>Free will

>An interesting study on free will reported on SciAm (see here) gives an even more interesting result: “after people are made skeptical of free will, they cheat more.”

This has some theological implications. A few questions that immediately spring to mind are: do double-predestination Calvinists cheat more? Are Open Theism advocates more ethical? Are Compatibilists able to cheat without getting caught?

This questions are only partially in jest. It seems to me that the free-will debate will never be successfully questioned/explained until we have some agreed-upon definitions of what freedom is, what is the will, and what is free-will. We probably need to answer what is determinism, predestination. We also need to think deeply about destiny, teleology, and the role of unidirectional time (i.e. the flow of history fro past to future) in the individual actions. Oh yeah, and we have to define agent, individual, and perhaps even choice!

Sounds like a cop out but in fact these questions are important. Jesus came to save me. Now which ‘me’ is that? Was it a choice Jesus made pre-incarnation? Did he then have no free-will during the incarnation? And on and on.

The question of free-will/predestination has to hover over the Crucifixion and Resurrection, like the Spirit over the waters.

And our minds must stay there for a while too, asking over and over not ‘why’ did Jesus die for me, that’s obvious, but rather ask what ‘me’ did he die for? I.e. ‘who’ did He die for?

The first question asked of those who suddenly find depth in their lives is “Why am I here?”. Later on they graduate to “Why is there something instead of nothing?” Eventually, if they persist long enough they will begin asking “Who?” not ‘why’. “Who is at the center of it all? Who brought existence into being? Who?” A much deeper question.

And when we get into the Who question, then we also turn to look at who we are – are we some sort f self-contained monad? Are we porous like a sponge? Perhaps my self is just an epiphenomenon? A strange attractor for multiple time data – sensory, historical, etc.

These are not trivial questions. When we look into this darkness, what do we see?

Keep looking, the eyes may never get used to the total darkness, but there may be a Light….for in your Light we see light (Ps. 36)


About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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