Let’s take a moment to define “free will” so that we are all proceeding from the same meaning…and, more importantly, the proper meaning. Not the false, tortured, and grotesquely distorted meaning the neo-Calvinists insist on inflicting upon everyone.
When we speak of free will we must realize that human volitional control (determining one’s desires and pursuing them) is only part of the definition. Free will is an idea that says that ALL objects in Creation, including man and his ability to reason/abstract/determine/declare/decide, etc., are the categorical sources of their own ability to act, and to be acted upon. NOTHING is the driving force of any object of Creation except itself. Before it can act, it must possess the innate, self–derived ability to act. Before it can be acted upon by another object, IT must possess the innate, self-derived ability to effect an “equal and opposite reaction” to the force of the other object acting upon it. For without the innate ability to ACT as an EFFECT of another force the object cannot recompense in the form of an “opposite reaction”. In short, it must be able to react FIRST, or there can be no reaction; the cause cannot not cause anything. The cause is moot. There is no cause without an object which is able to react; and that ability belongs solely to it.
NOTE: Tangent alert
Incidentally, this is why I deny the (unbiblical) notion of “first cause”. For if NOTHING exists to be caused upon, then there can be no “first cause”, by definition. What exactly is God, as an infinite object, and the sum and substance of Himself so that no definition can be given to Him in a non-relative (to Creation) way except to say “Himself” (and even that is really an external qualification…for really the title “Himself” applied from within Himself is redundant and thus impossible…but anyway, you get the point)…yes, what exactly is God “causing” if ALL–and yes, ALL…and you must understand what is being said here; all means ALL–which exists is Himself prior to Creation? There is nothing existing except Himself; and He cannot cause Himself…for that is a contradiction in terms; and certainly a contradiction to “first cause”. If nothing existed until God created it, then from what material did God create creation? No material existed.
So did God make Creation from Himself? Well…if that is the case then Creation must be God, and God completely, because how do you “part” God. How do you have part of an infinite absolute? An infinite PERFECT absolute. Creation cannot be part of God because there is no such thing as partly infinite, partly perfect, partly absolute, partly I AM.
Well…the “logic” goes, He created Creation out of “nothing”. Hmmm. Well…how does that work, exactly? How does one get something from nothing? By definition nothing is nothing…so it must be wholly contradictory to declare that nothing can be something (and yes, I certainly deny the existence of “empty space”, or “the vacuum”….I can prove it does not actually exist). You see, elementary mathematics declares that anything times zero is what? Zero? Exactly. And why is that? Because no matter how many times you multiply nothing by itself, nothing is the only resultant product. You can have a trillion nothings, and what do you get?
It is as simple as that. So, if God makes, but there is no material from which to make, then God makes nothing. And if God causes, but there is nothing to be caused upon, then there can be no effect.
Well, it comes from God’s imagination, and He just speaks it and there it is, some will say, without a hint of shame.
Okay. Question. What exactly comes from God’s imagination? What exactly is God’s imagination? And where exactly is God’s imagination? What is God’s forethought? In an environment that is purely His infinite perfect Self, where exactly does this imagination exist that cognitively conjures up abstract things based upon abstract notions and ideas that do not involve Himself? From what can these divine ideas possibly come from, if nothing else exists? What does God sense besides Himself that is the onus for an external idea? What could God possibly be “imagining” within Himself that isn’t Himself, when by definition, within God, as an absolute, there is no rational way to incorporate an imagination, or abstract thought, or plans, or a “future”…in order to predestine those things which do not exist. In other words, to predestine nothing at all. And how can God be imagining Creation, and predestining it, when it does not exist? Again, what is there He is imagining? If all is Himself, and there is nothing from which to imagine something not God, then how can it be imagined? If God does not see anything except Himself, how can He imagine anything NOT Himself? If nothing exists except God, then there is nothing else to imagine.
Yes…clearly we have some serious existential problems with a priori divine imagination.
There is no way around this except to concede contradiction at the root of creation. The idea of nothing actually being nothing is axiomatic. There is no way not to concede it and yet formulate a rational argument.
But I digress…as usual.
So, yes…in order for there to even be a an “effect”, the object must possess an innate ability of itself to be caused upon. To react in a specific way to the external force. The reaction is wholly a function of its ability to react to the cause. And of course the root of this is existence, and I submit that since all things must cause and react according to their innate, self-derived ability to do so, their existence is FIRST a product of their own ABILITY to exist. Meaning, divine Creation must imply a source material which is NOT God, and never was, with which to create. And that material’s existence must be self-derivative FIRST, before God can cause upon it in order to create something from it. Since there is no creating something from nothing, then the something must exist first, prior to divine creation, and because IT is able to. God is not its ability to BE…it is its own ability to be at its root. And what this means then is that the foundation of every object in creation is a material that exists of its own free “will” to exist. It was not created by God, it has always, eternally existed along side God. It is uncreated…the material from which Creation is formed. And again this means that at the root of all objects in creation is an ability to be which is utterly self derivative.
So even if God causes, the ability to be caused upon belongs to the object…and this contradicts the idea of God as “first cause”; which “orthodoxy” interprets as “something from nothing”; or DIRECT creation. But this idea on the other hand is much more rational, and submits that the first cause of something’s existence is the something.
Deny this, and all of Creation becomes God (or God becomes Creation). And the entire paradigm of rational existence and all knowledge of any kind comes crashing down in a spectacular implosion of moral and metaphysical anarchy.
So basically what “free will” boils down to is not the idea that man can do “anything”, but that anything man does is a direct function of his own ability to do it, apart from God. Whatever he thinks, desires, or does, or anything else, is wholly of himself. It is free…it is its own cause. MAN is able to observe his surroundings and determine values for himself concerning them. MAN is able to conceptualize himself and his life and take actions which are objectively and efficaciously in service to his own life. Man’s will is thus free in the same way the rest of his body and mind are free; and because there is no functional difference between man’s will and the REST of man. So the moment man himself ceases to be the root and ultimate cause of his own thought and action, man is no longer man. Man is nothing more than that which is compelling him from beyond himself. If man’s will is not free, and free to effect whatever ultimate conclusion upon which he arrives at the end of his life, as a function of his ability to organize his surroundings, rooted in the efficacy of the senses (for there is no “other” without the senses; and without a concept of “other” knowledge cannot exist…think about it; more later), then there is no such thing as man. He is an illusion. And by definition man can know nothing, least of all God.