Do dead souls have free will?


When a person dies/passes away, we believe that their soul continues to exist. Correct?
Does their soul have any free will? 

My initial response is NO because once you die, you cannot make a conscious choice to be alive again. Nor can you make a decision to be in heaven. 
But we were born with free wills. Its part of our nature as humans that freedom of will is innate in us. How/Why could this be taken away from us when we die?

For example - can a person's soul who has passed away to decide to visit someone? 

Does St Mary's soul or any of the Saint's souls in heaven decide on anything? Can they decide to intervene in our hardships??? 



  • edited May 2017

    Now you're waking up! These are actually really good questions and I'm surprised you haven't gotten an answer...After all, death looms over us at any moment!

    I'd watch this for an opinion:

  • edited May 2017
    I have a lot of respect for Tyson, a man of great knowledge of the physical cosmos. But Tyson makes the same fallacy as anyone in his position of great knowledge. He makes the underlying assumption that all things have a material cause. And therefore, if God "exists", there must be a material evidence of Him.

    He then moves to an "emotional" argument against the goodness of God by pointing to the existence of hardships in the physical world.

    If God is CREATOR of all things we can sense, God is not someone we can "evidence" like the scientific method. It requires a different type of mindset, a mindset that even exists in the scientific method itself, but Tyson is blinded by pride to see this (and I'm not slighting Tyson; all men have a certain level of pride we need to battle and swallow). The scientific method assume all creation have consistency and laws. Therefore, if the scientific method has consistent laws, then that means the universe is intellible, that is the intelligent can study the works of something intelligent. Even the law of natural selection is still a law within a larger framework of intelligence.

    What's the solution for scientists persistent in their atheism? There are infinite universes with infinite laws of science, and our universe is one of the few that works for intelligent life. Here atheists have taken the mathematical infinity and placed it on physical laws to satisfy their own pride. They clearly worship the infinite cosmos as their God, and true worship is not a mental exercise, but your worship is directed at the cause of the principles of your own life, even if you don't call it "God". Therefore, it's impossible to be a human being without living a life of worship, even if it be for lust of scientific knowledge or lust of money.

    But let's say they accept my argument. Fine! But that doesn't prove anything more than a deist God. How can God be all-good?

    God being the Creator of the universe is infinite in His wisdom and Providence. At this point, all humanity takes a humble stand before God and put their trust in Him. And there's no better expression (actually there can be no OTHER expression) of this than the crucified and risen God! It's easier for a human being wanting a quick fix to life, a magic pill to answer all our questions and fulfill all our desires in an instant. We see this now more than ever with social media and how more and more of our children exhibit lack of patience and seeking a quick answer to life.

    But as more mature minds know, there is no quick answer. Neither is God the magical old man in the sky. He is THE Being who seeks to have a relationship with His intelligent creation, and in doing so, reveals His full divinity by the means of love and humility and sacrifice on the Cross, not by the means pomposity and kingly power. God being the divine paradox He is reveals that the way in which to have a relationship with God, to partake of His divinity, is by humility, not by pride. We partake of His divine life by Christ's death. We partake of His omnipotence by Christ's weaknesses. We partake of His divine knowledge by refusing to seek the knowledge of Judgment day. We partake of His eternal throne and Kingdom by living a life of poverty and sacrifice. We live the life of His benevolence and blessings by accepting the sufferings of this world as Christ did. And we know such things build true character, true power, true knowledge and omniscience, and true love. We boast not in ourselves, nor in the physical world, nor in our cultures; we boast only in the Cross of humility.

    If you accept this mindset, and keep yourself in a life of prayer, life becomes much more clear, your vision much more enlightened with the beauty and power of God than the blinded atheism that plagues our world.
  • edited May 2017
    Dear Zoxsasi,

    Better late than never on an answer. Free will is relative, which means it has an existence in you that differs on who you are before death, after death, and after Resurrection from the dead. It differs also on your spiritual state or strength. It differs by age as well. Therefore, there are degrees of "freedom". There is only one BEING we can say that has the ultimate TRUE FREE WILL, and He is God! We cannot say that this same freedom is upon all creation, because true freedom lies in the uncreated, not in creation.

    God gives us a limited glimpse of this freedom by giving us choices and the ability to choose, but this is not true freedom. True freedom lies in partaking of God's being, and the ability to choose can be damaged if we are not in communion with God.

    So when saints pass away, they may lose some of the ability to make choices that they had with the flesh, but they are still conscious, and they still pray for us. They can decide to intervene by their prayers. Angels also have free wills, but once again, it is limited based on their created natures as any human being, but they do pray for us and are created to serve us.

    Free will may lie partially in choice, but sin makes us captive and while we can imagine ourselves free, we really are not when we are shackled by sin. Read St. Paul's letter to the Romans who says it perfectly (and I'm quoting out of memory here, sorry for any mistakes): "I desire to do the things I cannot do, and I do the things I desire not to do...who will save me from this body of death?...I thank the Lord Jesus Christ!"

    Therefore, freedom only is something we grow into by spiritual growth and unity in God through Christ by the Spirit. One can say the saints who have departed from this world are more free than the sinners who are still living in their bodies! Freedom is not merely by choice, but also the ability to do the good and reject the evil. That's TRUE freedom!
  • edited May 2017
    To Atheism

    If scientists were not atheists, they could not devote their lives to science and the same could be said of any major field. Technology, Engineering, Medicine. Consider yourself dead already without all the great things science brings to the world to end your suffering. And how do we repay it? By taking it all for granted and bashing science.

    If instead, they were Orthodox, they'd spend their lives attaining a connection with God (as we define it,) instead of making discoveries and winning nobel prizes that will save your children and your children's children. Good deal. I say, leave the scientists alone with their atheism. It's can be a mutually beneficial relationship provided you have some tolerance for people who don't hold the same opinions as you.

    On Pride

    Pride seems to be the "go-to" excuse for dismissing someone here. Do we not have pride in our faith too? Is there not any pride for those whose ancestors built the pyramids? No no no. I actually think there is more pride here than in many science circles, where scientists are glad and willing to be wrong — I don't think many Egyptians are willing to be wrong. It's too much of a hit to their ego, and we all know how Baba gets when you say he's wrong; so it's no surprise we learned that from our parents.

    On Free Will

    To St. Paul, I would have replied to his letter to the romans by saying.

    Dear Paul,

    Why don't you check out Greece? Go to the Greeks and find the Stoics, go find Epictetus the educated stoic slave, who wrote:

    1. Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our
    control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever
    are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation,
    command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own

    Isn't it such an elegant lesson from the old world? And this gets me past so much frustration with the world.

    You definitely have free will, to some extent @Zoxsasi. But don't allow yourself to believe that your free will extends to anyone other than yourself.
  • edited May 2017
    No, you seem to revel in misrepresenting the position of Orthodox Christians.

    You don't have to be an atheist to appreciate science and devote time to advancements of human knowledge. The difference is that scientists worship science, but we worship the Creator of science and study science for His glory, not for our own.

    You present a false dichotomy that our relationship with God hinders scientific advancement. But you seem to ignore the countless scientists who are and were Christians involved in scientific advancements, including Medicine. We even have devout Christians who advance the science of evolution, proving even this scientific fact does not dissuade from basic Christian truths.

    Yes Egyptians are filled with pride. It's a major source of weakness, and it is showing in your posts that you return that evil you experienced with your own pride.
  • @minasoliman that's all your opinion. I am not personally attacking you at all.

    I revel in something, which is expressing my opinion via personal experiences as a Copt, which may be different than yours, and maybe resonates more with a different group of Copts altogether.

    But I support your right to freely express your opinions.
  • Brother, this isn't the American constitution or Lockian philosophy. We have no rights. We only have privileges and gifts. Even the air I breathe and the body I'm in is not my right.

    My issue is people have asked a particular question from an Orthodox Christian point of view, and you rudely interfere with your atheist point of view.
  • edited May 2017
    Finally a word about your experience. There's a very easy answer to your experience. Rather than leave the Church, read the fathers. You experienced a community that descended from the sole survivors of brutal Islamic persecution from the Middle Ages, and have lost a lot of the theological riches that made the Coptic Church the center of all theological and scientific learning in the ancient world. The views of these Copts reflect the theology of "survival mode" that is missing a lot of the richness of the ancient world.

    Read up on the theology of Origen, Athanasius, Gregory Nazienzen, Gregory of Nyssa, Ephraim the Syrian, etc. You find a more intellectual world that did not ignore the philosophy around them. The present Coptic Renaissance is reviving that ancient world again in our present views.
  • @minasoliman, I think you made yourself clear...

    And I wonder if @Zoxsasi will be back, or if they have something else to say about this topic.
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