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Meditation 1160
Free Will

by: Kyle Rutland

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Free Will?

Today I read that Pope Francis said Judas was no worse for betraying Jesus than anyone else because we are all sinners[1].

I have often wondered why Judas is so reviled for his role in the capture and crucifixion of Jesus. Wasn't he, after all, simply playing his role in the events that were planned by God? Someone had to betray Jesus, otherwise he would have looked rather foolish after saying "one of you shall betray me". (John 13:21)

This leads to the bigger question of supposed "free will". Did Judas have free will? What would have happened if he hadn't sold out his lord?

Suppose Pilate had refused to have Jesus crucified? After all, he made it clear on at least two occasions in the bible that he didn't think Jesus had committed any crime. Did he have any choice or was he bound to play out a part written for him by God?

Some argue that just because God knows what choices we will make in advance doesn't mean the choices are not our own. I'm no theologian or philosopher, but I imagine some of them get the same little brain ache that pondering that gives me. If we can't surprise God, then how can it be claimed that he is always hoping we will make the right choices? Imagine reading a book that you wrote yourself and waiting for unexpected plot twists.

If God is anything, he must be bored. The fun part was over at the end of that first biblical week. The sixth day, actually.

This is all just a little thought exercise, of course. For many people of faith, though, this is but one of a multitude of confusing and confounding questions.  I'm an apathetic agnostic and happy not to worry about such things.

Footnote:

  1. Pope Francis: Judas was a sinner, but no worse than anyone else -  Religion News Service, October 29, 2014

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