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Flooding and Devastation: Where Is God?

I remember when the flood hit Nashville, how absolutely numb we all felt. One of us was hit and our neighbor was safe. It seemed as if the storm was considerate to some and to others hateful. But that is the storm. Is it God?

Are we to believe that because God created the world, God is also in charge of everything that goes wrong with it? Is God in charge of your decisions and mine? Is God in control of who wins the presidential race? Just how much of this world are we willing to blame on what we call God?

Good questions. That is an age-old argument called Free Will, which goes as far back as religion. Here are some thoughts I collected from the Internet, mostly Wikipedia.

“The argument from free will (also called the paradox of free will, or theological fatalism) contends that omniscience and free will are incompatible, and that any conception of God that incorporates both properties is, therefore, inherently contradictory.The argument may focus on the incoherence of people having free will, or else God himself having free will. These arguments are deeply concerned with the implications of predestination, and often seem to echo the standard argument against free will.

People and Their Free Will

If God made the game, its rules, and the players, then how can any player be free? Some arguments against God focus on the supposed incoherence of humankind possessing free will. These arguments are deeply concerned with the implications of predestination. Moses Maimonides formulated an argument regarding a person‘s free will, in traditional terms of good and evil actions, as follows:

… “Does God know or does He not know that a certain individual will be good or bad? If thou sayest ‘He knows’, then it necessarily follows that [that] man is compelled to act as God knew beforehand he would act, otherwise God’s knowledge would be imperfect.…”

Various means of reconciling God’s omniscience (possession of all possible knowledge) with human free will have been proposed:

Counters reconceptualizing free will

  • God can know in advance what I will do, because free will is to be understood only as freedom from coercion, and anything further is an illusion…

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