God Idol: God has no Free Will




The Christian God is outside of time and is not a material being.  He is indescribable.  It is like there is no past and future to him.  He is all now.  He is more like a force that knows exactly what to do than a person.  There is no deliberating or repenting.  God in the Bible boasts that he does not need to go back on what he does.  As this being is incapable of evil, how can this be a God who deserves praise and credit for what he does?  God just cannot be anything but good.  We can relate to a God who can do evil or who can sin, one who has a choice as long as he does not abuse his freedom.  But we cannot relate to this God. Does God have no free will?  Does God have no real responsibility?


Clement of Alexandria considered these questions.  He decided that, “God does not do good by necessity, but by his own choosing”. Is Clement then saying God has free will like us with which he can actually do evil?  Even if he cannot, can he attempt evil?  Can he act to do evil and only a good act comes out?  You can imagine a God who is so keen to do evil that he has to kid himself that sending food for your children is harming them.  He might be wiser here than you would think for all food has a bad side and is only good enough for us.


Unpack Clement.  To ask him how God cannot choose evil and still be responsible for choosing good all you get is, "He just can."  Clement that is not an answer. 


 Doing good by necessity would mean there is something that is not God forcing him.  So here we are told he chooses to be good without having the ability to do evil.  Just as my nature is not to fly with wings I am not praiseworthy for staying on the ground.  So God is not praiseworthy if his nature is unable to do harm. 


Is God a free agent who could fall away from love and justice but who doesn’t? Is it luck then if he never will? Clement answered that God has the option not of doing evil or good but the option of doing nothing or doing good.  This is not really about validating God but about trying to talk yourself into feeling safe and secure.  A God who can do wrong frightens you.  So much for worship being about God!




If God is free then:

We can make sense of relating to him as a person.

His actions are more meaningful for they don't have to happen and they do.  Freedom is about control, and control requires alternatives.

If God is wholly self-sufficient then God is free.

Not being free is a flaw.


A God without free will cannot be God to us and he cannot be sufficient for all we need.


He is an example for us

His actions are praiseworthy.


If God is not free then atheism is true and we are using God as a crutch not as a God.


So unless God is free he is not God.




He is out of space and time so he does not consider different options.


He is unchangeable for he is perfect so it does not matter how free he feels he is less free that a person full of drugs who think they are choosing to enjoy their party.


We cannot know what it means for God to have free will.  That is what we are told.  But that is just to gaslight us.  His free will is not free will at all.


Religion admits that calling God personal is a very symbolic and vague way to discuss him.  It is just a substitute for saying nothing but it cannot convey what we mean by God very well.


We need role models.  Pagans had human type deities for that purpose.  This God violates our need.  It is thus harmful. If God made us to have that need and does not deliver then he is not really a God.


Another issue is that as God makes all things 100% and is closer to anything that it is to itself they say he has not the slightest fear of our evil or any evil that happens.  Free will is potentially influenced by fear.  His is not so it is not free will.  He cannot serve as an inspiration for us.


Make a choice:


1  “God is necessarily good simply because he is”.


2  “God is perfectly good because He always chooses the good.”


The latter is what most people would choose.  But to choose it is to choose the other in a sense.  God choosing the good only matters if he does so because he just is good.  God can choose only the good without being necessarily good.  A dog may not bite people without being necessarily placid by nature.


Does saying God is by nature good turn out to be the same as saying he could be opposed by evil?  Religion says to say that God is good is only to say he is the paradigm of goodness and evil is not a threat to him for it is parasitic on good and a form of good itself.  God's nature determines what is good which is indirectly to determine what is less than good, that is evil.  So far we see that free will for God is in no way an inspiration to us.  It is too different from what we need and want free will to be.


God is not good by choice. He cannot do wrong. He has no feelings, no fears. Saying God loves or is angry is symbolic. This is not a God who can attract anybody. Those who say they love him are kidding us. 

Historic Mormonism always said that the Catholic and Protestant version of God is only imaginary. In the Temple Ceremony Satan is depicted as teaching the notion of a God whose circumference is everywhere and whose centre is nowhere. This abstract God is described as seeing and hearing but in fact it does not. The Bible condemns the worship of gods who neither see nor hear.
Would a God who has no free will be any better?
No - it would be worse.


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