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Thread: Free Will or Omniscience? (any insight from Christians?)

  1. #1 Free Will or Omniscience? (any insight from Christians?) 
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    We all have free will, right? We have decisions? God does not force us to love Him or not. That is an aspect of His love. We chose to rebel against Him. We chose to sin. But if God knows everything beforehand, how does God know what choice I will make if I have free will?

    When I'm driving on the road, I have a choice whether to turn right or keep going straight. But, God knows what choice I will make before I make it, because He is omniscient. But then, if He knows what choice I will make, doesn't that mean that it is predetermined, it is bound to happen? Then it is not freewill. But if I do have freewill, God can't know which choice I'll make. Thereby making Him limited, and not Omniscient and "Almighty".

    And as convincing as the above argument seems, there's some idea in my head I'm thinking of but can't wrap my head around... That somehow it still logically works if God is both omniscient and humans free-willed. The more I think about it, it seems possible, but I can't really grasp the idea.

    So... insight? Thanks in advance.


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    Philosophy.... perhaps.....
    Science.... not yet.

    help us...


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    Sorry, Lynx_Fox. This is philosophy, my mistake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    When I'm driving on the road, I have a choice whether to turn right or keep going straight. But, God knows what choice I will make before I make it, because He is omniscient. But then, if He knows what choice I will make, doesn't that mean that it is predetermined, it is bound to happen? Then it is not freewill. But if I do have freewill, God can't know which choice I'll make. Thereby making Him limited, and not Omniscient and "Almighty".
    One way of resolving this paradox is to assume that the omniscient entity you have invented doesn't actually exist.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    When I'm driving on the road, I have a choice whether to turn right or keep going straight. But, God knows what choice I will make before I make it, because He is omniscient. But then, if He knows what choice I will make, doesn't that mean that it is predetermined, it is bound to happen? Then it is not freewill. But if I do have freewill, God can't know which choice I'll make. Thereby making Him limited, and not Omniscient and "Almighty".
    One way of resolving this paradox is to assume that the omniscient entity you have invented doesn't actually exist.
    Yes. Another paradox concerning the very nature of God. That is definitely a solution, but if one were to believe in a God, how can he/she unify these two contrasting ideas?
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    I don't think Omniscience has anything to do with freewill. If some omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent being knows every choice we make, it doesn't mean we didn't have the choice.
    "Cultivated leisure is the aim of man."
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I don't think Omniscience has anything to do with freewill. If some omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent being knows every choice we make, it doesn't mean we didn't have the choice.
    I'm not hearing what you're hearing. I believe the thread is about the grand unification of omniscience and free will.

    How can an omniscient being exist if I have free will to choose?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    but if one were to believe in a God, how can he/she unify these two contrasting ideas?
    Well, if you have to...

    "Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are compatible ideas..."
    Compatibilism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Does that address it?
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    "Time and chance happen to all men." (Ecclesiastes, I believe.)

    How about, 'Chosen to choose.'

    Of course, neither trumps Divine Intevention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    but if one were to believe in a God, how can he/she unify these two contrasting ideas?
    Well, if you have to...

    "Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are compatible ideas..."
    Compatibilism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Does that address it?
    Thanks for the reference. I believe it addresses determinism vs "choice" well, but fails in Theology.

    If I understood the concept right, it is still one, determined reality... which annihilates any true "free will", a core belief of God-human relationships.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    If I understood the concept right, it is still one, determined reality... which annihilates any true "free will", a core belief of God-human relationships.
    Maybe you should just give up on that whole god thing, it is so fraught with contradictions and irrationality.
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    I found one reasonable explanation on an old thread here (I'll try finding it again). I believe this is what I was getting towards.

    So I guess it's kind-of complicated to put in words. Nonetheless, the problem's in unifying foreknowledge and choice. We wrongly assume that God, like humans, observes the Universe in past-present-future manner. But if we assume God's viewpoint is from a single, simultaneous eternity (an aspect of transcendence), then that thereby eliminates any idea of "foreknowledge". So this way, God doesn't see what you're going to do in the future (since here God has no "future"). He just sees you from His own unique perspective.

    I'm not sure if this solution has a name, like most of the known philosophical explanations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    Maybe you should just give up on that whole god thing, it is so fraught with contradictions and irrationality.
    At first, I was opening the thread as an aggressive question to induce doubt, but I'm trying to be impartial on this topic, which I find very interesting. I guess a problem still remains... Psychology seems to be pushing our understanding of "consciousness" more and more to a deterministic view, yet again contrary free-will.
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    2.B. Manipulation of Conversion Triggers

    - chemical based

    - relation between humans and animals?

    - chemicals filtered through DNA? (unused strands)

    - can being sense said chemicals naturally?

    - catagorized as?

    - if true, could we be designed?
    - extinct humans?
    - purpose of recreation?

    - could chemicals be combined? (Biology... DNA lengths)

    - Evolution of Inteligent Design
    It really depends on how you look at it.

    http://www.thescienceforum.com/philo...ory-notes.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I don't think Omniscience has anything to do with freewill. If some omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent being knows every choice we make, it doesn't mean we didn't have the choice.
    I'm not hearing what you're hearing. I believe the thread is about the grand unification of omniscience and free will.

    How can an omniscient being exist if I have free will to choose?
    Yeah that's what I thought the thread was about, but what I'm saying is Omniscience wouldn't prescribe a lack of free will. You have to ask yourself, if you are without a doubt going to make specific decisions at specific junctures which have specific outcomes... Is it because you have no free-will, or is it because those are the choices you'd inevitably choose to make? A lack of free-will carries a stigma where you have no choice, but that isn't necessarily true. Just because the decisions you'll make are locked in place, doesn't mean those decisions were out of your control. See what I'm saying?

    So how could one potentially link a being with omniscience with us having free-will? Well, that's how I guess.. Your fate is the result of the choices you'll choose to make, and therefore omniscience doesn't contradict the idea of free will.

    Or if you'd like my lazy thoughts on the subject: Omnipotent and omniscient. Unlimited power makes it somehow possible..
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    If you are omniscient then is there one decision that's greater than all the others? or Does being omniscient mean all decisions are of equal greatness?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    If you are omniscient then is there one decision that's greater than all the others? or Does being omniscient mean all decisions are of equal greatness?
    I'd say the second one.. After every event, only certain values are allowed - which drives down a more certain path.
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    I think the will is determined by present perception and external environment. For example, you would not cross a street when it has lots of cars running fast. Although you can claim that you have the free will to decide to cross or not to cross the street, in reality you always decide not to. Does that mean the free will is not real?
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    If you are omniscient then is there one decision that's greater than all the others? or Does being omniscient mean all decisions are of equal greatness?
    I'd say the second one.. After every event, only certain values are allowed - which drives down a more certain path.
    What about a decision to create the universe? Granted, an omniscient god might have made thousands of decisions prior to creating. However at some point I'm going to assume as most theists agree, that God was once all there was and the universe was his first decision for the sake of argument. I think an omniscient being, the holder of all there is to know, makes his first decision after a compilation and analysis of all the information. IOW creating the universe as your first decision would have been the most reasonable and logical at that point. Any other decision would have to rank below the first. Omniscience could then be seen as a succession of decisions, each one with its own ranking of importance. This would mean that mankind is capable of making a decision that's equal to an omniscient being's, plus with every new thing learned, slowly move up in the decision ranking process approaching god levels.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    What you guys forget is that the deity also has free will. And loves to exercise it.

    So this omnipotent creator treats one person with love, and then, just to exercise that free will, treats the next with extreme sadism. After generating a Golden Age, that free will kicks in and God triggers a nuclear war. Two of the survivors are dying of cancer. God heals one, and then inflicts the other one with an even worse cancer that is unbelievably excruciatingly painful and lingering.

    See, it is all about free will. God's!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    What you guys forget is that the deity also has free will. And loves to exercise it.
    Actually I was intimating that God would have no choice in His first decision because of omniscience. So could an omniscient deity's first decision be a stupid one? I suppose it could since He had a choice. Just imagine, the decision to create the universe being the least most favourable thing to do. I guess the assumption that God creates because it's the right thing to do is engrained in most theists' minds but I just think it's wonderful to think God did it as some sort of a defiant or rebellious gesture that shows He has a genuine contempt for His own omniscience.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    ...

    What came first, "God" or the universe?
    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lander_Greys View Post
    ...

    What came first, "God" or the universe?
    More importantly, "God" or "Man"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lander_Greys View Post
    ...

    What came first, "God" or the universe?
    More importantly, "God" or "Man"?
    Well that one is easy: man. Which answers the other one as well.
    Last edited by Strange; February 8th, 2012 at 03:24 PM. Reason: less cryptic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lander_Greys View Post
    ...

    What came first, "God" or the universe?
    More importantly, "God" or "Man"?
    Well that one is easy: man. Which answers the other one as well.
    Where would they exist if the universe didn't exist first? I don't remember being able to look inside a box that isn't there, or are you still saying that nothing is real?
    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lander_Greys View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lander_Greys View Post
    ...

    What came first, "God" or the universe?
    More importantly, "God" or "Man"?
    Well that one is easy: man. Which answers the other one as well.
    Where would they exist if the universe didn't exist first? I don't remember being able to look inside a box that isn't there, or are you still saying that nothing is real?
    I'm saying the universe came first. Then man evolved. Then he invented God.
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    So we can safely say that God is Man.... Cool.
    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    You can say that. I wouldn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lander_Greys View Post
    Where would they exist if the universe didn't exist first?
    I have argued that for many years. Even if God has always been there had to be a place for Him to exist in. Doesn't matter if its the current universe or not, God had to exist somewhere. So where did somewhere come from?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    According to chaos theory, unless god is able to simulate you and your environment down to the subatomic level, his omniscience of your decisions will be rather limited.


    Even without chaos theory, predestination and freewill aren't at odds with each other anyhow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    ...god is able to simulate you and your environment down to the subatomic level.
    Possibly, or at the very least predict how your environment (including other people) would influence you.


    Trigger to chemical... Is there a chemical that could define conciousness?


    2.B. Manipulation of Conversion Triggers

    - chemical based

    - relation between humans and animals?

    - chemicals filtered through DNA? (unused strands)

    - can being sense said chemicals naturally?

    - catagorized as?

    - if true, could we be designed?
    - extinct humans?
    - purpose of recreation?

    - could chemicals be combined? (Biology... DNA lengths)

    - Evolution of Inteligent Design

    No where in the bible does it say that we are God's first creation.

    http://www.thescienceforum.com/philo...ory-notes.html
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    Possibly, or at the very least predict how your environment (including other people) would influence you.
    Sorry that's not sufficient.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Possibly, or at the very least predict how your environment (including other people) would influence you.
    Sorry that's not sufficient.
    How so? It's perfectly reasonable.
    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lander_Greys View Post
    So we can safely say that God is Man.... Cool.
    No. That implies the existence of God and demotes Him to human limits. We're saying that WE ARE GOD, muwhahahaha... Though seriously, we are the most intelligent, environmentally influential, and powerful form of life known to us, so yes, in that sense we are the "higher power" of our own world.
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    That implies the existence of God and demotes Him to human limits.
    More like we have the capacity to influence our genetic makeup more then we know, hence the given quote in one of my above posts. In our context it would be saying about that though. I do believe I read somone signature around here saying: "If God managed to do all this then he must be the greatest scientist of them all". Should our level of Scientific knowledge continue to expand at it's current rate we'll eventually reach this at some point in our history or destroy ourselves while trying.

    It really reminds me of a riddle my prefessor told me actually:

    I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, I will always seek perfection even though I had attained it before I began. The world is my mother, and its nature, my guide, it shapes my every action just as I will change it near my end.
    What am I?

    The answer is a human being.

    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lander_Greys View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Possibly, or at the very least predict how your environment (including other people) would influence you.
    Sorry that's not sufficient.
    How so? It's perfectly reasonable.
    How so. Some of this is in the definition of what's meant by omniscient. For me the "omni" part means full knowledge.

    To illustrate by example, I can predict with pretty good accuracy what my 16 year old boy is thinking--because I know the environment he lives in, and having been a male adolescent, have a reasonably well developed model of the environment in his head. But that is not omniscient.

    To be omniscient, that mental model would have to be precise information down to at least the cellular level of what's in his brain along with a perfect simulation of all the processes that will eventually lead to a decision he makes. Chaos theory rules out omniscience, because neither is possible.
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    Everything is alive because no life is self sustaining. Just as electromagnetism is all light.
    Our will is someone else' question.
    The matrix is a metaphor for, (4:4?) all frequencies carry and are carried.
    Ultimate peace will never exist for long.
    Wholly (as or pertaining to most if not all sciences) = multicultural
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Everything is alive because no life is self sustaining. Just as electromagnetism is all light.
    Our will is someone else' question.
    The matrix is a metaphor for, (4:4?) all frequencies carry and are carried.
    Ultimate peace will never exist for long.
    I don't understand what you're trying to say. I'm not sure what matrices have to do here. And not all electromagnetism is light. But all light is electromagnetism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Everything is alive because no life is self sustaining. Just as electromagnetism is all light.
    Our will is someone else' question.
    The matrix is a metaphor for, (4:4?) all frequencies carry and are carried.
    Ultimate peace will never exist for long.
    I don't understand what you're trying to say. I'm not sure what matrices have to do here.
    I don't understand the post either.
    Perhaps you might be willing to explain, more simply, for those of us unable to grasp the subtlety of your thinking!
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    We all have free will, right? We have decisions?
    I don't know. What's the difference between a human with free will and one who doesn't, but insists that s/he does?
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    Is free will the absence of influence on a decision? The problem is I can't think of a single decision that I have made where I haven't been influenced in some way. The closest I can think of was probably when I first clamped down on my mother's teat, although I might of been influenced by some innate instinctive behaviour passed down to me. So no matter what, it seems our decisions are based on some type of knowledge gained through life experience.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    How so. Some of this is in the definition of what's meant by omniscient. For me the "omni" part means full knowledge.

    To illustrate by example, I can predict with pretty good accuracy what my 16 year old boy is thinking--because I know the environment he lives in, and having been a male adolescent, have a reasonably well developed model of the environment in his head. But that is not omniscient.
    The problem with this is that the influencing factors would not be the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    To be omniscient, that mental model would have to be precise information down to at least the cellular level of what's in his brain along with a perfect simulation of all the processes that will eventually lead to a decision he makes. Chaos theory rules out omniscience, because neither is possible.
    I'm suggesting that every action you take is the result of a predictable chemical reaction which can possibly be manipulated. My only problem in proving this is that our DNA is so complex and the Human Genome Project is incomplete.


    Perhaps you might be willing to explain, more simply, for those of us unable to grasp the subtlety of your thinking!
    Hes saying "Infinity = 1" in the phsycological sense. I already asked that.
    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    The problem with this is that the influencing factors would not be the same.
    Which is why I'm not omniscient of what my son is thinking--the best I can do is make an educated guess that's better than share chance.

    I'm suggesting that every action you take is the result of a predictable chemical reaction which can possibly be manipulated. My only problem in proving this is that our DNA is so complex and the Human Genome Project is incomplete.
    It's a lot more than just chemistry.
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    It's a lot more than just chemistry.
    Elaborate. Also it would be alot more productive to provide supporting data for your claims in advance so I didn't have to ask every single time.
    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    Free will is what a drug addict has less of.

    Omniscience is a contradiction in terms - "knowing", or "science", is a process of abstraction and pattern recognition and embedding in context and so forth. To the extent that you are including everything, you are recreating or duplicating, not "knowing".
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    Omniscience is a contradiction in terms - "knowing", or "science", is a process of abstraction and pattern recognition and embedding in context and so forth. To the extent that you are including everything, you are recreating or duplicating, not "knowing".
    It's called predicting... Surely you would question the method by which a god would use to "know" things hmm?

    if you haven't noticed I am attempting to discern one.
    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    But, God knows what choice I will make before I make it, because He is omniscient. But then, if He knows what choice I will make, doesn't that mean that it is predetermined, it is bound to happen? Then it is not freewill. But if I do have freewill, God can't know which choice I'll make. Thereby making Him limited, and not Omniscient and "Almighty".


    say you will solve this now!! Foreigner - Say You Will [HQ] - YouTube

    Ejem!. Feynman's multiverse conceives alternative pasts. In one of them Hitler won the war; Elvis hadn't died so young....etc.
    God knows all the different histories o' multiverse.

    Many
    -worlds implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real.

    Mathemathics of chaos would be useful to state this question. We exist in only one history o' our universe, then in our world God isnt omniscient. Probably unexistent.
    Define God: Omniscient or just a superintelligent alien? (more feasible). Omnibenevolent but not Omniscient? Omniscient but not Omnipotent? Omniscient, Omnipotent but Sadistic? , Almighty Entelechies, ...

    Maybe such infinite mind, such reign of absolute perfection exists in a level of understanding (and in a region o' multiverse) beyond our 'brain capability'.
    Or maybe we have a deficiency in our brain's nature, which will make us blind forever, to any possible metaphysical investigation of reality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    God knows what choice I will make before I make it, because He is omniscient. But then, if He knows what choice I will make, doesn't that mean that it is predetermined, it is bound to happen?.
    All Our choices are predetermined for a chrononaut. A simple chrononaut could know our future.
    We are predestinated puppets. But, as uncertaintly principle teachs, exceptions happens...

    But, Have this ANY IMPORTANCE? The basis of all this is THE KARMA CONCEPT.

    Often who chose to rebel against Him, gets a happy destiny. Who chose to do the good, gets an unfortunate fate... It happens because karma? karma+the punishment of not remember our sins of our pre-mortal lifes?
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    @bezoar You've got to be Trolling me.
    I've never met a man who was more intelligent then I was. Then again, I've never met one who was as ignorant as me either.
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    What disturbs me when people say they don't have free will, is that almost always their next argument is that, if they don't have free will then it wouldn't be right to punish them if they make a bad decision.

    It's hard not to laugh when people take that next step. If your decision making process were wholly deterministic, with no truly random elements to it, then fear of punishment would change what conclusion that deterministic process arrives at just as well (actually a great deal better) than it would if you were capable of making decisions in defiance of the circumstances that present themselves to you.

    To be honest: I'm not quite sure people do have free will. I know we have a strong emotional desire to believe we have it.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    If your decision making process were wholly deterministic, with no truly random elements to it,
    The more randomness the less likely it's free will anyhow. Determinism and freewill are not contradictions.
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