One reason I ceased to believe in God was that I was taught as I was growing up that God knew everything there was to know — past, present and future. This necessarily meant that the future could currently be known with certainty. Thus, every apparent exercise of free will was illusory. I might feel like I am choosing option A over option B but, in fact, God already knew I was going to choose option A and I was not at liberty to choose option B in defiance of what God already knew would happen. Despite appearances, I did not have free will.
For that matter, neither did God. Can you imagine what it would be like to know with absolute certainty everything you were going to do for all eternity? How boring and pointless to travel a predetermined path, especially one you know about in advance! How boring to know everything about the future already and to never learn anything new! I almost felt sorry for God.
In the end, I could not accept that neither I nor God had any free will at all.
This comes to mind now for two reasons. A commenter a couple of days ago commented on someone he knew who swore we had no free will, but acted every moment as if he believed he had free will. The day before that, I visited the web site of a small religious group/school that a cousin of mine is now associated with. The group had an extensive mission statement that asserted that we have free will and that God knows everything that will happen in the future, without making any attempt to reconcile the two and without even acknowledging that the two are inconsistent.
Anyway, on this Sunday it seems reasonable to ask those of you who do believe in God, and especially those of you who believe in both God’s knowledge of the future and man’s free will — how do you reconcile the two beliefs? The only answer I ever got when I was young and searching for answers was that some things are beyond our understanding, an answer which was always highly unsatisfactory to me.
While I’m at it, two other quick questions about God. First, if God is perfect, why did he create human beings (supposedly in his likeness) who are imperfect? Why would perfection create imperfection, or even the possibility of imperfection? If it is our fault that we chose a path of imperfection (eating the apple, as it were), why was God angry? He already knew what we would do when he created us. Why did he create us to make the worng decision, not the right one?
Second, we are constantly criticizing liberals for making their case based on emotions and belief, rather than cold hard facts. Isn’t that what believers in God do? Isn’t it ironic that conservatives who trust in fact-based arguments in this world are more likely to believe in a non-fact-based God than liberals, who trust to their emotions and beliefs in this world but reject a belief in God as not supported by the facts? Where are the cold hard facts supporting the existence of God? Isn’t the fact that even believers have such trouble agreeing on who/what God is compelling evidence that man created God and not the other way around?
As always, thanks in advance for your comments and I hope I have not offended anyone with these ruminations. If so, I apologize. Please know I am seeking, not criticizing.