Free Will and God

Forums Vedic Philosophy Free Will and God

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Ashish November 17, 2018 at 4:25 am.

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  • #6613
    rounak.contact
    Participant

    Are free will and God’s omniscience mutually exclusive? If we have free will, that means we can choose an option from a host of other options. If God is omniscient, then He probably knows what choice we are going to make. If He knows the choice that we will make, then how are we free in making the choice? How do we understand this apparent contradiction?

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  • #6647
    Ashish
    Participant

    We are free to will, but we depend on God for abilities and opportunities. Without the abilities and opportunities, our willing will be just frustrated desires. God is omniscient and He gives the abilities and opportunities based on the will. So He knows what you are willing and He fulfills that will by giving you abilities and opportunities. For example, you might want to eat tasty food, but that will is not good enough. You need cash in hand and then a restaurant where you can eat. Cash in hand is ability, and the restaurant is opportunity. If God doesn’t agree to this, then you won’t have cash and you will not find a restaurant. You can keep desiring.

    If we have free will, that means we can choose an option from a host of other options.

    Your question is based on the assumption that you are randomly seeing different things and then you are choosing. In other words, you are the master and decision maker. This is an atheistic idea. The truth is that God knows what you want and He shows you and then you say “I’m attracted to this thing, and I want it.” If God did not know what you want, then you will see lots of random things, and you will say, “What a horrible experience, I never want it again.”

    You have to realize that the possibilities are infinite, and what you will like or choose from those possibilities is so miniscule that the chances of you finding what you will like out of the infinite possible things are next to zero. The fact that you find so many things that you like is itself the grace of God. He knows you and He shows you that which you will like. This is His kindness. If He did not have kindness and omniscience, then everything you see, you will dislike.

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  • #6662
    Sai
    Participant

    @ashish But the problem is that God’s omniscience contradicts my free will. If for eg., there is such a thing as misuse of one’s free will, it implies that there is a right use of it i.e., going back in time to the same situation X, one could have acted/chosen differently.

    But God’s eternal omniscience implies that the choice that I was going to make in situation X was known to God long long before I actually encountered situation X, which means that my choice in situation X was fixed long long before too (because if I choose differently, that would contradict God’s knowledge). Hence, the conclusion that my will is not free.

    Isn’t this a contradiction?

     

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  • #6664
    csbegu
    Participant

    @sai This is indeed an interesting question.

    Like Ashish said, the encountered situation is in fact arranged by God (or His Energy, Shakti, which is all the possibilities of choice). Whether God knows or wants to know all the future choices you will make from the possibility I think is intriguing. From the theory exposed by Ashish so far, God pays attention to the material world sequentially, whereas He pays attention to what happens in the spiritual world simultaneously. That is because God wants to know what He is (His internal energy) all the time, while He wants to know what He is not (Maha-Maya) only one sometimes.

    So the question is does God wants to know your future choices in the material world? Because if He doesn’t, He won’t know them (I think). @Ashish, please correct me if I’m going on a limb here…

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  • #6668
    Ashish
    Participant

    God knows what will happen, but not who will do it. The universal drama has a script which is decided by God’s will and then who wants to play which role is decided by the soul.

    You can understand this in terms of economics. The market size is fixed but the actors in the market are free. The market size is simply the total number of transactions of give and take. Just like someone will borrow money from a bank and some bank will lend. The total amount of money borrowed and lent is fixed. But that doesn’t mean which bank will give to which borrower is fixed. God’s omniscience and control stretches to what will happen, not to who will do it. In terms of history you can say that there will be someone who will do bad things and someone will do good things, and the count of these good and bad deeds are fixed. But actors are not.

    There is a scientific basis of this answer which I have discussed in a paper entitled “Choices in General Relativity”. The universe of events is fixed but the actors are not fixed.

    You are basically posing the free will vs. determinism problem but you are giving it a theistic color by saying determinism is God’s foreknowledge. This is making things seem more complicated. You can remove God from this, and then you are plain and simple talking about determinism. Once you understand how free will is compatible with determinism the determinism created by God’s will be compatible with the free will of individual choices.

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