Great question, that, in the headline. The smartest theologians and philosophers in every age for the past 2,000+ years (and more recently, physicists and mathematicians) have tried to figure how human beings can have free will in a universe in which everything is predestined by God.
At the very least, that proposition appears to violate the basic rule of logic, the Principle of Non-Contradiction — That which is A cannot also be Not-A. If people can choose as they wish, then God can’t be determining their choice.
NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace was asked about this during a recent presentation at Ohio State University. In response, Wallace explains why free will and materialism are similarly opposed but there is at least the logical possibility of a solution in a universe created by God.
Science proves it. I believe it. That settles it. Really?
It was not uncommon in years past to hear it stereotypically declared occasionally among some religious folks in America that “The Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!”
Comedians and college professors still make jokes about such declarations here and there, but the truth is, there are also examples of the same sort of closed mindedness on the other side of the debate about the origins of the universe, the existence of God, and related topics.
“The first question smart gamblers ask is, ‘What are the odds?’ There’s good reason for it; playing the odds gives them the best chance at winning.
“However, the odds for many things we see in our universe coming into existence without any intelligent input or intentionality are so mind-numbingly improbable it requires an irrational dose of blind faith to even consider them.
“How mind-numbing, you ask? I’ll give just one brief example. Take living cells and the biological proteins that compose them. If we consider just one simple living cell consisting of only 250 short proteins, and those 250 proteins each consist of only 150 amino acids (they can consist of up to 30,000 amino acids), the odds that these 37,500 amino acids (250 proteins X 150 amino acids) could all arrange themselves into a sequence where the cell could actually function is only one chance in 10 to the 41,000th (that’s a one followed by 41,000 zeros.
“That’s a lethal problem for atheism. Even if the universe were 14 billion years old (that’s the oldest estimate even the most ardent atheists give it), there hasn’t been nearly enough time for 10 to the 41,000th attempts at anything. Not by a long shot! And that’s only one example out of countless others we could offer.” — Tom Hammond, What Time Is Purple, pps 16-17
Philosopher Kenneth Samples gives the answer AND poses a huge question about chance and design
“Advancements in science, technology, and medicine over the last century or so have benefitted virtually all people. Scientific progress has lengthened human life spans and improved quality of life.
“These great strides prompt a provocative question: Why does science work? That is, why is the scientific enterprise so effective in delivering critical, reliable information about the natural world that can inform and benefit humankind?
“I have posed this question to many scientists I’ve met through the years. The answer I usually hear is something along this line: ‘It just does. Science is unique. It works.’
I think the reason that most scientists struggle to tell me exactly why science works is … Go here for the answer.
“Irreducible Complexity” (IR) is a term coined by Lehigh University biochemist and Intelligent Design advocate Michael J. Behe. The Department of Defense (DOD) organizational chart may seem irreducibly complex, as do congressional parliamentary procedures at times.
But beginning with his 1996 book, “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution,” Behe has been talking about incredibly complex machines at the nano level that must be assembled in a certain order before they can perform functions that are essential to the continuation of a living organism’s existence.
Strike up a conversation with folks around Capitol Hill about their view of how and why the universe came into existence and odds are very good you will sooner or later hear the theory ours is just one of many universes.
This is the “multiverse” explanation for why there is something rather than nothing, and it is a concept that in recent years has gained numerous advocates within the scientific community and disciples in the popular press.
Professor David Gelernter of Yale’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is famous for having predicted the World Wide Web years before its appearance, as well as having conceived or designed innumerable computing tools in wide use throughout the world.
But Gelernter is also something of a Renaissance Man because he is a prolific lecturer and author, the latter including works of fiction, technical articles and art criticism. Plus, he’s a member of the National Council of the Arts.