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February 25th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Your thoughts on 'The Adjustment Bureau' and fate vs. free will

Check out this preview of this week’s Faces of Faith segment about the new Matt Damon movie The Adjustment Bureau and let us know what you think on the question of fate versus free will, one of the movie’s big themes.

Watch the full segment this Sunday at 7 a.m., which will feature actor Anthony Mackie and director/screenwriter George Nolfi. We’ll read some of your comments on air.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Movies

soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Justina

    Wow! A film to tackle one of the most difficult theological questions of (concept of Trinity) in the universe for all time? I completely trust God because He is so honest with us mankind regarding His omniscience, absolute sovereignty, and our free will as His creatures. He could have been silent about many things to "control" us but He laid it all out before us, knowing we will doubt Him because of that: He is God and not a man indeed! I don't think a single film or anything can answer this dilemma on this side of the world. Like Job, Jacob or Habakkuk in the Old Testament, we must wrestle with God directly in order to understand and experience the results of our free will and His working sovereignty. The God-given human life cannot be expressed in a formula but it's an adventure with a victory guaranteed at the end.

    February 26, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • Justina

      If our kind of creatures think the ultimate result of rejecting God is anything less than eternal hell, followers of God would not really follow God and those who choose not to believe God would behave like demons with unacceptable number of victims whether the victims are defenseless humans or creation. Then this present world on Planet Earth would have been so meaningless to exist. And such societies were really wiped out. We Adamic race need the doctrine of hell(and it's real, as real as our sin) to exist meaningfully in this present world. Small scaled patterns of sin-gratification-punishment and obedience-difficulty-blessing are experienced by all of us on earthly life. It takes God's Spirit to convict us of our sins and regenerate us but we are called to repent. And doing God's will and living a Christian life, we are commanded, urged and encouraged as our free to obey Him matters just as His grace does.

      February 26, 2011 at 4:02 am |
    • Justina

      The doctrine of God's sovereignty(predestination) and free will gives me confidence and brings me remembrance that God is the Creator and Master, while I'm a mere creature and never meant to be in control; that He made me a person(how amazing!) with moral responsibility and my sin is real not an illusion deserving hell; that God is and will be the Victor over all the corruption of His creatures with freewill be it fallen angels or rebel humans; that everything will be as it should be at the end in the entire universe regardless of my shortcoming(e.g. No one goes to hell because of my laziness in evangelism though I'll lose my reward on that – Esther 4:13,14. I must evangelize because I love God); that God's punishment is fair justice as the the Bible describes humans as great ones and small ones; and that only the triumphant good will forever exist and evil(corruption of the original good) will not.

      February 26, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Justina, it seems odd to me, you say we have free will to choose but here are our choices:

      Choose to believe (impossible either one believes or not, one cannot choose to believe in Santa if one does not believe Santa is real)

      If one " chooses" to believe in the impossible the reward is, one lives the exact same life as one that "chooses" not to believe in the impossible, (same joys, sadness, pains, and triumphs). Then an eternity\infinity in a magical land where one spends their time worshiping the deity. Do you see anything wrong with this picture?

      If one "chooses" not to believe in the impossible the punishment is, one lives the exact same life as one that "chooses" to believe in the impossible, (same joys, sadness, pains, and triumphs). Then an eternity\infinity in a magical land where one is tortured by a "deity".

      In summary, believe or spend eternity being tortured, that's not really a choice is? It's the kind of "choice" a megalomaniac dictator would give, think Stalin, Hitler, Christianity and Islam, believe in my way or die, they have killed countless millions over the centuries.

      My question for you is, in your opinion, what would be the difference in our lives if a deity existed or not, what is the difference if one believes or not, if there is no difference in our everyday lives then what's the point?

      February 26, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Justina

      You said: "The doctrine of God's sovereignty(predestination) and free will gives me confidence and brings me remembrance..."

      Sovereignty has to do with authority. But if you wish to extend His authority to predestination, then there is no free will. If God predetermines everything, then there is no free will. See my comment at the beginning of this thread.

      February 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • NL

      JohnQuest-
      "Choose to believe"
      On a practical level, I think Christians understand this as choosing to suppress their natural skepticism (which they characterize as Satan trying to lure them astray).

      February 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  2. Observer

    It is clearly written that god knows about the past, the present, and the future with zero uncertainty. That means, even if we don't feel it, we are following a life path that is predetermined by god. This implies that what ever we do it is according to the path determined by god. God proofed it him self by promising to Adam that he will scarify himself to save him (Adam). Indeed god came after few thousand years and "saved" Adam by scarifying him self. For this to happen (for gods promise to be full filled) St. Mary, Judah, etc had to be created. God knew this would happen thousands years ago. On the other hand bible tells us that we will be jugged by our action.

    As to me these two ideas simply contradict each other. I mentioned bible as example but I know that other religious books also have similar basis. We better open our mind to look for a better understanding of life.

    February 26, 2011 at 1:31 am |
  3. Observer

    It is clearly written that god knows the past, the present, the future with no uncertainty. That means, even if we don't feel it, we are following a life pass that is predetermined by god. This implies what ever we do it is according to the pass determined by god. Again according to bible, god proofed it him self by promising to Adam that he will scarify himself to save him (Adam). Indeed he came after few thousand years and "saved" Adam. For this to happen St. Mary, Judah, etc had to be born, Again, according to bible, god knew this would happen thousands years ago. On the other hand bible tells are we will be jugged by what we do.
    As to me these two ideas not also do not go together but also they contradict each other. I mentioned bible as example but I know that other religious books have similar problems. We better open our mind to look for a better understanding of life.

    February 26, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  4. tj

    god is just like santa, it's time to move on.

    February 26, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Q

      Actually, the biblical God is far worse than Santa. To my knowledge, Santa never drowned children, ordered them slaughtered indiscriminately or condemned them to eternal suffering for not believing.

      February 26, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  5. Reality

    o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life with its free will and future are limited and is simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms with or without decision making capability but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  6. HotAirAce

    Arguing about free will is a complete waste of time 'cause there are no gods!

    HeavenSent, there is absolutely no point in asking atheists (I am one) about scripture, posing questions such "what don't you understand about bible extract X.Y.Z?", especially in your oh so snotty manner. It's not that we don't understand your book-of-silliness, a piece of bad fiction masquerading as the word-of-your-tribal-genie. We fully understand it, and have rejected it. Until you come up with a new and successful (would be the first one) argument for the existence of god (feel free to pick any one or more of the thousands proposed), you are back at "first principles" – all else is just "let's pretend for a moment that god..." and at least this atheist refuses to play that dope's game. Over to you, believer of childish mtyths.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  7. Ali

    Has anyone considered that perhaps God does not simply know our one actual future but that he knows ALL our possible futures? This is not incompatible with free will. It means we have free choice but our choices are limited by the constraints of our universe which he sets and we have no control over. We cannot for example choose to implode the universe or change the set values of the fundamental forces like gravity. If you imagine an infinitely powerful supercomputer, it can compute every single possible event based on every possible choice at every second of your life. What you will end up with is a massive tree style graph of choices that gets infinitely more complex as you travel down the branches. Some branches end abruptly early on (you chose to kill yourself for e.g.). The thing is, its not just us that live in his little simulation known as earth. We share it with 6 billion other free beings. There choices affect our lives as much as our own. The tax rate, being mugged, being run over all these things are in other peoples control and not our own. This however does not preclude God from knowing all possible outcomes. It adds unbelievable complexity but is still a solvable problem just with more agents. Now you see that we have control over our own paths. Every single path ends in death. But depending on what exact route you chose, with your millions of individual decisions, this will be what you are judged on.

    Where does omniscience come into this? I think God could know what path we take if he wanted, by closing all others and revoking free will. But he has not, and whilst we have it he does not know what ultimattakeut we take.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Ali

      sorry, my post sent prematurely as was typing on my phone.

      *But he has not, and whilst we have it he does not know what ultimate route we take. That is the whole POINT of having free will and why we are here. For us to choose our own destiny and face the consequences of it be it good or bad. Omniscience means 'all knowing' and having 'infinite knowledge'. Hence he would STILL BE omniscient as he has infinite knowledge of all possible states of our earth as a whole at every possible nanosecond including every individuals state. He simply doesn't know our end path until we've reached it, that is the one thing he has given us control over. The thing is, we think of time as a linear thing with a start a middle and an end. Because god exists outside of the universe, he has no 'time'. Thus in a way he knew the outcome of our lives the moment they started because to him, we were born, lived and died all in the same instant. There is no 'time' in between. There is simply our actions which he can process simultaneously. The same goes for the universe as a whole you say.

      This blurs the line between him knowing our future and not. He does in a way, but in another way he does not. The crucial part is that our futures are LIMITED by mortality and the constraint of the universe which HE CONTROLS and created. By setting the initial conditions and maintaining the laws of the universe he knows that no matter what we do we aren't going to 'break free' and suddenly 'escape' our universe and start being completely free in that we may then start making choices he did not know we could even make. 'Surprises' if you will. So to god there are no surprises as no matter what path you take it's one of the zillions he has laid out and you've just chosen to follow that route.

      Ok i'll stop rambling now but thats just my pov on the subject.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Q

      Presumably, an omniscient God would know all possibilities. However, among these infinite possibilities, an omniscient God still must know the one actual single course of events that will transpire. This holds equally true in a "multi-verse" proposition where God would still know the one single course of events for each and every individual universe. And again, this holds true whether or not God is "inside" or "outside" of time. The only way to remove a defined course of events (i.e. a series of individual and collective actions we would refer to as "choices") which must be fulfilled according to His foreknowledge is to remove omniscience and/or infallibility from God (which then kinda defeats the concept of "God").

      February 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • NL

      Q-
      Well, it could work that an omniscient God would know all possibilities, but still allow free will. You just have to give up believing in miracles, and any other way where God could meddle in human lives, like answering prayers.

      A spectator God who is just observing us from whatever duck blind hideout that he uses to shield his presence could be studying our behavior like an ethologist would. If he had anything to do with written scripture he would be the kind of scientist who leaves sharp knives in the animal's habitat for them to discover and then studies if they use them as tools, toys or weapons. Yup, that actually sounds kinda right considering how the word of God has been used historically.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Q

      Hi NL – I certainly don't disagree with the latter characterization of an observer-only deity and how this could conform with "free will" (particularly the part regarding leaving sharp instruments lying around!). The conflict I see with "free will" is limited to when folks wish to attribute omniscience to a deity in that by definition, this requires the deity knows all past, present and future outcomes and our behaviors must conform to this foreknowledge. Some would argue that the deity could self-limit its omniscience but then, it's not really omniscient anymore. I concede any number of deity constructs which don't include omniscience could be compatible with "free will", but when dealing with the typical Abrahamic deity, the theologies invariably require omniscience to account for the "divine plan" and all the interventions you alluded to (e.g. miracles, prophesies, etc).

      February 26, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • NL

      Q
      God being omniscient isn't the problem. If you choose to read a novel that you've already read and remember all the details of you are essentially omniscient of what the characters will do during your second reading, right? Reading the exact same story a million times won't change who the antagonists and protagonists are so God knowing what's going to happen before we do isn't the problem. The problem is that Christians don't imagine God simply watching what we do. They imagine him sending 'signs', performing miracles and 'entering people's hearts' as the Holy Spirit.

      But not for everyone! Some Christians believe that God predestines only a select elite who he wants to believe in him. Maybe that doesn't exclude free will entirely, but it sure makes the playing field uneven, doesn't it?

      I could rework this with something else. They say that you probably won't believe in UFOs until you see one, so if space aliens wanted me to believe in them then they would appear to me, right? If God wanted me to believe in him then he would send me a sign like all the folks on Christian TV like to tell stories about, but he doesn't, so I am forced to conclude that he doesn't really want me to be 'saved', and if he doesn't want me anyway then why should I care about being excluded?

      February 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Q

      NL – I certainly concur that a purely observing deity who would intervene is enough to remove free will, particularly with respect to one's free will to choose belief, e.g. "How can I possibly be held to same belief standard as any of those alleged new testament eye-witnesses? Why am I not privy to direct, incontrovertible evidence?". I believe this line of reasoning is analogous to a personalization of the "problem of evil" where capricious intervention (or lack thereof) undermines the basic belief-based tenets of salvation.

      However, I believe you're understating how omniscience of the deity equally removes free will. In your book analogy, it's not simply that the deity has read the book, it's that the complete book itself, from start to finish, has always existed in the omniscient knowledge of the deity. In other words, as characters in the book, our stories are already known (even though they aren't known to us) and the only "choices" available to us are those which will fulfill the already known plot. Further still, in many Christian's minds, the deity didn't simply "read" the book, but actually wrote the book, calling it the "divine plan".

      In either case, via intervention or omniscience, the standard Christian claims of "free will" don't stand up under scrutiny.

      February 28, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  8. Kjcube

    Ah... the age old "Fate vs. Free will" question Hollywood always asks when they think they're being "deep." Philosophically, this question is a stupid one because it basically asks what existence "looks like" from the perspective of a viewer "outside" existence. Do you see the inherent problem with this?! If your the kind of person that can "exist" outside existence then your either Chuck Norris or Mentally ill 🙂

    February 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  9. Muneef

    Ta-Ha sura 20:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    And verily We made a covenant of old with Adam, but he forgot, and We found no constancy in him. (115) And when We said unto the angels: Fall prostrate before Adam, they fell prostrate (all) save Iblis; he refused. (116) Therefor we said: O Adam! This is an enemy unto thee and unto thy wife, so let him not drive you both out of the Garden so that thou come to toil. (117) It is (vouchsafed) unto thee that thou hungerest not therein nor art naked, (118) And that thou thirstest not therein nor art exposed to the sun's heat. (119) But the Devil whispered to him, saying: O Adam! Shall I show thee the tree of immortality and power that wasteth not away? (120) Then they twain ate thereof, so that their shame became apparent unto them, and they began to hide by heaping on themselves some of the leaves of the Garden. And Adam disobeyed his Lord, so went astray. (121) Then his Lord chose him, and relented toward him, and guided him. (122).

    Al-Araf sura 07:
    And (unto man): O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden and eat from whence ye will, but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. (19) Then Satan whispered to them that he might manifest unto them that which was hidden from them of their shame, and he said: Your Lord forbade you from this tree only lest ye should become angels or become of the immortals. (20) And he swore unto them (saying): Lo! I am a sincere adviser unto you. (21) Thus did he lead them on with guile. And when they tasted of the tree their shame was manifest to them and they began to hide (by heaping) on themselves some of the leaves of the Garden. And their Lord called them, (saying): Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you: Lo! Satan is an open enemy to you? (22) They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the lost! (23).

    February 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  10. newhopebo

    and David Johnson-I hope you're not on the next flight that I'm on...

    February 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  11. newhopebo

    ..hey JohnnyQuest...you wanna no what else should be against Christian?? Is Gays in the priesthood!!!~

    February 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      newhopebo, You said "..hey JohnnyQuest...you wanna no what else should be against Christian?? Is Gays in the priesthood!!!~"

      But you never said why they shouldn't serve?

      Also, because I don't understand the reference, what do you mean by "..why can't they pronounce the word, "ASK" ?

      February 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  12. Bus2

    Religious/supernatural/magical nonsense aside, I don't believe in free will OR determinism.

    Free will doesn't exist because our brains process data solely as a function of inputted stimuli and we have no control of the internal electrochemical processes that output a "decision".

    Determinism in the sense described by Laplace's Demon doesn't exist either, as quantum fluctuations make long-term predictions of particle interactions inherently inaccurate.

    February 25, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Kjcube

      You cannot use quant-itative data to explain a question of qualitative nature. Knowing that the color red can always be quantified at a certain range of frequencies and wavelengths can't tell you why the qualitative experience of the color red is the way it is. Your units don't match up so to speak (can't measure mass in meters). Besides everyone already knows that the answer is 42 🙂

      February 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Bus2

      @Kjcube An earnest "thank you" for the thoughtful response! 🙂

      I do see your point, but I suppose I would object to the notion that there's some quasi-metaphysical aspect to the way we perceive the color red. (Please correct me if I'm misinterpreting!) I would argue that, in the strict technical sense, our perception of "red" can still be reduced to neurons and synapses and the like. I'd speculate that if we currently had the technology to map an entire neural network at sufficient fidelity, we actually could quantify our experience of the color red.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  13. newhopebo

    people..it's a PHUCKING MOVIE,,LIGHTEN UP!!!

    February 25, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  14. newhopebo

    ..why can't they pronounce the word, "ASK" ?? Does anyone have the answer?

    February 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  15. JohnQuest

    Q, I tend to agree, unless a person believes in dualism, which goes against Christian doctrine.

    February 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Q

      @JQ – I've heard a couple different definitions of "Dualism" addressing topics like metaphysics, theology and epistemology. Which dualism are you referring to here?

      February 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  16. Q

    You simply can't have an omniscient, infallible first cause creator and have free will. All human choices would have been known from the inception of creation and one could not chose other than what was already known to eventually be the choice, otherwise, the creator is no longer infallible. I've heard all manner of attempts to rationalize this away, but you just can't have this cake and eat it too.

    February 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Satan has planted many false religions and false prophets into the world. These are done on purpose for blurring God's truth just enough to enter doubt into the picture. Satan takes 95% of God's truth and adds to that 5% lie, with that formula he can alter any and every truth of God into a lie.

      The first recorded lie in the Bible was uttered by satan as the serpent: "Yea, hath God said...?" [Genesis 3:1-5]. Satan didn't tell Eve that God did not exist, for Eve walked and talked with God, that lie only works on our later generations. But satan took away the words of God from Eve by telling her that they were not to be trusted.

      Satan told Eve that she did not need God; satan basically told Eve that God had lied to her because He (God) didn't want her to accomplish life eternal on her own, He didn't want her to become as He, He didn't want her to become a God: " For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods..."

      Genesis 3:1-5

      1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
      2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
      3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
      4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
      5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

      February 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Q

      @HeavenSent – you cut and paste makes no sense by itself, let alone in the context of a reply. Please spare me your theo-babblings stolen from other websites...

      February 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Q

      @Heaven Sent – ...particularly when these websites are b@tsh!t crazy, "jews run all the media" type websites. Go get some help from a licensed mental health professional...

      February 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • thesaurusrs

      "You simply can't have an omniscient, infallible first cause creator and have free will. All human choices would have been known from the inception of creation and one could not chose other than what was already known to eventually be the choice, otherwise, the creator is no longer infallible."

      But just because God knows what your choice will be doesn't mean it's not your choice. He is simply all-seeing and infallible enough to accomodate whatever path you choose. Whatever we do, we are in the soup – and he is the soup.

      February 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Don

      HeavenSent, nowhere in the bible is the serpent equated with "satan". Further, the serpent was correct in that they didn't die THAT DAY from eating the fruit. Nor did the serpent use the words "spaketh" and such rot.

      February 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Q

      @thesaurusrs – Imagine you have come to a fork in the road. The common theist concept of God would have known from the instant of creation you'd turn right. Because God is infallible, you must turn right. It was preordained in his omniscience and infallibility. You cannot turn left because then God's foreknowledge would be wrong (i.e. not omniscient and not infallible). That you don't know you can't turn left is irrelevant.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • matt

      ahhhh...signs of intelligent life! First cause Creator! Why can so few see this? Thanks, Q!

      February 25, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • NL

      HeavenSent-
      What guarantee can you provide that your religion is not one of Satan's plants?

      February 25, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • NL

      HeavenSent-
      Isn't the Eve story just another basic retelling of the Pandora myth. You know, 'silly woman causes all the woe in the world' yada, yada... . Anyway, you can look it up if you like. The ancients (and plenty of moderns too) just loved to blame everything that ever went wrong on women.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Thesaurusrs

      You said: "But just because God knows what your choice will be doesn't mean it's not your choice. He is simply all-seeing and infallible enough to accomodate whatever path you choose. Whatever we do, we are in the soup – and he is the soup."

      Your freedom of choice is only an illusion. If the future can be known, then your choice is predetermined.

      But, this is based on the Christian god being omniscient. His being able to know the future.

      If god is not omniscient, if the future is not knowable, because it has not happened yet, then humans do have free will. Events are largely a matter of random chance.

      Cheers!

      February 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Don

      You said: " Nor did the serpent use the words "spaketh" and such rot."

      Not too long ago, I attended the funeral of a friend, who was killed in a car crash. The funeral was at a Pentecostal Church.

      I had to laugh, when the preacher prayed out loud. He used the King's English. I suppose he wanted to use the language that Jesus himself spoke while He was alive.

      I bet there are lots of fundies who do that when they pray. Makes 'em feel like one of the apostles. LOL

      Cheers!

      February 26, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  17. JohnQuest

    Reality, you never answered the question, do you (not someone you read about) believe in free will or determinism?

    February 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      If I posted this to "R" it would be in the holding pattern.

      Jesus Christ was "des-pised and re-jected of men", "He hath borne our griefs", "He was wounded for our trans-gres-sions", "and with His stripes we are healed", "all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way", "the LORD hath laid on Him the in-i-quit-y of us all", "He was op-press-ed, and He was af-flict-ed, yet He opened not His mouth", "He was cut off out of the land of the liv-ing: for the trans-gres-sion of my people was He stric-k-en", "and He made his grave with the wic-k-ed", "and with the rich in His death", "yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin", "by His know-ledge shall my right-e-ous serv-ant just-ify many; for He shall bear their in-i-q-uities", "He bare the sin of many, and made inter-ces-sion for the trans-gres-sors." All He wants us to do is to believe, is that so much to ask?

      Spring, 29 AD, on the Pas-s-over, Jesus Christ of Na-z-areth, the Son of the liv-ing God, was cruc-i-fied on the cross of Pa-gan R-ome; He was betrayed by a friend, and had a false witness brought against Him by the high-est reli-g-ious body of the time in Jer-u-s-alem (the San-he-drin) by ungodly play actors who were not of true Isr-a-el nor of true Ju-dah but rather were the sons of Cain (Ken-ites) the first murderer who called them-selves Je-ws but were not of Ju-dah.

      John 8:42-44
      42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
      43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
      44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speak-eth a lie, he speak-eth of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

      These Ken-ites (sons of Cain, the first murd-e-rer) will once again play a role in pro-p-hecy in our life-time:

      Revelation 3:9
      9 Behold, I will make them of the syn-a-g-ogue of Sa-tan, which say they are Jew-s, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

      February 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      That is why every one must be learn-ed in His truth from the Bible, for the Bible warns us of all things. Those who wish to get stroked and blinded by sa-tan's lies and work along with him are the ones who tell us that the Bible is just a fairy tale. The Bible speaks of those who deny Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for our salvation.

      You many also want to read the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians to read ALL His truth.

      1 Corinthians 1:18 (The preaching of the cross (Christianity) defended)
      18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

      Amen.

      February 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Reality

      Obviously, the common sense and rational thinking of Schillebeeckx supersedes any prior theological mumbo jumbo.

      February 26, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • David Johnson

      @HeavenSent

      Do you really think the stars will fall to earth?
      Revelation 6:13 – And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
      The bronze age people believed the heavenly bodies were about the size as they appear in the sky. The sun and moon about the size of basketballs. The stars, very small. They had no idea, that the stars were actually "suns".

      February 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  18. Reality

    From one who spent his adult life, pondering and studying the Christian god:

    As per the famous contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, god is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following by Schillebeeckx:

    Church: The Human Story of God,
    Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

    "Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."

    "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices. Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings. For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

    i.e. No one, not even God can prophesy since that would violate the God/Nature-given gifts of Free Will and Future.

    February 25, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  19. NL

    Ah, the Christian idea of free will working in harmony with predestination. God reads the 'novel' of all our lives and then rewards the protagonists while punishing the antagonists. Maybe that works if you believe that God didn't actually have a hand in writing the story himself, but if he did, what kind of author actually favors one type of character over the other when both are needed to drive the story along? Aren't the 'sinners' of this world needed to help bring out the character of the 'saints'?

    February 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Ron

      David, I agree with you on this thought. It amazes me how many Christians want to proclaim "free will" but the fact is their bible and beliefs teach against it.

      If Jesus died for everyone already, there's no real motivation to meet Him, as the bill has already been paid.  If one still has to repent for sins, then the bill wasn't paid or resurrecting bounced the check.

      "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -Galileo

      February 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  20. David Johnson

    If God knows the future, that means that the future is predictable and unchangeable. This, in turn, means that our actions are predetermined. If god is all knowing, free will is an illusion.

    This also binds god, in that He knows what he will do in the future, and He must do it.

    Let's look at Jesus and his predictions that Judas would betray him and Peter would deny him.
    Those were future events. Do you think Judas could have used his free will to opt out? Not, if Jesus/God was omniscient. Same goes for Peter.

    The actions of Peter and Judas were predetermined. They had no choice.
    Also, note that if future events are not predetermined, Biblical prophecies would not be possible.

    What about the child who is murdered by a monster, or a people slaughtered by a stronger opponent (or a god)?
    Did they choose to be harmed? Where was their free will? These acts show that the strong or the people in power have greater free will than their victims. Hmmm...

    If god has a "plan for each of us", then that pretty much rules out free will.

    Jeremiah 29:11
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

    Ephesians 1:11 "We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will."

    "this man [Christ Jesus] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23a NASB).

    The 6 point Calvinists believe our fates are sealed, even before we are born. This would mean that god allows humans to be born, knowing they will someday burn forever. Seems wrong to me, even for a mysterious god.

    There is no evidence that a god gives or safeguards human will.

    February 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      David, what part of Mark 16:16 do you not understand.

      He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

      He told us over and over again, he created the world again (this earth age) erased our memories of him (from the 1st earth age he destroyed.. aka the foundation of the world) having us come to earth this time, being born of woman (flesh), gave us free will to love and follow Him (truth) and live (while in human form ... spiritually on earth as well in eternity with him) or love and follow satan's lies and die spiritually while living on earth (in human form) as well when the spirits (intellect of the soul) dies and returns to Him that created us ... then wait on the other side of the gulf in paradise, until the Lord's day, then judgment, then it's SIZZLE time for satan and all that followed him for it is written in His letter to all of us (the Bible).

      February 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Don

      What part of "free will and an omniscient creator of everything are incompatible" don't you understand, HeavenSent?

      February 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      @David
      There is no future. Past is only a memory for a short time.
      Everything that is, just is, as it is, without our opinion, a label, or our judgment about it. Whatever “is”, only is right now. It can
      never be anywhere else. Everything that is, just is, as it is, without our opinion, a label, or our judgment about it. Whatever “is”, only is right now. It can never be anywhere else.

      Whatever manifests itself into the physical world, at this very moment is not important as that, which animates it into being. Anything that can be manifested in the material world can not do so without that, which animates it. Absolutely nothing can come into being (appear or change), without it. Do you know what animates you? It is the same thing that animates absolutely everything. It is pure energy. It knows no good or bad, it has no wishes or wants, it has no preference. It just is.
      Whatever is only is right now, in this very moment. Other than “what is” right now, nothing else is real, because it can only be imagined in the mind.

      What kind of energy? Energy comes in a countless number of frequencies, but boils down to two that are relevant for us, in this case. We know them as LOVE or FEAR. LOVE is the energy that animates and is the source of being for some, but it has to be consciously and deliberately chosen. The choice can only be done right NOW. The choice can only exist in this
      very moment. The choice has to be consciously made, over and over, right now. Then, anything that manifests itself, comes from LOVE, Peace, Truth, God, Life..., and is the real source of who we truly are, without fear, ego, lies, deceit, pretense, etc. If you can point your attention and are able to notice your internal state right now, you will know if you have chosen LOVE or FEAR. You will know precisely what energy animates you and the reality that is manifested, as a result of your
      choice. You do have a free will to choose your source, but you may not be present enough or have the ability to make a conscious choice.

      We can not control that, which animates us; we can only consciously or unconsciously choose it. To make a conscious choice, all we can do is to pay attention to the breath, instead of counting time. The time is always NOW; the breath is always this one. Beyond that, there is only an illusion; there is only the mind playing games with it, pretending to be
      real. Reactive and lost, driven by energy other than LOVE, it creates only suffering and unconsciousness. It keeps us asleep and away from who we truly are.
      May LOVE and Peace be with you, always.

      P.S. I would like to emphasize that I have no ability, desire, or intention to make a change in this world. There is nothing I want to accomplish, by posting this. What I wrote here, was written with LOVE, on a surface of the water, using a stick. Therefore, what I wrote, like all else, will fade into oblivion and like all else and really does not matter, as most of this meaningless chatter, opinions, arguing, defending, attacking, etc. Still, I can see that some people feel threatened and therefore don't take the time to point their attention to be able to comprehend what it is I am trying to convey. These personal
      attacks, insults, judgments and questions regarding my motives, all are a pointer to the fear that is lies within and behind these actions. There is no other explanation. That is their problem and I am OK with that. Weather religious person or an atheist, a closed mind is still a prison and it makes no difference if the walls are a different color or height. The prisoner within is still the one responsible for being there, whether completely unaware or simply refusing to take the responsibility for their own state of being. If you are one of those individuals or simply don't have anything useful to add – don't bother.
      You'll be wasting your time.
      Peace.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • matt

      Free will is completely bogus. Romans chp 9: God creates some as vessels of dishonor, and other as vessels of honor. It is His choice. He hardens which people He wishes, and opens the eyes of others. And, yes, I know the "we're not robots!" defense. Problem is, we're not even as good as robots: we are lumps of clay, and no lump of clay ever had any say in how it turned out.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @HeavenSent

      You said: "He told us over and over again, he created the world again (this earth age) erased our memories of him (from the 1st earth age he destroyed."

      The gap theory? Really? Thou art truly a loon. LOL

      The existence of a Pre-Adamic flood is based solely on a loose interpretation of Genesis, there is no clear indication that any flood burst forth from the Earth, prior to the story of Noah. Actually, there is no evidence that a world wide flood occurred at the time of Noah. The Egyptian civilization (as well as others) existed at the time. They never mentioned drowning. Also the pyramids were built before the alleged flood. Guess what? No water marks.

      The pre-Adamic humans is an old theory (1600's). Some Evangelicals have dusted the theory off, added a gap between Genesis I and Genesis II and by golly, they are in agreement with science on the age of the earth! They have adopted theistic evolution, as a last ditch effort to keep their god alive.

      Cheers!

      February 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • myklds

      @David Johnson..It may seems ironic that is exactly FREE WILL is all about.

      Had Judas and Peter listen, believed, heed and valued Jesus words and warnings, they must have changed it.

      February 27, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • David Johnson

      @myklds

      You said: "It may seems ironic that is exactly FREE WILL is all about.
      Had Judas and Peter listen, believed, heed and valued Jesus words and warnings, they must have changed it."

      What Judas and Peter believed, heeded and valued, does not matter. They were destined to play their roles, even before they were born.

      John 13:38
      38Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The rooster shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

      John 13: 21
      21When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

      John 13:26
      26Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

      Jesus clearly predicted the future actions of both men.

      One of two things could have happened:

      1. Both men would do exactly what Jesus predicted.

      2. Either man or both men, would not do what Jesus predicted.

      If number 1 occurred, it further reinforces the claim that god/Jesus knows what will happen in the future. Omniscience.

      If number 2 occurred, it would show that god/Jesus did not know what would happen in the future. God is not omniscient.

      The entire crucifixion of Jesus was predestined. Note the word of god:

      "this man [Christ Jesus] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23a NASB).

      Cheers!

      February 28, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • myklds

      @David Johnson...you're absolutely right at number 1 but just halfway to number 2.

      God still knows the future but He allows man to change it through free will.

      Jesus was trying to warn both Judas and Peter about the sin they're going to commit that they may not do it.

      But Judas greed and envy, while Peter cowardice and pride has prevailed.

      March 1, 2011 at 12:52 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.