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BECHIRAH-----if hashem knows the future...? 2

st5785 Posted - 12 December 2001 15:47

I have an interesting question that i never got an answer to! How can we be given a choice to do something if Hashem know what we're going to do? And how can we be punished for something we did, well Hashem knew we were going to do it!!!

MODERATOR Posted - 13 December 2001 15:32

Just because Hashem knows what you’re going to do doesn’t mean He made you do it. If you like magically found next week's newspaper and you knew everything that would happen then, would that mean you made those people do it?

Beautman Posted - 03 January 2002 19:08

No, but it does mean that what's going to happen is already determined. If it's Monday, and Someone has Wednesday's paper reporting Tuesday's events, then how is it I could have the choice to do something Tuesday that's different than what's in the paper?
The answer (or the question) can't be that simple.

MODERATOR Posted - 03 January 2002 19:39

Yeah, but it was determined by you so it's not a problem. G-d merely knows what you will determine. Since G-d did not choose your choice, but you did (He merely "observes" it), it is not a contradiction to Bechirah.

torahsdikr Posted - 24 May 2002 16:09

LAN'D. With all due respect to the Rav (MODERATOR)....

If something is known to be 100% NOW, then, by definition it is impossible to choose differently i.e. I have lost my free choice. How can it be possible to KNOW what I will choose. You may think you know, but to know 100% would be not allowing me to choose the other way because you have already 'decided' it for me by saying what I will choose.

And yes, if I find September 6th's newspaper on September 3rd and it says I robbed the banked on the 5th of September, then when I wake up that morning(the 5th of September) can I stay at home????---the newspaper already said I AM GOING TO ROB THE BANK! Do I have an option of staying at home anymore, the paper already told me what I will choose, no longer giving me the choice of doing good.

So, actually, I have seen the Ohr Sameach (commentary on Rambam) deals with this question in Hilchos Teshuvah.

MODERATOR Posted - 24 May 2002 16:25

The answer is that you cannot change your choice after you already make it. And if I "see" your choice in the future, that means I am seeing the choice that you yourself will make. Not the choice that you are considering now, but I look into the future, and see your free-will, uncompelled, choice that you made.

At that point, of course you can’t "change" your choice since it was already made. So if you would "change your mind" after I looked into the future, then my vision of the future would have shown me your new choice, not your old one. I always see your final choice. But since you make that choice freely, my knowledge did not mess up your bechirah.

I'll prove it to you: Let's say I can go not into the future, but into the past. So now it’s May '02, and I take my time machine and go back to Jan '02. I find myself in a world where I know what the "future" will be, since I really live in the future.

Are you now going to tell me, that since I know what the future will be, that means I retroactively removed everyone’s Bechirah? That they now suddenly did not have a choice because I know what they will choose?

And if that is true, that means that as long as somewhere in the future, someone might travel back into the past - to what is today the present - therefore what we are all doing today is not our free will, because someone in the future may read about our choices in the history books, and then "go back in time" thereby knowing our "future" choices? That’s absurd.

The reason is, in order for you to say that something caused your choice, the something has to be theretofore the choice. The [i]cause always exists before the effect. If the choice is the effect of my knowledge, then my knowledge had to cause the choice. Because of my knowledge you had to choose one way.

But if the only reason I have the knowledge is because I see your choice, then your choice caused my knowledge, and the effect does not control the cause.

And that’s the idea here. "Time" is just a creation that can be overcome. Just like space can be traversed, so can time. And just like I can travel from here to California and see whets doing in California, I can, if I was Hashem, similarly travel from here to the future and "see" what choices you made.

Hashem knows what you will choose because you already "will" choose it.

So make believe today is not May '02. Today is really December '09. Reality is really in the future. We are just a reflection of the past. Hashem - as well as everyone in the future - know what you chose these past few months since it’s already history. Than, Hashem travels into the past and therefore will know what your future choices will be.

But that surely does not mean that your Bechirah has been taken away, since you already chose those things.

To Hashem, past, present, future, they are all the same. When He looks into the future, it’s like He lives in the future and now went back in the past. To Him, it’s all the same.

Remember the rule: Ad long as it is your choice that causes G-d's knowledge, then His knowledge cannot affect your choice. The effect does not make the cause. The cause always makes the effect.

MusicMan Posted - 02 July 2002 15:46

The problem I have with saying that Hashem already knows what you’re going to chose is that it cheapens existence. Hashem already knows which tests you will fail and which you will pass. All your schar v'onesh is predetermined from before you were born. So then, the only reason G-d created you was so that you could physically just go through the motions of life. It cheapens the purpose of existence.

MODERATOR Posted - 02 July 2002 15:58

The reason why it may seem as if Hashem's foreknowledge cheapens existence is because we reflexively tend to think that Hashem knows the future in the same way that we do. Namely, we know the obvious effects of current causes. For instance, if we see someone jumping off the roof, we know he will crash to the ground. So when we think of Hashem knowing the future, we automatically assume that since Hashem knows the future, the "causes" of our future choices are already here, and we just have to act them out.

That is not the case. If that would be the case, if the causes would be here now, then indeed we would have no free will. The causes for our future choices do not yet exist at all. There would be no way for the greatest science-fiction psychological computer to figure out what a person WILL choose. When we choose, it is our personal choice, unrelated to anything except the choice itself.

But AFTER we choose, then the whole world knows what we chose. Of course, that’s never a problem, since first we chose, then it became known. Not vice versa.

Well to Hashem, it’s like everything happened already. Look at it as if Hashem went into the future and actually "saw" the choice that you ALREADY made. Like in some kind of time machine. If regular "people" would have a time machine and see, in the future, what you chose already, you would not feel that would cheapen your existence since you were the total cause of your choices and the people are just viewers.

The same thing with Hashem. He does not cause your choice. You cause your choice. It’s yours and yours alone. It’s just that Hashem has His "time machine", since to Him, past present and future are all equally accessible. But the choice itself is yours.

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