Tag: free will

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Someone not too long ago included this phrase in their conversation: “Free will is at the very heart of Christianity…” It wasn’t the first time the concept of free will ever came up on Ricochet, and I can’t imagine it will be the last. In my experience a debate isn’t necessarily won by the person […]

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Whatever happens, it was designated long ago and it was known that it would happen; as for man he cannot contend with what is stronger than he. Often, much talk means futility. How does it benefit a man? Who can possibly know what is best for a man to do in life-the few days of […]

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I think we all do have a guardian angel. I believe they work through us all the time, when we are thoughtful and good and kind to each other. –Roma Downey Both Judaism and Christianity believe in angels, but they diverge in their belief in guardian angels. Orthodox Jews believe in angels, but technically guardian […]

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If the Lord Gave Us Free Will, Then Hell Is a Thing

 

I know that some people don’t believe in Hell. I want to give those folks an opportunity to change my mind, so my short essay today will be to argue for the certainty of everlasting hellfire and damnation being a possible fate for any person.

I begin with the stipulation that man has free will. The Lord made man in His image, which means that we, like the Lord, can choose our actions.

Divine Providence and Free Will

 

Over the past year, I have noticed a growing sense of connection, of clarity and hope in my life. I’ve often wondered if my sense of the Divine’s influence in those experiences is genuine or wishful thinking. And at the same time, I’ve thought paradoxically it might be both. As I struggle with life’s questions and embrace the opportunities to explore and understand them, I’ve wondered where creative ideas and a sense of wholeness come from, even as I stumble and pick myself up, again and again. This weekend I found the beginning of an answer.

When I read the Torah portion on the Sabbath, I also read a couple of commentaries. My favorite one is Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who has written on four of the Five Books of Moses (known as the Chumash); I am reading his commentary on Genesis. He writes with such love and clarity on Judaism, that this week’s commentary stood out for me, because he addressed the seeming conflict between our understanding of divine providence (G-d’s influence on our lives) and free will. He points to the paradoxical question, how can G-d intervene in our lives if we have free will? He explains it with the following:

The apparent paradox arises because of the nature of time. We live in Time. G-d lives beyond it. Different time perspectives allow for different levels of knowledge. An analogy: imagine going to see a soccer match. While the match is in progress, you are on the edge of your seat. You do not know—no one knows—what is going to happen next. Now imagine watching a recording of the same match on television later that night—you know exactly what is going to happen.

Gratitude: Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition!

 

We see what we choose to see. No set of data forces any rational thinker to accept that one theory or explanation is incontrovertibly true and all others are incontrovertibly false. This explains how good and intelligent and wise people on Ricochet can consistently arrive at different conclusions, even though we have access to the very same data. Whether we are talking of science or of politics, there is no objective inevitability to any of our arguments.

Instead, we are left with the things that we accept as true. Most people take our assumptions and presuppositions for granted, but some people (probably a very few), can and do freely choose to see things a certain way. And here we arrive at the nub of the matter, because of all the things that we can choose to accept or deny, gratitude is both the most optional, and also the single most important for our state of mind, the state of our families and the health of our society.

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“What if Hitler had not declared war on America?” is a question that teaches us nothing useful. But, “What if I had chosen a different path then? What if I choose a different one now?” becomes an essential ingredient of any well-examined life. It is the ability to work with the theoretical “What If?” that […]

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In @andrewklavan’s recent podcast #186, he makes the claim that most people don’t want to be free, and the government is happy to feed people their needs and desires in exchange for their power. The battery is fed from the free will of the people, to paraphrase Mr. Klavan.  The Left has many institutions, and […]

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