• Anonymys
    99
    In speaking with a mentor, questions were brought up about God's existence, sin, free will, and heaven.
    Understanding, for context, that the God in question is one of euro-Christian belief from the bible, in what world is God just and fair?

    The question was posed as such:

    There were three universes in God's domain. The first having the perfect world with no sin, no freewill, where everyone was created to be perfect. The second universe has free will, but before people are born, God looks through their life and sees if there were any points in which they were not perfect: committing no sin. If these individuals break any of God's laws, then He never allows them to exist. The third universe is our universe, where, as far as we know, God allows for free will, sin, and salvation. Would God create the first or second universe? Is the first and second universe ethical to create? Which of these universes follows the biblical interpretation of heaven? Etc.

    I want to leave this post as open-ended as possible. Thoughts?
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    If these individuals break any of God's laws, then He never allows them to exist.Anonymys

    This is where we live, in the mind of God. We call it existence and reality and we take ourselves oh so seriously, but no doubt God will think better than to allow us to actually exist, as permanent features of His being. Did you think our world was some kind of fixture?

    Or possibly not...

    Salvation: a cleansing fervently to be desired by anyone who is not entirely made of accretions of dirt.
  • Drazjan
    36
    In speaking with a mentor, questions were brought up about God's existence, sin, free will, and heaven.
    Understanding, for context, that the God in question is one of euro-Christian belief from the bible, in what world is God just and fair?

    The question was posed as such:

    There were three universes in God's domain. The first having the perfect world with no sin, no freewill, where everyone was created to be perfect. The second universe has free will, but before people are born, God looks through their life and sees if there were any points in which they were not perfect: committing no sin. If these individuals break any of God's laws, then He never allows them to exist. The third universe is our universe, where, as far as we know, God allows for free will, sin, and salvation. Would God create the first or second universe? Is the first and second universe ethical to create? Which of these universes follows the biblical interpretation of heaven? Etc.

    I want to leave this post as open-ended as possible. Thoughts?
    Anonymys

    I am open to the idea something beyond human comprehension, but I am unlikely to accept what you have referred to. It is so obviously created by, and within, the limits of the human perspective. I am still waiting for a description of God that is interesting.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    There are things you simply can't choose to do. For example, you can't choose to be invisible. You can't choose to be massless.

    God could have made a world where there is free will but no evil, because he could have made evil impossible to choose, a la trying to choose to be invisible or massless.
  • Anonymys
    99
    You are fighting the idea of God when my question is not so much about God as it is our existence. Sure, my question uses the ethical and moral boundaries of God in the sense that in reference to him I am referencing an ideology, however, at the heart of the question is the opportunity to explore the idea of free will. God's existence, as I stated, merely represents the most simple human understanding of the laws of the universe. Sorry if I was a little unclear, it was late when I posted the question. So with this new clarity, I am curious to know what you think, as this is after all just a simple exercise to get to know your opinion, whether academic or not, about what free will means, and how we perceive our universe to be ethical, moral, just, or otherwise.
  • Anonymys
    99
    Whether we are part of a permanently fixture of not, we exist. Not only do we exist, but we affect each other's lives. In sin, or at least the traditional way of understanding it, we are flawed, and we live in sin, destroying not only our own lives but the lives around us as well. So yes, we do live in the mind of God, but we also live through each other, and we have been since the beginning of time. As of now, we live in the final universe, where God allows us to sin, rather than not allowing us to exist at all. Maybe I'm misinterpreting your tone?
  • Anonymys
    99
    Yes, you're referring to the first universe. But my next question would be, would such a universe be ethical? Moral? Would God's existence be justified in such a universe? Would God then become the devil in that universe? After all, he has taken away the individuality of free will. Alternatively, does God just become a puppet master? Does that universe even have a God?
  • TheMadFool
    3.8k
    There were three universes in God's domain. The first having the perfect world with no sin, no freewill, where everyone was created to be perfect. The second universe has free will, but before people are born, God looks through their life and sees if there were any points in which they were not perfect: committing no sin. If these individuals break any of God's laws, then He never allows them to exist. The third universe is our universe, where, as far as we know, God allows for free will, sin, and salvation.Anonymys

    Freewill is linked to self-awareness. To use mathematical terminology freewill is directly proportional to the level of self-awareness we have. The more self-aware you are, the more you understand your nature and the more you can decide on its direction. This is well understood and evidenced by the way society treats people. Children are allowed the occasional moral mishap but not the adult. To repeat, this clearly demonstrates the belief that we attribute or associate freewill, ergo responsibility, to self-awareness which is supposed to grow with age.

    To support this point we can also look at the animal kingdom. Less self-aware animals live by their instincts and are more like programmed robots while humans, relatively more self-aware, have modified the environment in ways that are not just instinct-driven. This process of increased self-awareness has not been completed as of yet - animal-like behavior is common enough.

    Freewill follows naturally from self-awareness. It isn't like an addon to an app. It is part of the app itself.

    A question now arises...

    Assume the role of a creator. What is the greatest gift you can bestow on your creation? Self-awareness, right? What then must you, the creator, accept without complaint?

    Freewill!

    God couldn't choose
    To not let us choose
    This world, morally loose
  • tim wood
    3k
    for context, that the God in question is one of euro-Christian belief from the bible,Anonymys

    Caveat: when being invited to speculate on matters susceptible of no real understanding or even definition, you are in fact being invited to talk non-sense, perhaps in accordance with some set of rules. Is that the invitation you're extending here? Or are you confused about the reality of the subject matter, supposing it possible in mining it (the subject matter) that you might find something worthwhile, worth the time, effort, and expense. And were you to make such a find - now I'm being speculative - what would you say the essential nature of that find would be?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Yes, you're referring to the first universeAnonymys

    No, your first universe has no free will. I'm saying you could have a universe that has free will, but where evil is not possible because god sets up what are essentially physical or metaphysical barriers to it.

    So in other words, a world where you choose all sorts of things, including what interests to pursue, what career to have, your mate, whether to have children, where to go to dinner ("small" choices are still free will choices), etc., but where it's either not physically or metaphysically possible to choose to murder someone, rape someone, start wars, initiate genocide, etc. It would be just as impossible to choose to do those things as it is presently, in our world, to choose to be literally invisible, to fly via your own power simply by flapping your arms, to outrun your shadow, etc.
  • petrichor
    180


    To actually address some of the issues you wanted to get into, I'll say that for us to have free will and the capacity to choose evil would perhaps be something God would want. Imagine that you are creating a companion that you'd like to have a relationship with. Would you rather have a robot, or a real person with real agency, one whose affections actually mean something? If you program your companion to show you affection, won't it feel empty when you receive that affection? Really, can it even be said to be affection if it is just automatic, if the thing can't do otherwise? In that case, it is not so different from you hugging yourself via an external object.

    It seems possible that God would want us to become truly conscious and to become moral beings who can actually choose goodness, who might love goodness for its own sake. Beings with such a capacity seem to me to be more awake, more real somehow, and to have something about them that makes their existence and their action meaningful.

    A clockwork universe where everything in it just does your will seems dead and not worth creating.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    Yeah, "not a robot" is better, but wouldn't you rather have both (a) not a robot, and (b) a guarantee that the not-a-robot won't murder you in your sleep?

    Or would you say that it's important, and more ethical, for some reason, that not-a-robots can, and sometimes do, murder their spouses/s.o.'s in their sleep?
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Whether we are part of a permanently fixture of not, we exist.Anonymys

    Well that is not certain. Plato disagrees, for example. Many people call this world 'the world of appearances'. Now Descartes would agree with you, that even if it is mere appearance, that experience even of mere appearance guarantees existence (the cogito). Anyway, without giving the full history of philosophy course, suffice to say it is an open question.

    But even if God's mere consideration of us is enough for us to exist, it means that the middle ground of your three universes has disappeared, or merged with the third one. There are cosmologies where God can see our choices as a matter of fact while we still have free will - but you'll have to get someone else to explain them, they make little sense to me.
  • petrichor
    180
    Yeah, "not a robot" is better, but wouldn't you rather have both (a) not a robot, and (b) a guarantee that the not-a-robot won't murder me in my sleep?Terrapin Station

    I was making an analogy. My point was that God might deem it better that when we do good, it is because we choose it, not because we are programmed to do it.

    In the case of our relation to God or to The Good, maybe there is no risk of us doing serious harm there. One obvious objection is that we harm one another.
  • petrichor
    180
    To focus on an interesting point, suppose we build a robot that we program to do "nice" things, one that helps old ladies across the street, one that builds shelters for the homeless, one that feeds the poor, and so on. Can this robot actually be said to be "good", in the moral sense? Is the robot a moral agent? Does it have compassion? Does it care? I think such questions are highly suggestive, as it seems that many of the characteristics we take to be possible for human being seem possibly to require that we first have free will. It is a strange thing that you wouldn't immediately think would require free will, but is it possible to program a robot to be genuinely curious, to have real wonder? If I program a robot to ask what it is, is it really asking? Does it really want to know?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    In the case of our relation to God or to The Good, maybe there is no risk of us doing serious harm there. One obvious objection is that we harm one another.petrichor

    Right. I don't see how it's better to allow murder, violent rape, wars, genocide, etc.
  • Anonymys
    99
    You're right, you're not talking about the first universe, my apologies. But, what about my other questions?
    would such a universe be ethical? Moral? Would God's existence be justified in such a universe? Would God then become the devil in that universe? After all, he has taken away the individuality of free will. Alternatively, does God just become a puppet master? Does that universe even have a God?Anonymys
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    Well, so there's no absence of free will and no need for a devil in that scenario. And yeah, I think it would be the most ethical choice.

    (Personally I'm an atheist, by the way, but it's worth talking about this stuff in terms of possibilities.)
  • petrichor
    180
    I'll preface this by saying that I am sceptical of God, the afterlife, and all the rest. But supposing there is a God and an afterlife, all the horrible things that happen in this world might be redeemed ultimately. It might be all for the betterment and education of our souls, especially moral education.

    Consider the following scenario. You live your life. You make mistakes. You hurt people. Maybe you molest children. Maybe you drop nuclear bombs on cities. Suppose God allows all this to happen. Then you die. Upon dying, God, an infinitely loving being, shows you your life, every moment, not as you experienced it, but through the perspectives of all those your actions affected. You feel all the pain you inflicted. And all of this is experienced while God at the same time is showing you his perfect love, is loving and forgiving you for all of it. You are seeing the nature of your actions in comparison to God's perfect goodness, in the very revealing light of God's goodness. You feel the perfect love you are being bathed in. You see how good it is. And at the same time, you see your own failures to love.

    Maybe you even come to see that it was you who were always the very experiencer of all this pain you were causing. You were torturing yourself. You were all of the people who ever lived. You occupied all the perspectives, all the abusers and all the victims. You collect all your fragmentary memories and integrate all the experiences. You know what it is like from every angle, giving you the ultimate education in compassion. You've felt all the pain.

    Maybe, at this point, your soul is properly formed and you are fit to join the next world. Maybe this world we live in is like a sandbox, a simulator of sorts, where we are allowed to make mistakes, to struggle, and so on, where we practice for the "real world", so that we might rise to be capable of a higher sort of life, one that is so good it makes all of this worthwhile, making our woes here seem insignificant in the same way that we look back on our childhoods and see that many of our complaints and grievances were over small things that make us chuckle to think of how upset we were over them. Maybe it's all skinned knees as we learn to navigate the world we inhabit.

    Maybe these experiences are necessary for us to develop real moral consciousness, to become truly awake and freely good beings, beings full of real love freely given. And maybe such ends justify the means of getting there.

    It seems to me that to grow into a morally conscious person, you need to feel pain and to cause some pain and to see the pain you've caused and to come to identify with those you've injured. You need to see things from their perspectives.

    Compared to a limitless higher life in Heaven or some such, the short sufferings of this life might seem insignificant. It might well be that when we see the sort of life all of this makes possible, we will see all this "evil" as a good, since it is an enabling condition for our moral consciousness, for us to become able to love as God loves.

    In this case, it could be that the universe in which all our evil is allowed to run rampant is the one that is a necessary part of the best of all possible worlds.

    This explores a similar idea:

    The Egg, by Andy Weir
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.