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home » articles » "The Christian God in a Deterministic or Non-Deterministic Universe"

The Christian God in a Deterministic or Non-Deterministic Universe

Isa 53:3-5 "He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of suffering, and acquainted with disease: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we didn't respect him. Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought our shalom was on him; and by his wounds we are healed."
If God created the universe and if the universe is non-deterministic such that we humans have free will, then it is impossible for God to know the future. Since we have free will, we can make choices that determine the future and God could not predict the choices we will make. Indeed, if God could predict our choices, that is if He knows the choices we will make before we make them, then our choices are predetermined. No matter how many times we change our minds, God would know that we would change our minds in each instance; each change of mind is predetermined. If God does not know the future, then "prophesy" in the Bible is at most a promise or a threat, but it cannot be an accurate prediction. Christians take the passage from Isaiah 53:3-5 (see side box) to be a prediction that Jesus would be crusified to atone for the sins of mankind. However, in a non-deterministic universe, God cannot predict the future. God could not predict that people who would be born hundreds of years later would crusify Jesus. In fact, since people have free choice to marry whom they will (or not to marry at all). So God could not even know who would be alive during Jesus' life time or what they would be like.

If God could create the universe any way He wanted, and if He could see the future results of any choice He could make during create, then God created the universe including its future exactly way He wanted it to be.
If on the other hand, God created the universe and the universe is deterministic, and if God is omnicient, then at the time of creation, God would know the every detail of the future of his creation. Since He created the universe the way He wanted, then anything that happens in the future is also in accordance with His will because the future was determined at the time of creation (see side box). Each person that is born, rejects salvation, and suffers eternal torment in hell is part of God's plan.

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