Freewill versus Determinism

This is a question that’s raged for centuries between people of faith and atheists…..are we free (Christians) with freewill as provided to us by a Creator or are we pre-determined (atheists) as the Laws of Physics increasingly predict.

We live in a time now where “Realism” driven by this Digital Age has consumed young people completely, raising again the belief in Determinism and the idea we live in a purely scientific and physical universe that is pre-determined and predictable – all our actions known by some larger plan and set in motion when the universe was made – if Humanity could just get the science right.

But I don’t think it’s that simple…..nor do I believe religious people have all the answers. There’s blindness in both science and faith.

I think it’s possible there is no Determinism or Freewill.

Think about it…..for a system to be deterministic it would have to be created perfectly from a system that was also always known and perfect and predicted. But Creation is something from nothing, made from a system of emptiness without Laws and consumed by Chaos to a system of complete Law and Order. I don’t think that could be.

Same for freewill. If there is randomness in a spinning electron then that’s not choice or freewill that’s you being affected in random ways by an underlining system that’s controlling your choices. Even though it may be we can never predict something because our predicting tools will always influence outcome, that doesn’t mean there is not some random affect either. I do believe Einstein when he said famously God doesn’t play dice, meaning there is no randomness in the universe. But that doesn’t explain the strange unpredictable forces in atoms that can’t be ever explained by science.

This argument goes beyond faith many claim but you can’t throw out faith if science for example can never explain what cake before the Big Bang. That’s why I’ve often turned to a 13th philosopher named Thomas Aquinas who basically harmonized science with faith by saying what science cannot explain we must have faith in and what science tells us is true we cannot now explain by faith. It’s a Two-Fold Truth, or my interpretation of it, that I find beautiful and meaningful….one Realists, Atheists, and Rationalists fail to understand. But it doesn’t answer the question….are we deterministic or driven by freewill?

The best explanation is that none or both coexist. And in both scenarios one system must underly or overly the other. And so in my fantasy novel, Phantammeron Book One I have used that philosophical belief in explaining the influencers in the pre-determined fate of my fantasy world and it’s inevitable destruction as preset by its Creator but yet the power of those characters engaged in it to change its course and their fates as decided by An and the Loom of Fate she weaves for them at the bottom of the Dreaming Seas. All those ideas were carefully plotted before I write the book.

I personally think in this contradiction between a Deterministic universe set in motion by some Creative force but revealed through science and Freewill has given to us by God lies something that is one and the same but Humanity cannot currently grasp. In the contradiction lies the Truth and yet the Mystery. The two must coexist or our understanding is flawed. Seeing that a Creator did create a Deterministic universe but that on top is freewill then becomes part of both a random system but also part of some Devine destiny underneath we cannot fully grasp.

And this strange dualistic force must be tied to the very reason we were created and the universe itself made, an idea that neither faith nor science may ever explain fully.

– the author



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