Will Power

The bible suggests that God is responsible for everything that happens, it’s God’s plan. But when horrible things happen, Satan often will get the blame. So is God then not powerful enough to overcome Satan’s wishes? Whoes will is stronger?

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3 Responses to “Will Power”

  1. Hi again,

    When answering a question, I never presume the underlying assumption of the question is valid; therefore, I don’t always answer the question as stated or even as expected.

    We several assumption here:

    [1] “The Bible suggests that God is responsible for everything that happens, it’s God’s plan.”

    The Bible does suggest and even state that everything that happens is in accordance with God’s sovereignty. His will is supreme, that sort of thing. He has an overall plan, spelled out in prophecy. Yet not everything that happens is His will [which is why He hasn’t spelled out absolutely everything.] For example, He’s not willing than any should perish but that all should come to repentance. You could fairly ask: Well, then why doesn’t God just save everyone? Against their will. Giving Hitler equal place in eternity with the victims of the Holocaust. Heaven cannot be heaven without justice. God is love. God is just. Fine, how can He condemn men for rejecting Him? He gave us free will, knowing we would choose sin and become fallen and go to hell and the whole lot, didn’t He? Where’s man’s responsibility for his choices in this equation? God foreordained a means of salvation for man from the foundation of the world, knowing the probability that man would reject His law [Just don’t eat this one. I give you free access to absolutely everything else. I made you. I gave you breath. I sustain your universe. Just allow me this one thing.], a fact His many detractors fail to account for in their arguments.

    And please spare me the whole God as the author of evil bit. Creating beings, satan or man, with the potential to reject you does not necessarily make you evil. Men make guns, which can be used for hunting or for murder. Gun manufacturers are not evil for making a tool that can potentially be used for evil, even if they know it definitely will be used for evil by some, anymore than the maker of a kitchen knife can be called evil for making a knife intended for cooking whose purpose was twisted to assist murder and rape. But free choice implies the freedom to make the wrong choice as well as the right one. From a theological perspcetive, fallen man uses his free will to cut his own throat. This is the reaction of a poisoned mind. God offeres a remedy called sanity, for Christianity is really the only sane option. BTW, how do you indict God with borrowed morality? Or can you account for nonsubjective knowledge of good and evil from a purely atheistic ground?

    God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Man is not willing to repent.

    Which brings us into the whole issue of free will. You should know from the outset that I pretty much reject the notion that God has pre-selected some for for wrath and others for destruction. Foreknowledge is simply not the same thing as predestination. By His foreknowledge God knows who will repent and predestines them to become conformed to the image of His Son. I’ll leave off the theological implications of the latter statement to address something more to the core of your question, biased as think it may be. God allows some things He does not like in order to allow for things He finds of

    You say that God is responsible for everything, something the Bible does not suggest. You see, man’s free will implies that man is responsible for his choices. He knew satan, Eve, adam, cain and so many to follow would reject Him. He created them, knowing this. He also created them, knowing there would be Enoch, Job and others who chose Him. By allowing the presence of free will, He necessarily allowed evil [the rejection of God and His will for the autonomy of man] to exist that He might have beings who rejected evil and chose God.

    [2] “When horrible things happen, satan gets the blame.”

    You’ve pointed out something I’ve complained about for years and have noted in this very response. Satan gets all of the blame [unless we count that peculiar phrase, “act of God,” in reference to natural disaster], but if man has free will, where’s his responsibility?

    satan is a tempter. He sets up situations to his tactical advantage, but cannot force us to do anything [sorry, Flip Wilson]. But just because the noose is around your neck doesn’r mean you have to jump off the horse.

    Also, a fact your site seems to revel in [though from a rather lop-sided view], God himself has directly caused some horrible things to happen. This admission does not address the further question of whether God was just or good to do these things. Aside from the previous question of whether we can impugn a being based on borrowed morals, we should note that the Bible states that those suffering were typically doing so as a result of divine judgment. God has all of the facts, being omniscient; we do not.

    I should also like to mention that the Bible says that God works all things for good to them that love him and are called according to his purpose. The verse contains two caveats of course, but the gist is that He can use evil events to work for our eventual good. Omniscience alone makes this possible.

    [3] “So then is God not strong enough to overcome satan’s wishes? Who’s will is stronger?”

    So we have the assumption that evil exists because God is not powerful enough to prevent it. This bit of childish reasoning is beneath you, Tom, gathering from everything else I’ve read from you. Are you really willing to say you equate the absence of intervention with the inability to do so? If my cat bites me, I have the power to end all its biting by snapping its furry little neck. I don’t because I actually like my cat and there’s a different way I can handle it. In his case, I can train him bit by bit until he ceases to bit.

    [C]onclusion:
    God is sovereign but allows evil as a natural consequence of free will.
    Free will implies responsibility for one’s choices.
    The fact that God allows evil does not mean that He is incapable of doing so or that He has been somehow trumped by more powerful forces.

    As Always,
    –Sirius Knott

  2. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Welcome back, Sirius.

    You said –“not everything that happens is His (God’s) will”–. I’m sorry, but according to the ‘good book’, it is IMPOSSIBLE to go against God’s will. And you ask –“Well, then why doesn’t God just save everyone? Against their will.”– You are referring to supposed free will here, yes? But, as I’ve argued before, in a world where everything is predetermined, as God knows everything that has happened and everything that WILL happen, there is no true free will. Understand I am not suggesting that we don’t have free will, just that it is not a valid argument against God’s decisions to or not to act. You said –“God foreordained a means of salvation for man from the foundation of the world, knowing the probability that man would reject His law.”– If, as a parent, I were to set up a test for my children that I knew would result in a number of them breaking their bones and ending up in the hospital, I should have my children taken away from me. The fact that God set up a situation where he KNEW man would fail him is not an example of a God that deserves to be worshiped, regardless of the whether or not he gave me free access to everything else, made me, gave me breath and sustains my universe. If your god truly didn’t want anyone to perish without acquiring their ticket to heaven, none would. It is GOD’S PLAN that set up the inevitable outcome of hundreds of millions of souls languishing in the bowels of hell. Also, Lucifer and the other angels who rejected God, did so BEFORE mankind was ever created OR given the ‘gift’ of free will.

    No ‘perfect’ or truly ‘good’ all powerful god can either create evil OR allow it to exist. Period. As to the common, ridiculous opinion that the understanding of right and wrong comes ONLY with ‘faith’, I feel I must ask you, if ‘faith’ is required to be moral and know right from wrong, exactly which god must I have ‘faith’ in? Only the Christian god, meaning only YOUR god? Are Scientologists incapable of knowing right from wrong? Buddhists? ANY of those who worshiped the thousands of gods that have been worshiped in the history of our civilization? In other words; To understand right from wrong, must I belong to YOUR religion, Sirius? And it could be argued that the religious don’t do what is right (when they do) because of their morality but out of FEAR. And fear of burning in eternal hellfire because you worked on the Sabbath is not a basis for morality.

    Morality and ethics do not come from a god, it is the result of an evolved, higher functioning brain that is capable of understanding the consequences of an action. It is really that simple. Let me be clear, here; the idea that someone who gains benefit from killing or stealing is behaving morally is just absurd. These people KNOW what they are doing is wrong, not because your god told them that but because the law told them that. They chose to do the crime anyway, thus they chose to behave immorally. This example doesn’t even REQUIRE any consideration of a personal moral or ethical belief as these people are basing their decisions on an external set of moral standards. But there is no denying that people are born with compassion, empathy and a conscience. Granted, some seem as if they aren’t but this is always a matter of someone’s will overcoming these qualities. Understanding the consequences of your actions and using logic and reason to judge whether it would be right or wrong has far more to do with individual morality than faith.

    Also, for a very good article on the topic of the existence of morality outside of religion please visit:
    http://humanists.net/avijit/article/does_religion_define_morality_aparthib.htm

    You also said – “your site seems to revel in [though from a rather lop-sided view], God himself has directly caused some horrible things to happen. This admission does not address the further question of whether God was just or good to do these things.”— Very well, I will address this omission. NO, HE WAS NOT. Need a few examples: The murder instead of salvation for those inhabiting Sodom and Gomorrah, the subsequent murder of Lot’s wife (who a second before was worthy of salvation) for witnessing her family and friends being murdered by her god, forcing Jephthah to kill his own innocent daughter, ‘visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children & upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation’, murdering Nabal for not offering food to David and his men (perfect strangers to him), punishing the Pharaoh for falling for Abraham’s deception and inviting Sarah into his home, murdering Onan for not having sex with his brother’s widow, making all the women in Abimelech’s family barren because he fell for another of Abraham’s my wife is my sister schemes, making Michal (David’s wife) barren for life because she chastised her husband for cavorting naked before the Ark of the Covenant in sight of the maidservants, for saying “Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine: And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth…” giving the command to “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women…” teasing Isaac by telling him to murder his own son to appease his god, only to stop him at the last second, torturing Job and murdering his children to prove himself to Satan, needlessly killing all firstborn in Egypt, even the firstborn of the captive in the dungeon and all the firstborn cattle, forbidden Moses from entering the Promised Land because he struck a rock in anger while trying to produce water (he had early succeeded in this by God’s own instruction) and including Moses’ son, Aaron, in the punishment even though he did nothing wrong, hardening the Pharaoh’s heart so he wouldn’t let the Jews go, thereby giving God an excuse to punish his people, sending an evil spirit upon Saul, causing him to hurl a javelin at David, making Miriam (Moses’ sister) a leaper for rightfully chastising Moses for marrying an Ethiopian, murdering the innocent wives and children of two princes who challenged Moses’ authority, for murdering Uzzah when the man tries to keep the Ark of the Covenant from falling over … Sirius, I could go on and on and on.

    And finally, the insult. You said –“This bit of childish reasoning is beneath you” in reference to me ASKING THE QUESTION of whether or not God was strong enough to overcome Satan’s will. The point was that it was a question that occurred to me as a result of my observations on this subject. It was not an assertion. Although, to be fair, I believe I have made this assertion before in another post. You then go on to ask “Are you really willing to say you equate the absence of intervention with the inability to do so?” No, in fact the opposite is usually the case. Let me use your example to make my point: If my cat bites me, I have the power to end all its biting by snapping its furry little neck. I don’t because I actually like my cat and there’s a different way I can handle it. In his case, I can train him bit by bit until he ceases to bit. IF this were how God behaved what a lovely god he would be. But this DOES NOT accurately represent your god. Instead, when the cat bites his hand he gets to his feet and stomps all of its kittens to death. You see, I equate the absence of intervention with an UNWILLINGNESS to do so. Everytime one of the faithful prays that the light stays yellow long enough for them to make it through the intersection, or prays that they get that raise/promotion, or that their wife doesn’t find out about the affair with the babysitter, or thanks Jesus for winning the Best New Hip Hop Artist Award, AT THAT VERY MOMENT, somewhere in the world a child is being raped, or a child is being beaten, or a child is starving to death, or a child is being murdered, and you can bet your life that that child is ferverently praying to whatever god their parents taught them was real. And God does NOTHING. And not because he can’t.

    Thank you for your comment, Sirius. And please continue to peruse my site and leave more comments when you feen inclined to do so. But please try and refrain from the insults.

    Take Care,
    DoubtingThomas

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