Friday, March 13, 2009

Does God Have Free Will?

Although no one has been active in the blogosphere lately, I have still decided to post a new question. Perhaps this one will entertain more argumentation (although I still want a discussion concerning my last post on the other blog).

Does God have free will? Doesn't free will assume the possibility to make an alternate choice? If so, can God NOT love us?

As I'm writing this, the question feels very Thomistic. I'm sure The Philosopher has answer to my silly question...


  1. During the Trinitarian Controversy, Gregory of Nyssa (i believe one of the 4 Greek Fathers)said that the Father, Logos, and Spirit are not three gods in one deity, as there are many men in one humanity, because "humanity" refers to nature, whereas "divinity" or "deity" refers, not to nature, but to Action, or Energy. God IS Love; that is, God is Lover Loving Beloved (Father Spirit Son/Logos). Wacky! other theologians talk of God being "outside time" or in "the Eternal Now."
    In any case, does free will need to be inside time? Like, choosing to do things? I don't even know how the human person functions outside time.
    In more direct response to your Q, if God IS the choice (or the act) to love, then perhaps he doesn't have free will in the sense we usually think of it. But that seems less a matter of "will" to me...Are we "free" to not be human?

  2. It is true that we don't "choose" to be human. But is this same with God "not being Love?" There are two potential problems: a) Do we have an ability God doesn't? b) Why didn't God create us like Him: to "be" something, and not have to choose it? If it was to give us the ability to CHOOSE Him, why is this important? It doesn't seem to be for God.

    Sorry if my ramblings are confusing. My analytic brain is pecking at the argument; however, my analytic brain is also scattered.

  3. can God create a stone too heavy for Him to lift?

  4. Mr Duct Cleaner,

    Nice one. However, there is a difference in the 2 questions. Your question rests on a basic sentence error. In essense, you're asking, "Can God do something He can't?" It's really in fact a silly question that holds no credence because of this. It's like saying 2+2=5, and so Math is wrong. The point is that the "rock/God" question is an invalid question. However, I don't think that the "free will/God" question is.

  5. God is Love and chooses consistently. He will not choose anything but love. Can perfect Love choose anything but love? If not is that free? Perhaps He is capable of making a choice inconsistent with love but then He would cease to be Himself and we would cease. He is unlike us as He is the giver and the author of life (us). He iniates, we respond. He doesnt respond to our reality, He created our reality. (He loved us first) He doesnt need to choose, He acted and is unchanging. With His being He says " I love you" now we need to respond.

    It seems frustrating like the stone example, that is why I asked that question. Can He do something that He cannot?

  6. this hearkens back to an Augustinian notion of freedom, how we view the word "free" is important, if it is Augustine's sense there doesn't seem to be a problem, at least not a real problem. I tend to think that these manner of questions do speak more to our ability to construct nonsense with our language, although heading down that road tends to lead to the putrid banalities of modern philosophy of language, the only place where one can prove that words don't mean anything...

    Interesting other addition in line with the spirit of this question. Do we still have free will in heaven? one would want to say yes in accordance with natural law. Potential problems could be averted by making the claim that that will in its perfected state in heaven as no inclination to choosing against God. What about purgatory? can we sin in purgatory, certainly we would see the stupidity of wanting to sin in purgatory but one should never underestimate the fallen (ie not yet perfected) will of man