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I was created by god and I am going to be judged by god. It does not make any sense for me. You create one thing and say if you follow my orders you will go to heaven, otherwise you will go to hell. How am I supposed to make my own decisions if I am just part of a design? I am sure that it has already been thought by many philosophers. What did they think about this dilemma (at least for me)?

marked as duplicate by John Am, Joseph Weissman Feb 18 '17 at 16:05

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    I've asked myself the same question, and the closest formal discussion I've come across is the problem of evil and Plantinga's freewill defense of the problem of evil. They are related to your question but don't answer it directly. – Alexander S King Feb 15 '17 at 18:45
  • @Alexander S King Thanks for your reply. I will search. – GorkemHalulu Feb 15 '17 at 18:48
  • Yes God is a passive-aggressive bully alright. Puts us in a deterministic universe then casts us into hell if we do the wrong thing. – user4894 Feb 15 '17 at 20:16
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    The dilemma you describe is called "theological fatalism", see SEP on Foreknowledge and Free Will. Similar dilemma arises under the assumption of physical determinism as well (if everything is predetermined how am I supposed to be responsible for my decisions?). Attempted reconciliations go by the name of compatibilism. – Conifold Feb 15 '17 at 20:55
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    Welcome to Philosophy.SE. Does this question help you at all? I'm not sure if you're asking quite the same question but your concern seems very close. – commando Feb 16 '17 at 5:04

My answer leans heavily on Augustine's conception of God in his Confessions, as well as the freedom of the will in On the Freedom of the Will, and, less so, on Plato's dialogue Euthyphro; direct quotations are available once I return home and find my copies of those books.

Your statement if you follow my orders you will go to heaven, otherwise you will go to hell would be the mark of a good and just God if and only if we had the free will to either follow or not follow orders. Now if God were not perfectly good and just, God wouldn't be God, but rather just some superpowered dictator and craftsman. Presumably this isn't the case.

So there are two possibilities: either we don't have free will, and we aren't actually subject to punishment, or we do, and we are. Presumably again we do have free will. There are a variety of arguments for that; see this for starters.

The problem, then, is: in what sense does God have a plan for us, and how is this foreknowledge compatible with our free will?

God's Plan

What does it mean for God to have a plan? In general a plan is a list of things that we want done for some certain end. Certainly not that God wants something from us, for a want implies a lack, and a lack is an imperfection. Besides that, if God had any ends, God would immediately fulfill them, because God is omnipotent. So God doesn't have any kind of plan in the normal sense of the word.

This is because God is very far from the normal sense of anything. God doesn't exist in time, or space, and action occurs in time, so God doesn't act in the normal sense of the word. Thinking is an action, so God probably doesn't even think. Augustine probably wouldn't go this far, but I don't see how it's even possible for God to have a subjective experience. In any event God is so far from our normal existence as to render our intuitions on this front totally meaningless.

Presumably God had some reason for creating us, but we probably can't know what it is. What we do know is, our ability to sin was given to us intentionally by God, and, because God doesn't do anything bad, it was given to us for a very good reason. We are somehow better, or more worthwhile, for our ability to sin. Augustine's discussion of this point is pretty lame, so I'll skip it.

In sum our free will is good and in accord with God's "plan".

Free will and omniscience?

It's not clear how it is possible for us to have free will. As suggested in comments, this is probably a pretty good place to start. I'm not particularly convinced by any of the arguments. As far as I can tell---and I haven't read nearly enough to make this claim with any sort of authority, so please, correct me in the comments---there's no clear answer to the question "How is free will possible at all, let alone in the presence of divine omniscience?"

Kant thinks that we cannot in fact know that the will is free, but that we are forced to act under the idea of freedom. [R]eason would overstep its bounds (Groundwork S3) if it tried to show the source of freedom. The best we can do is ask, do we have the grounds to believe that we are free? And yeah, probably.

None of this must be very satisfying. We don't know why we are free, and we don't know how, and we don't know why we exist, but we have to believe that somehow everything works together. That's what it means to have faith.


I've come to explain what I believe as you don't get to choose who you are but you get to choose the decision you want. You make your decisions based on everything that has caused you to make it, such as past experiences. All the world is, is cause and effect. Also I don't believe we're all part of a plan. Everything will happen in one was starting from the beginning and everything at the start causing everything in front of it. This is more of my thoughts on free will since I don't believe we're all part of a plan I don't know how to answer how you can't if we were

I really suck at explaining so I might sound stupid :)

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