The Instigator
PolitelyDisagreeable
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Heaven will take away free will.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,189 times Debate No: 26876
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (5)

 

PolitelyDisagreeable

Pro

Rules: No trolling or semantics. Withdrawal from any round counts as a loss. Burden of Proof is on Con.

Set Up:
Round one: I explain my side, Con provides arguments against.
Round two: Rebuttals
Round three: Rebuttals
Round four: Conlusions

If heaven removes all sin, and it is a sin to disobey God, then once you go to heaven you are incapable of disobeying God. This means that if God is not as benevolent as he makes himself out to be, then once you go to heaven you lose all free will and are a complete, unquestioning slave to whatever he tells you to do.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

I accept.

Rather than affirming that heaven will, without a doubt, preserve free will, I will be affirming that heaven will not by necessity remove free will.

I will make my opening statements in this round, as per the layout.

What is free will?

If heaven will take away free will, that implies that as of now, we currently have free will. This has great implications for this debate.

The implication that we currently have free will implies that we are free to make whatever choices we want. However, we are physically and circumstantially constrained from being able to do anything, as we are clearly not omnipotent. Therefore, while I may use my free will to attempt to kill someone, fly, chew a rock, etc. etc. it is not guaranteed that I will succeed. Some things I am not actually capable of doing, and will not be able to do no matter how much I will it. It is clear, therefore, that free will is not an absolute ability to actually do whatever you want.

The relevance of this to the resolution is that when in heaven, we may simply lose the ability to sin. Although I cannot fly into the air whenever I want, it is still widely considered that I have free will. Similarly, although in heaven I would not be able to sin, I may still have free will. Sinning simply may not be an option for me anymore.

What is heaven?

Based on what my opponent wrote in the comments section, I assume I am permitted to avail myself of Christian resources. For this reason, I will quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church's commentary on the Symbolum Nicenum;

'(1024) This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity - this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed - is called "heaven." Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.

(1025) To live in heaven is "to be with Christ." The elect live "in Christ," but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name.'[1]

Additionally, I will quote 1 Corinthians 13:12

'For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.'


Though at this time we do not know God fully, in time we will come to be in full union with Him. That time will be in heaven.

Why can't we sin in heaven?

Once we are in full union with God, it stands to reason that we cannot rebel against Him. We are incapable of disobeying God. However, that hardly means we no longer have free will.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the great theologian and Angelic Doctor, wrote the following in Summa Theologica concerning whether or not good angels could sin.

'The beatified angels cannot sin. The reason for this is, because their beatitude consists in seeing God through His essence. Now, God's essence is the very essence of goodness. Consequently the angel beholding God is disposed towards God in the same way as anyone else not seeing God is to the common form of goodness. Now it is impossible for any man either to will or to do anything except aiming at what is good; or for him to wish to turn away from good precisely as such. Therefore the beatified angel can neither will nor act, except as aiming towards God. Now whoever wills or acts in this manner cannot sin. Consequently the beatified angel cannot sin.' [2]

A similar line of reasoning holds true for those in heaven. While in heaven, we will be unable to sin. It simply cannot be done.

Conclusion

Since this is the first round, I'll wrap this up now. I believe that having free will does not enable us to do things which we are not capable of doing, and one thing we will not be capable of doing in heaven is sinning. Therefore, it follows that we are able to retain free will being unable to sin.

Thank you.

Sources:
1. http://www.vatican.va...;
2. http://www.ccel.org...;
Debate Round No. 1
PolitelyDisagreeable

Pro

First off, I would like to thank your for debating with me on this issue, as it is very important to me.

As you stated in your argument (and I am summarizing here) free will has nothing to do with abilities, but has everything to do with the choice. I agree with this. If someone makes the choice to try to fly, and leaps off a building, they are not going to be able to fly, but still have the choice to try. However, without sin, we are, as you said, “incapable of disobeying God.” Therefore, without sin, if God commands you to do something, then you are incapable of CHOOSING to do anything different. You are not even allowed to think of disobeying god, as seen in Matthew 5:28: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” suggesting that disobedient thoughts are just as sinful as disobedience itself. In this way, in heaven, we cannot even choose to try to do something, whether we will fail or succeed. This is the essence of free will, and it is lost.

If we do not even have freedom of our own thoughts in heaven, what free will do we have?
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

One thing I probably should have brought up in Round 1 is what sin is. I will bring that up now.

What is sin?

The wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23), and all iniquity is sin (1 John 5:17). The Catechism of the Catholic Church says with regard to sin:

'(1849) Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law."

(1850) Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight." Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods," knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God." In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.' [1]

That having been said, I will now move on to rebuttals.

Rebuttals:

Pro writes 'If someone makes the choice to try to fly, and leaps off a building, they are not going to be able to fly, but still have the choice to try.'

I suppose it's possible for someone in heaven to try to sin, although I don't see any valid reason for them to attempt it. However, they would not succeed.

Pro writes 'Therefore, without sin, if God commands you to do something, then you are incapable of CHOOSING to do anything different.'

Yes. In the same way, you are incapable of choosing not to starve to death if you refuse to eat any food.

Pro writes 'Matthew 5:28'

In Matthew 5, it is made clear that disobedient thoughts are just as wrong as disobedient actions. Therefore, there is no distinction (disobedience-wise) between a sinful thought and a sinful action. You may be able to think of disobeying God, but to actually have a disobedient thought would be to disobey him, and for that reason would not be possible.

Pro writes 'In this way, in heaven, we cannot even choose to try to do something, whether we will fail or succeed.'

I grant that it may be possible to attempt to sin in heaven, although it would run fully contrary to every instinct in our nature to do so. It would also be guaranteed to fail, just like trying to jump off a building and fly.

The Great Analogy

While ruminating, I've come up with what I consider to be a much better analogy. Let us say that building square circles was a grave sin. Building a square circle, or even dwelling on the thought of one for too long would be mortal.

However, a square circle is incoherent. Try to imagine a square circle. Now try to imagine building one. If you succeeded in doing either, you've got a mind far beyond mine.

So do we have free will? Yes. Can we build square circles? No. Can we think about square circles? Not in a meaningful sense, no. Yet we still have free will, although we are neither able to build square circles nor think about building them.

Conclusion:

It is possible that heaven will make sin like square circles to our minds.

Sources:
1. http://www.vatican.va...
Debate Round No. 2
PolitelyDisagreeable

Pro

I appologize for not defining the words to begin with. With that said, I will move on to my rebuttals.

Rebuttals

Con writes: 'You are incapable of choosing not to starve to death if you refuse to eat any food.'

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this you saying that without sin, it is inevitable for us to obey God? If it is, then this is exactly what I mean about having no free will. If God tells us, once in heaven, to do the macarena, we will do the macarena because we have no free will. The same would be true for any other commands.

Con writes: 'I grant that it may be possible to sin in heaven, although it would run fully contrary to every instinct in our nature to do so.'

This impies that we can't (or wouldn't) try to do something against our nature. The only thing I want to disprove for this point is that our nature fully ditates what we choose. I'm going to take an extreme example, based on the Sherlock show on BBC. He must jump off a building to save his friends. Though jumping off a building surely runs contrary to his survival nature, he still chooses to do so. Other, less violent examples could be roller coasters, or, specifcally, a thrill ride found in Kings Dominion. It puts you n a harness and takes you by a cable up to about 100 ft. and you must pull a cord to drop into free fall. Your whole body fights against it, but you can still choose to pull the cord because you like the thrill. All I'm saying here is that your nature does not dictate your freedom to choose.

Con writes:
'Can we build square circles? No."

False.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

Rebuttals:

Pro writes 'Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this you saying that without sin, it is inevitable for us to obey God? If it is, then this is exactly what I mean about having no free will. If God tells us, once in heaven, to do the macarena, we will do the macarena because we have no free will. The same would be true for any other commands.'

Without nourishment, it is inevitable for us to starve to death. However, we still have free will. The free will does not permit us to do things that we are not able to do, and if we go to heaven we will not be able disobey God.

As I wrote in the very first round, the clear implication of the resolution is that we currently have free will. However, this free will does not give us absolute and complete freedom to do whatsoever that our hearts desire. Similarly, once dead we will be able to make choices, yet we will not have absolute and complete freedom to do whatsoever we desire.

God will likely not command us to do the macarena, because the macarena was invented by Satan.

Pro writes 'Though jumping off a building surely runs contrary to his survival nature, he still chooses to do so.'

It does not, however, run against the part of his nature which cares for his friends. In fact, it is in full accord with his desire to save his friends for him to jump off the building.

In heaven, we will have full union with God. That means we will have absolutely zero reasons to disobey Him in any way. Still, I don't like this argument and I may consider dropping it.

The Great Analogy

Pro writes 'False.'

True.

According to the eternal source of knowledge, fountain of wisdom, hope of the lost, and comfort of sinners Wikipedia, a circle is 'a simple shape of Euclidean geometry that is the set of points in the plane that are equidistant from a given point, the centre.' [1]. It goes on to say 'In everyday use, the term "circle" may be used interchangeably to refer to either the boundary of the figure, or to the whole figure including its interior; in strict technical usage, the circle is the former'. Clearly, we can see that a circle must indeed be the set of points in a plane that are equidistant from a given point.

Fortunately for me, the 'square circle' provided by my opponent is not a set of points that are equidistant from a given point. The points on the corners, for instance, are further away from the center than the midpoints of the sides. Since it is not a set of points equidistant from a given point, it is not a circle.

Additionally, other logically contradictory phrases ('married bachelor', 'straight curve', etc.) can be substituted in for 'square circle'.

Conclusion

The resolution is affirmed.

Sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...;
Debate Round No. 3
PolitelyDisagreeable

Pro

Con Writes: 'I don't like this argument and I may consider dropping it.'

I am sorry for not presenting an enjoyabl debate. Will you please tell me how I can improve? This is just my first debate.

I'll keep my coclusion short. Without the choice to disobey God, what other choices do we have? We would be under his complete control. Therefore, I repeat my resolution. There is no free will in heaven.
AlwaysMoreThanYou

Con

For some reason, in Round 3 I wrote 'The resolution is affirmed.'. It's not. It's negated. Good show, AlwaysMoreThanYou.

When I said 'I don't like this argument and I may consider dropping it', I was referring to the argument that we would not disobey God just because we wouldn't want to. It's a little late to drop it though, so if it was negated, it was negated, and if it wasn't negated, then good for me.

Conclusion

If at this current time we are in possession of free will, it is obvious that there are certain things we cannot do, yet these things in no way negate our free will. Therefore, although there will be things in heaven that we will be unable to do, free will may be retained.

I thank my opponent for a solid debate. The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
That's what I think, but I'm not sure how convincing it is as an argument.

I think that's similar to what St. Thomas Aquinas thought too. There's just no desire, no need, to want to sin, and it is thoroughly irrational to do so in the face of God.
Posted by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
I've been thinking about this question since I read the debate. I think the key is to look at God himself. He is omnipotent and free, we have free will because we were made in His image, yet he cannot do evil or contradict logic. This is because He is in his very nature the Good and the Truth. His every action stems from His nature and therefore needs must be Good and True. If in heaven we have conformed our lives to God fully (which is the very meaning of heaven, union with God), it is not so much that we are forbidden to will sin as we simply will not have the inclination. If we are in union with Truth and Goodness, we should have no reason to lie, steal or do any other evil act.

Does this sound anything like a plausible argument to you?
Posted by vanityofvanitys 4 years ago
vanityofvanitys
I think this question is very much interesting and a paradox of sorts. I know I cannot supply anyone with a legitimate answer. But what would trouble me most is if some unbeliever would use the fact this question cannot be answered as some kind of argument that Christianity is false and heaven and hell are false, etc. The empirical evidence for Jesus and His divinity remains legion.

But to offer a guess --- I am quite certain we cannot, or at least surely will not, sin in heaven. Does Jesus have free will? Does He sin? We may very well have the mind of Christ and would never choose to sin and still remain totally free and totally without any unhappiness or boredom. The "we will become bored in heaven" always amuses me.
Posted by Cyrano 4 years ago
Cyrano
I think the "sin would go against our nature so we wouldn't want to" argument was weak (as Con recognised) but the square circles analogy was good in my opinion.
Posted by Torvald 4 years ago
Torvald
Also, I heavily suspected that Con would receive many more votes, so I didn't feel too bad about scoring Pro a point higher than Con, though I think, fairly, it should be tied, for Con's arguments were weak and semantic-based.
Posted by Torvald 4 years ago
Torvald
I know what 'the resolution has been negated' means, and might have explained further, given more characters than that little voting comment. But anytime I see something like "The resolution has been negated," "My case is better than yours," "I win," "Vote me," etc., I typically award Conduct to the other participant, unless there has been some kind of great misconduct.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Torvald, stating "the resolution has been negated" is just a way of solidifying that your case has accomplished what it set out to accomplish.

Take a look at these links:

http://goo.gl...
http://goo.gl...
Posted by PolitelyDisagreeable 4 years ago
PolitelyDisagreeable
AlwaysMoreThanYou: I have figured out the square circle conundrum. I will post a video f it tomorrow.
Posted by PolitelyDisagreeable 4 years ago
PolitelyDisagreeable
Thank you, TrasguTravieso. =)
Posted by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
How Byzantine, right up my creek. "Good luck to the two of you!
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
PolitelyDisagreeableAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I was really on the fence about this one. In the end Con's arguments did convince me that free will in heaven is at least logically consistent with the inability to sin.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
PolitelyDisagreeableAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This started a little closer than it ended. Con's starting round was strong in my opinion. Pro's response was equally strong, with her appeal to the thought of sin on the same level as sin. Con then rebutted this by clarifying what he meant by incapability: a logical contradiction, such as a square circle, such that a sin is a logical contradiction, and thus an impossibility in Heaven in that we can't will it in the same way we can't will to grow wings and fly. Pro sort of missed the point with this analogy by providing a video that allegedly displayed a square that was simultaneously a circle (which was unconvincing, modifying the geometric structure of a shape does just that -- modify it, it's no longer the original shape), as this is interchangeable with any number of contradictions. The debate pretty much ended there. Arguments to Con, his case concerning sin being a logical contradiction in Heaven was not adequately rebutted.
Vote Placed by martianshark 4 years ago
martianshark
PolitelyDisagreeableAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro, that was a great first debate. I think the winner is Con though; he proved that heaven would not take away free will, and therefore gets the arguments point.
Vote Placed by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
PolitelyDisagreeableAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments were hardest for me to decide. On the one hand, I thought Pro gave stronger arguments. On the other hand, although Con gave some weak arguments, Pro failed to refute them. So I tied them. So in my mind, Con won on G/S and sources.
Vote Placed by Torvald 4 years ago
Torvald
PolitelyDisagreeableAlwaysMoreThanYouTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: I would agree with Pro, except that I don't believe 'Heaven' will take away free will, because I don't believe in 'Heaven.' Conduct to Pro because Con didn't let the voters decide whether or not the resolution was negated, and tried to influence the decision. Spelling and grammar to Con because Pro had multiple instances of faulty spelling. Convincing arguments to Pro for the Macarena argument, and the fact that Con was unable to refute anything but technicalities. Sources to Con for obvious reasons.