Tuesday, June 7, 2016

God's Plan vs Free Will

I recently encountered a post on Facebook that posed the following conundrum: If God gave man free will, how can everything be part of God's plan? If everything is part of God's plan, how can we have free will?

Without getting into the messy discussions of the existence of God, free will, and so forth (all good topics for another time), I wanted to address this conundrum, as the solution is actually very simple. And it can be illustrated with a game of chess.

Let's say that I'm a super-genius chess player. My IQ is so high that my brain operates with the efficiency of a computer, even better than the ones that beat the various chess champions. I can literally think millions of moves ahead, projecting all of the possible moves that my opponent might make for millions of moves in advance, which allows me to imagine every single possible chess game that is every likely to ever be played.

As such, I can account for every possible choice that my opponent might make in any given game or situation. I can plan ahead for every possible scenario and iteration of a game of chess. Yet, my opponent still has free will to decide what move they will make. I do not control what move they make, but I have planned for every possible choice. So, regardless of what move they choose to make, it is all part of my plan. I will close my traps on them and have them in checkmate regardless of what they choose.

This illustrates clearly that a "divine plan" can coexist with free will just fine, and that one does not inherently preclude the other.