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Is God's Own Will Free?

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Hello. Friendly atheist here. I believe any of the moderators who recall my visits over the last several months will confirm I remain respectful, and that I am here to seek your opinions, not to convert you to my faithlessness.

Also, though I admit it is a stubborn block to move, I promise I am willing to be convinced into faith, so I hope that opportunity to save one wayward soul offsets any energy you spend to answer my queries.

Anyhoo, today I have been thinking about God’s omnipotence.

First, let me say I am familiar with the worn-out arguments atheists like me usually make and I know where they usually come to an impasse in dialog with most Christians:

Atheist: Can God make a square with three sides (the immovable object argument)?

Christian: No. God cannot logically be expected to do that which is not logically consistent. A square, by definition, has four sides. God can make a square with THREE sides, but only by first redefining a square as a three-sided object.

OK

Atheist: If God is all-powerful, is it possible for God to do evil?

Christian: No. By definition, what God does IS good. If you find it disagreeable or “evil,” it is because either (A) it is only “evil” from your selfish perspective or (B) you have no means by which to judge the ultimate good of any act by God in the scheme of the vast cosmos. It may SEEM honestly evil to you, but that is no fault of God, but an artifact of your imperfect perception of His design.

Fair enough.

But today occurred to me one (and then a number of) thing(s) that seem to fall into a grey area between the notion of an omnipotent God and things that are illogically meaningless.

For the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that humans can do evil though God cannot because, since at least the Fall in Eden (though probably earlier… probably since the creation of Man), these are inherently qualities that define and distinguish God from human: God is the only entity which only does good, human is that which is prone to evil.

But here are some hypothetical situations that occur to me whose solutions are not so clear, and I wanted any opinion any of you have to offer:

1. Can God destroy Himself?

2. Is God capable of regret?

3. Can God create another, separate god?

4. Can God create and tend, simultaneously, more than one Universe at a time? If so, what is the nature of the existence which can contain multiple universes?

5. Can God (who, at least in part, exists outside the natural universe as its uncreated creator, superimposed over all dimensions including the dimension of time) change his mind AND can any human affect God’s mind to change it?

This last question, for me, seems to hold the most profound implications, for everything from God’s decision to cause the Flood to the purpose and efficacy of intercessory prayer.

(In fact, it was Saturday’s bulletin from administrator Chad about the importance of intercessory prayer that got me thinking about this.)

Now, God SEEMS to be accessible to bargaining (ie, prone to suasion) when discussing the fate of Sodom and Gomorra with Lot, or deciding the fate of the Hebrews who forsake faith in Him at the foot of Sinai, or His license for Satan to meddle in the affairs of the house of Job.

I understand that, perhaps, God is simultaneously co-existent along every moment in the timeline of these events and knew, before their outset, how they would each resolve.

BUT, if that is the case, and each of these (and all) moral situations are simply means by which God tests humans through their free will, with advance knowledge of the outcome, then isn’t God bound and constrained by the his pre-ordained responses to those freely chosen human acts?

I guess what I’m saying is: if humans have free will, and God exists (at least in part) outside of time, and knows all that time holds, does that not mean that God Himself does NOT have free will?

If there is a cosmic system of justice that punishes sin and rewards piety, doesn’t this limit God and constrain Him in ways to which beings with true free will are immune?

When I boil it down to its most distilled framing:

Doesn’t free will among either God or humans make free will for the other impossible?

I don’t put this out there as any kind of “gotchya zinger.” I’m sure if I read enough Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, etc., I’ll find cogent answers to this conundrum. In fact, I’m kind of counting on Chad to weigh in. But I am interested in what any of you who have taken the time to read this far have to say.

Thanks for your time. With hope that I have not offended,

Kirby
 
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When I first learned about Jesus Christ I heard it from my Grandma... She I swear, had wings & a halo. She would tell me stories about Jesus Christ & just have me in awe. I loved her so very much that I never wanted time to go on. I was like a baby staring at the sky for the first time. She passed when I was 13. I never once thought to myself... "Is she just making this story about Jesus up? Is she lying to me?" Nope not ever... I didn't really care what she was reading to me or telling me about as long as I had her focus. I never really mattered to me if God was real or not back then. I was just a young punk kid looking for another window to break on an abandoned building.

As time passed I just knew something existed. I knew that we weren't apes at one time nor did the earth happen with some explosion. That just sounds dumb no mater how many people dissect & entertain the subjects. The more they talk the more ignorant & reaching they look.

Our small trivial human minds whether we used half our brains or all our brains couldn't ever comprehend even a miniscule of God's mind, plans or love he has for us. Trying to figure out God & what he can do is like trying to explain the internet to an ant.

I read your post & thank you for it Kirby. But I can't help but chuckle. Because as I was reading it I thought about a small child that asks "why?, why?, why?" They don't really care to know the answer, they don't even know what they would do with the answer if they did get it they just feel the need to ask why. I mean "can a square be made with three sides"? That is hilarious!! WHO would ask such an ignorant question. How do we even know a square is actually a square? Because that's what we have been told so because it's been said millions of times it must be true? What if the color red is really blue? What if a nose is really a foot?

If I were an atheist the very last thing I would care about or care to ask about would be if God can make a square out of 3 sides. Knowing me I would ask something like if I turn my life over to God & let him deal with all my inner madness will I have an opportunity to see my Grandma when I die? Is God able to take a filthy beat up rag & clean it spotless? Can God rewire me & change the way I think, feel & react when I become livid? Who cares about a square made from 3 sides. That answer wouldn't keep me out of prison. The change the way I react when I become livid will. I know you're educated Kirby & your questions just might be harmless. But I will enlighten you about God. He & ONLY he has taken me from the very bottom of misery & shown me things that even Steven King couldn't dream of. It didn't just happen with luck for me. I can't even win 5 bucks if I buy 18 scratch offs. I don't even bother asking meaningless questions anymore. Gd has shown me things, miraculous things that even I can not explain. If you were given the proper answers to your questions will it be then you believe? If you walked into a hospital & seen a person flat line (dead) & 30 minutes later when nobody entered or exited the room you walked back by & they were getting dressed would you alter your "belief"? If a cripple in a wheel chair with a hunch back jumped out of the chair & started doing jumping jacks & stood upright would you then believe?

Whatever your reply - I will end with this... An atheist will believe in God before I doubt God exists.

Don't believe God exists? You don't have to go to a Christian for the answer just ask a satanist.
 
Loyal
One thing to consider is all the non biblical proof out there that proves the bible is true, there is a ton of it and a lot of it has turned atheist into believers.

Another thing is that Christianity is the only faith that does not rely on works to get you to heaven it is a gift. To me this just makes good sense and is what separates what I believe with all my heart and soul to be the real deal.

I do not believe there is any other faith where the leader has predicted his own death and resurrection that has come true other then Jesus Christ king of king and Lord or Lords Praise Jesus!! and thank you Jesus

I just do not see how anyone could not believe there is a God that created us and everything, there is no other explanation to me.

THen there is my own testimony and the miracles I have seen in my own life once excepting Jesus !!


THe fact that you are here shows you are wondering, good luck
 
Member
Hi, LordKnows. Thanks so much for the thoughtful response.

First, forgive me. I know I get longwinded so sometimes my meanings get lost in my own mud. I know that to ask God to make a 3-sided square seems absurd. I was admitting that, and other logically silly “challenges” — sorry if my intent was too murky there. A square is a square simply because we humans (generally) define a square as a 4-sided figure with equal sides and 90 degree corners. Red is only red because we agree it is so, and so we define it thus. And a nose is not a foot because (at least in my own case) one smells well while the other smells awful.

;)

Anyway, my question turns on exactly the point of your testimony (by the way, I promise I do not in any way intend to dissuade you from the succor of your faith):

Let’s use me as an example. If I accept Jesus as Lord, my own personal savior, and believe in God, the everlasting to everlasting, and place my faith in Him, truly and faithfully, does He have the option of not accepting me into his Grace? Or is He bound to take me unto Him? If so, does this not mean that I have free will (whether or not to accept Him) while He does not?

To be fully open, you should know that I was raised a Jew. I was taught (and I am not claiming that this is 100% authoritative, but I think it bears out) that Judaism is based upon a covenantal relationship with God, first between God and Noah to not destroy the Earth again, then between Abraham and God to make of Abraham’s seed a great nation, etc, etc; and most recently between the Israelites and God according to Mosaic law. My understanding is that Christ represents a rescinding of all those covenants in exchange for the promise of salvation through God’s grace based upon obedience to Him and acceptance of His absolution of our sins through His sacrifice.

But it occurs to me that this is actually yet another form of covenant, or legal contract. If I accept Him sincerely, He is bound to admit me to life everlasting. If I reject Him, no matter how very much He loves me and wishes that it were otherwise, He is bound condemn me to an eternity expelled from His presence (Hell).

In other words, He (I think — and this is the heart of my question) has no choice in the matter. If God exists, he CAN make a 3-sided square, no matter how silly that seems. But, if I accept Him into my heart, and embrace His ways, he MUST accept me into Paradise. And if I reject him, then he is bound to reject me.

I hope I have not even further confused my question.

By the way, one aspect of my atheism is that I’m not very concerned with any question of “why.” I am willing to believe in God, I just (so far) don’t see any need or reason too. I hope you don’t find that too repugnant, though I completely understand if you do.

Also, I know a few self-proclaimed “satanists” and several pagans. Most of them DO believe in some supernatural element to our existence (I do not), but none of the ones I know believe in Yahweh or Jesus, etc., etc. I don’t mention this to convince you to like satanists any more than you do. But they are real and, if you are at all concerned with satan worship (as most devout Christians I have met are… and, I guess, should be) you might find it helpful to think of them simply as another non-Christian religion. I’m sure there are those who come to satanism as as a means of rejecting their Christian upbringing, but in my experience, most are drawn to it by other attractions. Not having any skin in the game, I see myself standing on the sidelines, but Christians who strive against satanists are aiming (in my opinion) off the mark if they think their foe is what the movies and the news typically portrays and reports.

I’m not saying you would find the beliefs of actual satanists any less blasphemous and disgusting. But (again, at least in my experience) a Christian who wants to combat satanism should be less concerned with blood sacrifice, animal torture and weird inversions of the Catholic mass (I’ve never met anyone who is even vaguely interested in these) and more focused on combating a creed that preaches individual power, ideals of personal earthly pleasure and morals crafted by mere mortals, not to be found in any divine scripture.

If I thought there were anything to it, I would find these a much greater challenge to the devout than any simple rejection of Christ. But, I admit, I don’t enjoy qualifications to speak with any expertise for either team.

Anyway, to sum it all up again: In your opinion (and I won’t hold it against you whichever way you lean), does God have a free will while mine is determined? Or is it the other way around? If God MUST accept me when I decide to accept Him, then I think I this might be some way in which it is actually better — or at least free-er — to be a human than to be Him.
 
Member
Thank you, Dave M.

You are right. I am here because I am wondering. But, just to manage your expectations, I am wondering because I wonder about everything, not because I find my existence somehow lacking (except in the sense that I don’t think I will stop wondering until I know everything).

I respect your conviction that reality and your own personal experience prove a special creation and, hence, a Creator. For my part, while I will never say that’s impossible, I just haven’t yet discovered convincing evidence that it is so. (I am not insulted if you think that is utterly insane.)

As for getting into Heaven, one of my biggest current disagreements with Christianity is the entire notion that faith carries more weight than works upon the scales of Judgement. I find the whole notion (please forgive me) obnoxious. As hard as it is for you to imagine this universe not having a Creator, I find it even harder (or, rather, more disagreeable) to imagine a Creator who credits faith in Him more than any amount of effort to work good across the face of his creation. On matters like this, the closest analogy that always comes to mind is that of the relationship between me and my children. I want my children to love me. But, much MUCH more than that, I want my children to cleave unto good instead of evil, and to work tirelessly to discover the difference between the two.

(If you like we can have a sidebar about how an infidel like myself feels equipped to speak of good and evil.)

Anyway, if my children did not love me, it would break my heart. But I would never punish them for it. I would only punish them for doing evil.

Also, coming back to my original point, I don’t feel BOUND to punish them. I do, as a part of rearing them. But at any time I know I can (and, maybe, sometimes, I have) let them off easy. But Christians insist to me that I am GUARANTEED a slot in heaven if I just have faith and accept Jesus Christ as my own personal savior. And am condemned without appeal if I do not.

I foreswear all silly arguments about, “Well, does that let me commit murder, just so long as I have faith,” etc. My interest here is: Can God reject me from Paradise even if I have faithfully accepted Him? In your opinion.

Because, if He can’t, this would seem some way in which I reign over Him — bizarre as that might appear.
 
Active
Gosh YOU ARE a great question asker Kirby.

Ya see, I'm not like a "normal" Christian. I mean really I'm not. I don't know how anyone would describe me but either way it goes 'I aint like the rest of um' LOL.

I'm a flat out rounded off corners, get straight to the point human. I only used elegant wording when I'm or WAS I should say heading into court for something stupid I did.

Anywho, You posted this part:
But it occurs to me that this is actually yet another form of covenant, or legal contract. If I accept Him sincerely, He is bound to admit me to life everlasting. If I reject Him, no matter how very much He loves me and wishes that it were otherwise, He is bound condemn me to an eternity expelled from His presence (Hell).
It doesn't matter if you "believe" he exists or not that will get you a first class ticket to Hell. Non-believers have a space waiting for them there. I KNOW, I know that does sounds kinda unfair. But God has said that EVERYONE will be given a chance to hear of him & his word. Might not be ALL his words but they will have heard about him. It will be up to them to either believe or walk away.

As far as your "free will" goes you can do what it is you want to do. God wants you to do the right & just thing. Believe in him, Love your neighbor & don't go kill nobody. (You get what I mean)
 
Member
I have to ask you Kirby, What exactly is an Atheist?
Thanks, again, for the sincere consideration and response, LordKnows.

I self identify as an atheist because I do not believe in the existence of any gods.

I am not convinced that there can’t possibly BE any gods. I just haven’t come across any evidence I find credible to support such a belief.

In addition to my atheism, I am also a materialist: I don’t believe there is any supernatural or immaterial component to existence, including souls, magic, ghosts, etc. For me (and I can only speak for myself) these are two related but separate things. I have met people who don’t believe in gods but do believe in, say, psychic abilities. So, TECHNICALLY, they are atheists but not, by the definition I use, materialists.

I know this worldview often seems bizarre and opens up a whole raft of questions for believers. I’m happy to explain in any detail you like. But the above is the general upshot of it.
 
Active
Thank you for your reply. Now I have to ask. When did you figure out that there are no Gods? What was it that had you come to that belief?
 
Member
I believed in God growing up because the adults around me told me about Him and, since they were the authority whom informed all my development, I took them at their word.

As I grew I learned of the diversity and conflicts between the different popular religions. Some of these include absolutely irreconcilable contradictions. Quickest example: if Jews are right that the Messiah has not arrived yet, then Christians can’t be right that He has.

So, I placed a mental question mark over my certainty that the faith in which I was raised is the “true” one, at least until I learned enough about it and the other faiths it contradicts to accept it fully.

What I found is, in my opinion, no religion or any popular description of God has any sound basis in reality.

As a totally separate matter, I also came to the opinion that I disagree with just about every basic tenet of all the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Hence, even if I DID believe God exists, I would actively agitate against his regime.

(BTW, this does not mean I believe in deceit, murder or theft. I just feel that judging these as wrong is much more socially powerful if it devolves from a consensus social contract than resorting to their mention in any book.)

But, to my mind, I can find no difference between the way one would expect a godless world to look and the world we see today. So, I don’t see any sense in imposing one into the existing system of nature.

I am happy to proven wrong. Knowing the truth is more important to me than pretending the world follows according to my preferences. Even if I felt impelled to war against the God of the Old and New Testament (and I would), I would much rather know that He is factually there than pretend he is not.

So, I am always ready to believe. Or at least I think I am, and try to be. The fact is, I just don’t believe for the time being.
 
Active
I have to give you kudos for answering my question completely. THANK YOU for that.

Now I will ask you this (because you have a way of clearing up any confusion I might have easily)

When you get depressed, hurt, heartbroken, have a death occur of a loved one. Who do you turn to for comfort? What name do you call out when you fall & don't see help around you?

My baby brother (he was just younger than me not a baby) passed away in 2002 at the age of 24. He & I lived how we wanted. Drinking, clubbing, doing whatever made us forget reality in all honesty. So many unconscious drunken nights of parties, hangovers & the whole bit. He was my best friend at the time. Took some time for us to become as close as were had but none the less. The second I got the call that he hit a tree & didn't make it I don't recall much of anything. The ONLY (& I mean this literally) being that got me through that was God. Had it not been for my faith I would have joined my brother in the casket. My faith at the time was very small. Probably smaller than a mustard seed. God showed me things & placed a comfort through me that I can not explain. I cried yes, I hurt for days, weeks, months & years but God wrapped his arms around me & I felt them. I wasn't dreaming or drunk I felt arms so powerful but so calming I cannot doubt God is real. I'm a "prove it" person but not when it comes to believing in God. God has done too much for me & shown me that if I were to say he wasn't real or that I used to believe but now I don't I would be lying. Over the years I have gained more respect for God than I even know & I am gaining more & more as time passes.

God isn't understandable. He's not someone that can be figured out or dissected. The human mind will go insane trying to put a finger on his reasons, definition & power. I have to admit I am not educated in much of anything. All I know I have learned hands on by not giving up. I wasn't ever good in school. I wasn't really into reading any book or doing a study. But with God, I have this hunger to get closer to him. It's an appetite that I am unable to put into words. God can't be found - He finds US. I mean, I'm a nobody. A 2.6 gpa, dropout with a GED, not a professional, was a drunk, a druggie & rebellious just to be difficult. God - found lil ole me. I don't even bother questioning it. Kind of like if someone walked up to me & handed me a million dollars - I wouldn't ask why (I would wonder) but I would thank them & be in shock for the first few days. God isn't about being at the right place at the right time. God isn't a lucky lottery ticket or a good luck charm. He seems to take forever but he's never late.

How your mind is having a hard time wrapping it around the existence of God. My mind can not fathom the idea of how lost I would be if I didn't know he existed. Even when I try to think about it the confusion is unbearable.

Not everything happens for a reason & everything isn't meant to be figured out. I know that now. :)
 
Active
Hello. Friendly atheist here. I believe any of the moderators who recall my visits over the last several months will confirm I remain respectful, and that I am here to seek your opinions, not to convert you to my faithlessness.

Also, though I admit it is a stubborn block to move, I promise I am willing to be convinced into faith, so I hope that opportunity to save one wayward soul offsets any energy you spend to answer my queries.

Anyhoo, today I have been thinking about God’s omnipotence.

First, let me say I am familiar with the worn-out arguments atheists like me usually make and I know where they usually come to an impasse in dialog with most Christians:

Atheist: Can God make a square with three sides (the immovable object argument)?

Christian: No. God cannot logically be expected to do that which is not logically consistent. A square, by definition, has four sides. God can make a square with THREE sides, but only by first redefining a square as a three-sided object.

OK

Atheist: If God is all-powerful, is it possible for God to do evil?

Christian: No. By definition, what God does IS good. If you find it disagreeable or “evil,” it is because either (A) it is only “evil” from your selfish perspective or (B) you have no means by which to judge the ultimate good of any act by God in the scheme of the vast cosmos. It may SEEM honestly evil to you, but that is no fault of God, but an artifact of your imperfect perception of His design.

Fair enough.

But today occurred to me one (and then a number of) thing(s) that seem to fall into a grey area between the notion of an omnipotent God and things that are illogically meaningless.

For the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that humans can do evil though God cannot because, since at least the Fall in Eden (though probably earlier… probably since the creation of Man), these are inherently qualities that define and distinguish God from human: God is the only entity which only does good, human is that which is prone to evil.

But here are some hypothetical situations that occur to me whose solutions are not so clear, and I wanted any opinion any of you have to offer:

1. Can God destroy Himself?

2. Is God capable of regret?

3. Can God create another, separate god?

4. Can God create and tend, simultaneously, more than one Universe at a time? If so, what is the nature of the existence which can contain multiple universes?

5. Can God (who, at least in part, exists outside the natural universe as its uncreated creator, superimposed over all dimensions including the dimension of time) change his mind AND can any human affect God’s mind to change it?

This last question, for me, seems to hold the most profound implications, for everything from God’s decision to cause the Flood to the purpose and efficacy of intercessory prayer.

(In fact, it was Saturday’s bulletin from administrator Chad about the importance of intercessory prayer that got me thinking about this.)

Now, God SEEMS to be accessible to bargaining (ie, prone to suasion) when discussing the fate of Sodom and Gomorra with Lot, or deciding the fate of the Hebrews who forsake faith in Him at the foot of Sinai, or His license for Satan to meddle in the affairs of the house of Job.

I understand that, perhaps, God is simultaneously co-existent along every moment in the timeline of these events and knew, before their outset, how they would each resolve.

BUT, if that is the case, and each of these (and all) moral situations are simply means by which God tests humans through their free will, with advance knowledge of the outcome, then isn’t God bound and constrained by the his pre-ordained responses to those freely chosen human acts?

I guess what I’m saying is: if humans have free will, and God exists (at least in part) outside of time, and knows all that time holds, does that not mean that God Himself does NOT have free will?

If there is a cosmic system of justice that punishes sin and rewards piety, doesn’t this limit God and constrain Him in ways to which beings with true free will are immune?

When I boil it down to its most distilled framing:

Doesn’t free will among either God or humans make free will for the other impossible?

I don’t put this out there as any kind of “gotchya zinger.” I’m sure if I read enough Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, etc., I’ll find cogent answers to this conundrum. In fact, I’m kind of counting on Chad to weigh in. But I am interested in what any of you who have taken the time to read this far have to say.

Thanks for your time. With hope that I have not offended,

Kirby
To answer no. 5, Jonah would be a good book to read.

Our own actions of humility placed before Him, can change God's mind.
Only because He saw their works of faith, God repented of His wrath.

Ninevah believed the messenger of God and humbled themselves.
All praise glory and honor be unto God. Amen
 
Member
I have to give you kudos for answering my question completely. THANK YOU for that.

Now I will ask you this (because you have a way of clearing up any confusion I might have easily)

When you get depressed, hurt, heartbroken, have a death occur of a loved one. Who do you turn to for comfort? What name do you call out when you fall & don't see help around you?...
Ha! I had gone away to take care of some work stuff and came back intending to add to my last response that I have (obviously) never had what I would describe as a moment of personal revelation, but that, like the very existence of God Himself, I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility.

And here you beat me to the punch with testimony of your own such experience. Maybe there IS ESP!

;)

Also, I am very sorry to learn of the loss of your brother.

I, too, have suffered loss and times of despair. I have been very fortunate in that I enjoy a pretty amazing circle of friends and family and we are all there for each other in such dark moments. That helps.

I have even, on one or two occasions, found myself on the verge of suicide. I am not sure how I survived those passing impulses (it occurred several years ago), but if God preserved me in those instances, He did so in ways that continued to keep His presence unknown to me. My recollection of the period is that I was in emotional turmoil and, since suicide is definitely an irreversible decision, I would stay alive as long as I could by distracting myself with anything that occurred to me which was more interesting at the moment then complete oblivion. By the time the urge to self destruction had passed, seeing it in the rearview mirror made it seem silly. I know it was not silly when I experienced it. But, as time goes on, I am more and more relieved that I did not act on those impulses.

I can see where a Christian might see that period in my life as an instance of Christ and God working on my behalf… but just as I can’t (and would never) deny your conviction about your experiences, no one but myself can judge the presence of God in mine.

At the time I was not yet “firm” in my atheism. But through it all it never occurred to me to call out to God for any assistance, nor did I (nor DO I) blame Him for letting me down in some way. It was only years later, in conversations like this, that it has even occurred to me that, hey, yeah, this is one of those examples that many faithful cite as a moment of clarity and conversion and that I somehow missed it.

Again, I don’t feel disappointed or neglected because, obviously, it never occurred to me there was anyone who ought to have been alleviating my woes.

Sorry to ramble on so…
 
Member
To answer no. 5, Jonah would be a good book to read.

Our own actions of humility placed before Him, can change God's mind.
Only because He saw their works of faith, God repented of His wrath.

Ninevah believed the messenger of God and humbled themselves.
All praise glory and honor be unto God. Amen
Thanks for responding, rag4aCrown.

I grasp that scripture is full of accounts of God appearing to change his mind. The whole negotiation with Lot for the sparing of Sodom and Gomorrah, Satan’s urging Him to heap ruin upon Job as a test though it hadn’t occurred to God first, and (I mean, it doesn’t get any more explicit than this) when Moses intercedes on behalf of wayward Israel, “So the Lord CHANGED HIS MIND about the harm which He said He would do to His people.” (Ex 32:14)

This conflicts completely with the many apologists who insist that the only explanation for the universe is a special Creation by an UNCHANGING, uncreated Creator who exists OUTSIDE OF TIME and space. Unchanging and outside of temporal dimension = no changing of mind.

However, there are logical ways around this apparent contradiction, the simplest being that God had always intended to appear to change His mind in these instances in scripture for the benefit of the people He was interacting with and those who would be reading them down the ages since.

But, since the time of the Crucifixion, doesn’t the notion that there is a solid-state, binary set of options for the afterlife (Heaven or Hell) and an equally binary set of criteria for selection among those options (faith or renunciation), does this not render God a sort of (forgive the ugly metaphor) salvation robot? If he MUST admit a believer into Heaven and MUST NOT admit any nonbeliever, has he not become a mere servant to the order He established?

Conversely, if He CAN pick and choose and make exceptions, then humans are constrained by laws that don’t necessarily need to apply, in which case THEY suffer a constrained form of free will.

Please don’t take this as a demand for an expert explanation. I just wanted to clarify my question a bit and see if you have any further thoughts on it.

Thanks again,

Kirby
 
Loyal
I self identify as an atheist because I do not believe in the existence of any gods.

I am not convinced that there can’t possibly BE any gods. I just haven’t come across any evidence I find credible to support such a belief.
So you believe that creation, and life just spontaneously occurred? With no outside force to make it happen?
What about cognizance, self-awareness, the ability to think and reason. That also just spontaneously happened?
 
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Awesome reply Kirby!!!

I have a notion that you need some type of "feeling", God presence" or sign that he does exist & is real. And without that you just see it as possibly being a myth because well, why not? What doesn't make sense in our heads just doesn't make sense & can't possibly be a real thing. I could be wrong...

I've been up, down, side to side & in & out in this life I've been given. Some call life a blessing (& I hope to be one of them someday) but with all the trials, madness, anger, despair, hopelessness & depression I just can't call it a blessing at this time. I am able to walk to my car (some can't) I can feed myself (some can't) you get my point.... I didn't want to be here anymore than the next person or any less for that matter. I sometimes wonder why I'm even here but that idea fades as quickly as it enters my mind.

I just know one thing for sure - I'm not here just because. Or for no reason. Whatever it may be, I pray I do what I was created to do.
 
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So you believe that creation, and life just spontaneously occurred? With no outside force to make it happen?
What about cognizance, self-awareness, the ability to think and reason. That also just spontaneously happened?
Hi, B-A-C.

If by “spontaneous” you mean “magically appearing from nothing,” no. But, if you mean arising from unplanned natural processes, yes. Like snowflakes.

And I am also of the opinion that cognizance, self awareness and the ability to reason are an emergent, though not inevitable, effect of these same natural processes as well.

I did not intend with this thread to get into all my reasons for this perspective, but if you’re interested in such a discussion, I’m all up for it.
 
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...I just know one thing for sure - I'm not here just because. Or for no reason. Whatever it may be, I pray I do what I was created to do.
For what it's worth, I think anyone as introspective and self-aware as you seem to be, LordKnows, cannot fail to fulfill that reason for you being here. Thank you for a very enjoyable conversation.

:)
 
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5. Can God (who, at least in part, exists outside the natural universe as its uncreated creator, superimposed over all dimensions including the dimension of time) change his mind AND can any human affect God’s mind to change it?
No,God is "read only" like a DVD is a ROM(read only memory).That DVD can contain programs that do many different things.The ROM itself is "one" and whole within itself,lacking nothing.Information from that image can be loaded into RAM(random access memory) which can be changed.
This RAM can be loaded with the image of the DVD and is from the DVD but it is not a DVD but a virtual DVD and the programs that come from that virtual DVD can be loaded in the RAM as programs and those programs can make changes,but only within the RAM itself.
In this situation it could be said that "image" both is and is not the DVD itself.

In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.
The word is "one", just as the volume of information on a DVD is one.
The image of the "one" can be installed into RAM and all the information can be unpacked into programs that install themselves and seem to be autonomous but are really just commands and algorithms.This RAM based image had a beginning and thou the "image" itself does not change it can create programs that can and do change.

Since God is eternal he does not change,the word does not change but words do.
Words are only needed to define difference.There is no difference in one.
If words are being used it is not talking about God.

Genesis 1:1 n the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
The word translated God is actually Elohim which is a plural for God and means Manifold Majesties.
This then can not be the eternal God who does not change.
Jesus said he was the Alpha and the Omega.That is a circle or the closest you can get to the image of eternal in time.


You have many excellent questions and points that I also wrestled with.
I had to find a way to get rid of seeming contradictions so it actually makes sense.
I don't have time to address them but if you can see how something can be and not be at the same time you can unlock the
truth embedded in scripture.We tend to think in linear terms and scripture speaks in more symmetric terms and that makes it seem as contradictory as Schrodinger's cat.Many scriptures are revealing patterns and cycles and cycles of patterns and patterns of cycles.
The patterns show up over and over even though the players vary.
 

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