The concept of free will is the excuse given by apologists when faced with the cruelties of their God. They can justify their gods behavior based on the choices that we make. We could choose to follow the law, but we don't so we have chosen the painful route and all blame falls on the infidel's shoulders. There is at least one biblical concept that doesn't sit well with that position.

Throughout the Bible there is a concept of a "Book of Life". You'll find it in Exodus 32:31-33 "Moses knew of the existence of Jehovah's book of life, and realized a person's name could be removed (blotted out) from it." Psalms, Daniel, Malachi and Revelations. The concept is more or less, God wrote a book and wrote down all of the names of those that would be going to heaven. Revelations 17:8 is my favorite. "The inhabitants of the Earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not and yet will come." Come again? Did he just say, "written in the book of life from the creation of the world?" Before this world was made, it was decided whom had even a chance at going to heaven? Before I existed God knew my fate? Where might I find free will in this passage? We are talking about decisions made prior to my existence by 100s of 1000's of generations.

A likely excuse used here is that you can have your name "blotted" out. But that misses the point that only certain names were put in to begin with. If your name wasn't put in before hand, your goose is cooked. This is a New Testament passage that cites the beginning of time as a primary decision point for your salvation. John 3:16 can kiss my ass, the father made up his mind long ago. Some might wonder about which version of the Bible we are talking about, this is from the NIV, and it's just as bad in other versions. The New Living translation says "before this world was made." In all cases, our first judgement happened before the planet was even born.

How do you defend this? What kind of apologetics justifies judging people before they were born? What kind of apologetics says it's OK to send some to Hell even after they've accepted Jesus, but they didn't have their names written in the book prior to the creation of the Earth? It's like signing a contract and not noticing the fine print. You are standing before St Peter and he's praising your life, your faith, your having been fruitful, but wait.... your name was never written in the Book of Life?! And who is St Peter to question God? How's that faithy worshipy thingy working out for ya?

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Comment by Gaytor on June 28, 2010 at 5:54pm
So why would I, or another, worry about my actions if it's all been written? I have no control over it.
Comment by Eric Lawson on June 28, 2010 at 6:34pm
or a better question would be...If god knows already that I'm destined for hell, then why did he bother to allow me to be born in the first place? The concept of god pretty much vanishes when you apply this question to ,"The Book of Life."
Comment by willailla on June 28, 2010 at 6:49pm
Christians [bless their little minds] will say just because god knows your future doesn't mean you didn't freely choose it. A few effing things wrong here:

1. God told Adam [mankind] & Eve not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. How could god punish them for disobeying him? They didn't know that doing so was evil, since they had no knowledge of evil. And it was impossible for them to be good for they had no knowledge of what good was.

2. Secondly, if we humans have freewill then an omnipotent-future-knowing god can't exist, for where humans have freewill god's omnipotence disappears.

3. But if god knows the future, why create it? Why create humans that 'he' knows will go to hell? Is the Judeo-Christian god a sadist?

4. And why, if we are created in god's image would our having free will make us choose evil when god, who has the same freewill doesn't? Did this 'trickster god' deliberately deal us less than a full deck knowing that doing so would guarantee our failure? Yes, dear hearts, that's what the bible says: "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might
be damned." 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

You know, the real miracle is that anyone who has bothered to read the Bible would be a Christian.
Comment by Gaytor on June 28, 2010 at 8:41pm
To be sure that I'm understanding here, you still aren't saying that a name can be added to the book. Meaning, if your name isn't there to begin with, all of the behavior or belief in the world means nothing according to this one passage.
Comment by Gaytor on June 28, 2010 at 8:47pm
At least! Do you suppose that he knew to write the names in different languages before having to scuttle the Tower of Babel? God prior to creating the world, "I'm off to start a failure!"
Comment by Galen on July 25, 2010 at 9:52am
Well, when you consider that God is supposed to exist outside of time (and therefore be independent of it), then what exactly would one mean by saying that God did something "before" the creation of the world? Just what does "before" mean to something that perceives the end of the world and the beginning of the world simultaneously? God could've taken a register of who was in Heaven in the year 23billion and then written it down in his book in 500billion B.C. It would be the same for him as one of us reading something off a screen and turning around to write it on the notepad behind us. When one exists independent of time, time is meaningless.

Of course, this lovely transcendental explanation of God's timelessness only makes him a bigger ass, in my opinion. It's certainly no "excuse" for any of his supposed acts.

Good thing it's all bullshit, cuz I'd had to live in a universe run by such an asshole.
Comment by Reggie on July 25, 2010 at 10:14am
If I had a god, I'd want him or her to be 3/3 god.
Comment by Henry Ruddle on July 25, 2010 at 1:04pm
I vividly remember the bulging, bright red face of a girl in one of my college religion courses at a Catholic university as the professor discussed the connection between free will and salvation. Eventually she couldn't take any more and shouted, "You can't tell me that I wasn't saved since the beginning of time!" It was one of those sweet most of disconfirmation when a rational person would have realized that all religious concepts are metaphorical stories told for a specific social or mind-control purpose, except that she actually dropped the class instead.
Comment by Michael on July 27, 2010 at 3:20am
I believe this is the basis, or at least part of, Calvinism. John Calvin, French Swish Protestant Reformer, believed in predestination. He said exactly what you did-that God knew already where each soul was going when you died, and there's nothing we can do about it. There's a twist, however, because Calvin said people blessed on Earth were going to be saved by God-it was a sign of his grace. So the rich and powerful were going to be saved, diving right of kings, blah blah blah.

The Anabaptists rejected it all, believing in pacifism, refusing to recognize earthly authority and had the (then revolutionary) idea that adult baptism should be done, people freely joining a church rather than, you know, when they were infants at which point it was incomprehensible. This was too much for the Calvinists, who killed hundreds of Anabaptists by drowning, in a brutal twist on that adult baptism idea. They also burned at the stake people such as Michael Servetus, a dissident Spanish Protestant who held anti-Trinitarian views. Sebastian Castillo, a French Protestant dissident, said of his death: "To kill a man is not to protect a doctrine; it is to kill a man. When the Genevans killed Servetus they did not defend a doctrine; they did but kill a man."

John Calvin established an explicit theocracy in Geneva, which chased out Giordano Bruno later, who met his end at the hands of the Roman Inquisition instead. It took until 2006 for the Swish Reform Church to officially apologize, inviting Anabaptists back to a reconciliation ceremony in Geneva. Only a century and a half late...


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