Do We Have Free Will?

Happy New Year, everyone. This is a good time to look at whether we have the free will to make New Year’s Resolutions and succeed with them – or is it a lost cause and, ultimately, we have no free will.

The following question was raised by Thirdobservation in Q & A: “I read your three omni-posts and have a question about free will. In your last one you say we have free will but how can that be if God knows everything and is all powerful? If I personally decide something with “free” will then I have that power to decide, so I have that specific power and not God.

“You might say he could override me (but he doesn’t, or it isn’t free) or he had the power to give me free will but at the point of making the decision it is my power to decide (so he can’t be all powerful) and presumably because it is my choice then God doesn’t know the outcome of my decision until I declare it so then he isn’t all knowing.

“How do we have free will?”

The answer, in short, is Yes – we have total and absolute free will. This is part of The God Franchise that we have individually been given. If we go back to the very start, with the allegory of Adam and Eve, God gave them (and us) free will, and although they were warned not to, they had the free will to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I discuss the implications of this in great depth in the book. But for now, about free will …

Let’s assume we have total free will and there is no God. Today, we decide with total free will to do number 82 of 100 options. If we look back at that tomorrow, we can say with certainty we freely chose option 82 of 100 options. Now, if we add a God who can see the past, the present, and the future, and if He were to focus on tomorrow, He would merely see that we had chosen option 82 out of 100 options with our free will. It is that simple. This does not compromise either His omniscience or our free will.

If God is omnipotent, does that mean that He has the power and I don’t? There are two major reasons God is omnipotent: First is that He was/is the prime cause of everything and He could not make anything more powerful than Himself.

Second, He, God-Consciousness, is the substance or essence of everything. There is nothing that exists that is not made up of the fabric of God-Consciousness. If it was meaningful to say this, you could say that God is the sum total of all His various expressions or forms, and therefore however powerful any one of those forms might be, it is still a subset of God-Consciousness, and there are gazillions of other expressions or subsets that make up the totality of God-Consciousness. Logically, the totality must always be greater than any individual subset.

The first concept to get our heads around is that our being, that you and me, are not separate from God-Consciousness. From God’s perspective, He is the totality of everything that exists, and through that is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. From our individual perspective we are merely a splash of water in His Ocean.

Of course we have free will. Why would God create a bunch of automatons? What’s the fun in that?

So make those New Year’s Resolutions freely, and you have the power to decide personally and freely whether to carry them out or not. You have total freedom and responsibility in doing that. Thank God!

(Parts of this blog are quoted from The God Franchise)

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2 comments on “Do We Have Free Will?

  1. themathofgod says:

    Excellent post. This is a subject I explored while writing my own book. The only difference I found is concerning your statement “that you and me, are not separate from God-Consciousness.” Just as with the “Ark of the Covenant,” imperfect humans can’t live in the presence of omnipotent God. From a state-based perspective, the is no relationship between two states. Take heat as an example. Cold would be defined as a condition devoid of heat. As long as a single heat wave exists, heat exists. From a perfection standpoint, perfection no longer exists if a single imperfection exists. Something cannot be both dead and alive. From a mathematical perspective, when we fell God did not separate Himself from us but rather we separated ourselves from Him. So how could we ever have a relationship with God. Only God could provide a mechanism for our return. As an analogy, let’s say I died. No matter how intelligent, how rich, how wonderful I had ever been, I couldn’t will myself back to life. Instead, it would require someone who is still living to provide some life-saving action in order for me to be brought back.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this post and agree. We do have free will and that will doesn’t affect God’s omniscience, omnipotence, or omnipresence.

    • Alan H. Dawe says:

      Hi Lyle. I am glad you enjoyed this post. I agree with what you say about different states. There is, however, one specific statement you make that can be taken two ways: “From a mathematical perspective, when we fell God did not separate Himself from us but rather we separated ourselves from Him. So how could we ever have a relationship with God. Only God could provide a mechanism for our return.”

      The orthodox Christian interpretation of that statement would be that the Fall of Man (when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Original Sin) led to our separation from God and the only mechanism back to God is through the acceptance of Jesus Christ into our lives as our Personal Saviour. I discuss this approach at some detail in The God Franchise.

      The alternate view, the one I hold, is that God (God-Consciousness) has manifested Himself in His Creation in a gazillion different forms. Therefore we are all sons and daughters of God (chips off the old block!) like a splash from the Ocean can temporarily be seen as an individual manifestation appearing to be separate and then merging back with the Ocean. It is not that I am God, but that God is me. Just like a McDonald’s franchise-holder is not McDonald’s, but still represents McDonald’s, so we are individual God Franchisees. This is all of the bigger thesis of the book, of course.

      Now we can say that there are two parts to me (just for convenience), a Higher Self, which is God-Consciousness in manifestation as Alan, and a Lesser Self, which sees itself as a separate Ego, separated from God, a sinner if you like, and so on. This separation is an illusion because there is no way that we can truly be separated from God, because He is our very essence. One of our purposes in life is to realise our Higher Self is the reality and that the Lesser Self is an illusion (maya). Christianity offers the person of Jesus Christ as a mechanism, but this is not the only mechanism available to us. Any spiritual teaching which gets you closer to God-realisation, or Higher-Self-realisation is equally valid. Different paths to the same mountain top.

      The Fall of Man and the sense of separation from God is an illusion – a very strong, persuasive one, but nevertheless an illusion. We cannot be separate from God, just like 1 + 1 = 2 cannot be separate from mathematics.

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