Author Topic: Free will and foreknowledge  (Read 4433 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2018, 09:53:44 PM »
All this forces the conclusion that there is something in humans that 1) is not an act of the will, 2) determines acts of the will by determining desires, and 3) is self-explanatory.
If the will has libertarian freedom, wouldn't the answer to all that simply be the will? 1.) "Acts of the will" follow from the will. So the will itself is not an act of the will. 2.) The will determines the acts of will. How so? By determining its "desires" (i.e. by choosing which desires are to be pursued and which desires are to be rejected). 3.) The will is self-explanatory: Why does the will will A over B? Because it wills A over B.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 09:58:43 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2018, 11:05:28 PM »
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Granted the pride, why did he choose to act on it and rebel instead of resisting it and obeying?

I having problems with your terminology.  Act on "it"?
Acted on his pride. Why did he choose to go with his evil desire instead of his good desire? If he only had an evil desire, then he couldn't have done otherwise.
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There is no "it".  He chooses to turn his back on the good and picks to do the evil, because that is his preference. [emphasis added] 
If his preference made him rebel, then how could he have possibly obeyed? If his preference was somehow up to him (or under his control), then begs the question of why he rebelled rather than not.

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We call that pride.
Ok, let's be extremely precise: Did Satan feel prideful, then choose to rebel because of the pride? Or did he choose to rebel, which made his character prideful?

If the former, then that means he doesn't have free will. He suddenly feels prideful, which leads him to rebellion. If the latter, that means his behaviour was akin to a roll of the dice, since there's no cause for him doing A over B.

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Those who are Predestined are saved from this flaw in the end (we sin 7 times a day at least), those who aren't are left in their natural state.

This doesn't seem to fit with free will either. If God predestines person X, that entails X goes to heaven. If God doesn't predestine person Y, that entails Y goes to hell. Given the inescapable entailment, you have no power to decide your fate. A premise outside your control (God's predestining you or not) is the ultimate decider of whether you get saved.

You guys are going around in circles.  "Why did A do B?"  "Because he chose to do B."  "Why did he choose to do B?"  "Because he has free will and made that choice."  "Why did he make that choice?"  "Because that was his preference."  "Why was that his preference?"  "Because that is what he chose to do."  Etc.
The libertarian is the one who falls into a regress. I'm just putting it on display.

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The only rational explanation for why a will chooses evil over good, or good over evil, is because it is desired (e.g. valued) more.  If there is no rational explanation for why a will chooses what it does, then humans are simply not rational animals.  Their choices are simply random.  Which makes Christianity a farce - evil deeds as well as good are at bottom the result of bad luck.

Right. Your will moves based on the strongest, proximate desire apprehended by the intellect -- or it moves randomly. Either way, there is no reason for God to punish, if He or She exists.

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But, if desires are chosen by the will, that leads to an infinite regress.  The desire chosen is the desire that is desired more.  And that desire is the desire that is desired more.  And on to infinity.

Well, some desires might be under the control of second-order desires (or third-order desires). That doesn't necessarily lead to an infinite regression, so long as there is a fixed desire somewhere in the chain.

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All this forces the conclusion that there is something in humans that 1) is not an act of the will, 2) determines acts of the will by determining desires, and 3) is self-explanatory.

This forces the conclusion that no one is morally responsible for what they do.  ;)

1.) "Acts of the will" follow from the will. So the will itself is not an act of the will.

That means the will must act based on the way it is, and its movement will simply be a reflection of the composition of the agent. That is, unless you can choose the type of will you have, but then you'd have to create the initial state of your will, which is impossible, since you'd have to create yourself.

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2.) The will determines the acts of will. How so? By determining its "desires" (i.e. by choosing which desires are to be pursued and which desires are to be rejected).
Why does it choose to go with desire-set A over desire-set B? Unless there's a fixed second-order desire to go with A over B, it's random which way the agent exercises its agent-causal power. So even if the choice is determined by the agent, it's still a matter of luck which choice the agent generates.

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3.) The will is self-explanatory: Why does the will will A over B? Because it wills A over B.
That just means you don't have an explanation. If I ask "why did the rockslide happen?" it's not an answer to say "Because rocks slid down the hill." That's just changing the interrogative into a declarative sentence.
 

Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #47 on: November 09, 2018, 12:56:05 AM »
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This doesn't seem to fit with free will either. If God predestines person X, that entails X goes to heaven. If God doesn't predestine person Y, that entails Y goes to hell. Given the inescapable entailment, you have no power to decide your fate. A premise outside your control (God's predestining you or not) is the ultimate decider of whether you get saved.
  Yes, God is the ultimate decider.  However He wills all men to be saved and gives Grace to everyone.  Think of it this way, the more you put in, the more likely you will be saved.  But there is no assurance.

On the devil, we have such scant information there is no way I can reply.  Keep it to humans.

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Acted on his pride. Why did he choose to go with his evil desire instead of his good desire? If he only had an evil desire, then he couldn't have done otherwise.
  We'll talk about the man who chooses evil and knows it is wrong.  The fact that he knows it is wrong is the source of his guilt.  Now the degree of that guilt varies.  If he was sodomized all during his childhood, his guilt might be very small, if any.  If he has a normal upbringing, but still chooses some evil, his guilt is heavy.  This factors into his judgment (along with number and severity).  But the key point is knowing something is wrong.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #48 on: November 09, 2018, 01:13:00 AM »
Quote from: Yours truly
This doesn't seem to fit with free will either. If God predestines person X, that entails X goes to heaven. If God doesn't predestine person Y, that entails Y goes to hell. Given the inescapable entailment, you have no power to decide your fate. A premise outside your control (God's predestining you or not) is the ultimate decider of whether you get saved.
  Yes, God is the ultimate decider.  However He wills...
Only antecedently. Not consequently, and hence, not in reality.
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...all men to be saved and gives Grace to everyone.
It doesn't matter if God gives everyone grace if He doesn't give them the necessary grace to be saved. He only gives the necessary grace to the Elect, which makes His love a bigoted love, a discriminatory love.

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Think of it this way, the more you put in, the more likely you will be saved.  But there is no assurance. [emphasis added]

What's the point of following a religion if it can't give me assurance? I'd rather be a Calvinist than a Catholic.

Quote from: james03
Quote from: Yours truly
Acted on his pride. Why did he choose to go with his evil desire instead of his good desire? If he only had an evil desire, then he couldn't have done otherwise.
  We'll talk about the man who chooses evil and knows it is wrong.  The fact that he knows it is wrong is the source of his guilt.  Now the degree of that guilt varies.  If he was sodomized all during his childhood, his guilt might be very small, if any.  If he has a normal upbringing, but still chooses some evil, his guilt is heavy.  This factors into his judgment (along with number and severity).  But the key point is knowing something is wrong.

None of that answers my question. It just describes making an evil choice and feeling guilty about it. But why did he make the evil choice?
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #49 on: November 09, 2018, 08:21:31 AM »
That means the will must act based on the way it is, and its movement will simply be a reflection of the composition of the agent. That is, unless you can choose the type of will you have, but then you'd have to create the initial state of your will, which is impossible, since you'd have to create yourself.
The will is the agent. But the libertarians say it is a free agent. So its movements are free.
Of course the will does not will itself into existence, but I'm not seeing why this is a problem. God brings the will into existence, and the will then wills as it will.

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Why does it choose to go with desire-set A over desire-set B? Unless there's a fixed second-order desire to go with A over B, it's random which way the agent exercises its agent-causal power. So even if the choice is determined by the agent, it's still a matter of luck which choice the agent generates.
. . .
That just means you don't have an explanation. If I ask "why did the rockslide happen?" it's not an answer to say "Because rocks slid down the hill." That's just changing the interrogative into a declarative sentence.
The question, "Why did the rockslide happen?" is essentially a different kind of question than, "Why did the will choose A over B?". The former has a cause (and so we can give an explanation) whereas the latter does not have a cause (and is thus self-explanatory).
Strictly speaking, even in the rockslide example you'll run into the same problem if you eliminate all the mediate causes. e.g. The rockslide happened because of an earthquake. But this earthquake doesn't sufficiently explain the rockslide, since you still need to explain what caused the earthquake. So the earthquake happened because of the earth's geology. But, again, this doesn't explain the earthquake (much less the rockslide), since you now need to give an explanation for the earth's geology. So the geology happened because of the Big Bang or God or whatever. Yet this also does not answer the question, since you now need to account for the Big Bang or for God. And so on.
If your view is atheistic you end up in an infinite regress and will never find the cause since you have to keep tracing it back further and further, never arriving at the beginning.
If your view is theistic then you avoid the regress, yet you are still left without a cause, because everything can be traced back to God who has no cause. Similarly, the will (according to libertarianism) is like God. It moves but is not moved. (Though unlike God, the will's existence is caused.)
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 08:25:15 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #50 on: November 09, 2018, 01:49:45 PM »
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It doesn't matter if God gives everyone grace if He doesn't give them the necessary grace to be saved. He only gives the necessary grace to the Elect, which makes His love a bigoted love, a discriminatory love.
  I don't follow Banez.  Since we sin 7 times a day, He is continually sending Grace.  For some, He leaves them after a certain point.  I've used the example of Hitler, a baptized baby.  God could have saved him easily with a childhood disease.  However, if Hitler did not do what he did, I would not exist.  So Hitler was permitted to exist and do what he did.  (This example is to show the limits of Omnipotence.  If I CAN'T exist, how can I exist?  God is limited by Himself, Who is Truth.)

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What's the point of following a religion if it can't give me assurance? I'd rather be a Calvinist than a Catholic.
  What's the point?  If I give you an option of belonging to a religion which gives you a 99% assurance of heaven vs. not belonging which is 100% hell, and you said "What's the point of joining?", you'd be an idiot.  As far as Calvinists, if you like being lied to, then you are like the women who love Oprah.

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But why did he make the evil choice?
Because humans prefer the short term gain of evil.  We are fallen.  If you doubt that, read Atlas Shrugged.  Her dystopian world sure looks a lot like what we have today.  Or read 1984.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #51 on: November 09, 2018, 02:55:20 PM »
It's difficult to see why free will is so important, since the eternal fate of many souls is not dependent on free will at all.  Nature terminates more than a third of pregnancies, and this, combined with the high child mortality rate throughout most of history, has claimed a huge chunk of souls before they reached the age of reason.  Of these, the unbaptized go to Limbo (an eternal state of perfect natural happiness), and the baptized go to Heaven (an eternal state of bliss and the beatific vision).

None of the aforementioned souls exercised their free will in choosing Limbo or Heaven.  Their fate was determined, not effected.  So clearly God has created worlds without suffering and populated them, gratis, with souls.  But the existence of this world, with its sufferings and with the very likely probability of our free will choosing hell (viz., the fewness of the saved) is inexplicable given the existence of the other two worlds, Limbo and Heaven.  The best thing to hope for, in the Catholic scheme, is to die before you can use your free will to determine your eternal fate.
 

Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #52 on: November 09, 2018, 03:20:54 PM »
Have  you ever worked on an all-male crew on a grueling project with a lot of hardship?  If not, then you can not know what it feels like when you win.  Now if you ask any of those men if they enjoyed it, e.g. working in 35F temperature while it was raining, they would say they hated it.  If you told them if they had the chance, would they go back and not do it, they would say no.  In fact they would say it was one of the best things that happened in their life.

Sadly for the aborted babies in Limbo, they miss out on a lot.  I'd rather be in heaven with the merits of the good that I have chosen before me for all eternity, ever present.  I will be grateful that God allowed life to be a challenge.

edit:  'You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who have fought for it, life has a flavor the protected shall never know.'
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 03:22:59 PM by james03 »
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #53 on: November 09, 2018, 03:34:24 PM »
But the souls in Limbo don't know what they're missing out on, otherwise they would experience the pain of regretting their loss of heaven (a loss that was no doing of theirs).  And if they experienced pain and regret, then Limbo would not be a state of perfect natural happiness.  It is fine if you prefer the world of the trial.  If you think that is the best way to go (reaching the age of reason and going for the brass ring against all odds), then why do you suppose God denies it to so many through no fault of their own?

In any case, the baptized child who dies before the age of reason receives Heaven without any use of his or her free will.  Is Heaven therefore not as heavenly to such a soul?  How can the beatific vision vary?  Is there less than the full apprehension of God in Heaven?  Nevertheless, I would prefer to have died before I was seven.  If you give me a choice between 1. Heaven, calibrated down a notch, or 2. Heaven, after a trial in which my odds of success are very small ("few there are who find it"), then I will absolutely take door number one.  To not take it is insanity.


« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 03:58:49 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #54 on: November 09, 2018, 03:58:53 PM »
But the right use of free will, is the way that God intended men and angels to arrive at the possession of Heaven. The existence of Limbo, and the ability of babies and idiots to attain to Heaven, is an exception that God in His mercy has prepared for those who ordinarily would not attain to happiness either natural or supernatural. Since the number of angels is much greater that the number of men; then, free will is supremely important in their salvation. In the case of men, the number of those who reach the age of reason, is also greater that those who do not; so again, free will is also (along with grace) the necessary component that determines their eternal destiny.
The degree of happiness in Heaven does vary in intensity depending on the degree of Charity of the soul or angel. Since God is infinite, a creature, no matter how perfect, can never entirely grasp or apprehend all the beauty and goodness of God. Would those who fell into Hell, be better off if they had never lived? Our Lord in reference to Judas Iscariot, said as much.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #55 on: November 09, 2018, 04:24:56 PM »
But the right use of free will, is the way that God intended men and angels to arrive at the possession of Heaven. The existence of Limbo, and the ability of babies and idiots to attain to Heaven, is an exception that God in His mercy has prepared for those who ordinarily would not attain to happiness either natural or supernatural. Since the number of angels is much greater that the number of men; then, free will is supremely important in their salvation. In the case of men, the number of those who reach the age of reason, is also greater that those who do not; so again, free will is also (along with grace) the necessary component that determines their eternal destiny.
The degree of happiness in Heaven does vary in intensity depending on the degree of Charity of the soul or angel. Since God is infinite, a creature, no matter how perfect, can never entirely grasp or apprehend all the beauty and goodness of God. Would those who fell into Hell, be better off if they had never lived? Our Lord in reference to Judas Iscariot, said as much.

Point taken, Michael Wilson: the angels, indeed, are also souls who populate either Heaven or Hell.  But in human terms, there is a high rate of souls who end up in Limbo or Heaven through no will of their own, and therefore cannot really constitute an exception.  Roughly a third to a half of all fertilized eggs do not reach term—and that's just speaking naturally, not taking abortion into account.  Then, for those who make it out of the womb alive, the historically high child mortality rate adds greatly to the number.  The problem with free will is that we don't have the free will to choose being born as imbeciles, or as children who will die as children

The angels, on the other hand, get to use their free will in the most benevolent scenario: they are created in Heaven and given the simple choice of loving God or refusing him.  That is a perfectly fair scheme for exercising free will.  They make their choice perceiving the irrefutable existence of God.  It's a choice that doesn't depend on whether their parents are Catholic, or whether they're born into a pagan tribe in the pre-colonial New World—or whether they're Catholic but come to doubt the existence of God because they begin to suspect it unlikely due to considerations such as those in this very thread!  In the earthly scheme, birth (and life) is a lottery.  I agree with you (and Christ) completely that those who end up in Hell would be better to have never lived.  I would wish for either non-existence or a death before age seven, over reaching adulthood in the Catholic scheme.  Preferring an entry into the "fewness of the saved" trial is insanity, if there are other options on offer that are guaranteed wins.


« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 09:32:04 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #56 on: November 09, 2018, 04:48:41 PM »
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It is fine if you prefer the world of the trial.  If you think that is the best way to go (reaching the age of reason and going for the brass ring against all odds), then why do you suppose God denies it to so many through no fault of their own?
  So that I could be born.  Truth exists.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #57 on: November 09, 2018, 04:54:51 PM »
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It is fine if you prefer the world of the trial.  If you think that is the best way to go (reaching the age of reason and going for the brass ring against all odds), then why do you suppose God denies it to so many through no fault of their own?
  So that I could be born.  Truth exists.

I don't understand.  God denied them the trial so that you could be born?  What makes you more special than them?  This all seems rather capricious.
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #58 on: November 09, 2018, 05:00:54 PM »
I guess there are several schemes created by God.  Given the existence of all four schemes, I fail to see an overarching fairness.

1.  Conception, and death as an unbaptized person prior to the age of reason.  Result: Limbo.  Free will: none.

2.  Conception, and death as a baptized Christian prior to the age of reason.  Result: Heaven.  Free will: none.

3.  Creation as an angel, seeing Heaven and knowing without question the existence of God.  Result: Heaven or Hell.  Free will: perfect.

4.  Conception, and life on earth past the age of reason.  Result: Heaven or Hell.  Free will: compromised.


« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 09:26:23 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #59 on: November 09, 2018, 11:00:00 PM »
What's the point?  If I give you an option of belonging to a religion which gives you a 99% assurance of heaven vs. not belonging which is 100% hell, and you said "What's the point of joining?", you'd be an idiot. [emphasis added]


Where did you pull 99% from? On Catholicism, no matter how good you live, you could commit a mortal sin before you die, and then all that work and sacrifice were for nothing. The coin could flip tails. I might as well live as I please, since nothing I do will change God's foreknowledge.

Quote from: Yours truly
But why did he make the evil choice?
Because humans prefer the short term gain of evil.

If such a preference causes one to choose evil, then they could not have done otherwise. If one can choose good with that preference in place, then that preference doesn't explain why they chose evil over good.

Choice A: Prefer evil and choose evil
B: Prefer evil and choose good

Why A over B?