The inconsistencies of God and free will

So I was reading the Objections and Replies to Descartes’s Meditations for class tomorrow and I think I have stumbled upon one of the most damning arguments against any sort of omnipotent, omniscient creator-god, specifically the Abrahamic one.

So, if you’re not familiar with the Meditations, in the First Objection Caterus engages Descartes on a dialogue about cause and effect, which essentially concludes with the assertion that God is the efficient cause of everything (i.e., he is the ultimate cause of all that was, is, and ever will be). This seems like something that most theists could get behind. However, if this is true, and if God is both omnipotent and omniscient, wouldn’t this make free will impossible? It seems so, since if God is the efficient cause of everything, he is responsible for all of our actions.

If God is omnipotent, he could have created the universe in any way that he wanted. If he was also omniscient, he would have also been able to fully understand every single consequence of his actions. Therefore, when he created the universe, he consciously and knowingly set in motion everything that ever will happen, and all of time is set in its tracks, completely predetermined without any chance of deviation aside from direct intervention from God. Therefore, if God exists, and is both omnipotent and omniscient, free will is impossible. This may not be a problem if you’re like most superstitious Americans and believe in the paranormal phenomenon known as fate, but what are the repercussions of a lack of free will? The most startling one is that it puts the blame for all evil in the world squarely on the shoulders of God.

If all of time is predetermined by God, then every action any individual makes is directly caused by God. This means that if I choose to murder someone, it is not my choice, but God’s. Therefore, I am not to blame for my actions; it was really God who murdered my victim. Therefore, God cannot be all-good as the Jews and Christians (and Descartes) believe he is.

Anyway, to me this last bit seems to pretty much put the nail in God’s coffin. If God is the cause of all evil, why the hell should I worship him?

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One thought on “The inconsistencies of God and free will

  1. First off, I am not claiming to have an eloquent tongue (or fingers, as the case may be). My formal argument skills are lacking and I can’t readily combat your philosophy when I disagree with it. However, I do want to say/ask a few things of you, since I consider you a friend.

    Why does God knowing what would happen mean that He is to blame for all the evil in the world? To blame for allowing it to happen, yes. I, as a Bible-believing, Jesus-following Christian, agree with this. God DOES allow bad things to happen. That is not even contested. The Bible proves it in the first few chapters of the book of Job.

    And no, the action of the individual does NOT fall back on God’s shoulders for His responsibility simply because He knew it would happen. We are not puppets. That would go against all that the Bible teaches, contradicts all that it stands for in God constantly calling His people to come back to Him with their whole hearts and not just their outward appearance, forgiving them time and again.

    God is not the cause of evil. Living in a fallen world that no longer is keeping up to the standards of a good and sovereign God is why we have evil. If this world was operating like it was designed to do, there would be no evil. There would be no sadness, no heartbreak, no fear. But that is not the world we live in.

    As for why to worship Him? Because He is God. He loves you. He made you. He knows your heart, your fears, your life from beginning to end. He calls out to you daily to come have a relationship with Him. Because we live in a fallen world we are unable to have a good relationship with Him on our own, so He did everything He could to give you the opportunity to come have a relationship with Him, everything but force you. He took care of the consequence? punishment? result? of living in this world and being rebellious from Him by the sacrificial death of Jesus. Those who accept this truth and live by it, cling to the promise it brings, those people have a relationship with God. Any other way and it doesn’t cut it. No knowledge, no rituals, no science, no literature, no smartness, richness, happiness can cut it. Only that relationship.

    And yes, I do believe that with all my being. And I hope that you knowing me would give my comments more honesty and weight than people you don’t know.
    ~Jess

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