LoveShack.org Community Forums

Reload this Page LoveShack.org Community Forums > Mind, Body & Soul > Spirituality & Religious Beliefs

God's Sovereignty or Human Free Will?


Spirituality & Religious Beliefs Contemplate your place and purpose in the universe.

Like Tree8Likes
Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 15th October 2017, 5:43 PM   #1
Established Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 61
God's Sovereignty or Human Free Will?

I am a Calvinist universalist. I believe God saved everyone through the work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. Everyone goes to heaven in my view and there is no hell.

I also believe God is sovereign over our daily lives. This part I can only speak from personal experiences of supernatural encounters that are hard to ignore. I just believe God has my days planned out. I believe it so much so that I stopped asking women out for dates many years ago. Do I feel at peace about my beliefs and my decision to be passive in the dating department of my life? Absolutely. I figure if God's will is for me to have a wife then it's going to happen whether I ask women out or not. God could put it on a woman's heart to ask me out. That's just one of various means God could use to carry out His plan for my love life. Otherwise it may be God's will for me to stay single for life and quite frankly if I end up dying alone then I deserve it after looking back over the sins I've committed in the past. Dying alone would only be a small taste of the punishment I deserve.

Anyway what's your vote? Where do you stand on this view of God's sovereignty vs. free will? Even if it appears we have free will how do we really know we're not influenced by The Lord to make the choices we make? God can work through our wills.
Soccer1986 is offline  
Old 15th October 2017, 5:45 PM   #2
Established Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Antipodes
Posts: 7,380
I'm an athiest. For me, life is a combination of free will and chance.
basil67 is offline  
Old 15th October 2017, 6:32 PM   #3
Established Member
 
OpenBook's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Deep South
Posts: 5,630
I have no idea. That information is above my pay grade. I'm just asking God to guide my steps. So far so good!
knabe likes this.
__________________
"I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue." -Albert Einstein
OpenBook is offline  
Old 15th October 2017, 7:17 PM   #4
Established Member
 
umirano's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Old World
Posts: 1,671
I believe neither in free will nor in god. The former is an evolved internal illusion and the latter is an illusion that society as a whole evolved into believing (both must have beneficial effects, but I can't see any evidence).
__________________
I don't read posts with full quotes > 10 lines.
umirano is offline  
Old 15th October 2017, 7:33 PM   #5
Established Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Antipodes
Posts: 7,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by umirano View Post
I believe neither in free will nor in god. The former is an evolved internal illusion and the latter is an illusion that society as a whole evolved into believing (both must have beneficial effects, but I can't see any evidence).
You've piqued my interest Umirano. While there are things which happen to us which we have no control over, isn't the act of us saying Yes or No to an option free will? Or have I missed your point?
basil67 is offline  
Old 15th October 2017, 8:12 PM   #6
Established Member
 
umirano's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Old World
Posts: 1,671
Quote:
Originally Posted by basil67 View Post
While there are things which happen to us which we have no control over, isn't the act of us saying Yes or No to an option free will?
No it isn't, because we have no choice to alter our brain state, which presents us with the options,the decision, and the illusion that we had a say in it. But if you think about it carefully, everything that determines our brain state (genetics, physiology, environment) is outside of our control.
umirano is offline  
Old 15th October 2017, 8:17 PM   #7
Established Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Antipodes
Posts: 7,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by umirano View Post
No it isn't, because we have no choice to alter our brain state, which presents us with the options,the decision, and the illusion that we had a say in it. But if you think about it carefully, everything that determines our brain state (genetics, physiology, environment) is outside of our control.
Interesting theory. And yes, I would make a great many different choices if I were a different person due to those determining factors.
basil67 is offline  
Old 15th October 2017, 8:23 PM   #8
Established Member
 
umirano's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Old World
Posts: 1,671
Where would the idea to, say, buy tea instead of coffee, come from, if not from our brain? Do we freely chose these thoughts? I can't say that I believe we do. If you believe in free will you are actually saying that there is some non-physical entity that can generate ideas and transfer them into the physical world, into your brain, which can then make your body act them out. If you say there is no such non-physical entity then all ideas must come from the brain itself, and how would you argue that our free will exists in a brain that is governed by chemistry and physics?
basil67 likes this.
umirano is offline  
Old 15th October 2017, 10:39 PM   #9
Established Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 61
People with brain tumors don't have complete freedom to choose. That much is certain.
Soccer1986 is offline  
Old 16th October 2017, 4:10 AM   #10
Established Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 749
Quote:
Originally Posted by umirano View Post
Where would the idea to, say, buy tea instead of coffee, come from, if not from our brain? Do we freely chose these thoughts? I can't say that I believe we do. If you believe in free will you are actually saying that there is some non-physical entity that can generate ideas and transfer them into the physical world, into your brain, which can then make your body act them out. If you say there is no such non-physical entity then all ideas must come from the brain itself, and how would you argue that our free will exists in a brain that is governed by chemistry and physics?
So the problem I see with the argument about free will is people often try to frame it in absolute terms. They want to make it an "either\or" instead of an "and". Either you have absolute free will and nothing is predetermined - or you have no free will at all and everything is already decided - pure determinism. Your looking to make it exclusively one or the other when to me its quite obvious its a combination of both.

The reality is consciousness as we understand it and also experience it does give us choice and the ability to introspect and adjust our own thinking patterns from a top down level. This is what we classify as reaching a state of being self aware. Its what makes human consciousness so different and more advanced when compared to say animals.

Neuroscience also shows how our overall consciousness - the sense of self -does not come from a specific part of the brain but rather it emerges from the totality of all systems in the brain working together to create a coherent unified energetic system.
The top level consciousness is created by the lower level subsystems and receives information from them - thoughts, memories etc- but that top level conscious layer still has the ability to choose - and also to actively work to modify the lower levels of thinking to modify the systems that create it and the information that is being passed up to it.

I can consciously choose to modify my own thinking patterns - which will in tern modify the ways I feel and behave. This goes into the neuroscience and the understanding of neuralplasticity and is what the entire field of psychology and also meditation is primarily dedicated to. Many people operate on "default settings" with out spending a lot of time "thinking about what they are thinking about" until something goes wrong and they start to encounter negative circumstances. Then they work to correct it.

We understand that our mind is essentially a bi-directional feedback loop. We are influenced by our past - our genetics - what is happening to us and around us - but we still have the ability to make conscious choices within the spectrum of options available based on that. The choices we make will then dictate the circumstances we encounter and the options available to us in the future. We do not have absolute freedom - but neither is everything predetermined. It's a little bit of both.

I think the same applies to god ... if you think about your actions as having certain energetic consequences - Karma. God is actively shaping how those consequences -that Karma comes to bare upon you. Ideally to benefit you and mold your consciousness in a positive way. Because even punishment is a benefit if applied correctly. If we generate too much negative Karma though ..... there is only so much that can be done to make it a positive experience - this is where grace - and the concept of say Jesus sacrifice comes in to remove the negative burden of some of our mistakes.

I have always thought this picture by MC Escher was one of the most profound when describing the relationship both between free will and determinism and also free will and God in governing how our life is drawn. Each acts like a hand which is simultaneously drawing the other one to create the overall picture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drawing_Hands
knabe likes this.

Last edited by Justanaverageguy; 16th October 2017 at 4:39 AM..
Justanaverageguy is offline  
Old 16th October 2017, 4:49 AM   #11
Established Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 749
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soccer1986 View Post
I also believe God is sovereign over our daily lives. This part I can only speak from personal experiences of supernatural encounters that are hard to ignore. I just believe God has my days planned out. I believe it so much so that I stopped asking women out for dates many years ago. Do I feel at peace about my beliefs and my decision to be passive in the dating department of my life? Absolutely. I figure if God's will is for me to have a wife then it's going to happen whether I ask women out or not. God could put it on a woman's heart to ask me out. That's just one of various means God could use to carry out His plan for my love life. Otherwise it may be God's will for me to stay single for life and quite frankly if I end up dying alone then I deserve it after looking back over the sins I've committed in the past. Dying alone would only be a small taste of the punishment I deserve.
In specific response to this ^^^. It kind of sounds like you are expecting a free ride I don't have to do anything - God will do it for me. To this I would simply say - God helps those who help themselves. He is not your servant who exists to do your bidding. Rather it is the other way around you are his servant and he rewards those who serve him well.

I don't think that inaction in dating is specifically all that matters. Rather it is the overall quality of all of your actions - what you are putting out in the world. How you are contributing - how you are interacting with other people. I think a positive way to be passive in dating would be - I'm going to contribute as much as I can in other ways and trust that in doing so I will be lead to a romantic relationship in the process.

I would warn against however taking a completely hands off approach - like I don't have to do anything at all and it will just happen. For this type of thinking I would reference the Parable of the Three Servants Matthew 25:14-30. I think it explains better then I can how that type of "inaction" is viewed.
knabe likes this.

Last edited by Justanaverageguy; 16th October 2017 at 5:11 AM..
Justanaverageguy is offline  
Old 16th October 2017, 7:10 AM   #12
Established Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justanaverageguy View Post
In specific response to this ^^^. It kind of sounds like you are expecting a free ride I don't have to do anything - God will do it for me. To this I would simply say - God helps those who help themselves. He is not your servant who exists to do your bidding. Rather it is the other way around you are his servant and he rewards those who serve him well.

I don't think that inaction in dating is specifically all that matters. Rather it is the overall quality of all of your actions - what you are putting out in the world. How you are contributing - how you are interacting with other people. I think a positive way to be passive in dating would be - I'm going to contribute as much as I can in other ways and trust that in doing so I will be lead to a romantic relationship in the process.

I would warn against however taking a completely hands off approach - like I don't have to do anything at all and it will just happen. For this type of thinking I would reference the Parable of the Three Servants Matthew 25:14-30. I think it explains better then I can how that type of "inaction" is viewed.

My point is even if I work hard to contribute to the world I can still say no to opportunities for a relationship that result from contributions just because I'm trying to prove that I'm not looking to open up any doors. Whatever dating opportunity comes my way does not mean I have to take it. I can still wait for God to force things to happen even if a woman asks me out for coffee and I say no.
Soccer1986 is offline  
Old 16th October 2017, 7:37 AM   #13
Established Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 749
How exactly do you expect God to force things ? Are you waiting for a magical signal from the heavens, the hand of god to descend from the clouds and anoint a woman as your chosen bride in an explosion of light and fire

I'm joking of course but - I think he generally saves the mystical showmanship for when he really needs to make an impact. Normally he works in much subtler ways. I'm reminded of another parable now which is the Story of a drowning man who asks god to save him. Obviously your asking for something different but I think you'll understand the point of the story and how it relates.

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, "Jump in, I can save you." The stranded fellow shouted back, "No, it's OK, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me." So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. "The fellow in the motorboat shouted, "Jump in, I can save you." To this the stranded man said, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith." So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, "Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety."To this the stranded man again replied, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith." So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, "I had faith in you but you didn't save me, you let me drown. I don't understand why!"

To this God replied, "I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"
knabe likes this.

Last edited by Justanaverageguy; 16th October 2017 at 7:40 AM..
Justanaverageguy is offline  
Old 16th October 2017, 6:55 PM   #14
Established Member
 
BC1980's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Southern USA
Posts: 7,307
Quote:
Originally Posted by umirano View Post
No it isn't, because we have no choice to alter our brain state, which presents us with the options,the decision, and the illusion that we had a say in it. But if you think about it carefully, everything that determines our brain state (genetics, physiology, environment) is outside of our control.
I don't 100% agree with that. I'm not an expert in neuroscience by a long shot, but I've read a little about brain plasticity as it relates to addiction. It seems that it's possible to rewire your brain so to speak. Brain plasticity is also comes into play after a traumatic brain injury.

I guess the question is: how does free will play into all of that. I think you have to exert some free will rewire your brain. You have to be willing try new habits that rewire your brain. I don't think we are mindless robots, but I don't think we have complete free will all the time. I think it's an interesting combination of sorts.
BC1980 is offline  
Old 16th October 2017, 7:14 PM   #15
Established Member
 
BC1980's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Southern USA
Posts: 7,307
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soccer1986 View Post
. Anyway what's your vote? Where do you stand on this view of God's sovereignty vs. free will? Even if it appears we have free will how do we really know we're not influenced by The Lord to make the choices we make? God can work through our wills.
The short answer is: I have no idea.

The long answer. I don't think that God interferes too much in our daily lives. I don't have proof either way, and my belief probably comes from that fact that I've mostly been a member of the Methodist Church, which comes down decidedly on the side of free will. To believe that God orchestrates everything means I have to believe he orchestrates bad things, and I don't want to believe that. That's a hard belief for me to stomach.

I also struggle with the idea of a personal God that I can pray to at any time. I think that affects my feelings on predestination.
BC1980 is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

 

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
God's sovereignty is not popular teaching Portsmith2010 Spirituality & Religious Beliefs 6 19th March 2015 5:36 PM

 

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:48 PM.

Please note: The suggestions and advice offered on this web site are opinions only and are not to be used in the place of professional psychological counseling or medical advice. If you or someone close to you is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation, contact your local law enforcement agency or emergency number.


Copyright © 1997-2013 LoveShack.org. All Rights Reserved.