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#41 DJP

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 01:28 AM

Hmm... Grace, just because God created it doesn't mean that he knows every detail about it. So I wonder about your fourth step there.

DJP

#42 Skeptic

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 01:29 AM

Hi Michael

Being omni-present and omniscient, God also knows everything that has happened in the past and is happening at present.


This may be where all of our disagreement lie. You seem to define omniscience as knowledge of only the past and present, whereas I define it is knowledge of all things. For what it's worth, dictionary.com defines it thusly:

om·nis·cient  adj.

  Having total knowledge; knowing everything: an omniscient deity; the omniscient    narrator.
  n.

  1. One having total knowledge.
  2. Omniscient God.


This definition is consistent with my understanding of what the Bible says about God.


The dictionary.com definition is consistent with my definition of omniscience as well: omniscience means knowing everything that is knowable.

This is exactly the same as your definition above, where you said:

....I define it is knowledge of all things


The difference lies in how you and I interpret 'all things' that can be known.

You are saying that 'all things knowable' includes the past, present and future. I am saying that 'all things knowable' includes only the past and present, since the future does not exist and can therefore not be known until it happens. There is 'nothing' there yet for God to know. This 'nothing' clearly cannot be known... :eek:

#43 Skeptic

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 01:39 AM

Hi Grace

Nice to have you join the discussion. :shades:

Hmm... Grace, just because God created it doesn't mean that he knows every detail about it.  So I wonder about your fourth step there.

DJP


I agree, DJP, but it goes even further than that:

Therefore, God created all that we are currently experiencing at time's inception


If God alreedy created 'all that we are currently experiencing' when time began, then it would mean we don't actually have free will. This is actually a good example of the problematic nature of the debate over free-will and determinism. Just how much of what happens is due to free will? Difficult topic that.

So yes, we have free-will. But God knew we would ask for what we ask for, and has already created the answer.

Dunno if that makes any sense.


To me it doesn't. Where, for instance do these 'ready-made' results of our actions fit into the scientific concept of cause-effect?

#44 Skeptic

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 01:55 AM

Hi Evangelion

The details of God's foreknowledge are determined by the action that an individual will perform.

The action is logically anterior to God's foreknowledge, but chronologically posterior to it.

William Hasker (author of the Openness of God), makes this argument:

First, let us consider an argument for the claim that comprehensive divine foreknowledge and human free will are logically inconsistent. The idea, roughly, is this: If God knows already what will happen in the future, then God's knowing this is part of the past and is now fixed, impossible to change. And since God is infallible, it is completely impossible that things will turn out differently than God expects them to. But this means that the future event God knows is also fixed and unalterable, and it cannot be true of any human being that she is both able to perform a certain action and able not to perform that action. If God knows she is going to perform it, then it is impossible that she fail to perform it--so, she does not have a free choice whether or not to perform it.


Hasker chooses out of the many different versions of this argument, to present his favourite, which "concerns a certain Clarence, known to be addicted to cheese omelets. Will Clarence have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow morning, or won't he?"

Here it is:

1. It is now true that Clarence will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (Premise)

2. It is impossible that God should at any time believe what is false, or fail to believe anything that is true. (Premise: divine omniscience)

3. God has always believed that Clarence will have a cheese omelet tomorrow. (From 1,2)

4. If God has always believed a certain thing, it is not in anyone's power to bring it about that God has not always believed that thing. (Premise: the unalterability of the past)

5. Therefore, it is not in Clarence's power to bring it about that God has not always believed that he would have a cheese omelet for breakfast. (From 3,4)

6. It is not possible for it to be true both that God has always believed that Clarence would have a cheese omelet for breakfast, and that he does not in fact have one. (From 2)

7. Therefore, it is not in Clarence's power to refrain from having a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow. (From 5,6) So Clarence's eating the omelet tomorrow is not an act of free choice. (From the definition of Free Will)


He goes on to explain the implication of the argument:

What this argument shows is that it is logically impossible that God should have foreknowledge of a genuinely free action. It follows from this that if there are actions which are free in the libertarian sense, it is logically impossible for God to know in advance how such actions will turn out. And in the light of our definition of omniscience, God's failure to know what logically cannot be known in no way detracts from God's omniscience. As soon as these truths become available, God will be the first to know them! (On the other hand, the definition of omniscience given in step 2 of the argument above is faulty, because it fails to allow for the possibility of truths which are intrinsically unknowable.)


Your thoughts?

Edited by Skeptic, 05 May 2005 - 02:04 AM.


#45 DJP

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 01:57 AM

Hmm... Grace, just because God created it doesn't mean that he knows every detail about it.  So I wonder about your fourth step there.


I agree, DJP, but it goes even further than that:

Therefore, God created all that we are currently experiencing at time's inception


If God alreedy created 'all that we are currently experiencing' when time began, then it would mean we don't actually have free will. This is actually a good example of the problematic nature of the debate over free-will and determinism. Just how much of what happens is due to free will? Difficult topic that.

Good point. I'm not persuaded that Grace's theory distinguishes sufficiently between "potential" and "actual." Creation could mean either.

DJP

#46 Skeptic

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:01 AM

:popcorn:

Edited by Skeptic, 05 May 2005 - 02:06 AM.


#47 DJP

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:10 AM

I agree. H names are usually funny but there are plenty of others too. (Randall possibly the funniest.) I went to school with a family of brothers named Lawrence, Clarence and Terrence.

DJP

#48 Grace

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:38 AM

Hmm... Grace, just because God created it doesn't mean that he knows every detail about it. So I wonder about your fourth step there.

DJP

Do we define omniscience differently?

#49 Grace

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:50 AM

Hi Grace

Nice to have you join the discussion.  :shades:



:bye:

Therefore, God created all that we are currently experiencing at time's inception


If God alreedy created 'all that we are currently experiencing' when time began, then it would mean we don't actually have free will. This is actually a good example of the problematic nature of the debate over free-will and determinism. Just how much of what happens is due to free will? Difficult topic that.


Hmm. But what about the fact that God factors in the requests we make, and creates events in reaction to those requests? Is that free-will? Just because He has already created the answer doesn't remove free-will in my book... The answer is still determined by the request. The answer exists because the request was made.

So yes, we have free-will. But God knew we would ask for what we ask for, and has already created the answer.

Dunno if that makes any sense.


To me it doesn't. Where, for instance do these 'ready-made' results of our actions fit into the scientific concept of cause-effect?


But cause-effect isn't removed; it's simply produced in a different way - outside the dimension of time. We experience it as cause and effect because we are subject to time. God is capable of creating 'effect' at the simultaneous occurence of 'cause'. Where's the little whirley-eyed guy when you need him...

#50 Hyperion

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 03:47 AM

What this argument shows is that it is logically impossible that God should have foreknowledge of a genuinely free action. It follows from this that if there are actions which are free in the libertarian sense, it is logically impossible for God to know in advance how such actions will turn out. And in the light of our definition of omniscience, God's failure to know what logically cannot be known in no way detracts from God's omniscience. As soon as these truths become available, God will be the first to know them! (On the other hand, the definition of omniscience given in step 2 of the argument above is faulty, because it fails to allow for the possibility of truths which are intrinsically unknowable.)


Your thoughts?

I would agree that God is not omniscient, if the definition of that word is "to know everything that is knowable". The reason for that is passages like Heb 2:17-18 and 4:15-16 that teach that Jesus Christ is uniquely qualified to sympathise with our struggle with sin, since he too experienced temptation. What this implies is that God lacks this experience and knowledge. I don't see this lack of knowledge as a deficiency in God, rather, it is a logical conclusion based on who he is.

Coming back to the free-will vs. omniscience discussion. Is there a difference between:

a) I know what you will choose to do

and

b) I know what you chose to do

I think there is, and much of the discussion here seems to assume the first view. I view God's knowledge of the future as the latter. I.e. from God's perspective, God sees what we did choose to do because he is omnitemporal. Our free will is unaffected.

I just found this article when searching to see if "omnitemporal" is really a word, or if I just made it up. It looks like it is a real word, or at least I am not the first to make it up. The article is worth a read - he discusses the impact of the idea of an omnitemporal God on many doctrines, and while I obviously do not agree with many of his doctrinal premises, he makes some pretty good points. He concludes:

If we remove the restrictions of temporal time from our view of God, a profound series of theological models are affected. For many, some of the nagging questions concerning predestination, free-will, eschatology and other subjects can be presented with rational and sensible answers that are consistent with what God’s word describes and with what God also reveals through Creation. God is truth, and the truth of his word, and the truth concerning the creation of the cosmos are not two separate truths, but one profound expression of God’s grace. Whether the time-line of this creation has already transpired for billions of years as scientists contend, or for only a few thousand as some theologians content, God created that time-line for His purpose and pleasure. He resides in eternity, outside the limitations of created time and space, yet has ordained a bridge between them across which He and his angels can pass so that his purposes in that creation can be revealed. "Perhaps the greatest illusion of all is time, and our foolish notion that what really counts is what happens to us today or tomorrow. Soon time itself will be set aside. We will step into eternity, and then at last we will grasp what is truly real."


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#51 DJP

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 04:24 AM

Hmm... Grace, just because God created it doesn't mean that he knows every detail about it.  So I wonder about your fourth step there.

Do we define omniscience differently?

Could be.

DJP

#52 Adanac

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 11:01 AM

I think we're getting into the realm of the unknowable here. Statements like "God is outside time" and "God knows what we will do before we do it" may be correct but Scripture is silent on these things. I repeat what I said earlier - the point the Scriptures make is that God has a plan and he is carrying out despite us. Another thing the Scriptures emphasize is that God has the power to make the best out of the dumb things we do. All things work together for good not because God has planned exactly what decisions we make and what the outcomes will be before it all happens but because he is able to discipline us and shape us as we make our mistakes.

#53 He-man

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 06:38 PM

Adanac:but Scripture is silent on these things


I thought the title of this discussion was Philosophy??
Even our free acts are known beforehand to Him, for otherwise His wisdom would admit of successive moments of enrichment, and this would contradict His immutability
Ecc 3:15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past

Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb
Jer 1:4-5 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Ecc 11:5 thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all

2 Sam 12:14 , The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. 14Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

1 Ki 13:2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.

1 Chron 22:9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon
Ps 22:31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
Ps 78:6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769. :harp:

#54 Grace

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 07:12 PM

Some more musing...

God may not be bound by time, but time certainly is (bound by what time is). So when the unbound God is observing a bounded thing (namely time), which gets created as it unfolds (in real time...!) time still simply behaves as time does: the future is something that will yet be created by the events that God and His free will beings co-create. The fact that God observes it from the outside and is not affected by it does not mean time behaves differently than it does.

God can predict the future to the extent that he will definately act to accomplich his own goals regardless of the actions of creatures with free will (and in that regard the future is determined), but God cannot predict what free will creatures will do (and in that regard the future is undetermined). God could also force free will creatures to do things to come to pass, but by his nature he could not then hold these creatures responsible for actions he forced upon them.


The flaw is in the phrase 'predict the future'. If God is outside time, no predictions are involved; predictions require time to be predictions!

Being outside space means that all of space is known. Being outside time means that all of time is known. Thus omniscience about creation is an automatic consequence of having created it. IMO... :colter:

#55 Skeptic

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 06:34 AM

Grace

The flaw is in the phrase 'predict the future'.  If God is outside time, no predictions are involved; predictions require time to be predictions!


It's a good point, but it's only a valid point if you hold that the term 'time' refers to the collection of chronological events from the beginning of time, to the present and beyond the present into the future, and where 'time' is an entity that can be observed by an outside being as 'already having run its course'. That implies that what is still awaiting us in our future (as time-bound creatures) is already the past from God's perspective.

When you conceptualise time in such a fashion, your objection makes perfect sense...and well spotted, by the way. :clap2: I guess the word 'prediction' then loses all meaning and should be replaced by 'observation', 'report', or some such word. :shrug:

But the alternative proposes a conceptualisation of time that (for the sake of argument, but not ignoring Eistein's relativity implications for time) looks 'the same' from the outside or the inside. In this case, the term 'prediction' retains its meaning.

Being outside space means that all of space is known.  Being outside time means that all of time is known.  Thus omniscience about creation is an automatic consequence of having created it. IMO...  :colter:


Once again, I agree with the statement about all of space being known and all of time being known by an omniscient God, but there are different viable definitions for 'all of space' and 'all of time'.

Does 'all of space' refer to a complete knowledge of space as it was in the past, up and until now, or does it refer to space as it was, is and will be in the future? Once again, it boils down to what 'all' means conceptually to a person. Since none of us can observe for ourselves (as Adanac has pointed out) whether the 'open theology' concept of time (and by implication space too) is more valid that the alternative envisaged by the vast majority of members here, we have to see if this concept of God fits the Bible's account of who God is. If we go by argumentum ad numeram then the majority has to be right, eh? :shades:

I am saying that both concepts (yours and mine) seem to be harmonisable with the Bible and so they should both be considered equally viable interpreations of God's omniscience. Adanac has also immediately caught on to the fact that accepting this holds no adverse implication for salvation or any other significant theological matter.

Edited by Skeptic, 06 May 2005 - 06:36 AM.


#56 Anastasis

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 06:54 AM

Good observations. To me time is simply God's creation. Most believers think this is a very hard topic because they believe in eternity. But in the Bible, it's simple if only you believe it. God has created everything already (Heb 4v3, Col 1v16).

#57 He-man

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 06:14 PM

Ecc 3:15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past

#58 He-man

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 06:16 PM

Ecc 3:15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past
:book:

#59 Grace

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 10:12 PM

It's a good point, but it's only a valid point if you hold that the term 'time' refers to the collection of chronological events from the beginning of time, to the present and beyond the present into the future, and where 'time' is an entity that can be observed by an outside being as 'already having run its course'. That implies that what is still awaiting us in our future (as time-bound creatures) is already the past from God's perspective.


The flaw is the word "past"... :P Past is still a reference to time! We have no concept of how God experiences what He experiences because we are bound by experiencing life in the dimension of time, while He is not.

When you conceptualise time in such a fashion, your objection makes perfect sense...and well spotted, by the way. :clap2:  I guess the word 'prediction' then loses all meaning and should be replaced by 'observation', 'report', or some such word. :shrug:

But the alternative proposes a conceptualisation of time that (for the sake of argument, but not ignoring Eistein's relativity implications for time) looks 'the same' from the outside or the inside. In this case, the term 'prediction' retains its meaning.


How is it possible to conceptualise time as existing outside the universe and still be consistent with relativity?

I am saying that both concepts (yours and mine) seem to be harmonisable with the Bible and so they should both be considered equally viable interpreations of God's omniscience. Adanac has also immediately caught on to the fact that accepting this holds no adverse implication for salvation or any other significant theological matter.


Actually, I disagree - I think that Open Theology can have a significant impact on doctrinal beliefs. My main objection is that it 'humanises' God, by reducing His omniscience and omnipotence. God is not a cosmic weatherman who only sometimes gets it right.

Edited by Grace, 08 May 2005 - 10:13 PM.


#60 Fortigurn

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 10:20 PM

Grace, your last couple of posts have been :first:

Thanks, that was very helpful. :stereo:




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