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Old 01-02-2019, 06:29 AM   #1
Mightyboosh
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On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

Happy new year y'all. I capitalised 'Perfection' just to annoy Aaron.

So, I'm having a problem resolving an apparent conflict between the idea that there is free will and the idea that god is perfect, omniscient and omnipotent. Those three values are claimed for god, or attributed to him, by various theists. If you don't think god possesses any or all of those characteristics, this doesn't apply to you.

In the beginning god created everything that will ever happen for the entirety of existence. Since god is perfect and in possession of all knowledge that it's logically possible for him to know and all powerful and therefore able to create everything as he wished to and change anything that he wished to change, it follows that everything must be exactly as god intended and could be no other way since he logically, as a perfect being, could not have created it any less perfect. He can't make mistakes, he can't create anything that could be improved in any way.

Thus, even if god lives in an eternal now where we have the illusion of time and are able to make choices, we can't actually choose anything other than what he decided would happen when he created eveyrthing. Therefore there is no actual free will. Ditto for intecessory prayer which can't change anything, or trigger an outcome, since that outcome is already decided and was never a choice in the first place.

This assumes that there is only ever one perfect outcome, a value of perfection that can't be added to. Everything is already the 'most perfect' it can be.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:34 AM   #2
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

Let's say you have the power to kill someone but you restrain yourself. Does that now mean you somehow lose the power to kill him?

Gods omnipotence is in no way diminished by his allowing free will.

And maybe the better more perfect world is one of dualities in which beings are free.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:28 PM   #3
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

is this not like the 2nd or 3rd identical thread you have made on this subject?
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:43 PM   #4
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
Happy new year y'all. I capitalised 'Perfection' just to annoy Aaron.

So, I'm having a problem resolving an apparent conflict between the idea that there is free will and the idea that god is perfect, omniscient and omnipotent. Those three values are claimed for god, or attributed to him, by various theists. If you don't think god possesses any or all of those characteristics, this doesn't apply to you.

In the beginning god created everything that will ever happen for the entirety of existence. Since god is perfect and in possession of all knowledge that it's logically possible for him to know and all powerful and therefore able to create everything as he wished to and change anything that he wished to change, it follows that everything must be exactly as god intended and could be no other way since he logically, as a perfect being, could not have created it any less perfect. He can't make mistakes, he can't create anything that could be improved in any way.

Thus, even if god lives in an eternal now where we have the illusion of time and are able to make choices, we can't actually choose anything other than what he decided would happen when he created eveyrthing. Therefore there is no actual free will. Ditto for intecessory prayer which can't change anything, or trigger an outcome, since that outcome is already decided and was never a choice in the first place.

This assumes that there is only ever one perfect outcome, a value of perfection that can't be added to. Everything is already the 'most perfect' it can be.
Let's take a toy example here: suppose there is a universe where everything is perfectly determined except for a single freely chosen decision by you between A or ~A. Is it possible that God has perfect foreknowledge that you will freely choose ~A?

Suppose something like the multiverse is true, so at the point of the decision, the universe splits into two universes, one where you choose A and one where you choose ~A. However, God being the omnipotent kind of guy that he is, destroys the universe where you chose A immediately as you make that choice, leaving only the universe where you freely chose ~A as the only existing universe left. Would you count this as foreknowledge that you will freely choose ~A? After all, you, by hypothesis, freely chose ~A without being directly affected to do so by God, and since God is able to know which universes he will destroy beforehand he is able to know that in the actual universe your decision will be to freely choose ~A.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

1. I have 20/20 vision in both eyes
2. I participate in a game that requires me to be blindfolded

Can those two be reconciled? Do I have the ability to see or not?
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:54 PM   #6
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
Happy new year y'all. I capitalised 'Perfection' just to annoy Aaron.

So, I'm having a problem resolving an apparent conflict between the idea that there is free will and the idea that god is perfect, omniscient and omnipotent. Those three values are claimed for god, or attributed to him, by various theists. If you don't think god possesses any or all of those characteristics, this doesn't apply to you.

In the beginning god created everything that will ever happen for the entirety of existence. Since god is perfect and in possession of all knowledge that it's logically possible for him to know and all powerful and therefore able to create everything as he wished to and change anything that he wished to change, it follows that everything must be exactly as god intended and could be no other way since he logically, as a perfect being, could not have created it any less perfect. He can't make mistakes, he can't create anything that could be improved in any way.

Thus, even if god lives in an eternal now where we have the illusion of time and are able to make choices, we can't actually choose anything other than what he decided would happen when he created eveyrthing. Therefore there is no actual free will. Ditto for intecessory prayer which can't change anything, or trigger an outcome, since that outcome is already decided and was never a choice in the first place.

This assumes that there is only ever one perfect outcome, a value of perfection that can't be added to. Everything is already the 'most perfect' it can be.
You make assumptions that aren't necessarily true.

"Since god is perfect and in possession of all knowledge that it's logically possible for him to know and all powerful and therefore able to create everything as he wished to and change anything that he wished to change, it follows that everything must be exactly as god intended and could be no other way since he logically, as a perfect being, could not have created it any less perfect. He can't make mistakes, he can't create anything that could be improved in any way."

It is entirely plausible that God desired to create man with free will, and with that desire allowed for man to do things that are not perfect, and displeasing to him.

As the great theologian AW Tozer said:
God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ĎWhat doest thou?í Manís will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:16 PM   #7
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

Basically your argument seems to be the same as this one:

- A perfect/good God could not create/allow for evil
- Evil exists

Ergo: There is no God.
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:36 PM   #8
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by festeringZit View Post
Basically your argument seems to be the same as this one:

- A perfect/good God could not create/allow for evil
- Evil exists

Ergo: There is no God.
No, this is not the same. The problem Mightyboosh is raising here has more to do with the seeming conflict between free will and foreknowledge.
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:48 PM   #9
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by neeeel View Post
is this not like the 2nd or 3rd identical thread you have made on this subject?
It's at least the second iteration of the theme, though this time the framework is just slightly different. The notion of "perfection" has been added in. (Though not really? It's hard to tell.)

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/1...otent-1700213/

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
How can Free Will exist if god created everything and knew everything that will ever be, and everything that happens is his will? Nothing can happen randomly if god knows everything and has the power to prevent anything, god decided it all.

The question of god given free will is a unique contextual hypothesis because everything that has been, is, and will be, was decided by him, he made everything, created the conditions in which everything ever will happen, and he can't make mistakes or not know anything that it's possible to know. The idea that god lives in an 'eternal now' doesn't change that. You cannot do anything that conflicts with what god willed to happen because that would mean that he's not omnipotent, you can't do something he didn't know that you were going to do because he's omniscient, therefore everything you do or choose is his will, he created it, he knew it would happen, he planned for it to happen, and he allowed it to happen.

Free will is an illusion, or god isn't omniscient and omnipotent.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
Happy new year y'all. I capitalised 'Perfection' just to annoy Aaron.

So, I'm having a problem resolving an apparent conflict between the idea that there is free will and the idea that god is perfect, omniscient and omnipotent. Those three values are claimed for god, or attributed to him, by various theists. If you don't think god possesses any or all of those characteristics, this doesn't apply to you.

In the beginning god created everything that will ever happen for the entirety of existence. Since god is perfect and in possession of all knowledge that it's logically possible for him to know and all powerful and therefore able to create everything as he wished to and change anything that he wished to change, it follows that everything must be exactly as god intended and could be no other way since he logically, as a perfect being, could not have created it any less perfect. He can't make mistakes, he can't create anything that could be improved in any way.

Thus, even if god lives in an eternal now where we have the illusion of time and are able to make choices, we can't actually choose anything other than what he decided would happen when he created eveyrthing. Therefore there is no actual free will. Ditto for intecessory prayer which can't change anything, or trigger an outcome, since that outcome is already decided and was never a choice in the first place.

This assumes that there is only ever one perfect outcome, a value of perfection that can't be added to. Everything is already the 'most perfect' it can be.
With regards to MB's post:

Quote:
This assumes that there is only ever one perfect outcome, a value of perfection that can't be added to. Everything is already the 'most perfect' it can be.
There are plenty of flaws with this. There need not exist only one "perfect" outcome, and it may be the case that multiple outcomes are not actually comparable.

For a cheesy example, there can be a parent of multiple children that does not consider any child to be "better" than the others when viewed holistically. One may be better at sports, music, academics, or perhaps even be of a better character than the others, but the parent may conclude (perhaps rightfully/correctly) that none of their children is "the best child."
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:10 PM   #10
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by Original Position View Post
No, this is not the same. The problem Mightyboosh is raising here has more to do with the seeming conflict between free will and foreknowledge.
I don't see any problem with free will and foreknowledge co-existing
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:31 PM   #11
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

If he is all-powerful then he can create free will, right?
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:46 PM   #12
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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I don't see any problem with free will and foreknowledge co-existing
Most people don't.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:49 PM   #13
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

evil is bad
evil is a word

c: people aren't individual words. i can choose to change my name or be Tuma forever. that would not impact a reality of god whatsoever.
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:08 PM   #14
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by festeringZit View Post
I don't see any problem with free will and foreknowledge co-existing
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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
Most people don't.
Most people live in complete obliviousness and disconnection unfortunately. For me, foreknowledge is absolutely incompatible with my understanding of God. In Genesis, when God rests, it ain’t because the preferred outcome is a given. It’s because it’s up to us to finish the job. There’s no point in arguing about this though. Nothing will come from it.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:03 PM   #15
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by craig1120 View Post
For me, foreknowledge is absolutely incompatible with my understanding of God.
That's fine. The claimed incompatibility is between foreknowledge and free will. This can be explored without any information about your understanding of God.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:21 PM   #16
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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That's fine. The claimed incompatibility is between foreknowledge and free will. This can be explored without any information about your understanding of God.
It can be explored in the reality we exist in without implications about Godís nature?
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:34 PM   #17
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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It can be explored in the reality we exist in without implications about Godís nature?
In the same way that we can explore other ideas. We explore them as ideas. Nobody claimed that these were reality-bearing implications. It's just a reflection of the intersection of two concepts. One claims an ability to know future events and the other is the ability for individuals to make "freely-willed decisions."

Whether or not foreknowledge is incompatible with your understanding of God doesn't matter when asking the question of whether foreknowledge is incompatible with free will. It's really that simple.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:48 PM   #18
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
In the same way that we can explore other ideas. We explore them as ideas. Nobody claimed that these were reality-bearing implications. It's just a reflection of the intersection of two concepts. One claims an ability to know future events and the other is the ability for individuals to make "freely-willed decisions."

Whether or not foreknowledge is incompatible with your understanding of God doesn't matter when asking the question of whether foreknowledge is incompatible with free will. It's really that simple.
This is the level of disembodiment/hyper-rationalization that is purely escapism in my view. Escapism is antithetical to religion. But to each their own I guess.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:52 PM   #19
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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This is the level of disembodiment/hyper-rationalization that is purely escapism in my view. Escapism is antithetical to religion.
Okay. You are certainly welcome to hold opinions about the matter.

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But to each their own I guess.
Indeed.
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:01 AM   #20
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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If he is all-powerful then he can create free will, right?
Not if it's logically contradictory, even god can't do the logically impossible.
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:20 AM   #21
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by Original Position View Post
Let's take a toy example here: suppose there is a universe where everything is perfectly determined except for a single freely chosen decision by you between A or ~A. Is it possible that God has perfect foreknowledge that you will freely choose ~A?

Suppose something like the multiverse is true, so at the point of the decision, the universe splits into two universes, one where you choose A and one where you choose ~A. However, God being the omnipotent kind of guy that he is, destroys the universe where you chose A immediately as you make that choice, leaving only the universe where you freely chose ~A as the only existing universe left. Would you count this as foreknowledge that you will freely choose ~A? After all, you, by hypothesis, freely chose ~A without being directly affected to do so by God, and since God is able to know which universes he will destroy beforehand he is able to know that in the actual universe your decision will be to freely choose ~A.
Well this is why I used the word 'illusion' because in this scenario I might feel that I made a free choice, because I had options available to me from which I made a choice, but it actually couldn't have happened any other way. The other options weren't really available to me at all. I didn't make a choice any more than a computer program makes a choice when it follows it's coded instructions.

God doesn't just have knowledge of what I will choose, he allowed that outcome and it was the only outcome possible because in that first moment of creation, with his abilities, he envisaged every possible outcome of every possible permutation of existence and chose the most perfect. He logically could do nothing else. (Which I don't think conflicts with omnipotence because god can't do the logically impossible, so if he's perfect, and can only create something perfect, then he logically can't create something less than perfect). He can't be surprised, he can't make mistakes, he can't not know what will happen or wish it were any other way. Whatever is the perfect outcome, by his standards, that's what was always going to happen. There's only one route through this maze.

So even if the multiverse idea were true, god not only knew that I would choose what I chose, and that a new universe would spring from that choice, and that he would then destroy it, but he allowed it to be the case, he determined that outcome. I didn't really choose, I simply did what he'd decided, in those first moments, would be perfect .
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:23 AM   #22
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by craig1120 View Post
1. I have 20/20 vision in both eyes
2. I participate in a game that requires me to be blindfolded

Can those two be reconciled? Do I have the ability to see or not?
You have the ability to see. You just can't use it in the game.. Am I missing something here?
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:25 AM   #23
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by neeeel View Post
is this not like the 2nd or 3rd identical thread you have made on this subject?
Definitely not the first time I've brought this up but my view is slightly different and Orp's answer is one I've never seen before so it's already generating new ideas for me, new ways to examine this.

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Old 01-03-2019, 06:32 AM   #24
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by festeringZit View Post
You make assumptions that aren't necessarily true.

"Since god is perfect and in possession of all knowledge that it's logically possible for him to know and all powerful and therefore able to create everything as he wished to and change anything that he wished to change, it follows that everything must be exactly as god intended and could be no other way since he logically, as a perfect being, could not have created it any less perfect. He can't make mistakes, he can't create anything that could be improved in any way."

It is entirely plausible that God desired to create man with free will, and with that desire allowed for man to do things that are not perfect, and displeasing to him.
Same problem, it couldn't have been any other way because god is perfect and can't create something less than perfect, whatever form that thing takes. If he designed us to be less than perfect, that must be the perfect way for things to be. Whatever happens, he created us to do those things, because everything is his will remember, so he allowed it to happen and determined that was the best way for it to happen, it could be no other way. I never really had an actual choice between two or more options because only one of those options could be the 'perfect' outcome, so that's one he determined I would 'choose'.


Quote:
Originally Posted by festeringZit View Post
As the great theologian AW Tozer said:
God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.
An illusion of free will.


Quote:
Originally Posted by festeringZit View Post
Basically your argument seems to be the same as this one:

- A perfect/good God could not create/allow for evil
- Evil exists

Ergo: There is no God.
Nope, this has nothing to do with whether or not he exists. It has to do with what appears to me to be a conflict bewteen certain characteristics assigned to him and the idea of free will.

One of the ways to resolve the conflict is to assume that he exists but doesn't have one or more of those characteristics. So 'god doesn't exist' is not the only solution here, and that really wouldn't suit an effort to prove he doesn't exist if that's what I were trying to do, would it...
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:35 AM   #25
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Re: On the illusion of Free Will and God's Perfection

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Originally Posted by Tuma View Post
evil is bad
evil is a word

c: people aren't individual words. i can choose to change my name or be Tuma forever. that would not impact a reality of god whatsoever.
And you will do whatever he determined, in the moment of creation, is the perfect thing to do, because he's perfect and could not have made things any other way.
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