HonestSeeker

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Question/debate on free will and human propensity to sin
« on: November 11, 2015, 02:45:51 am »
I have a problem understanding why God could not have created free creatures who like himself have a morally perfect nature (regardless of moral perfect means-a different discussion).

If God is incapable of doing evil by his nature, yet still has free will, why couldn't he have created a world of free creatures who, like himself, could not do evil? If the ability to do evil is inherent in free will, and god cannot do evil due to his good nature, then god does not have free will. If on the other hand god's free will is compatible with his inability to do evil, then why can't god provide the same free will/no ability to do evil compatibility to his creatures?

If god does not have within his freedom of will the ability to go wrong, then it would seem he is constrained by forces beyond his control to act in a certain way only. That would seem to reduce his glory, dignity, and any merit attending to his moral nature. It would also leave unexplained what force, outside his power, is constraining god. Simply appealing to his nature as such hardly explains why his nature as it is.

It seems to me that 'necessary being' arguments do not in any way provide specific content as to characteristics that are necessary. Just because a metaphysical being is necessary for there to be anything at all does not provide for, or explain, why such a being must be unable to commit evil, or unable to deny the truth of mathematical propositions -- to say these things are part of god's nature is just to assert that some force outside his own will is constraining what truths he can believe and what acts he can commit.

It is understandable that the existence of some being is necessary so that all other things can have a ground for their existence. But it is not likewise understandable why some being must be good, must know mathematical truths, etc., out of necessity. To appeal to god's nature here is just to say some other constraint is imposed -- and is not explained in the same way that existence is as something that must be necessary to explain what we already know -- something exists, does not come  from nothing, therefore something has to exist, and if we rule out infinite regress, we come to a final grounding. But the necessity argument takes us no further (that I can see).

A human being who does not sin, or sins rarely, would seem to have accomplished more in the way of good behavior than an agency that is incapable of having any other moral actions than those in accord with his perfectly good nature. Humans are free, god is determined, in this scheme.

That would make good more of a mere abstract measuring stick for goodness, a platonic ideal for free creatures to aim for, rather an a person with a will. But if god is really a free agency, composed of three persons, it seems any of the three ought to have the same freedom as their free creatures to choose moral evil or good. If not, then why not the same for people?

It seems inexplicable, on its face, why god would not make creatures morally perfect like himself (i.e., make them in his own image) but instead make creatures constantly tempted by natural disposition and by external circumstance to commit evil acts. Some other argument is needed to justify why god should make sin-prone creatures.

A possible response is that if human creatures were made morally perfect by necessity of their nature so that they always chose good freely, this would somehow take away an essential property of being a "creature" -- this would be the claim that a created thing must for some reason be inherently less perfect than the creator in every attribute. But, this then would seem to limit god's power, if he was unable to add more perfect persons to the trinity, or independent thereof, or otherwise change his nature.

It would be utterly inexplicable why all these different 'constants' and 'quantities' of god's nature - to borrow a theme from the fine tuning argument - are just what they are instead of some other way. Why logical truths, moral truths, or other aspects of gods nature should be fine tuned the way they are, and beyond his ability to change. That is asking us to accept a mystery as ineluctable as why the material universe sans god would have the properties which it has. And it would be ad hoc, I think, to add all of these aspects of god's nature to the list of supposedly natural or necessary properties.

Supposing the moral imperfection of creatures is not the consequence of their free will, but simply of god's inability to create morally perfect creatures - why couldn't he have made their dispositions naturally such that they did not feel tempted to do any evil?

By way of analogy, few human beings feel a strong urge or temptation to ingest their own waste products, even though they're perfectly free to do so (contrary to some animals which do not discriminate). (And here let's note that if god can create creatures who are 'perfectly free,' not less free than himself -- why not also beings not less morally perfect than himself?)

It goes against our built in dispositions to consume our own waste, it is counter to instinct, it is unpleasant to the senses. Why not the same for evil? Why should humans have been so created that they are always on the cusp of sin, always walking a tight rope -- why put so many natural dispositions right on the path to sin? Why put human creatures to a test that god himself is not subjected to? It seems god has his goodness gratis, for free, yet we glorify him as worthy of worship, when he has no temptation and cannot do bad or even wanted, which he also cannot want.

It seems to me that theologians need an argument for why sin should be tempting and tied up with natural human drives, and such an argument would need to go far, far beyond simply a minimal claim that either god cannot create morally perfect, free creatures, or that no free creature can be morally perfect and so immune to the possibility of sin.

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dorel

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Re: Question/debate on free will and human propensity to sin
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 01:53:13 am »
Sorry for my english (first)
Your argument is based on a wrong premise, quote:
"God is incapable of doing evil by his nature, yet still has free will, why couldn't he have created a world of free creatures who, like himself, could not do evil"
-is not that god can't do evil things
-god does not do evil things
For this reason he is morally perfect
He is free like us to do good or evil things, and he always choose to do good things.
You are free to do just good things, but you often will do wrong actions or even evil things.
God is not morally perfect because he doesn't do evil.
God is morally perfect because he always do good.
Moreover, God is morally perfect because he is the source of what is goodness.
Now, you as a free being have a reference in God, a reference of everything that is goodness, you can follow him.
And you can't tempt God to prove to you that he is free to do evil, by doing something evil. He obviously will reject such an attempt.
Practically what you ask is:
-why doesn't exists several source of goodness?
-why we are not a source of goodness as god?
Because is impossible the existence of several source of absolute goodness.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 02:09:02 am by dorel »

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HonestSeeker

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Re: Question/debate on free will and human propensity to sin
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 03:32:20 am »
Thank you dorel for your reply, it is the first I have received as a member, and your english is more than adequate.

From your response I take you to mean that God can choose acts he knows to be evil (contrary to 'the good'), but for some reason X he has always chosen not to do evil (has always chosen to do good). I assume you also believe although you did not state explicitly that God always will choose good in the future. It is not merely a biographical or historical statement that God has always done good.

My question, if awkwardly asked, is why? What is x reason?

And whatever X is that causes or compels God to always choose the good, why do god's creatures not always have that X reason or factor acting on them?

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dorel

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Re: Question/debate on free will and human propensity to sin
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2015, 03:19:47 am »
Well, the x reason if I have to name it, I will say that is "willingness", the will to do good actions always.
So, if you ask "why God do always good actions?", the simple answer is "because he want to do always good actions"

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Jem

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Re: Question/debate on free will and human propensity to sin
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2016, 08:39:54 pm »
Quote from: Honest Seeker
If God is incapable of doing evil by his nature, yet still has free will, why couldn't he have created a world of free creatures who, like himself, could not do evil?

Well, first of all, God is not a human. He is not mortal and he is not constrained by time. His ways are higher than ours and his thoughts are not limited in knowledge and experience like ours are. The only way we are like God is that we have free will and we are designed with a moral capacity that is not seen in lower life forms. We also have complex language skills, both written and spoken which also sets us apart from other creatures. God can give us written instruction and communicate with us through that means despite the barrier of sin. He has even provided a mediator so that we can still pray to our Father through him and be heard.

Other qualities also distinguish us from the animal kingdom in that we alone have a concept of past, present and future. We can plan our future activities based on past experiences and act on our present mind set. We can contemplate possible consequences before we act on any decision.

But choices are what we were given as a reflection of God's image. Even God has the choice to do bad, but he chooses to do good. Adam had the same choice, but disobeyed his God because of misplaced loyalty. This led to sin and imperfection, which in turn led to our present state. (Rom 5:12; 7:14-25)

Quote
If the ability to do evil is inherent in free will, and god cannot do evil due to his good nature, then god does not have free will. If on the other hand god's free will is compatible with his inability to do evil, then why can't god provide the same free will/no ability to do evil compatibility to his creatures?

If free will is truly free, then all of us have the ability to do anything we choose. It is what motivates the choice and how we see the consequences of those choices that matter, as we see in Adam's case. He knew before he ate what God's law was and what would result, but chose it anyway.

The devil was the first rebel because he did not dismiss the feelings of pride that were arising in him. This led to a choice to act contrary to his Father's instructions, but he included the human race in his rebellion because now there were lower creatures who could give him what he craved...worship....to be "like God". 

He deceived the woman and then used her to temp the man. It was calculated and the humans played right into his scheme....the rest as they say, is history.

Christ came to undo all that the devil had accomplished, but we ourselves are proving every day by the choices we make in our imperfection, whether we will qualify as citizens of his kingdom. He will only take those who can follow directions without questioning God's wisdom or knowledge, which we already know is superior to our own. This takes faith, trust and obedience.....something that God is looking for in all his worshippers.


"the meek ones themselves will possess the earth,
And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace" Psalm 37:11

Unless otherwise stated, all quoted material taken from WTBTS sources. jw.org