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 Post subject: Free will question
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:51 pm 
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I was born in September 1981. What was I in September 1980? Nothing? How did God create me out of nothing? I don't mean the me which is my body which will get buried six feet under or get cremated, I mean the me which according to Catholic teaching will go to either Heaven (via purgatory) or Hell when I die.

Did I have any free will in choosing whether or not to be created?


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:45 pm 
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1. It's quite the abuse of English to say you were nothing before you were born, but sure. You didn't exist prior to about January of '81, so there was no you to be anything in September of '80.

2. How God created you depends on whether or not you ascribe to a view called traducianism or one called creationism. (If you don't recognize the terms, search for them on NewAdvent.org). In general, Creationism seems to be the preferred view by the Church. As far as "how" God does it, that's just part of what it means to be Creator. If He wants to create a new soul, that's his prerogative.

3. Strictly, you are neither your body nor your soul, but your body/soul composite, such that when you die and go to Heaven, it is your soul that goes rather than your person. So see Aquinas' Summa Theological IIb.83.11 (esp 5/ad5).

4. There is no "you" to have a will in "choosing" whether or not to be created. That's a meaningless question. What are you trying to ask?

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:53 pm 
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Creationism (note that in this context the word does not refer to the creation of the world in seven days) is certainly true (according to Catholic teaching) but never solemnly defined.

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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:40 pm 
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Humani Generis upholds creationism over traducianism.

How can anyone will themselves to exist, or choose while non existent whether to exist?

"God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us."

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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:07 pm 
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Paragraph 36. Still not a solemn definition, but, as I said above, certain to be true.

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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:55 am 
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theJack wrote:
1. It's quite the abuse of English to say you were nothing before you were born, but sure. You didn't exist prior to about January of '81, so there was no you to be anything in September of '80.

How WOULD it be abuse of English IF I said I was nothing a year before I was born? I'm talking about the me which, according to your belief, goes to either eternal heaven or eternal hell when my physical body dies and is buried six feet under the ground in a graveyard. That eternally happy or eternally tormented me was either nothing or something a year before I was born. If that me was nothing a year before I was born, how is it 'abuse of English' to say I was nothing a year before I was born? If that me wasn't nothing a year before I was born, what was I?


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:02 am 
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You did not exist before you were conceived. I think theJack meant that your formulation was uncanny.

You also seem not to have understood his point that we are body-soul composites.

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:20 am 
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Jack3 wrote:

You also seem not to have understood his point that we are body-soul composites.

Do you understand that point? When you are in eternal heaven, or temporary purgatory or eternal hell after you die and your dead body is buried in a grave in a graveyard or cremated and your ashes are in an urn, are you a body-soul composite?


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:21 am 
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theJack wrote:
4. There is no "you" to have a will in "choosing" whether or not to be created. That's a meaningless question. What are you trying to ask?

If I didn't freely choose to be created, then I didn't freely choose to be created the way I am, and if I am someone who doesn't sufficiently do whatever it is that's required to get to eternal heaven and avoid eternal hell, then how could it possibly be my choice to go to hell?

If I was created without all the factors required to choose eternal bliss rather than eternal suffering, then it wasn't my choice to be created with the missing crucial factor(s).

If, before you were due to be created, you were somehow able to be given the choice of being created or not created, and, before deciding, you were informed that a majority of people created will suffer eternal torture, while a minority will enjoy eternal bliss, and you don't know which category you'll be in, would you choose to be created or not? A lot of people would not be so recklessly optimistic that they would take the risk of suffering eternal torture (the more likely outcome) in the hope that they'll be one of the fewer lucky ones who will enjoy eternal happiness (the less likely outcome). So how can it be claimed that these people, who go to eternal hell, choose eternal hell when they wouldn't have chosen to take the risk in the first place?

One of the comforts of atheism, for those who are convinced there is no afterlife, is that there is no eternal torture to fear after death. Nonexistence is obviously better than eternal torture. So if given a choice between choosing, on the one hand, possible eternal bliss but statistically more likely eternal torture, or, on the other hand, choosing nonexistence, a lot of people would undoubtedly choose nonexistence. So it therefore cannot be correct to say that these people somehow choose eternal hell when they wouldn't have chosen to be created in the first place if they had been given a choice and they had known the risks.


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:46 am 
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Denise Dee wrote:
Jack3 wrote:

You also seem not to have understood his point that we are body-soul composites.

Do you understand that point? When you are in eternal heaven, or temporary purgatory or eternal hell after you die and your dead body is buried in a grave in a graveyard or cremated and your ashes are in an urn, are you a body-soul composite?

Man is always body/soul composite. A part of you (namely, your soul) goes to heaven/hell/purgatory after your death. The other part (namely, your body) decays.

The body and soul will reunite for the Day of Judgement. Till then, there are no human persons in heaven, only their souls. (Our Lady is an exception).

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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:47 am 
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As I am certain I have mentioned before, everyone who reaches the age of reason is given sufficient grace to be saved.

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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:48 am 
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Denise Dee wrote:
theJack wrote:
4. There is no "you" to have a will in "choosing" whether or not to be created. That's a meaningless question. What are you trying to ask?

If I didn't freely choose to be created, then I didn't freely choose to be created the way I am, and if I am someone who doesn't sufficiently do whatever it is that's required to get to eternal heaven and avoid eternal hell, then how could it possibly be my choice to go to hell?

If I was created without all the factors required to choose eternal bliss rather than eternal suffering, then it wasn't my choice to be created with the missing crucial factor(s).

If, before you were due to be created, you were somehow able to be given the choice of being created or not created, and, before deciding, you were informed that a majority of people created will suffer eternal torture, while a minority will enjoy eternal bliss, and you don't know which category you'll be in, would you choose to be created or not? A lot of people would not be so recklessly optimistic that they would take the risk of suffering eternal torture (the more likely outcome) in the hope that they'll be one of the fewer lucky ones who will enjoy eternal happiness (the less likely outcome). So how can it be claimed that these people, who go to eternal hell, choose eternal hell when they wouldn't have chosen to take the risk in the first place?

One of the comforts of atheism, for those who are convinced there is no afterlife, is that there is no eternal torture to fear after death. Nonexistence is obviously better than eternal torture. So if given a choice between choosing, on the one hand, possible eternal bliss but statistically more likely eternal torture, or, on the other hand, choosing nonexistence, a lot of people would undoubtedly choose nonexistence. So it therefore cannot be correct to say that these people somehow choose eternal hell when they wouldn't have chosen to be created in the first place if they had been given a choice and they had known the risks.

If you don't exist, then you can't do anything, and so can't make a choice. You can't choose because there is no you yet.

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:31 pm 
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Denise Dee wrote:
theJack wrote:
4. There is no "you" to have a will in "choosing" whether or not to be created. That's a meaningless question. What are you trying to ask?

If I didn't freely choose to be created, then I didn't freely choose to be created the way I am, and if I am someone who doesn't sufficiently do whatever it is that's required to get to eternal heaven and avoid eternal hell, then how could it possibly be my choice to go to hell?

If I was created without all the factors required to choose eternal bliss rather than eternal suffering, then it wasn't my choice to be created with the missing crucial factor(s).

If, before you were due to be created, you were somehow able to be given the choice of being created or not created, and, before deciding, you were informed that a majority of people created will suffer eternal torture, while a minority will enjoy eternal bliss, and you don't know which category you'll be in, would you choose to be created or not? A lot of people would not be so recklessly optimistic that they would take the risk of suffering eternal torture (the more likely outcome) in the hope that they'll be one of the fewer lucky ones who will enjoy eternal happiness (the less likely outcome). So how can it be claimed that these people, who go to eternal hell, choose eternal hell when they wouldn't have chosen to take the risk in the first place?

Jack3 has already correctly addressed all of this.

Quote:
One of the comforts of atheism, for those who are convinced there is no afterlife, is that there is no eternal torture to fear after death. Nonexistence is obviously better than eternal torture. So if given a choice between choosing, on the one hand, possible eternal bliss but statistically more likely eternal torture, or, on the other hand, choosing nonexistence, a lot of people would undoubtedly choose nonexistence. So it therefore cannot be correct to say that these people somehow choose eternal hell when they wouldn't have chosen to be created in the first place if they had been given a choice and they had known the risks.

And you can comfort cancer patients by telling them if they eat jelly beans every day for a year, they won't die.

Reality doesn't care about your magical thinking.

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:13 pm 
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Mmmmmmm ... jelly beans.

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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:31 pm 
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theJack wrote:
Denise Dee wrote:
theJack wrote:
4. There is no "you" to have a will in "choosing" whether or not to be created. That's a meaningless question. What are you trying to ask?

If I didn't freely choose to be created, then I didn't freely choose to be created the way I am, and if I am someone who doesn't sufficiently do whatever it is that's required to get to eternal heaven and avoid eternal hell, then how could it possibly be my choice to go to hell?

If I was created without all the factors required to choose eternal bliss rather than eternal suffering, then it wasn't my choice to be created with the missing crucial factor(s).

If, before you were due to be created, you were somehow able to be given the choice of being created or not created, and, before deciding, you were informed that a majority of people created will suffer eternal torture, while a minority will enjoy eternal bliss, and you don't know which category you'll be in, would you choose to be created or not? A lot of people would not be so recklessly optimistic that they would take the risk of suffering eternal torture (the more likely outcome) in the hope that they'll be one of the fewer lucky ones who will enjoy eternal happiness (the less likely outcome). So how can it be claimed that these people, who go to eternal hell, choose eternal hell when they wouldn't have chosen to take the risk in the first place?

Jack3 has already correctly addressed all of this.

Quote:
One of the comforts of atheism, for those who are convinced there is no afterlife, is that there is no eternal torture to fear after death. Nonexistence is obviously better than eternal torture. So if given a choice between choosing, on the one hand, possible eternal bliss but statistically more likely eternal torture, or, on the other hand, choosing nonexistence, a lot of people would undoubtedly choose nonexistence. So it therefore cannot be correct to say that these people somehow choose eternal hell when they wouldn't have chosen to be created in the first place if they had been given a choice and they had known the risks.

And you can comfort cancer patients by telling them if they eat jelly beans every day for a year, they won't die.

Reality doesn't care about your magical thinking.

Do you two Jacks not understand that it's a thought experiment?

"A thought experiment is a device with which one performs an intentional, structured process of intellectual deliberation in order to speculate, within a specifiable problem domain, about potential consequents (or antecedents) for a designated antecedent (or consequent)" (Yeates, 2004, p. 150).

You don't have to participate in the thought experiment but at least understand what it is.

The point is that people who go to eternal hell, according to your traditional belief, did not freely choose to be created, therefore you cannot rationally claim that they freely chose to go to eternal hell rather than eternal heaven when they didn't freely choose to be created in the first place, and therefore didn't choose to be created with the failings that led them to fail to do whatever is necessary to get to eternal heaven and avoid eternal hell, therefore it cannot sensibly be claimed that they freely chose eternal hell.

Instead, according to your belief, God created them without them choosing to be created, and created them knowing that they would not have whatever it takes to avoid eternal torment in hell, and knowing that nobody would choose to be created if it means suffering eternal torment in hell, yet God creates them anyway. And that's God who is love! Rational sensible intelligent people can see that a theology which portrays God in such a bad light doesn't make sense. If it doesn't make sense to you, admit it. If it somehow makes sense, explain how, to a rational intelligent person.


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:15 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
As I am certain I have mentioned before, everyone who reaches the age of reason is given sufficient grace to be saved.

I understand that that's the traditional Catholic stock answer, but the thing is, if that's the case, then why are some not saved?

Those who aren't saved, despite being "given sufficient grace to be saved", don't lack sufficient grace but therefore lack sufficient something else necessary to be saved, which those who are saved don't lack.

Whatever it is that the damned lack, whether it's wisdom or goodness or holiness or determination or good fortune or inability to successfully resist temptation or a combination of several of those factors or whatever it is that makes the difference, let's call it the X factor(s), God creates some with the necessary X factor(s) and creates those who go to hell without the necessary X factors, so those who go to eternal hell never freely chose to be created without the X factor(s), which means they don't freely choose eternal hell.

The God who is love creates them with the failings that cause them to end up in eternal hell. By no stretch of the imagination, or definition of what anyone of us understands love to be, could such cruelty be inflicted by a God who "is love". God has led us to an understanding of what love is, and commands us to love, therefore we must have some realistic, if imperfect, understanding of what love is, and immeasurably immense cruelty is definitely not love.


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:26 am 
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14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[b] but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:15 pm 
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DD, you're asking the old sovereignty v free will question, and you aren't going to get a satisfactory answer to that. You're either going to err on one side by making human beings entirely automatons, such that if you feed them this or that input, that will be enough to necessarily, by their nature, make them "choose" this rather than that; or else you're going to err on the side of giving human beings a will that is its own sufficient cause so as to remove God entirely from the equation and render them uncaused effects (a contradiction in terms).

The only answer to this is that God causes all things in accordance with their natures. He causes free, which is to say voluntary, choices to happen voluntarily, and involuntary, that is to say passive, events happen involuntarily. So, for example, He causes me to freely choose to respond to you in these words, just as He causes the electrical impulses from my computer through the cable line and the various networks until the lights finally flash on your screen in such a way as these words you are reading (that I composed) appear on your screen. One is free because it was caused by God to be a freely caused effect; the other is determined because it was caused by God to be a determined effect. Go too far down one track, you have no order in the universe at all. Go too far down the other, you have no such thing as a free will and therefore no such thing as moral obligation of any kind.

So, again, the Catholic answer on the sufficiency of grace is correct. All have sufficient grace to be saved. Why some, with that sufficient grace, freely chose to reject that grace is do to their own fault. Why God does not decide to give them a special measure of efficacious grace is entirely a matter of His own inscrutable prerogative and, on some level, must ultimately be arbitrary (insofar as if God had a specific reason outside of Himself where He chose John to receive efficacious grace but Jack to receive only sufficient grace because of something in John lacking in Jack, then it would mean that God was beholden to that something, that something outside of Himself, and therefore would prove to be a contingent being).

I know you don't like that argument. That's fine. But people in the first century didn't like it, either. That's why Paul, under the inspiration of God Himself, wrote the words Jack3 just quoted above. The question isn't whether or not you like an argument. The question is whether or not you are willing to submit to God's absolute sovereignty, which is to say, to God as He is. Most are not, because, for most, God is a small being they make in their own image. I hope and pray you come to appreciate that God is far beyond the limitations you have set on Him.

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Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:32 pm 
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TheJack, do you also hope and pray that you yourself come to appreciate that God is far beyond the limitations YOU have set on Him.

You think that God cannot save everyone.


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 Post subject: Re: Free will question
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:38 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[b] but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?


8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.


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