Revolt of the Angels

I asked God about the devil today. I don’t really remember how the subject came up or what led to what. As you probably know, Lucifer was one of God’s most favored angels until he was cast out of Heaven for rebelling. The story goes that when God created man and imbued him with free will, some of the angels were jealous and that led to their rebellion. I’ve got sort of a thing about free will, so this story has always held a bit of fascination for me. What I didn’t understand, is why would they rebel over man getting free will, when if they didn’t have free will themselves, they wouldn’t have been able to rebel.

So God and I talked about it for awhile and here’s what I remember.

When God created the angels, he never really specified if they had free will or not. It just wasn’t something he thought about that early in creation. Everything in the universe was part of God, so giving something the ability to act in a manner divorced from God wasn’t a natural thing to think of. Now God likes to create by making processes and then letting those processes fill in the details, so he says that angels might have had free will or might not have had free will, but he definitely gave humans free will. So he told the angels about this free will thing, when he was showing them his latest work, and they thought he was trying to show them how inferior they were compared to what he was doing then.

Up until then, the angels had never done anything other than what God would have had them do. This seemed like clear evidence that they had no free will. But, God loved them and wanted only the best for them, so if they had had free will nothing would have been different. So the question became, how could the angels know if they had free will or not. Lucifer, in particular, became obsessed with the question. He finally decided that only if he went against the will of God would he know. So he led a revolt.

And God demanded an apology.

And like a little kid, Lucifer asked, “Or what?”

And God told him that if he didn’t apologize, he had to leave.

Well, Lucifer figured that if he apologized, he wouldn’t know if he had free will, so he let himself be cast out and to this day, all he’d have to do to go back would be to apologize, but he can never do that, because he believes that doing so would take away his free will and make him, and all the other angels, less than humans. And I thought being human was tough.

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Comment by Deej
On October 11, 2006 at 7:15 am

OK, it seems, and of course, only seems, that God is contradicting himself. The previous day, the idea presented was that whether we had free will or not wasn’t that big a deal, and everything is all a part of a large design. Then today, he’s talking about how he made a specific point of giving man free will. This confuses me. Is God saying this, that man was given free will as a special gift, to support the illusion that we have free will? Or am I missing something?
The way I look at this theory is like pixelazation (sp?). If we look at one square milimeter of a TV screen, we’ll see a patern of dots, that may or may not look like some abstract form. If we move to another part of the screen, we’ll see another set of dots, that may or may not look like the last set. We can extrapolate on the two sets of data, and draw conclusions, but the odds are we won’t come close to knowing what the whole picture is, even with the handbook ( “Who knew it was a close up of David Hasselhoff?” we said to ourselves ).
The Christian idea ( and so far, the God Toby’s dealing with seems very Judaic, which I’m also a little confused by ) is that we need to have faith in the idea that when we get to Heaven, we’ll understand all this; we’ll pull back from the TV screen, and sit six feet away, the way our parents told us to.
I’ve looked a bit at the Jewish canon, and I discovered that they don’t believe in Hell. They believe that if you’re good, you’ll get the reward of hanging out with God. If you’re bad, your soul will just drift away to nothingness, rather than the Christian idea of eternal torture. It’s like going to sleep, and not remembering your dreams, rather than having a nightmare.

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Comment by Toby T
On October 11, 2006 at 8:08 am

Well, in yesterday’s post I talked about God asking me if it mattered if we had true free will or if just a convincing illusion was good enough, but God didn’t commit to either being the truth of it. I suspect there’s a balance between the two and that she didn’t commit to where on the spectrum the truth might lie because she may adjust it from time to time and from person to person. So I think that today he emphasized that we do have free will, but that yesterday she hinted that even free will has its limits.

So, and I’m just guessing here, maybe your pixelation theory has some merit but the TV part could be improved upon. If we want to consider God’s ultimate plan as a picture, let’s consider it as a pointillist painting, rather than a television image. Sure it’s made up of dots, but they are neither uniform in size, nor placed rigidly in a grid. Now let’s consider the dots themselves to be not daubs of paint, but colored balloons. Again, if you get back far enough to (literally) see the big picture, you can’t see that the individual elements of the picture are made up of hundreds, thousands or even millions of balloons. Now in this scheme of things, I’d place us not as balloons, but as individual molecules of air inside of the balloons. We are free to move about and do whatever we want, just as long as we stay inside our balloon. Sometimes the air is added to the balloon to make it larger, sometimes air is let out to make it smaller, but either way it defines our life without placing undue limits upon it.

And every once in a while, one of us may leak through the wall of the balloon and escape into the spaces in between. I’m not entirely sure what that would mean though, so I think I’ll quit before torturing this analogy too far.

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Comment by BobGod
On November 28, 2006 at 11:43 am

Wow. I would think, g_d being all forgiving, he’d just say – “Ok, Lucy, no matter how long ago and how bad you’ve acted… you’re being in Hell is long enough. And if you’re afraid of that whole freewill, you may come and go as you desire.”

Simple solution, forgiveness to all, yadda yadda… once again, g_d doesn’t seem too smart.

On December 14, 2006 at 11:50 pm

Comment to BobGod- how parental. in the worst sense.
you want god to decide so it doesn’t really matter if there’s free will.
God decides when it’s long enough. it’s always seemed to me that god forgives us but we don’t forgive us.


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