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There's been an interesting debate over at RBJ on Omniscience v. Free Will.

The thread touched on God's free will, man's free will, God's omniscience, and God's nature.

The poster quoted from

"Others, however, have recognized that this is a tremendous problem and have sought to remedy it. A few try to argue that their god is "outside time," and hence sees the whole course of history all at once. But this removes god from the realm of intelligibility and knowability, and reduces theism to an incoherent agnosticism. Moreover, it doesn't ultimately solve the problem at hand: even if a god is simply sitting outside of time and observing the whole of history, then that means that only one course of history is possible - otherwise the picture for this god would keep shifting and it wouldn't have perfect knowledge of what happens. At best, it means that we are predestined without this god forcing it - but we are still predestined, just with an unintelligible god acting as an audience. "

My response:

Don't agree.

Imagine yourself limited by time (shouldn't be hard to do), and you look backwards in time and see all the things that have happened. There was only one course of events that have occured (eg Clinton did not both not have relations and did have relations with Monica). Does the fact that you only see one single course of events backward in time mean that nobody had a free choice? Of course not. Does it mean that you influenced and determined it's outcome simply by looking back in time? No.

Since God is outside time, seeing forward in time is as easy as seeing backwards for us. Though he sees the outcome, it doesn't mean that he necessarily determined (though he could of course, but that's another debate on omnipotence) the outcome.

The poster then asks about God's nature conflicting with his omnipotence:

But then that means God is limited. For example, it is safe to say that it is not God's nature to sin. Does God have the ability to sin then? Could he sin? If he doesn't have that option, then he doesn't have free will. As Dan Barker put it, "If God always acts in accordance with his nature (whatever that means), then he still must have more than one viable option that does not contradict his nature if he is to claim free will. Otherwise, he is a slave to his nature, like a robot, and not a free personal agent."

My reply:

It's the same as people asking "Can God create a rock so big that He cannot lift it?"

How about "Can God make triangles that are round?

"Can God create another God that is superior to himself?"

Or more to the question, "can God do anything that is contrary to his nature?"

The problem is not a lack of answers, but the validity of the questions. By asking a question that is inherently impossible, a valid answer cannot be reached. By starting off with an illogical question, you cannot deduce a logical conclusion.

By being limited to his nature, it doesn't mean that he cannot be all powerful. Omnipotence, as applied to God, is not the fact that he can do anything - including defying logic, laws, truths. Omnipotence, as applied to the Jehovah God, is that he is all-powerful and creator of the universe.

Posted: 2002-08-13 09:35:18

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