reasons that all could have caused him to make the stupid decision.Outside influences, circumstances, environment, etc. don't force anyone to make a certain decision. That's where you're wrong.


Actually it is quite true. You are not considering how wide-ranging and all-encompassing the circumstances really are. I addressed this in the previous post, but basically no two people are the same. Even if they grew up with the same family in the same house in the same bedroom. Why do identical twins quite often have opposite dispositions (ie. one shy, one outgoing)? Free will? Hardly. God and their experiences growing up made them that way.I completely disagree with you and that isn't likely to change any time soon, so I guess we'll have to agree to disagree and leave it at that for now.

legoman
Oct 24th 2008, 07:29 PM
Eric,

You seem to have a habit of coming into these debates on free will, claiming everything I say is not true or doesn't make sense, claiming I don't have any scripture to back it up, and then ignore the many scriptures I do present, and ignore the direct questions I ask.


But they are our choices. That's what you seem to have trouble understanding, for whatever reason.

If you carefully read what I have posted you will notice I never claim they are not our choices. They are just not free choices - something has caused every choice we make.



Of course if God knows when something will happen then that's when it will happen. It doesn't mean He necessarily causes it to happen. He allows things to happen, but He doesn't cause every single thing that happens.Ok let me restate some questions, and if you can respond to it all I would appreciate it.

1. Do you believe God knows the day you will die?

You sort of answered this YES. Good, because that is what the bible says (Job 14:5, Psalm 139:16) etc. The answer is YES if you weren't sure.

2. Given this, do you believe there is anything you can do that will change
the date of the day you will die? That is to say, could you do something to change God's foreknowledge?

Logically you can only answer NO, or you will invalidate your answer to question 1, as well as several verses in the bible. But I am interested in what you will say.

Now, if there is nothing any of us can do to change the day when we die, we cannot have free will. If we did have free will, we could change the day when we die.

This can be extended for any event. If God knows I will have an ice cream sandwich for lunch tomorrow, then I cannot do anything that would lead to me NOT having an ice cream sandwich tomorrow.

To extend this further: Since God knows all events, we cannot do anything other than what God already knows we will do.


Now for some more scriptures:
1 Cor 12:6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

Jer 10:23 I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.

Jer 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin
or the leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
who are accustomed to doing evil.

And of course there's good old Eph 1:11 (God works all according to his purpose), Romans 9, Romans 8:29, many other proverbs, psalms etc

Now let me address the scripture you posted:
Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

This is one of many scriptures that says we must choose the Lord. No disagreement there. But you fail to miss that we cannot choose the Lord until he chooses us. You seem to think that we choose God first, and then he accepts us. That is backwards. He chooses us and then we accept him:

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you...

John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:65 He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."

Now I know we've discussed verse 44 & verse 65 before. You don't seem to believe those verses. It is all pointing to the fact that we cannot choose Christ until God allows.

Look back at Jer 13:23 above. Can a leopard change its spots? NO. Then neither can you do good who does evil! See what its saying? We cannot change our bad nature, so we cannot choose to do good! That is, until God changes us! Completely consistent with John 6. If we can't do good without God's help, how could we possibly choose Christ without God's help?

I hope and pray that you will respond to this. With an objective look at the scriptures, there is only one conclusion one can come to. God is operating all.

Legoman

John146
Oct 24th 2008, 07:47 PM
Eric,

You seem to have a habit of coming into these debates on free will, claiming everything I say is not true or doesn't make sense, claiming I don't have any scripture to back it up, and then ignore the many scriptures I do present, and ignore the direct questions I ask.Look through my posts and you will see that I respond directly to people's comments and scriptures they bring up as much as anyone.


If you carefully read what I have posted you will notice I never claim they are not our choices. They are just not free choices - something has caused every choice we make.That's what you say. Where does scripture say that? What kind of choices are not free? Are they really choices at all if they are not free choices? I understand that there are different circumstances and so on that we don't have control over. I'm not talking about that. I'm saying that circumstances do not dictate the decisions we make. They may (or may not) have some effect on our decisions, but our decisions are not automatically dictated by our circumstances.


Ok let me restate some questions, and if you can respond to it all I would appreciate it.

1. Do you believe God knows the day you will die?

You sort of answered this YES. Good, because that is what the bible says (Job 14:5, Psalm 139:16) etc. The answer is YES if you weren't sure.I believe God knows everything that will happen in the future.


2. Given this, do you believe there is anything you can do that will change
the date of the day you will die? That is to say, could you do something to change God's foreknowledge?See, I believe you look at this the wrong way to begin with so how in the world can we get on the same page when we look at this so differently? You equate God's foreknowledge with predetermination. I don't. Of course whatever God knows will happen is going to happen. He prophesied many things that will happen. If they don't indeed happen then they would be false prophecies. God forbid.


Logically you can only answer NO, or you will invalidate your answer to question 1, as well as several verses in the bible. But I am interested in what you will say.So far, this is pointless.


Now, if there is nothing any of us can do to change the day when we die, we cannot have free will. If we did have free will, we could change the day when we die.You're talking about free will in terms of the day we die. I'm not interested in talking about the things we have no control over. There's no debate about those things. I'm interested in talking about what we do have control over. You think we don't have control over anything because we can't make a free choice about anything because our circumstances and other things make our choices for us. I disagree.


This can be extended for any event. If God knows I will have an ice cream sandwich for lunch tomorrow, then I cannot do anything that would lead to me NOT having an ice cream sandwich tomorrow.

To extend this further: Since God knows all events, we cannot do anything other than what God already knows we will do.So what? He is outside the realm of time and space. That's why He knows everything that will happen. It doesn't mean He causes everything that happens. We are within it. You need to look at this from the perspective of time and space.


Now for some more scriptures:
1 Cor 12:6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

Jer 10:23 I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.

Jer 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin
or the leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
who are accustomed to doing evil.

And of course there's good old Eph 1:11 (God works all according to his purpose), Romans 9, Romans 8:29, many other proverbs, psalms etc

Now let me address the scripture you posted:
Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

This is one of many scriptures that says we must choose the Lord. No disagreement there. But you fail to miss that we cannot choose the Lord until he chooses us.Figures you would just brush that verse aside.


You seem to think that we choose God first, and then he accepts us. That is backwards. He chooses us and then we accept him:

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you...That verse is not about salvation, but that Christ chose who would be His twelve closest disciples and they did not choose Him. Don't forget that Judas Iscariot was one of them so that verse can't have to do with being chosen to salvation.


John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:65 He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."

Now I know we've discussed verse 44 & verse 65 before. You don't seem to believe those verses. It is all pointing to the fact that we cannot choose Christ until God allows. I believe God enables those who believe in Christ to come to Him. People choose whether to believe in Christ or not.


Look back at Jer 13:23 above. Can a leopard change its spots? NO. Then neither can you do good who does evil! See what its saying? We cannot change our bad nature, so we cannot choose to do good! That is, until God changes us! Completely consistent with John 6. If we can't do good without God's help, how could we possibly choose Christ without God's help?

I hope and pray that you will respond to this. With an objective look at the scriptures, there is only one conclusion one can come to. God is operating all.

LegomanI already have responded to several of those verses. I disagree with your interpretation of Joshua 24:15 and many others. I have also shown you passages like Isaiah 66:2-4, Matthew 23:37-38 and you have no convincing answer for those. This has become tiresome. We're going in circles. Once it gets to this point it's best just to agree to disagree.

threebigrocks
Oct 25th 2008, 03:32 AM
Love.

Can you love someone without knowing them? Could we love Christ before we knew Him? Do we love Him more "now" after some time of walking the faith? We choose to love within that relationship. He loved us first.

2 Peter 1
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.



Love is last here. Why is that?



Increasing measure - choosing - to push forward on the path of faith. We choose to add these things, and have them increase. When we genuinely choose Christ, we desire that relationship more than anything and pursue it because He is our all in all. We grow in all these things in 2 Peter 1 - because we begin to return out of choice, through relationship, to love Him in return.



A question to ponder.

What is forced love?

Levin
Oct 25th 2008, 07:51 AM
Hey Guys,

I think that rather than looking at love specifically, there needs to be a discussion about the word "free." A big difference in our philosophical understanding of what "freedom" means will have huge implications on how we view loving God freely. There are two main camps on the issue:

Libertarians: Those in this camp believe that freedom means that people have causal ability. That is, once people have acted in a situation, they could have done otherwise. That is what defines a free act. Also, they were free from compulsion when doing such an act. God's sovereignty isn't exactly an issue, they see God in an Arminian sense, where God knows the future but doesn't ordain it.

Compatibilists: Those who hold this view see an act as free when that act is in complete agreement with that person's will and desires. They do not have to have causal ability because that is not required for an act to be free. Loving God is free will if it fits our internal desires, not if we could have done otherwise.

Personally, I hold to a Compatibilist view, I think it fits better with my understanding of God's sovereignty.

With Regards,
Levin

legoman
Oct 28th 2008, 05:12 PM
Hey Guys,

I think that rather than looking at love specifically, there needs to be a discussion about the word "free." A big difference in our philosophical understanding of what "freedom" means will have huge implications on how we view loving God freely. There are two main camps on the issue:

Libertarians: Those in this camp believe that freedom means that people have causal ability. That is, once people have acted in a situation, they could have done otherwise. That is what defines a free act. Also, they were free from compulsion when doing such an act. God's sovereignty isn't exactly an issue, they see God in an Arminian sense, where God knows the future but doesn't ordain it.

Compatibilists: Those who hold this view see an act as free when that act is in complete agreement with that person's will and desires. They do not have to have causal ability because that is not required for an act to be free. Loving God is free will if it fits our internal desires, not if we could have done otherwise.

Personally, I hold to a Compatibilist view, I think it fits better with my understanding of God's sovereignty.

With Regards,
Levin

Hi Levin,

I think my view is close to the compatibilists view as well. I take exception to the term "free" when used in that description though. We make choices with our own wills and they are in accordance with our internal desires and circumstances. So our choices are not "free", they are constrained - constrained to what our desires are and what the circumstances are.

The question is, who gives us our desires? Who sets up circumstances? Who made us the way we are? God did all of those.

We do not have a causal ability within ourselves. Our will's are caused by something else.

Cheers,
Legoman

legoman
Oct 28th 2008, 05:22 PM
A question to ponder.

What is forced love?

Anything "forced" is probably not "true" love.

But some would say Love of God is forced regardless of whether our will is free or not. Essentially, God is saying "Love me or you will burn forever in hell." Is that really a "free" choice? Is that really love?

Legoman

Friend of I AM
Oct 28th 2008, 08:41 PM
Anything "forced" is probably not "true" love.

But some would say Love of God is forced regardless of whether our will is free or not. Essentially, God is saying "Love me or you will burn forever in hell." Is that really a "free" choice? Is that really love?

Legoman

I don't think it's forced. I do think it is made readily available to all who wish to partake in it. If you believe that God in totality is "Love" then ideally, you'll think that everything he does possesses some form of Love within it. I do think that God does allow us to "choose" him in a limited sense. Obviously we aren't completely like God and sovereign in all of our choices, but we do indeed have one. The bible makes this fairly clear in many verses.

If you think about it, would you really want someone to force you to be with them? I wouldn't. Not that I'm God, but in my own life when faced with scenarios as to whether or not someone wants to be with me or not..I just say "meh..why bother." There's only so much you can do for an individual. At some point you just let them go there own way. No use endlessly chasing after someone that doesn't want you.

God bless,

Stephen

threebigrocks
Oct 29th 2008, 01:27 AM
Anything "forced" is probably not "true" love.

But some would say Love of God is forced regardless of whether our will is free or not. Essentially, God is saying "Love me or you will burn forever in hell." Is that really a "free" choice? Is that really love?

Legoman

Forced love is rape, legoman.

How can you agree that forced love isn't true love, and then offer up an opinion that may or may not be your own to support it? That's not scripture, and it isn't truth. God is the essence of love. We need to stop looking at love as worldly, and see what it really is through the eyes of the One who will love us unconditionally if we seek Him.

Yes, it is true love. Love is greatest when one is just.

Partaker of Christ
Oct 29th 2008, 01:47 AM
Anything "forced" is probably not "true" love.

But some would say Love of God is forced regardless of whether our will is free or not. Essentially, God is saying "Love me or you will burn forever in hell." Is that really a "free" choice? Is that really love?

Legoman

I found that on many occasions, I have had to force my love upon my children, for their good and wellbeing.
It was aginst their 'free will', and they at times hated me for it.
If a parent loves a child more then they love themselves, then there are times when they may have to be willing to be hated.
Now they are adults they do things their way, but their ways are my ways. (well almost) :lol:

Friend of I AM
Oct 29th 2008, 07:22 PM
I found that on many occasions, I have had to force my love upon my children, for their good and wellbeing.
It was aginst their 'free will', and they at times hated me for it.
If a parent loves a child more then they love themselves, then there are times when they may have to be willing to be hated.
Now they are adults they do things their way, but their ways are my ways. (well almost) :lol:\

Oh I agree. I think children are a bit different than what legoman was stating though. I'm thinking more or less he was speaking of people who are of age and mature enough to make rational decisions. Those are the people you really don't force.