RE: "they will become like us" - I think you may be misreading this Cliff, when you take that to mean "gods (plural)" - royalty speaks of itself in the first person plural, as in, "We are not amused." The author is simply assuming that the Bible's god would do the same.
Further, A & E didn't need knowledge of good and evil to understand, "Don't eat the fruit of this tree!"
The bible is so convoluted, Christians can find passages to defend almost any position, but so can I. In this case, the bible in many cases indicates that there is no such thing as free will, as it states in Proverbs 16:33, that "The lot is cast into the lap, but EVERY decision is from the Lord." As "every" is a universal term for all--this indicates there is no such thing as free will. There are at least four other passages which are very similar to the one above.
As for Lucifer, that argument too falls flat on its face, as heaven is said to be without sin. If that is true, then it would then be impossible for Lucifer to rebel against god in heaven.
Christianity is a religion which practices "sin, repent, sin repent...repeat when necessary. There is no justice for their victims on earth, unless secular laws are involved.
I was actually trying to reply to Chris' original post . . . but couldn't enter anything into the text box!?!
Anyway . . . here's what I had to say . . .
. . . Despite the fact that most Christian denominations teach free will, the Bible itself is rife with determinism and predestination. Because we all live as if we have free will, it's highly unlikely that anything we author will not give lip service to free will. When we take credit for our actions or blame others for theirs, we're paying lip service to free will. Thus, the Bible has many verses consistent with free will but is, nonetheless, a largely deterministic tome. Here are just a few examples (for brevity, just the verses are listed) that clearly state that God determines who is going to heaven or hell and that there's nothing you can do about it:
2 Timothy 1:9
2 Thessalonians 2:11-13
Even the Lord's Prayer contains 2 instances of determinism:
1.) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.
2.) And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
In an effort to discover why the Bible is so inconsistent on this issue, I tried many Google searches, using many keywords. I couldn't find dates for the concept of free will but I did find references to those who developed the concept. It appears that the concept of free will stems from the concept of freedom and that it grew very slowly, taking centuries to mature into a formal doctrine.
From the 4th century to the 2nd century B.C., the seeds of free will were being planted. Plato had a concept of rational governance which flirted with but skirted the concept of free will. Aristotle added an element of voluntary action but still skirted free will. The first, primitive, form of free will appears to arise with Epicurus, around 300 B.C. Determinism did not mesh with his observations. He diverged from the strictly deterministic Atomists of his day by claiming that atoms do not move in a pre-determined way. Making the motion of atoms random allowed him to break the perpetual causal chain of events kick-started by the Prime Mover. This opened the door for his assertion that man has free will. At around 50 A.D., Lucretius wrote his epic (6-book) philosophical poem, “De Rerum Natura”, explaining Epicurean physics. In it, he explained how atomic collisions can occur in the first place and why it is necessary to postulate randomness in the motions of atoms ("an unpredictable ‘swerve’ at no fixed place or time"), to account for the evident fact of free will. Otherwise we would all be automata, our motions determined by infinitely extended and unbreakable causal chains. This uncanny resemblance to the randomness postulated by modern quantum physics has helped make this passage a favorite in the free will debate. But it is, in fact, Epicurus, not Lucretius, who originated the idea of indeterminacy in the motion of atoms.
It's hard to understand how the ramifications of free will would take centuries to fully reveal themselves to our ancient philosophers. With the introduction of Christianity and its morality, particularly after it became the state religion (Roman Catholic Church) of the Roman Empire in 326 A.D., the development of free will was given a boost. Free will matured into doctrine, thanks largely to St. Augustine. He began advocating free will, around 400 A.D, to promote good works and responsibility for our own actions.
That's 700 to 800 years of free will as a neglected, fuzzy, immature concept! It's hard to imagine when most of us are now familiar with the concept(s) of free will.
The Old Testament was sealed about 200 B.C. (others claim it was sealed between 500 and 100 B.C.) and the New Testament was written between 45 A.D. and 140 A.D. This means that the concept (much less doctrine!) of free will didn't even exist in the region while the Old Testament was written and was, at best, a primitive and fuzzy concept when the New Testament was written. Free will still hadn't been fleshed out when the Roman Catholic Church was created in 326 A.D.
So it appears that the Bible is so inconsistent with the application of free will because a formal concept of free will wasn't available to the Bible authors. The authors lived in a deterministic culture, so that's (mostly) the way they wrote.
A deist might claim that God is just a cosmic God . . . the Creator . . . the Prime Mover . . . and has never actually been a personal God who intervenes in human affairs or meddles with the physical universe. Such a God could be reconciled with free will.
But a personal, theistic, God is absolutely incompatible with free will. A God who performs miracles or answers prayers is a God that usurps our intentions and actions. We would not be able to have any confidence in cause and effect and would never know if our plans work because we anticipated events properly or if the events merely coincided with our plans (due to God's meddling on behalf of a neighbor or stranger or whoever). God's meddling would mean the suspension of natural law. How are we to guess how that meddling ripples through other events?
If we could prove the existence of free will, we would simultaneously disprove the existence of a theistic, personal, God.
I really, really enjoyed this post. Thanks. Good stuff to ponder... :)
From a purely philosophical perspective, Leibniz (in his work "Theodicy") argues that everything has a first cause, and by extension (going back from first cause to first cause) the original first cause, by pure reason, ends with god as the first cause of every action. By this chain of reason god would end up as the first cause of everything, to include sin and evil.
While I do not consider this a refutation of god, I do think of it as a refutation of free will argument of the theologians. And it's especially convincing when you consider that Leibniz was a decidedly Catholic philosopher.
But Leibniz ignores the point that if every cause is the effect of some prior cause, and God is the cause of anything at all, then God must be the effect of some other cause. Clearly he simply DEFINED God as the first cause and then took a brain nap without thinking of the implications.
True, he does ignore this in the end. However, my main point in bring that up was mainly to show that theological philosophers like Leibniz will argue this back to this point in order to show that god is the "first cause", but they will seemingly ignore the point you're making here.
Also, Leibniz's philosophy was one of negatives, as opposed to positives. He spent a great deal of time refuting (or attempting to refute) so many people, that our only real understanding of what he might have actually believed comes from "between the lines" so to speak.
But yes, I absolutely agree with your point here.
In Isiah, god actually states that he creates evil, but as to the first cause argument, we then have to ask what caused god?