One aspect of folks that I value is the ability to allow free dialogue, even if it doesn’t seem important, may hinder one’s argument, or a point that tends to lead in a different direction. Of course, I value this because I value the exploring of ideas to reveal truth.
Perfect Chaos is a blog run by Steven Colborne, who believes in God, maybe even the Christian God, but doesn’t believe in Free Will basically because God is in charge of everything existence. Steven posted again today about The Free Will Problem. Naturally, there are analogies that can be given to show when one is in charge they can allow free will etc. However, as I’ve continued to exhibit through Catholic thought, there is ample philosophical evidence within Catholicism that indicates a lack of free will is more or less rubbish.
In this particular blog of Steven’s I gave Augustine’s answer to Steven’s assertions that Free Will doesn’t exist, please refer to his post as well as his essay that he gives a link to in the post. I answered that in accordance with Catholic tradition that Steven fails to properly refute Augustinian Theodicy. More or less Steven doesn’t even address it, which of course the comment is a critique that Steven could use to finely tune his own thoughts on the matter–even for his own side of the argument. Unfortunately, Steven deleted my comment, so I present it here to you, reconstructed.
Augustine’s point is rested in the Confessions Book 7:
Augustine explains his view of Free Will: ” I was absolutely certain when I willed a thing or refused to will it that it was I alone who willed or refused to will. Already I was beginning to see that therein lay the cause of my sin. I saw that what I did against my will was something done to me, rather than something I actually did. I concluded that it was not my fault, but my punishment.”
Augustine explains earlier in Book 7 how this relates to God in a fashion the resembles Anselm’s ontological argument: ”
There has never has been, nor will there be, a soul able to conceive anything better than you, who are the supreme and best good. But since it is of the utmost truth and certainty that the incorruptible is preferable to the corruptible, even as I already preferred it to be, I could now attain in thought to a being better than yourself, my God, if you were not incorruptible. Therefore, where I perceived that the incorruptible must be preferred to the corruptible, there ought I to seek you. There too, ought I to observe where itself is, that is, whence comes that corruption, by which your substance can in no way be violated. For absolutely no corruption defiles our God.”
The glaring problem in a Christian argument against Free Will, or for that matter the argument for God is that for God to be God, He must be a perfect being. Naturally, this fits into Aquinas’ model in the Summa Theologica:
“Now God is the first principle, not material, but in the order of efficient cause, which must be most perfect. For just as matter, as such, is merely potential, an agent, as such, is in the state of actuality. Hence, the first active principle must needs be most actual, and therefore most perfect; for a thing is perfect in proportion to its state of actuality, because we call that perfect which lacks nothing of the mode of its perfection.”
So, as I challenged Steven, for God to be perfect, He must be without corruption or He simply wouldn’t be God. If there is no Free Will, then God would have to be responsible for evil, one would have to assert and defend those evils such as theft, rape, death, any violence, natural disasters would need to be part of God’s perfection and not corruptions in the world to argue that Free Will doesn’t exist because God would be responsible for all of these actions and they could not take away from His perfection.
Sadly, again, Steven deleted my comment which was simply a good nature criticism that I had seen lacking in his essay. As my second response was also deleted after I noticed he deleted my initial comment, I decided to bring my critique to the general readership of the blogosphere.