‘Illusory’ free-will & science vs scripture & spirits

In this post I address some questions raised in a discussion thread on Rationalising the Universe but which are off-topic. Blogger scientists Joseph and Mekhi are open-minded in entertaining opinions as shown by raising ideas and topics on, or beyond, the fringes of material science. Read for example, What Am I For? and Science and God; a beautiful fusion or an unhealthy alliance?

Earlier this month a lively, informative discussion arose upon theoretical physicist Mekhi’s asking Is Free Will An Illusion?  She bravely ventures into a different form of matter – an immaterial one!  Mekhi opens her post:

“Whether or not we have a free will is an age-old question in philosophy: whether we are truly in control of our decisions and whether our future is an uncertainty, slowly carved out into a reality by our thoughts and actions today. Whether we have this free will is a question that has a popular appeal for it directly affects they way we see the universe and our place in it. Though what is it that makes us believe we truly are in control of our decisions and whether, when you’re faced with chocolate ice cream or vanilla, there really is a moment of genuine uncertainty before you choose the vanilla.

“Something inside us compels us to believe humans have free will….”

Spiritually-minded people recognise mankind’s possession of free-will as a gift from God because we are made with spiritual, moral, intellectual and emotional faculties: ie, we’re made ‘in His image’ and as His family. He did not create us to be mindless robots under His direct control. Therefore, free-will is a theological topic too, as well as being pertinent to other belief systems, philosophy, ethics and morality it is relevant in neuroscience, psychology and sociology.

Mekhi considers how classical and quantum physics can contribute to an understanding of free-will. Yet a problem lies in its being tied into scientists’ biased, or preferred, concepts associated with the twin belief systems of humanism and atheism. She concludes:

“Therefore it seems the only path we can follow to believe free will truly exists is to believe that somehow our minds behave in way that is superior to the direct product of the atoms that comprise them.. What basis we have for believing this I do not know.. but I believe I speak for all humans when I say something inside me compels it to be so – and that’s a scientist talking!”

What/Who Made ‘The Big Bang’ Bang?

Referring to the scientific conundrum of how the universe began, I point to inconsistency and ask about the apparent intelligence of sub-atomic particles from the perspective of quantum mechanics.

Another reader also picks up on and draws attention to the spiritual aspect of this topic. ‘Novus Lectio’ aka ‘BGC’, states “Free-will doesn’t stand in the realm of ‘matter’…it comes from the spirit”, refers to the brain’s reasoning processes and mentions references made to ‘something within’. I’d already noticed that and after Mehki’s negative response fill out BGC’s remark in saying her words indicate her own spirit, as well as pointing to use of language bordering on the religious.

Off-topic Discussion Points

A lively debate ensues! If you have time and inclination you may wish to read the article’s thread so you can appreciate its full flow. There are many fine debatable issues and here are extracts from the thread with off-topic points I believe warrant answering. I hope to do the discussion justice:

‘BGC’ makes an intriguing allusion to ‘scripture’ (March 13, 6:09 pm): ‘Yes I totally agree, the intuition comes from below our conscious awareness – but no calculation is performed due to the fact that we’re not the source of this intuition. If we were the source of it, we would call it “thought”.

‘In one of the Holy Scriptures God says: It is not for any human that God should speak to him, except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger to reveal by His permission whatever He wills. He is All-High, All-Wise. We thus inspired you spiritually, by Our command. You did not know what the Scripture is, nor what faith is, but We made it a light, with which We guide whomever We will of Our servants. You surely guide to a straight path. The path of God, to whom belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Indeed, to God all matters revert….’

His protagonist ‘M’ offers his opinion and the debate continues but I notice this is from the qur’an and its claim and my subsequent discussion with BGC suggests he’s unclear as to how we can communicate with God and doesn’t realise spiritual beings, whether holy or demonic, have the ability to reason and communicate.

Eg, I respond (March 13, 5:56 pm): ‘Interesting thesis ‘BGC’ re, your “brain uses reason..spirit uses intuition” (reply to ‘M’) I partially disagree. Imho, the brain is just a tool to convey intuition and awareness of our spiritual life plus our link to God’s spirit . As we’re ‘made in his image’ with its free-will then we have a spiritual reasoning faculty to ‘discuss’ with our Father; as he says at Isaiah 1:18, “Come now let us reason together”…’

Also, in another reply, (Mar16, 5:49 pm): ‘Hence, my preference to analyse, query, test factual data – including scripture! – and accept the proven and hold theories lightly, rather than dogmatically make baseless assertions (emphasis added per comments below). I’ve been trained to discern between holy, human and unclean (demonic) spirits and deal with the last. My actual experience has verified the accuracy of what’s in the New Testament.

‘Thus, I disagree with your notion that free-will and rational processes are not used by immaterial or disembodied spirits. The Bible and Quran both report satan/iblis as having rational faculties, otherwise it wouldn’t have been able to rebel or tempt Jesus through power of persuasion. Also, Jesus referred to it as ‘The Father of Lies’. SO a spirit being has and uses its reasoning faculty! The main focus of such spirits’ activities is upon our human minds and thoughts.

‘BGC’ replies and asks (Mar 16, 7:08pm): ‘Hi Richard, I’m very surprised by your knowledge...I agree with most of what you said, “better to stick to attested facts of known events rather than conjecture of fictional films”. On the other hand, satan/iblis isn’t really described in the Quran except that it is made of a certain kind of fire (naturally not the human kind). So it’s not exactly a spirit is it?’

A fair question and I refer ‘BGC’ to this blog’s ‘Holy Fire’ tag, specifically the photos of More Focus on Holy Fire, which show the Holy Spirit flame upon people and a pair of seraphim, or burning ones.  As for the twisted rational faculties of demons, the New Testament records a few very brief instances of demons trying to reason with Jesus and their obedience to His commands.

Also, when I read the Muslim book I noted a similarity in style to a mediumistic-inspired book (or ‘automatic writing’) dictated by a ‘Jesus’ who belittles his disciples’ incompetence and misunderstanding of miracles. It pretends to tell where they went wrong and ‘how to perform miracles’.  Also, in denying the divine nature of Jesus, the qur’an is unhelpful as regards a born-again believer hearing the Lord, and is therefore not competent on the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet.  So I directed ‘BGC’ to dip into this blog’s hub on Prophecy (‘101’ here).

There is so much more I could add, but if anyone has a brief question please be free to ask and I shall respond as soon as possible…

7 thoughts on “‘Illusory’ free-will & science vs scripture & spirits

  1. I’ve waited long for this post and I’m happy to finally read it. Unfortunately there are a few things which I don’t agree with, and a few which I would like to clarify. I’m not sure that a comment would be enough so I’ll say a bit here and if you’re interested in a more complete answer please read the latest post “Did God really told you that?”

    You’ve mentioned that spiritual beings holy or demonic have the ability to reason and communicate, it depends on the entity of this spiritual being. If the demonic one is satan, I totally agree and we constantly see his ability on the newspapers. If by the holy one you mean the spirit which all living things have, I don’t believe so because the spirit which God gave us (which is part of Him) doesn’t have the faculty to reason or communicate due to the fact that it’s immaterial. God said in Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

    I would compare our spirit to an antenna, we would be the radio, and the frequencies which the antenna receives are our intuitions/instincts. The antenna can hardly produce the frequencies by itself. So it’s absurd to compare what you call “holy spirit” and the demonic one which is an entirely different being.

    As for communicating with God, I don’t believe in a human being who pretend to hear and speak to God because he consider himself a prophet, and the “God told me” revelation diminishes the sufficiency of the Bible by the fact that someone is adding to God’s revelation. The Bible isn’t enough for him, when we hear someone say “God told me, it really means:
    I really think I should do ______ but I’m forgetting that the canon of scripture is closed and there is no need for further revelation. I want confirmation for my precarious decision, and I’m mistaking intuition for God’s voice. I’m forgetting to follow Proverbs 3:5-6.
    I can’t entirely trust my heart (ego) or mind to speak to me because of Jeremiah 17:9 which says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
    I’m too mindful of the scripture in 2 Corinthians 11:14 which says “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” to trust whether inner impressions are from God. I just make my decision if it is within the Holy Scripture revealed will of God and trust Him top providentially work all things to the good for those who love Him (Rom 8:28). You may read more on the post I’ve mentioned before.

    Excuse me but I don’t get the meaning of a “mediumistic-inspired book”. The Quran is NOT the book of Nostradamus! It is supposed to tell the believers as in the Torah and in the New Testament, to do good and to avoid evil you know? [Deleted per Comments Caveat]. The Holy Scriptures aren’t ment to make YOU a prophet or to help YOU perform miracles. God performs miracles and chooses His prophets. If you’re after prophecies and visions you should know that God has mentioned a few, which happened to Joseph, Abraham and Mohammed. But if you’re after prophecies concerning the end of times I suggest you to read The Theory of Fate.

    The Quran speaks highly of Jesus and his mother, neither of them were divine and the Bible say so and so does Newton who was a fervent believer. This is a part of what he wrote in an essay called General Schollium which we find a little at the beginning of his book Principia Mathematica : “This Being governs all things not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” . . . or “Universal Ruler.” . . . It is the dominion of a spiritual being which constitutes a God. . . And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent and powerful Being. . . he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. . . He endures forever, and is everywhere present; and by existing always and everywhere, he constitutes duration and space. . . In him are all things contained and moved; yet neither affects the other: God suffers nothing from the motion of bodies; bodies find no resistance from the omnipresence of God. It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always and everywhere. Whence also he is all similar, all eye, all ear, all brain, all arm, all powerful to perceive, to understand and to act; but in a manner not at all human, in a manner not at all corporeal, in a manner utterly unknown to us. As a blind man has no idea of colors so we have no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God preserves and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, nor touched; nor ought to be worshipped under the representation of any corporeal thing. We have ideas of his attributes, but what the real substance of any thing is we know not. In bodies we see only their figures and colours, we hear only the sounds, we touch only their outward surfaces, we smell only the smells, and taste only the savours; but the inward substances are not to be known either by our senses or by any reflex act of our minds. Much less, then, have we any idea of the substance of God. We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things. . . We reverence and adore him as his servants, and a God without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature.”
    Newton seems to have been closer to the Deists in his conception of God and had no time for the doctrine of the Trinity.

    The Old Testament says this:
    “there is no one like Yahweh our God.” Exodus 8:10
    “Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
    “Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
    “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me” Deuteronomy 32:39
    “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4
    “You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You” 2 Samuel 7:22
    and so on….

    If we google the word divine we find this “of, from, or like God or a god” which is contradictory to the Bible.

    These are a few verses concerning Jesus and if you’re interested you may read the entire chapter 19 called “Mary” who refers to Jesus and His mother…[quotation deleted per Comments Caveat]

    Please don’t say things on a subject for which you don’t have sufficient knowledge.

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    • Your assertions of certainty remind me of my own arrogant self-righteousness as a young man seeking and being self-satisfied in finding ‘truth’. Much later found I was gravely mistaken – and in three areas you cover!

      May you be blessed ‘BGC’ with similar encounter and revelation of the Truth Himself that brought me to my knees in humility. Hence my endeavours to avoid being judgemental and prefer discussing what I know through direct experience. So thank you, for I’ll cover this separately.

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      • My assertions of certainty as you put it, is not based on arrogance and self-righteousness but rather on basic proof.
        You say that you prefer discussing what you know through direct experience accepting different opinions, but from what I’ve noticed, all I have received so far is bitter talking saying that my earlier opinion deserved to be ignored (as it happend as a matter of fact ) or receive contempt from your readers (which I think is more from your side from what I saw). If you plan on despising all I say I’d better stop visiting

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        • It’s your choice, but again as you seem to misunderstand, plus misconstrue and question my intregrity for there’s absolutely no despising on my part (in view of reference to trying to be non-judgemental) AND I pointed to my own past non-Christian character!!! Perhaps you have plenty of time on your hands to discuss in-depth whereas my writing slots have to be prioritised.

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    • It’s not a matter of censorship, for that’s covered under home page’s Comments Caveat, but I withheld your comments temporarily for two reasons after having opportunity to read. First, although different opinion is welcome, its judgemental content and fixed presuppositions show you didn’t follow up my suggestion, or did so with a closed mind that doesn’t wish to consider another’s reasonable opinion.

      Thus, you lay yourself open to being, at best, ignored or, at worst, viewed with contempt by many well-informed readers. (The comment had prime exposure anyway in first 40 hours.)

      Therefore and in view of its challenging nature, it needs a brief acknowledgement but I wasn’t in a position to provide one until time available to post my very short response (which will do later today).

      Furthermore, in the other blog you noted of me, “I’m very surprised by your knowledge”. So in view of your above contrary closing comment, I’ve inserted that remark into the above extracts, as well as underlined emphasis on my acquisition of knowledge, for the record. If you continue to read this blog you’ll find your closure to be quite mistaken.

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