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Discussion in 'Quackenbush's' started by THEU, Sep 11, 2008.
mia, i didn't know you were speaking to Theu....sorry, i should have looked at who you linked to. wasn't trying to be contrary, i really thought you were directly responding to me and it was very unhelpful.....for good reason i now know!
forgive the confusion....
johnny, perhaps you are correct....just one of the many meanderings of my strange mind. at any rate, i just don't see the clear contradiction that you (and many others see) with God knowing my free choice in advance.........
Well, when you phrase it like that, the answer is quite simple, coelacanth. The event that occurs first causes the other. God's knowledge predates your existence entirely and causes the whole timeline to fall together in an instant, including whatever decisions you perceive that you are making..
Then you believe that God’s knowledge occurs first, and that therefore I choose because God knows.
Now it remains for us to examine this statement. First, I wish to know how God obtains his knowledge. Now earlier on this page, Huck claimed that it is irrelevant how God comes to know something, that the only important point was that he did know. And perhaps Huck is right, and it is irrelevant. But, if that’s the case, then surely there can be no harm in pursuing this logic along its natural course. I hope you will indulge me.
How is knowledge obtained, generally? I suggested earlier that most of our general knowledge is obtained by observation. That I know my shirt is blue because I observe it to be blue. Do you agree with this?
And what of God’s knowledge – his omniscience. How should we say that he has come into this knowledge? Would it not also owe something to observation? – the difference between he and us being his powers of observation are infinite and infallible, while ours are limited and debased?
And, more particularly, when discussing knowledge of something like a choice, would not observation be the chief mode of acquiring knowledge of someone else’s choice? – I know my father’s choice by observing the particular act that is both the culmination and the first result of that choice?
Should it be different with God? Or does he know our choice in like manner, by observing the action that is both the culmination and the first result of the choice?
Does he obtain his knowledge by virtue of this observation that I speak of, or in some other way?
What's more, the reason why the mechanism of the future knowledge is irrelevant, is because regardless of how it is derived knowledge of the future, possessed by God or man, requires a single immutable continuum. If I travel to the future and see that Lindsey Lohan becomes the first female president, but when I return to my "present" she chooses to be a bus driver instead... then whatever I saw in my little jaunt was not the future. How do I know? Because if it was the actual future, then it would have happened. If it didn't happen, then it wasn't the future.
You can't know the future if the future is in flux.
Assume there is a god.
Assume that he created our universe and all that it holds.
This assumes existence. Do those things that exist do so in time?
When god created the universe, was there a moment when the universe had no past?
Is there a future? Does it already exist? I mean, are some parts of the future already also a past relative points further in the future?
If god knows all, this presupposes that what he knows exists.
If the future does not exist, then god, and creation along with him, might conceivably be forever at the vanguard of time with the future being simply an exercise in imagination played out in the present. There may not even be a past.
God can know and be a part of everything and not know the future if it does not exist.
He knows all about the past because he witnessed it all.
Perhaps we think or speak of the future as a knowable entity, and therefore believe that a failure to know it constitutes a chink in the putative armor of omniscience. Maybe it makes no sense to think in terms of knowing the future since it never actually exists.
In that same vein, perhaps being all powerful presupposes that the power being exerted is connected with existence. God is all powerful over that which exists and there can be no power over that which does not.
Knowledge refers to the present, based on recollection and imagination, past and future brought together repeatedly in the present. It is possible to know the past and the present, though only god truly holds that knowledge.
God gave you the ability to perceive these aspects of reality. Your knowledge is imperfect. You must act in the present based largely on what you know of the past, though, in some instances, you can act with a nod to the truly immediate, as well, though you cannot recognize that such was the case until afterwards.
Recollection, reflex, and imagination in a reality where only the present actually exists means that our perception of the future is heavily influenced by prediction. God, in this scenario, is likely really good at prediction. If he is all powerful he could even guide events in the human realm, though he could also let the 'physics' of each moment play out. This requires that god be thought of as learning. He acts as we do, to some extent, but on scales and with materials that are as yet unimaginable, perhaps even unknowable, to us. Still he learns and can predict.
The future has never existed and he has never known anything about it, nor could he, as it does not exist. He has always been and will always be, and yet he will never be in the future.
If one is aware of being in this type of reality, choice necessarily follows. God chooses, too, don't you know. Even is he exists within and without of our universe as we understand matter in its finest, most atomized forms, he must choose. He didn't give us free will. Choice is the only option once cognizance enters the picture. The apple. Whether from Eden or the Oldavai Gorge. We can conceive of molecules bouncing off of one another and creating life, etc., and adhering to physical laws so that chemical reactions simply follow very limited scripts, etc., but there are limits to the limits, so to speak. Variables upon variables, always acting in the new.
Choice is limited, but choice nonetheless. For the purposes of morality, the choices are few indeed.
Of course, all of this presupposes that there is a god, that there is no future, that time is linear, etc. One can change all of the components of this discussion and come up with any number of possible scenarios, with any number of semantic juggling acts.
First prove there is a god.
about 15 years ago (estimate) Gregory Boyd wrote a book called "The God of the Possible" in which he outlines his own argument that God knows every single possible outcome of every event in the universe. He believes the future is in flux but God knows ever flux. Being an "open theist" he believes God doesn't know which is the actual future, but has a good idea based upon all of his knowledge. i disagree with him, but find it an interesting theory nonetheless.....
In reply to:
There is no way to prove god just as there is no way to disprove god. The only thing that can happen is for reasonable evidences to be given one way or another. The fact remains, as I have tried to point out, that a good logical argument can be made for and against god.
The argument is never settled, because the entire conversation is not one that can be proven.
As someone trained in history, I often use this analogy. Historians can never 'prove' anything. Instead, they look at clues and evidences that lead them to certain conclusions.
You seem to want to change the discussion into one where we decide whether determinism is true or not. Our current discussion is about whether free will can exist if determinism is true. Essentially it's an incompatibilist vs. compatibilist debate where the compatibilists take the form of omniscient God believers.
The question of determinism on its own is also a very good one but probably deserves its own discussion. There are good arguments on either side, and the concept of determinism still has not answered the question of first cause, for example.
Interesting point: omnicience is limited to what is now and what has been - there is no such thing as knowledge of the future.
Somewhere in here the disproof of simultanaeity weakens the issue of "now". Between observers, there is a "future". But this is an adjustment, not a "big" future.
Perhaps omniscience is analagous to a mathmatical abstraction. Understood in its system, but not necessarily applicable to human reality.
And nothing, really, is applicable to non-reality, such as things that aren't there.
And, back to Kant, he has fallen victim to modern biology and psychology. There is no a priori knowledge, there are broadly but varialbe behavior sets common to humans. Understanding, for example, of basic causality is a behavior set. The theory of natural numbers is indeed a posteriori knowledge, in the same way that Paradise Lost is.
Do I still get to bang Scarlett Johanson? I think that was the last thing on this thread I really understood.
Well, I doubt anyone will disagree that if God doesn't know what will happen in the future then free will is possible within this discussion. The real question now seems to be about the definition of omniscience. And I disagree with mia1994 that knowledge of the future is a neccesary component of omniscience.
So the question comes down to this: Does God right now know what I'm going to have for dinner tonight? If the answer is no, then free will is possible. But if the answer is no, then the "transcends time and is past, present, and future" theory of the Christian God's existence is negated, or at least his omniscience is negated.
So I guess the argument is not that omniscience and free will are incompatible, but that the following three things can't all be true:
1.) God is eternal; He is past, present, and future and exists outside of time.
2.) God is omniscient.
3.) Humans have free will.
You can have any two of the three that you want, but not all three. If you have 1 and 2, 3 is not possible. If you have 1 and 3, then God can transcend time, but, for example, may not know which of the futures he knows to be possible will truly come to pass in our existence. If you have 2 and 3, then God can't transcend time and his omniscience can't include knowledge of the future.
I appreciate the dialogue here. It's been pretty good, IMO. But I think this is where we have arrived. And any argument that all three are possible will eventually break down to a "With God, all things are possible" argument. And that's not logically valid and certainly impossible to argue against.