Monday, December 24, 2007

God and free will, part 2

Since God is truly a free being is it possible that in the same way that he was free to give the moral law, the 10 commandments and other laws associated with them, he could also take them away, or at least some of them? Yes the bible says that God does not change. The bible also says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

But if it is impossible for God to undo a law that he gave on Mt. Sinai, i.e., the 10 commandments or any part of them, is he then not free? Is he forever bound by his own inherent goodness and resoluteness of purpose in having given those 10 commandments?

Of course, most if not all, of those commandments are an expression of himself. It is said that God is love. I, personally, wouldn't want "thou shalt not kill" or honor thy father and thy mother . . ." to ever be done away with. But could not God, if he wasn't feeling so "jealous" as the bible says he was in giving the commandment about not having "other gods before [him]", decide well, he would prefer that the creatures he created only worshipped him, but if they wanted to worship other gods, for whatever reason, then they have been given free will, and could possibly worship other gods as long as they did not harm each other or themselves? Of course, this is only hypothetical. In ancient Israel, and in modern applications of the command against idolatry, there is more to worshipping idols than bowing down and focusing your fondest thoughts on graven images, etc. There were the orgies and such that probably was the main, though not the only, alluring aspect of idolatry, then and now.

The commandment about the day of rest is another one that, theoretically, he could decide, well, six thousand years ago that one day was set aside to commemorate either creation or freedom from slavery, but if those he had created wanted to worship him on another day, or--not worship him on any given day, then what would be so universe-shattering about that? Does not a mother have at some point to let go of her child, and the child let go of his/her mother as they both get on with the essence of living their lives?

I've always thought that to be required to obey God in order to not be destroyed doesn't sound like freedom of choice. If there were a third option, as long as it did not harm either God or others he created, then one could say that one truly had freedom of choice. If one could truly choose or not choose to obey God, but would still be free to live out your life as freely as one chose to do so, wouldn't that be true freedom of choice?

Or imagine the ultimate freedom of choice of being able to decide to follow God or not follow God and still live forever? Such an option would have to have some fail safe mechanism in place to provide free beings who live outside of God's system the impossibility of interfering with those who did choose to live within God's way. But then, that wouldn't be true free will, would it?

Of course, since God is God, he could very well state that in order to live forever you had to do it his way. God has to be in control somehow. After all, he created the cosmos to begin with. He could also choose at any moment to uncreate it. But if he did that, he wouldn't be a loving God, would he?

Is God free to change his mind regarding some things? Or is he forever bound to go along with statutes or commands or decisions that he outlined thousands or millions of years ago?

No comments: