Monday, July 9, 2007

The Unsolvable Paradox

This paradox springs from merely two premises that, in my view, nearly all Christians (and other monotheists) consider valid.

Premise One: God is omnipotent (all-powerful, or a being than which none more powerful can be conceived).

Premise Two: Sin is definable as “acts which violate God’s will.” In short, God hates sin, and sinful acts, by definition, represent violation of God’s will.

This question unleashes the paradox: Can God’s will be violated by man?

If one answers Yes, then God is not all-powerful—not a being than which none more powerful can be conceived. Indeed, I can conceive of a being that possesses all God’s qualities but, beyond those, also possesses the power to ensure its will never is violated. If the answer is Yes, then God is not omnipotent after all.

If one answers No, then sin does not exist. If humans cannot violate the will of God, then all human behaviors are executions of God’s will. Every behavior I have displayed, and all behaviors everyone ever will display, are simply the carrying out of God’s will—never violations of it. As indicated by this answer, God’s will is inviolable.

I can envisage no genuine escape from this paradox. But, of course, some do try....

Nearly every time I read a would-be refutation, it is related in some way to the concept of human “free will.” Free will, indeed, is the magical elixir with which Christians think they can defeat sound arguments such as the above. Although I realize the free will debate has been done to death on the internet and elsewhere, I believe it continues to warrant thoughtful consideration. Before returning to the paradox, I shall provide some general concerns about free will in a Christian world.

The first problem with free will relates to God’s alleged omniscience. When God is in the process of creating a new human, he, being omniscient, immediately knows every single act and deed that human eventually will do. For example, when God fashioned Ted Bundy, God instantly had comprehensive knowledge of every act Bundy ever would commit. In what sense, then, does Bundy really have free will, since his deeds elaborately were mapped out before he even was birthed? Could Bundy have used his free will to disprove God’s own foreknowledge? If not, then in what sense could Bundy have been considered free?

I shall relate an associated point: God fashions each of us with certain preferences and tastes, certain compulsions and fetishes. Most psychologists and doctors agree: Serial killing is an innate compulsion in some people. If that is the case, then the source of that innate compulsion only could be our creator—God. How could God—an omnibenevolent being in the minds of many—implant sinful compulsions into his “children” and then punish them for following the very compulsions with which he, himself, saddled us? An analogy I have used is apt: God is a deranged toymaker who makes faulty toys and then blames the toys for being faulty.

Returning more explicitly to would-be refutations of the paradox, the main free will “explanation” with which I have been confronted is the following: God is omnipotent—able to make everybody follow his will all the time—but he sometimes chooses to let people violate his will. Ergo, God is omnipotent, but humans can violate his will and, thus, sin does exist. Of course, this is closely linked to the idea that God does not want people to follow him because they are forced, but rather because they genuinely want to. Sin exists so man can embrace God voluntarily.

Before showing why this does not solve our paradox, I submit a related objection: Why would God place more value on human free will than on the elimination of hellfire-caused human agony? In the world’s current incarnation, according to many Christians, a large percentage of our fellow humans will spend eternity being burned, tortured, speared, crushed, annihilated and skewered in Hell. Why does Yahweh find this more desirable than a world of God-loving Christian humanoids, none of whom ever will taste hellfire? Preferring human agony to human determinism seems rather sadistic, on the part of the Lord.

In any event, the free-will-worshipping God does not solve the paradox because such a deity is less powerful than a God whose will cannot ever be violated. A being than which none more powerful can be conceived accurately can be defined as a being who always gets its way—always. Our definition is antithetical to any type of will violation. In any case, the free-will-worshipping deity is internally inconsistent. According to proponents, this deity is omnipotent, but uses that omnipotence to allow humans to violate its own will (because it loves human freedom). But is that very act not an execution of the deity’s will? This invites the question: Can that will (the will that humans can violate the deity’s will) also be violated, or is it somehow inviolable? Such brain-melting gibberish is the result of primitive theology confronted by contemporary rationality
the intellectual equivalent of a messy car wreck.

Before wrapping this up, I want to provide the Christian God—if he exists—with a great solution to his long-pondered problem: Preserving free will while still saving every soul.

Say there are 1000 potential humans in God's queue at some particular moment in time. God, being omniscient, already knows how each one's life would turn out.

Of the 1000, 200 would be atheists and never accept God. So, God aborts those creations-in-waiting.

Of the remaining 800, 550 would follow religions other than Christianity. So, God aborts them, too.

Of the remaining 250, 200 would be Christians in name, but live sinful lives that would displease God. So, he summarily aborts them.

Finally, we have 50 viable potential creations. These 50 people-to-be enthusiastically would embrace Yahweh and Christianity of their own free will and under no divine force.

I conclude with a question to which I hope you’ll give thought: Why is God not a cosmic abortionist—only “letting through” those people-to-be who happily would embrace Christianity of their own free will? With this, God would have neither Christian humanoids nor crowded pits of hellfire agony.

This simple solution
—no omniscience was required to reach it—continually escapes Yahweh. A curious occurrence, indeed.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an atheist, so I probably agree with you in spirit (no pun intended), but I think your argument is severely flawed in its current form.

You state:

If one answers Yes, then God is not all-powerful—not a being than which none more powerful can be conceived. Indeed, I can conceive of a being that possesses all God’s qualities but, beyond those, also possesses the power to ensure its will never is violated. If the answer is Yes, then God is not omnipotent after all.

And yet it doesn't seem to occur to you that a religious person could say that God is all powerful and could prevent His will being violated if he wished, but that he chooses not to do so. He has just as much power as your hypothetical alter-God, but chooses to let us sin even thought it contravenes his will. The God that chooses to prevent his will from being violated would not be any more powerful. He would just have made a different choice.

3:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, I should have read further, since you pretend to address my point further down.

You state:

In any event, the free-will-worshipping God does not solve the paradox because such a deity is less powerful than a God whose will cannot ever be violated.

This doesn't follow at all. You state it as if it is obvious, but it is far from obvious.

A being than which none more powerful can be conceived accurately can be defined as a being who always gets its way—always.

That's kind of funny definition of powerful, and there is something questionable about basing an argument on your own idiosyncratic definition.

Power is a matter of being able to do what one wants to do. In both cases, with both Gods, each gets exactly what it wants. If the standard God wanted humans to behave as the other God wanted them to behave, then they would behave so. It doesn't make him less powerful because he allows people free will.

In any case, the free-will-worshipping deity is internally inconsistent. According to proponents, this deity is omnipotent, but uses that omnipotence to allow humans to violate its own will (because it loves human freedom).

It's hardly surprising that when you give such an awful definition of omnipotence that it turns out to have problems.

To say he is omnipotent is to say that there is nothing that he could not do if he so wished. For example, he has the power to let people do what they want, even if he disagrees with their choices; he also has the power to not allow them to do anything that contravenes his will if he chooses.

Apart from your repeated assertion that his making one choice rather than the other makes him less powerful, you give no evidence or reasoning to support this.

But isn’t that very act an execution of the deity’s will?

Since it is His will that people be free and make their own choices regardless of what he wishes, I'd say that people are doing exactly what he wants them to do.

This begs the question: Can that will (the will that humans can violate the deity’s will) also be violated, or is it somehow inviolable? Such brain-melting gibberish is the result of primitive theology confronted by modern rationality--the intellectual equivalent of a messy car wreck.

Oh ye who live in glass houses! I agree that most of what passes for "religious thought" is complete bs, but your so-called arguments are pretty weak too.

Anyway, that's enough for me. I feel like I've lost 20 IQ points talking about such stupid things.

3:31 AM EDT  
Blogger ladynada said...

The proper definition of sin:

thinking, speaking and/or acting on untruth.

4:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Woozie said...

Wouldn't this paradox be possible if it was possible for humans to defy God's will, and he chooses to let them defy his will? As to why...I guess God's a sadist.

12:32 PM EDT  
Blogger gobbledygookie said...

fatalis, that's NOT the 'proper' definition on "sin". Look it up, research it thoroughly, and get back at us eh?

12:31 PM EDT  
Anonymous Sunz said...

Ok, if your (ridiculously weak) argument about this "unsolvable paradox" (a paradox which baffles only the hopelessly confused) were true, this still is NOT an argument FOR atheism.

Even if God is not all-powerful, it does not mean that God does not exist.

This in itself is a whole different debate, but worth mentioning here.

6:03 PM EDT  
Blogger Lui said...

The argument might be alright if we're talking about an omnibenevolent God, but of course the issue of omnibenevolence does not rule out God's existence. There is no reason that God "has to be" good (unless one defines "good" as simply God's will, in which case you lose your right to talk about goodness in terms that people can appreciate, except through fear of the deity. Perhaps it also says something rather unpleasant about one’s character). If you define it as concern with human suffering, then God may be omnipotent but he surely isn't good, because what we see in the world is not consistent with that premise; or else he’s good but not omnipotent, because a good all-powerful God would not allow a 9 year old girl to be hacked to pieces in the Congo. Would anyone here allow that? If so, then you have NO right to call God good, because in order for God to be good in that case, he must be using an utterly alien criterion by which to judge it. Accept that either God simply doesn't care, or that he is not omnipotent. And that's simply all there is to it, I'm afraid. Special pleading and nonsensical babbling won't do to rectify this logical outcome. But I'm sure that many, as Jolly says, will try.

3:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Lui said...

I meant to say "If not, then you have NO right..."

3:32 AM EDT  
Blogger BluntDissector said...

Always happy to find a fellow atheist blogger! Nice site...SO many hits...Care to cross link? I'm fairly new and need some hits and authority on technorati!

11:24 AM EDT  
Anonymous Mrs. Antithesis said...

But something can be outside your will, while still being a result of your will. I can say to my children, "I ought not to have to clean your room; you ought to do it on your own." If they do not clean their room, they would be acting outside my will; but it is my will (that they should do good without needing to be told) which has allowed them to do so.

2:55 PM EDT  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

Blunt,

Consider yourself crosslinked!

Lui,

Insightful response, as always. I think you're exactly right.

Dissenters,

I think anybody who judges this a weak argument probably only read the first 300 or so words, and skipped the 700 or so others. Most of the "objections" already have been addressed in the post itself. The conclusion that I have reached is this: If God exists, the only way he could be the omni-everything God of traditional Christianity would be for God to be the cosmic abortionist I suggested. A toymaker cannot make faulty toys and then blame the toys for being faulty--unless, of course, that toymaker is deranged and deserving of scorn.

3:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to also take issue with your "unsolvable Paradox" as well. In addition to other's crititcism I take issue with your second premise, wherein you define sin. Why does god have to hate sin? why does sin "violate his will". If god didn't want sin to exist there woulnd't be a concept for it. Sin isn't the violation of god's will it is the violation of his doctrine. God set down rules he wants people to live by in order to benefit them not himself. Something his will doesn't necessarily encourage, but definately allows for.

I strikes me now that this really stems from a difference between christianity and how I (and most other jews) view sin. Of course judaisim doesn't believe in hell either so that may be part of it too.

Overall your paradox is not much different from the classic "can god make a rock so heavy he can't lift it." which by the way is far from unsolveable.

4:00 PM EDT  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

How is my doctrine of the Cosmic Abortionist God flawed? I can find none. The Cosmic Abortionist God achieves the following:

1. Free Will is preserved. Nobody is forced to follow God.

2. Nobody goes to Hell, because eternally sinful souls are aborted before their creation.

3. Every soul is saved, which ought to be God's ultimate goal.

If saving every soul is NOT the ultimate goal of God, then I deplore him, should the deity exist (a vanishingly unlikely proposition).

5:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Believer said...

There is a fish in a fishtank.

This fish was born in the fishtank.

This fish has only ever swam in the fishtank.

One day, a bird lands on the fishtank and tells the fish of the Atlantic ocean. The bird asks the fish to guess how big the Atlantic ocean is.

The fish asks, "Is it double the size of my tank?", then asks, "the size of this room?", then asks, "the size of this house?", until it gives up.

The bird explains the vastness and depth of the ocean, to which the fish reacts in disbelief. He refuses to believe that something so extraordinary and vast can exist.

And why should he believe it? It is logically impossible, from his point of view. The fishtank is the only world he has ever known. It is Impossible to conceive of something as vastly different as the Ocean.

So, the fish concludes that the Atlantic ocean does not exist.

* * *

Let us not fool ourselves into thinking our minds are logically superior to the infinite creation of God's world.

There is wonderfully poetic verse found in the ancient Indian scripture the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 10, verse 32):

The Lord Krishna says:
"Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth"

* * *

While I appreciate debates of this nature, in the end, I choose to believe in God, because despite our inability to conceive of such a Being, it does not mean this Being does not exist.

6:18 PM EDT  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

You are fully entitled to believe in a God. I shan't try to stop you. By the way, which God do you believe in?

Zeus?
Mithras?
Ammon Ra?
Anu?
Nintu?
Yahweh?
Enlil?
The Golden Calf?
Hargazorn?
Hargozinu?
Apollo?

It always helps to be specific with regard to which God you believe in.

Personally, I do not believe in any of the above-listed Gods, or any other Gods I have neglected to mention. There are currently 10,000 distinct religions on this planet (and innumerable extinct ones). When it comes to God conceptions, there is literally an endless set of potential deities (in the above list, I invented Hargazorn and Hargozinu—who knows, one might exist!). It seems to me that betting on any single God character is rather like playing the lottery just once and hoping to hit the jackpot. Why bet on Yahweh rather than Mithras? Why select Ammon Ra rather than Enlil? In fact, the religionist's odds are far worse than playing the lottery once. Not only is there an infinite set of possible Gods, but there also is the real possibility that no Gods exist. When you think about it in that way, the odds of guessing "right" are vanishingly infinitesimal.

7:04 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believer,

Two questions:

In your analogy, clearly the Atlantic Ocean is God/the divine and the fish is humanity. What does the bird represent? I'm having trouble figuring out its metaphorical identity.

Why should anybody be convinced by anecdotal evidence?

10:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Lui said...

"While I appreciate debates of this nature, in the end, I choose to believe in God, because despite our inability to conceive of such a Being, it does not mean this Being does not exist."

And nor does it mean that that being does exist. Can you see how you've taken a leap of faith to believe in things for which no evidence whatsoever exists?

7:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Believer said...

"... a leap of faith..."

lui, your point clarifies my point exactly.

In the end, after all is said and done, believing that God exists is a leap of faith. Faith that God exists is what fuels my beliefs.

However,

one cannot deny the insurmountable evidence in favour of God.

Beside religious texts (as dubious as many modern versions are), there are endless examples of 'religious experiences', or 'miraculous acts of God'.
While not all are genuine, many are so inconceivable to have happened by chance, that one is truly persuaded to give God a second look. Having witnessed many of these 'experiences' and 'acts', I believe there is a divine force behind our universe.

I believe that God has given people enough free will to choose the path they want to follow in fulfilling his doctrine(s). Hence, the innumerable religions and 'Gods'.

In Hinduism, for example, God is called Vishnu. However, He appears in 3,30 million other forms (animals, women, children, men).

But God is like the sun, his infinite manifestations are his rays. Although every ray is distinct, and although these rays appear in millions of different places all at once, doing vastly different things (warming, drying, evaporating, burning, even killing), they all emanate from the same Sun. God is like the sun.

There is no convincing argument, from a practical point of view, to not believe in God.

I will not change your mind, and you probably won't change mine, but it is worth considering who will be in a better position when we die, and God does happen to exist.

4:32 PM EDT  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

one cannot deny the insurmountable evidence in favour of God.

This is a gross overstatement of reality. There is NO insurmountable evidence in favor of God. What theists actually have on their side are some weak logical arguments, some gaps in scientific knowledge, and a plethora of anecdotes and texts. However, those things hardly amount to insurmountable evidence. I would call the body of evidence for God weak and underwhelming.


Beside religious texts (as dubious as many modern versions are), there are endless examples of 'religious experiences', or 'miraculous acts of God'.
While not all are genuine, many are so inconceivable to have happened by chance, that one is truly persuaded to give God a second look.


Not in the slightest. First of all, religious experiences are entirely subjective. They can be found in every religion--Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Scientology, Buddhism, etc. If EVERY supernatural belief system boasts religious experiences, then it pretty well devalues religious experiences as an indicator of actual truth.

Miraculous acts of God? What is the evidence to substantiate them? There are alleged miraculous acts contained in the Bible, such as the Resurrection and Jesus' virgin birth. However, those are entirely lacking in convincing evidence. They could just as easily be pure fabrications--with no basis in reality whatsoever. Then you have the aforementioned personal experiences, which easily could be attributed to lies, deception or delusion. Then you have anecdotal evidence passed along by other people. I categorize such "evidence" alongside the evidence for Big Foot and Loch Ness Monster.

When you talk about the "miraculous," you are usually talking about things which violate well-evidenced natural principles. In order for me to believe that natural principles have been violated, I would need extraordinary evidence [And, to be sure, anecdotes NEVER constitute extraordinary evidence.] I am consistently shocked when people urge me to "have faith" in the Bible's absurd and nonscientific claims. This is tantamount to asking me to accept the veracity of a 2000-year-old book of Jewish folklore over well-evidenced natural principles discovered through science. I will not do so.


Having witnessed many of these 'experiences' and 'acts', I believe there is a divine force behind our universe.

Forgive me for not abandoning science because you have had private experiences which you relate through unsubstantiated anecdote. How about some hard evidence, as any real scientist would demand?


But God is like the sun, his infinite manifestations are his rays. Although every ray is distinct, and although these rays appear in millions of different places all at once, doing vastly different things (warming, drying, evaporating, burning, even killing), they all emanate from the same Sun. God is like the sun.

This is patently false.

Yahweh is one distinct God character. Anu, Nintu, Enlil, Zeus, Mithras, Ammon Ra and the Golden Calf also are all distinct God characters. They are not rays emanating from a singular sun. Rather, they are completely separate 'trees' growing in a 'forest' of distinct deities. God characters are NOT interchangeable. In fact, God characters are infinitely various--possessing infinitely various natures, boasting infinitely various skills, demanding infinitely various behaviors, promising infinitely various rewards.

Gods vary as much as the human imagination from which they sprang.

If you are intellectually honest, you will place your bet on ONE God character and roll the dice.


There is no convincing argument, from a practical point of view, to not believe in God.

What about this: There is a lack of convincing evidence.

I also could believe in invisible garden banshees or white-haired closet goblins. I choose not to, for the same reason: There is a lack of convincing evidence.

Why do you devalue evidence so thoroughly?


I will not change your mind, and you probably won't change mine, but it is worth considering who will be in a better position when we die, and God does happen to exist.

This is Pascal's Wager, and it has been refuted by philosophers ad nauseum. I shall refute it again, though….

The problem with Pascal’s Wager: It presumes either the Christian God exists or no God exists. It forgets all the other God characters, entirely different from Yahweh. For example, what if the one and true God is Hargazorn? The only way to satisfy Hargazorn is to drink goat’s blood thrice daily. If one does not drink goat’s blood, one is damned to eternal torment. Those who do drink the sacred fluid are given eternal paradise after corporeal death. What if the one and true God is Enlil? How about Ammon Ra? Zeus? Mithras? Thor? Apollo? There is no way to “be on the safe side.” The number of God characters, quite literally, is limitless.

Rather than waste my time trying to please infinite God characters, I treat the whole thing with apathy. When there is no hard evidence with which to substantiate any God character, each and every fantastical deity is equal in my eyes—equally pointless.


~The Jolly Nihilist

8:01 PM EDT  
Blogger Lui said...

Right. So why should someone need faith in the first place if it is so "evident"? There was a time when most scientists believed in God, because it was apparent to them that the world had been designed by an intelligence. This is no longer the case.

"Having witnessed many of these 'experiences' and 'acts', I believe there is a divine force behind our universe."

Care to share those experiences with us?

"I believe that God has given people enough free will to choose the path they want to follow in fulfilling his doctrine(s). Hence, the innumerable religions and 'Gods'."

Sorry, but that's garbage. If there is one true God, then he wouldn't manifest himself as thousands of different gods, knowing full well the horrible consequences this would lead to.

"Although every ray is distinct"

Tell me about it! They're distinct enough for adherents to kill each other over, after having read that belief in other gods ("false gods", as the Bible says) is false. Some religions tell you to do this or else you'll go to hell, others tell you to do that and therefore contradict the other religion. How can these possibly be just "manifestations of the same God"? It's incredible how religion can utterly destroy someone's logic. And on top of all this we're supposed to believe that God is graceful and beneficent. Sure, we'll take it on your word.

"There is no convincing argument, from a practical point of view, to not believe in God."

From a "practical" point of view? What do you mean by that? Do you know ANYTHING about science, or human psychology, or the history of religious conflict? Do you even care? Or do your religious beliefs so utterly dominate your every perception of the world, that they are automatically self-vindicating and have thus made you impervious to reason?

"I will not change your mind, and you probably won't change mine, but it is worth considering who will be in a better position when we die, and God does happen to exist."

That's an argument? Having nothing useful to contribute to the discussion, you fall back on the threat of hell as a motivation to believe. This is typical and entirely to be expected of many theists. Instead of arguing with rational points and backing up your claims with evidence, all you've done is demonstrate that you have an overwhelming emotional need to believe, nothing more. And yet you imagine that you have gained more knowledge about existence than those who at least know something about it.

11:29 PM EDT  
Blogger OneEar said...

Rusty is surprisingly insecure for an omnipotent being. "Worship me, worship me or you will burn for eternity." It is really rather sad.

8:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In looking around the Net I found your blog.
I think I also found an answer to your "Unsolvable Paradox" at this website: <"http://www.MusingsAboutGod.com">
It's in the first article there "The truth about God", (It's way to long to post here, but I think it might be worth your time, I've never heard an answer like it) you might also look up the definition for "Sin" in the article on the same website "Uncommon definitions of Common Words".
Your question is valid, but it is not an "Unsolvable Paradox", as www.MusingsAboutGod.com will show.

3:31 PM EDT  
Anonymous UK said...

Yes, as I see it, the plain fact of the matter is that a creator is responsible for his creation. Sin cannot coexist with omnipotence, unless the omnipotent power wants it to coexist, which makes him evil.

As to whether God should be a "cosmic abortionist," the only answer seems to be that he should be. But, then, given free will and anything short of omnipotence, all humans are prone to sin eventually.

Nice site, btw.

5:27 PM EDT  
Blogger Edward T. Babinski said...

UK Wrote: ...given free will and anything short of omnipotence, all humans are prone to sin eventually.

I agree with UK above.

Such questions also make me wonder whether God, if he has "free will," might not be prone to "sin" or at least think an "evil" thought? Why would omnipotence and omniscience make God any less prone to eventually choosing or thinking something "evil" of God's own "free will?" And what about every angel and person in heaven? Unless their freewill is yanked away from them, or some powerful force is exerting a controlling/coersive influence stronger than their free will, how are they to avoid ever choosing or thinking anything "evil" throughout eternity?

6:21 PM EDT  
Anonymous DoubtingThomas said...

believer posted an analogy on June 25th about a bird telling a fish in an aquarium about the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean and the fish not being able to conceive of such a place so denying that it existed. This is to show how silly it is for an atheist to question/doubt the existence of God. The fish is supposed to represent humanity and the ocean God. What does the bird represent? I don’t know. But the flaw in this analogy is that the existence of the ocean can be easily proven to the little fish. The bird is an eye witness to its existence. The bird could bring back some water from the ocean to prove its existence. It could take a picture or video of it. It could even take the little fish out of the aquarium and deliver it to the fabled ocean to swim around for a bit. The point is, the fish is refusing to believe in something that can be PROVEN. Therefore the ocean cannot represent God. Instead, I believe the fish represents the religious (theists), the bird represents atheists and the ocean represents reality.

There, now believer’s analogy makes sense.

8:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fairly good analysis of the paradox called god. The very fact that a dilemma called paradox ezists proves that there is something more than what we humans can think or comprehend.
We Hindus believe God to be supersoul and all of us atmas or souls. A spark gets separated from a bonfire and it thinks that it has free will and free existence until it falls back into the bonfire to merge with the supersoul.

10:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Ram Madhavan said...

You have stated the problem so well though some of the logic appears flawed.

I think that since God is supposed to be omniscient there cant be any freewill at all. If a person exercises his freewill that God does not know in advance, how is God all knowing? If God is all knowing then what is the locus of the freewill?

If God really exists, the only way this paradox can be resolved by stating that freewill is an illusion and is only God's will in disguise. A person is merely made to feel that he has freewill but in reality, his mind/body/soul is under the full control of God. This would make the system monistic. Dualism of any sort cannot resolve the freewill/omniscience paradox.

Why would God do such a thing? A perfectly independent being could not be expected to sit idle for eternity a'int? So he/she/it really had some fun!

There is never evil in monism because for evil to be there, there has to be two people. A persont cant be evil to himself. Is there any partiality? No. Is God hurt in the worldly suffering? No, because fire never hurts itself even though it is hot.

I found monism a better philosophy than dualism because in dualism there is always evil on the side of God that can never be explained away. Why do you create anything external to you if they suffer( regardless of whose fault it is)? A dualistic framework draws a big blank.

And a god who creates eternal hells for whatever reason must be the most cruel being to have ever existed.

1:20 PM EDT  

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