Question of Life 2: Free Will VS. Predestination

One of many favorite question of life is the question about "where is God when [INSERT BAD THING HAPPENS HERE]". C.S. Lewis made an interesting view from his faith as a Christian in "Problem of Pain". I recommend to have the book in English, though. The Indonesian version is quite jigsawed.

The topic about bad things led people into believing few: some become skeptic, some seek asylum and some deny thinking. All with one pattern, trying to escape from the confusion. We desperately need to answer this to have a soothing lives.

I myself trying to answer this within my own knowledge. Note that I based my approach from my Christian view, which may differ than you are. I don't want to be a smart ass nor becoming like those philosophers that don't touch the earth anymore. But, I think the question needs to be answered so that we can go on with our lives and maximize them.

Unfortunately, not many people like to discuss this topic. I found people in university's Christian community have this part discussed. Officially, they took the stance of predetermination. Unfortunately, I don't accept predestination doctrine.

Disagreement In Predestination

To me, predetermination is flawed.

First, this is like God is creating some humans as a food for hell. They are from the very beginning were chosen as unsaved. This contradicts the dogma that God is just. In what sense of justice in a way that some people already condemned? Don't this makes God aren't just to all people?

Second, why would people give up on their sins when they realized that they are predestined as hell's fuel? This doctrine mildly suggesting that sinners will still be sinner. Thus, this will gives some 'holy' people a thinking that some people don't deserve forgiveness. Those person are better left of on the dark. This is discrimination!

Third, if God predestined everything, then God is a terrible liar. God does not feel the suffering of human. God already knew what's what and everything is artificial. All of these things written on Bible is God's fabrication. All things that God had felt that was written was actually acts.

Well, that's unacceptable for me.

For all that I can tell, Christian deity is a God that loves human. Meaning, God have feeling. This religion puts God into the personal touch. The word "Abba father", "friend of God" and even "God's eye" are there to notify Christians that their deity is a close personal deity.

Again, please note that what we believe about deity is something personal. That's why I always said "for me" clause.

For some way of lives, there are people whom accept deities  that are terrible demons that wants to devour us. We worship this deity so that we are left untouched. The religion of Norse also have their motivation of worshiping is to join Great Battle with deities. The common is some also have belief in their deity as a supreme being.

So, if you believe that God just playing with our lives and we are merely a toy, I totally say that I don't mind. It's just your way to accept things. I myself choose a thinking more acceptable for me; that thinking is we have free will.

Some argue that doctrine of free will is a sign of God's weakness. If this world is free will, then God have no control of the world. That means, God is not that almighty. God may have limitation.

In this point, I can only remember a classical question: "Can God creates a rock that can't be lifted even by Him?"

In this question, I have enlightenment of how things work for free will. I found out that what if God choose not to? Just like God decide that bad people can't go to heaven, even technically speaking it is possible to do so. So, the rock can't be lifted if God choose not to lift the rock.

Deviation Is In The Book

I think God is like a chess player. He creates uncounted paths of life that we can choose. He gives us freedom to select one of those. Every single path is down with consequences that related to other path also. In these paths, humans are intertwined and compromising each other.

Then there is this question of life, why God let people do bad act? Why God also provide the option of people to do bad things? Why don't He stops us?

According to the book of Genesis, human were made as the image of God. The very first human was tasked as rulers and gardeners of the world. They were there as a subdeity, the representatives of God. It even mentioned that God and humans were best friends and able to talk straightly.

There are parts when human were strangely asked by the Almighty God. First, He asked Adam and Eve about why they are naked and who told them that they were naked. Second, Cain was asked about his brother. These two questions were asked as if God is not knowing of what happened.

I find this as a notion of God letting human select their choice of life. If people want to have sin, God would permit it. This because we are the creation that God choose not to interfere too much. He let it slide with consequences because He has provided us with those options.

But then again, I think when people said that God is evil because of those options, then think again. According to the Bible, it is God intention that all human saved. This means that originally God wants us to be saved. But, He respects our liberty.

This is like a dad who wishes his child to be a doctor. But, the child was not into it. The child wants to be a musician. Musician starts as a street performer and with rough life. Only few of them that can be successful. Many parents would against it and dictate their child to choose another dream.

From my experience, many of people that have their dreams shattered have regrets in life. Like a person I knew, he was aspired to be a writer. But, he was told that his dream could led him into harsh world. So, he chose another job. Unfortunately, he's still thinking about it.

Regrets are there in every human that have chosen the road that strayed from one's dream. This feeling left a lingering feeling of needing to find something better than the current life. As a father, God understands this well. So, He let His sons and daughter choose the profession they would like.

I think it is something more majestic than that:

God creates countless opportunity to let His children choose what they want to have. This privilege would let the children then develop their skill accordingly. Of course, every profession that we choose comes with its trait. Every trait have consequences!

Sin Is A Deviation of Straight Line

In this I found something magnificent of life.

The definition of sin is a word derived from "hamartia", deflected from original target. From Christianic view, the very first hamartia is when Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit of Knowledge of Right and Wrong [PS: it was not an apple].

Originally, according to the book of Genesis, human were meant to be God's executives to manage Eden. Then something happened. Human

I remember vaguely of when I was in school. My drawing teacher was teaching us about architecture. She tasked us to draw a house using American style. We were tasked to create 6 boxes. Each box was a viewport from different angle. We need that to draw our design from those six angle. (Autocad was not viable at that time, so we were using drawing technique of the past architect)

My problem at that time was my ruler was too short. I have to draw several lines using that ruler. To draw it, I had to put one point in the beginning and one point at the end. I used those points as guiding points.

At first, I thought I was alright. Then, I realized that I have deviated about one degree from the original line. After more than 30cm, the line didn't meet the other point. And the deviation was very significant (about few centimeters). I have to redo the drawing.

A sin may only deviates a degree or two from the original plan. It can be safely ignored at first because the life line we draw is still feels straight. After the long shot, we then realize that we have gone astray.

That is sin. The deviation of making our live miserable... on the long run.

Lines Intertwined and Clashed

A skeptic showed an image of a child in Africa. The person mocked with a question about God's justice. Where was that Just and Almighty God?

All that I can think of is that every human draw their lines accordingly. In a perfect world, each line would parallel each other. They mixed well. But, then again, this "hamartia" making a person draw a line that cross each other. In this situation, the line intertwined and clashed.

Why there is this child suffer in Africa?

Africa was made into slavery decades ago. Their power was down into dumb one. I mean if you look into history, Egypt, Ethiopia, Timbuktu and the rest from Africa, they were once dominant on science.

Now, the slavery led the continent into its downfall. In its downfall, rose people with little educations and formed tribes. Then, these tribes were in hate each other and went war each other. Then, the worst came. They had access to modern weaponry.

That's Africa. In Indonesia, the problem is also the same. Few percent of the population that can have luxury lives. In hundreds of millions Indonesians, only few percents are the richest, only few percents are in the higher educations and only few percents are able to govern.

We all know that this happens because Indonesia have a high rate of corruptions. Many resources were for the central government. This leaves many area far from the central suffer from undeveloped areas. Thus, we are left with significant gap between the central area and the borders.

Those kind of global sins affect the live of people. These sins are corporal. These sins making the suffering of other humans. And in the end, affect the human that done it.

More About The Clash

One more sin is about mistreating people. I like to show you one of the sin's property: avalanche effect. Let's try to talk about transportation.

When people was mistreated, the person would became more selfish. This selfishness led into the action of having something for him/herself. This selfishness made its way into the subconscious of that person because they were repeatedly added by events. Without even the person realized, it has rooted deeply.

Originally, the person was working diligently. Then, the person saw opportunities. One mistake after another. His/her works affected the others and then they began to do the same. At first, they were lobbied by contractors. After a while (few years), it became a habit. Eventually, it became the norm for projects.

The money for lobbying wasn't that big. During times, the cost went high and the contractors were puzzled. In order to have great income, they lower down the quality of the road. Public transportation were dumb down. The inspectors were silenced.

The degraded public transportation and the road made many people wished to have their own car. People are all in the rush for making more money. They wished for it. Worst, few successful people, TV ads and cultural shocks made people no longer wish but obsessed by it.

Then, we evolve to do anything but alive. We long to have money. This objective change the way we think and we start to have things that discouraged before. Hence, the sin multiplied.

This lead into high tension in urban lives. Most of urban spent their lives on transportation. Waiting to move and inhaling bad air. Their tension become so high that they didn't realize. Sometimes, they have lost their mind and went crazy.

To put this tension away, some fathers often slap their children or abuse his wife (vice versa). Some thrust their lives at night lives with alcohol and such.  Some thrust their lives into sport activities. All of them searching for escapist alternatives. And the new hurt born and amplified.

And when we realize the awfulness of the city, we are left with bitter options. We could throw all of the old public transportation (Organda) and start anew and making thousands people lost their job. We could throw all public officials and recruit  fresh one with the risk of riot. And many with implication of stepping others. Thus, the fixing is almost impossible.

See, one unknown man from an unknown public office making a decision that in the end involving us. That's the line that cross the boundaries. It invade other and other invade other and other and others....

In The End It's All About Us

Well, when a child was on the verge of death because of starvation. It was because of accumulated sin. That's why God doesn't like sin. It hurts people.

This is why the religion were originally invented. To give enlightenment to people about life. About what's what and what should be treasured. It's not about doing things. But, to do things with a philosophical trait in mind.

Every single act should be considered. Every decision should be think over. Every strayed path should be redeemed.

And that's our decision which God already provided. Either we take the good one or give ourselves to restless painful walk. We have a choice.

This is why I said to have free will doctrine is come in handy. With that in mind, we can have the thought of fighting over temptation. We can overcome fear of the tomorrow. We can see ourselves as greater being than just mere a doll. (hey, we are the image of God)

We can choose happiness. We can choose to share that happiness to others.


  1. Kunderemp3:36 PM

    TL;DR. =D

    I'm joking.
    I didn't use my motorcycle nor my car in the last five work days (and the previous two days, I got sick so I didn't came to office) and used public transportation.

    Haven't started any avalanche though.

  2. That's because the effect would be in years... :P


Post a Comment

Popular Posts