The Riddle of Responsibility: Why Does God Consider Us Responsible for Our Choices?
This post can also be reach at riddleoffreedom.tk
First, the all important definitions:
The definition of choose: “To make a decision to do something, to commit to an action and attempt to fulfill that action, for example to decide to believe in God or to not believe in God, or to decide to tell the truth with your mouth, or to use it to lie.
The definition of free: Having no restraints. Not being prevented or limited by anything.
Those are my definitions based on my experience on how those words are used and are the meanings I am referring to in this journal entry.
…when Rebekah also had conceived by one, by our father Isaac (for the children had not yet been born, neither had done any good or evil; but that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who called,) it was said to her, “The elder shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” What shall we say then? Is there not unrighteousness with God? Let it not be! For He said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” So then it is not of the one willing, nor of the one running, but of God, the One showing mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “Even for this same purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will, He hardens. You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will? – Romans 9:10-19
An example of how the will can be influenced with directly controlling it: Being that a person’s will can be influenced by emotion, all you would need to do to get someone to do something that you wanted them to do, would be to offer them something in exchange for the desired action, or inflict pain on them, whether they agreed to or not. Unlike God, it wouldn’t always work, but sometimes it will, especially if your only desire is to get a any kind of response to your interaction with the person you are targeting like changing direction or turning their head to look at you. God, besides hiding and revealing information at certain times, no doubt also uses direct manipulation of the material world to get the same responses, but he may also directly alter or generation emotions in a person and desires.
This is the hardest question in the world to answer:
Why would God be angry at anyone, or blame them or reward them for anything they do, if God is the one causing them to do exactly what he wants them to do?
Not even in the next verse does God answer this question, but instead rebukes those who ask the question with an angry-at-God attitude. And God, in keeping with this frustrate-the-prideful-one behavior, does not answer the question.
Even without considering God in this question, it is still relevant because people are held to be responsible for anything they do, even psychopaths hold others responsible for their actions, even though who deny that free will exists get upset at those who do what they consider to be “bad”, “not good”, “wrong”. And everyone feels hurt when they are told that they are bad, especially if they are wrongly accused of going something they didn’t do, even if the accusation is over a small thing, something that may not even be wrong. Wars, and millions deaths, billions of deaths perhaps, and clearly billions of people have been made miserable for long periods of time due to seeing others wrongly rewarded, or seeing themselves wrongly accused of something that they didn’t do. Imagine if it were discovered that no one was responsible for their actions, that it wasn’t themselves who were making the choices, or that they had no real choice, but were merely reacting and only thought they were making decisions. Would anyone hate each other anymore or much? Or would it be the opposite?: Everyone would feel and do whatever they wanted, hating as much as they wanted too and more so then ever because they couldn’t logically be blamed for deliberately doing what “wrong”.
If a person does not have the equal ability to choose between doing right or wrong, or anything at all, but is instead only able to make one choice due to influence of some kind, for example lack of knowledge, accidental illogical reasoning, or an uncontrollable desire to do either right or wrong, should they still be held responsible for their actions even if they were the ones who chose to act?
Is God merely talking to himself when he talks to us, in that he is yelling at himself for the very evil things he arranges for us to commit? When he says, “Choose life or death” is God showing us that he is insane since he is the one who decides what anyone will “choose” to do? We clearly at least have awareness of our actions in general, though not always it they are morally right or wrong or right in how to accomplish something (like beat a game or fix some device which is broken), so God is not talking to himself when he verbally rewards or accuses of something, or as some think, implies it through good or bad things that he causes to happen in our lives though not actually saying anything to us specifically. But though we are aware, does that make it possible for us to choose? Or are were merely aware and reacting to stimuli?
For a person to be responsible for any action, must they have the innate ability to choose an alternative action without that choice being prevented? And if it wouldn’t matter, why wouldn’t it? Is the illusion of simply having more than one choice sufficient for a person to be responsible for the decision they make? And again: if a person is unable to resist an influence so that they are only able to make a certain choice or to commit to action that choice, why or why not should they be held responsible for their choice or action?
Perhaps I or someone else will figure it out soon. If I do, I will try to update this post right away.