November 22, 2007

Why An Intervening God And Free Will Can't Coexist

1. God answers prayers
2. God granted us free will

The above two statements would be called true by any self respecting christian.

But if they were to stop and think for a second (i know it's hard) instead of spewing forth parroted rhetoric they would soon see that both of these statements can't possibly be true at the same time.

How can we possibly have "free will" if we live in a world where god intervenes?

I will give you a situation that demonstrates what i mean;
Let's say a christian is walking home from a prayer meeting one night and he is approached by a man with a gun who demands that the christian hand over his wallet. Being a christian and unable to sort his own problems out the christian immediately starts praying to god asking for his intervention in the situation, By which point the robber has had enough of asking politely and decides to shoot the christian in the face and take the wallet.

Even though the robber points the gun directly at the chistians face and pulls the trigger the bullet misses and embeds it's self in a lamp post 90 degrees from the gun. The christian concludes that god must have answered his prayer.

Ok, let's assume (for the sake of argument) that god did in fact intervene and prevent the bullet plowing through the christians skull. Wouldn't that have infringed on the free will of the robber? The robbers will was to shoot the christian in the face, but god stepped in and prevented the robbers will being done.

It's impossible for free will and celestial intervention to coexist.

If christians are going to use "free will" as a reason why god does nothing about starving children, Aids, Child rape, Genocide and murder they can't then defend gods willingness to infringe on "free will" in cases where it suites them (ie where christian prayer takes president over free will).

Either god answers prayers, or we have free will. The laws of logic state both can't be true.


  1. Actually I think it works this way. Just as the robber used his freewill choice to either go get a job, or steal from someone else, God will hold you accountable regarding the use of your free will as to whether you choose to do something about starving children, Aids, Child rape, Genocide and murder or whether you choose to just sit at your computer and complain.

  2. "God answers prayers" with the same effectiveness of your telephone call being answered and your call being put on hold.

    Technically the call has been answered, but you end up getting disconnected before anything ever gets done.

    At least with the phone scenario, you have a chance of connecting with someone at some point.

  3. Your logic is off. The robber did express his free will but not the intended results. Using such narrow logic as that you could prove that science is infallible.

  4. If there is free will in Christianity then Christians can't say God knows what you will do. If God already knows then it wasn't free will.
    How can God have all the omni attributes that Christians say he has and at the same time offer free will? It's impossible. He can't be everywhere and know everything and be all good and at the same time grant us free will. If he was everywhere all the time and never let anything bad happen, our prisons would be empty... AND we wouldn't have free will. Lovely subject.

  5. Straw man alert. Who said God gave unlimited free will? There are plenty of passages showing that He is in control of all things. I think your comparison oversimplifies things.

  6. If we don't have free will neil how can we be held responsible for our actions?

    Now sit back and watch your argument fall apart around you.

  7. If we don't have free will neil how can we be held responsible for our actions?

    This may never get answered but whatever.

    We have free will, but not unlimited free will he said. That means, we can do whatever we want, but it doesn't mean God won't intervene.

    How can God have all the omni attributes that Christians say he has and at the same time offer free will?

    Because he does not exist within the same space-time constraints as we do.

    If he was everywhere all the time and never let anything bad happen

    He lets bad things happen though.

    You forget that he loves us so much that he gives us free will. He wants us to intervene. If he made the world happy at all times he would ruin free will. He allows bad things to happen. I have no clue why though.

  8. "We have free will, but not unlimited free will he said."

    That's not free will then.

  9. God never says in the bible that we have free will. Every thing is of God. Evil was created by God.
    Is there evil in the city and i haven't done it. We are chosen by God we don't chose God. Every thing that we do God is responsible but we are accountable.

  10. Question for those who believe God is an intervening God: Why does God often intervene late after the damage is done? e.g. A person is badly injured in a motor accident. Doctors advise there is no hope. After many operations the injured person recovers. A miracle is claimed. God is praised for intervening and bringing about the healing. But if God is an intervening God why did he not intervene before the accident and stop it happening at all? An normal father would have intervened if the saw the accident coming and could have prevented it.

  11. I realize this post is a couple years ripe, but the content still holds true, I was about to write on this very subject myself, so I decided to search to see if anyone else has already as well, and here I found that you have. Anyways, yes, there is definitely a contradition for those that claim to have free-will AND that a god intervenes. But the consequences are much more far reaching then you have even demonstrated. When god intervenes by deflecting the bullet away, he hasn't just intervened in one event and infringed on one persons free-will, but he has infinged on everyones. Because causality is in play, god hasn't just changed the course of a single bullet, but has changed the course of all events that will follow and ripple down to everything and effect everyone. With each and every intervention, he changes the course of all events that follow. The butterfly effect, chaos theory applies. This intervention not only demonstrates we don't have free-will, but also demonstrates the deterministic nature of causality that even a god can't avoid when intervening with the natural world. I'll still write a post on my blog about it, but I thought I would contribute my thoughts here as well since they pertain.