If a person commits suicide, does it make him/her in charge of how and when he/she dies? Does God decides (predestines) or foreknows our departure days? Assuming he foreknows, if a person commits suicide, then it seems like that person controls his life. If this assumption is wrong and we say God predestines, where is the act of freewill?
Hi @Abydann, great question. That is a very good point. Here is a good link that will help you sort out the ideas of calvinsim, arminianism, and molinism.
To answer it in the short though, in my opinion, Molinism gives the best answer to your question. What it pretty much says is that God is sovereign without a doubt but since he wants to have a father-son loving relationship, he allows man to have a free choice to choose to live in heaven for eternity or deny him and live in absence of God (hell). That is because in order for love to exist, a freewill is absolutely necessary. Else we are robots. But for man to have a free choice does not mean that God can not order the world to get his will done. Even through all the evil that gets done God turns it into good.
Molinism also discusses about God’s foreknowledge of all the choices that humans can make in all possible scenarios. So having that foreknowledge he has created this world, and this world happened to be the world where the maximum number of people, out of their freewill choose God to be saved. The rest he cant force. So in short, the person who committed suicide had a choice.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for sharing me your insight, highly appreciate it! You mentioned as a summary that a person committing suicide is exercising his God given free will, correct? That automatically is void of the idea of predestination, and it takes God away from deciding(actively) when one dies, correct? And makes God in the realm of simply knowing when that person is going to die.
Referring to what you mentioned above, how will you reconcile the two then? The very fact that one is at liberty to exercise his/her will to end one’s life and at the same time God exercising His will? A bit lost.
@Abydann There is no contradiction between God’s foreknowledge and freewill. We can be free to make choices and God can still be sovereign over history. The only potential contradiction is with hyper-Calvinism, which claims God foreordains even which clothes you wear today, a view that few people actually hold. The below threads have more details on different views on God’s sovereignty and free will, as well as the issue of suicide.
Gdmorning @Abydann, yes, you are correct about the statement you made below according to Molinism.
So what Molinism/William Craig explains is that God before creating this world thought about all the worlds he could create. He thought about all the possible scenarios that each of us could be faced with and how we would freely choose what to do. He also thought about all the ways he could intervene in all the possible worlds to get his will to come to pass without violating our freewill. With that foreknowledge, this universe (the one you and I exist in) happened to be the best possible universe where there is a maximum number of people with their own freewill choose him to go to heaven. The remaining he cant force right. He thought about all the ways he could give them the opportunity to choose him, and by their freewill, in each instance they said no. He foreknew it even before he created the world. So in a way, the person that committed the suicide had a freewill.
It is just inevitable that someone somewhere will deny Christ when we are talking about free choice.
I hope that make a bit more sense. Let me know.
@SeanO highly appreciate your answer. I am gonna study on it!
Hi , trust you are keeping well. Thank you once again for reaching out and clarifying. You see I feel like I somehow mixed up foreknowledge and predestination in one realm. That is where my assumptions lie on previously. I still have millions of questions running though my head of course.
The concept of foreknowledge and freewill is totally clear; now I see it as a soccer match which score is already known by someone when the players are yet to play choosing any way they see fit to win or lose. .
But a bit of dilemma arises when I think of God deciding when a person should depart this temporary home (through death). If God decides that, which I assume he does, according to the book of Job, “The days of humans are determined; you have decreed the number of their months and have set limits they can not exceed” Job 14 :5. so if I get this right, does it mean God deciding is embedded in knowing ahead of time because he is not bounded by time? Or, does it mean He actually appointed a day we can not pass? If that stands to be correct, for the people who choose to commit suicide out of their own freewill, are they dieing before their appointed time?
@Abydann It is possible you are misreading Job in this particular case. Job may be referring to the fact that God has set a boundary for the number of all peoples’ days - approximately 120 years. Not that God has determined the exact day every single person will die. I’m not saying this is proof one way or the other, but I don’t think Job is talking about a specific time for individuals.
“The days of humans are determined; you have decreed the number of their months and have set limits they can not exceed” Job 14:5
Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3
I am glad you are trying to work this through @Abydann. It’s complex and probably wont have all the answers. But for sake of discussion, so our God, is so sovereign, so full of wisdom, as we said earlier, he has thought of all the ways he could intervene despite our freewill to fulfill his bigger purpose. So in terms of our age, in the workings of molinism, we can assume that God has determined it and we can not pass it or die early but the choice the person makes to commit suicide maybe linked to fulfill a different purpose. For instance, say if a person is going to commit suicide in all the scenarios that God has foreknown, God might choose to use one of the suicidal attempts to be the one to end his life. Such a choice by God might serve a different good or purpose for God’s ultimate purpose. Obviously this is just a scenario we are making up and God is not bound by our minds.
And it is also important to realize dying/suicide in our eyes might mean so much but to God, it is only transitioning us from one realm to another. Plus each one of us might be just a one piece of the puzzle for the big picture.
This reminds me of a section where the people of Jesus time ask him saying “Is this person sick because of sin of his own or his parents.” And Jesus replies, neither. He was sick for the glory of God, for the son of man to come and heal him. So they too can believe and be saved by it.
So it is hard to give you a definite answer. We know though everything happens by God’s timeline and at the end of the day justice will be served in all fairness. But again, it’s hard to truly understand God’s mind or his ways. God is not limited by our minds or by reality as we see it. As we say hindsight is 20/20 and it will all make sense when we go to heaven Trusting in him also means to allow him to guide us even when it doesnt make sense. But I commend you for seeking the truth and for trying to understand it all. This will strengthen your faith.
I hope this helps.
@SeanO Greetings! Dear Sean, my confusion was not on foreknowledge vs freewill, it was rather on predestination vs foreknowledge, and slowly but surely i will eventually come to an understading.
see the word determined means having reached a decision right? so it sounds as if it is already decided than foreknown. That still remains unclear to me.
on the other hand i really like how you explained 'the boundary ’ topic.
@Danageze thank you for your reply. I very much agree with what you said above, just trying to clarify my understandings within the context of Bible itself than (-ism) stands.
@Abydann There is actually a TV show series called “Fringe.” It’s a scifi show but they actually have the concept of predetermination and freewill intertwined in it. Pretty interesting. Let me know if you end up watching it.
Surely, appreciate it!