Monday, April 5, 2010

Free Will - Christianity & Atheism

Free Will is a key topic in Christianity and like most things it mucks it up more than it explains it. I would suggest the whole belief structure is on a poor foundation and so it becomes difficult to build upon it. God is good. Man is evil. God is always right. Man is always wrong. But if God created everything whence came evil? OK. Give me a sec.... Thinking... Ah, I have it. Man has a free will. That is it. God cannot be blamed for anything bad. In all things God must be justified. As in my post on the seven deadly plagues a few days ago, God is punishing every evil doer with unheard of suffering, but right in the middle you have a voice coming from the altar proclaiming God Is Just. It has to be repeated because it might slip your mind with all this evil shit that God is reining down on man.

It is hard to think we have free will when we are supposedly born in sin, the antithesis of being right with God. Blind, ignorant, living in darkness, broken. We cannot see God, we cannot talk directly to Him. All we have is the Bible and it is quite the little mess. Lots of contradictory statements. Paul said we see through a glass darkly and faith is all we have to go on. No proof. No hard evidence. Just hope and a gut feeling. We are born atheist. We have to be taught that there is a Jehovah, a Moses and a Jesus. Billions over the course of history have never heard their names. But alas He is the only way to salvation.

At least if you believe the story, Adam had a perfect body and mind and he could see and talk to God. God spoke directly to him and said don't eat the fruit of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Seems a bit fair even thought it strikes me a Designer problem that Adam failed. But our chances are quite slim to get on the right side. We have all these other gods to choose from and if you happen to be in the West currently your odds are much better to pick the right One. How fair is all that? How does it show we have free will?

Perhaps John Calvin understood the Bible better. His doctrine of predestination carries a lot of weight biblically. It is explained by the acronym TULIP.

T for Total Depravity. Man is entirely corrupt. He only would do evil. Man doesn't do evil all the time only because God will occasionally pop in and wave his wand and someone will do good. Only God can bring someone to Him, no human would do it otherwise.
Romans 8:7 The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
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.
U is for Unconditional election. Since we are totally depraved and no one would choose God naturally, it is God who picks who to save.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you
Ephesians 1:4-5 For God chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will
L is for Limited atonement. Christ's atoning sacrifice, dying for sins, was for the elect. He did not die for those who reject him because they will ultimately be condemned and have to pay for their sins.
Matthew 1:21 She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you (Joseph) are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 20:28 the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
I is for Irresistible grace. Those that God choose will in fact accept Christ. None will refuse.
John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
Romans 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
P is for Perseverance of the saints. This means eternal security. You cannot loose your salvation. If at some point you "fell away", then you were never truly saved.

Many have accepted this but then there are others who reject it because it sounds like we are just His toys and have no free will. Fairly mucked up.

Then there is the atheist point of view on free will. Hmmm.... You know they don't talk about it because there is no need to justify God. No perfect God. No evil world. It simplifies the whole matter. Occam's razor has shaved away all the confusion.

I choose what I choose not because of invisible Man in the sky. I just choose it. I don't war against this evil nature because it is not evil, simply human.

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