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I’ve just done a YouTube video discussing this and it’s an interesting one. I will use my claim here that God does not have free will. See my following pieces:

God’s Own Free Will
God’s Supposed Free Will: He Cannot Be Contrary to His Own Predictions

The basic premises are as follows:

OmniGod has a number of different traits – his nature – whereby he is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. These constrain God to only being able to act in a certain way: for example, in the most loving way. God can’t order or countenance rape, can’t order or countenance genocide in the way atheists claims because it is simply not in his nature.

Well, yeah. Exactly. So God cannot act contrary to his own desires, but then has to fulfil being maximal with each of those characteristics – most loving, most compassionate, most just, and so on.

But it gets worse. God, through divine foreknowledge, has infallible knowledge of every event that will come to pass – every instant – in the future of every creation. This knowledge is predictive. Therefore, if God predicts (by knowing) the future, then the future cannot come to pass otherwise from God’s predictions. If God knows he is going to do X at time t1, then God cannot do otherwise at t1. This is the same for every instance of God’s existence.

With God, there is no deliberation, no umming and ahhing, no evaluating and working things out as with humans. Yes, we may be causally determined but we are authoring our fates in a different way to an omniscient being.

Existence for God must be so…boring. Maybe that’s why he wants so much praise and worship – he needs that hit of dopamine. Oh no, he has no needs and lacks nothing…

So not only can God not act contrary to his own nature, he cannot act contrary to his own omniscience and knowledge of his future self.

I can see no way around this unless you drop some of those omniskills.

That’s the groundwork for the rest of this piece: God is a divine robot, a heavenly automaton.

Loving God

God is love, right? We hear it all the time from Christians and theists but I’m not really sure what this means. Genocide and malaria, tsunamis and carnivorousness don’t look like love. You have to do some real mental contortions to maintain the belief.

But it’s not just that God is love – the problem of a self-programmed divine robot representing love – it’s that we are expected to have a loving relationship with it. I don’t know that I could have a loving relationship with a laptop or a robot. But at least a robot would be there with me when I wanted, when I needed, reliably so.

How different are humans from the idea of God?

First and foremost, God seems to be exactly that – an idea, an abstraction, an ideal. Humans, with all of their imperfections, with their lack of knowledge and control, with their growth and change, enthral us. Yet, even for the most committed of believers, God is imagined only infrequently and resembles, surely at best, a feeling. I’m not sure that I can make much sense of a feeling of love for this thing other than in terms of self-delusion in loving something that is a perfect concoction of everything you want. It’s like your dream partner, but with omniskills.

Or is it a feeling of duty for theists? Do they feel like they must love their god?

The difference between a real and loving relationship with another human and with a(n imagined) god couldn’t be more different. We operate in reality largely as if we do have free will, but thinking about God for even the merest of time will lead you to realise how much of an automaton he really is.

I just can’t think that God really fulfills for theists anything my partner does for me.

I would be really interested in ex-theists/Christians documenting here how they felt they had a loving relationship with God, how it manifested.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...