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If God created our universe, why does he object to our knowledge of it?


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Showing 101-125 of 337 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 18:56:25 BDT
"Mr. W. D. Burchell says: God knows that it has no existence and him not knowing the future is not limiting his knowledge at all, since there is nothing to know."

Is this seriously where ontological reasoning leads? Not knowing something, or not knowing any single thing, no matter how infinitesimally small negates the possibility of omniscience. To suggest otherwise is risible. As for there being "nothing to know" as far as the future is concerned, that's also risible. As far as absurd rationalisations go it's a scorcher.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 18:56:32 BDT
Bellatori says:
Hi OB

The problem with Open Theism/Molinism etc comes down to the fact that they are starting from the premise that their religion requires them to believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient and beneficent. It has been known since Aquinas and Augustine that this is difficult to reconcile with for example, the existence of evil.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil

gives quite a good overview of the problem and responses. Most have for various reasons fallen by the wayside. The only approach that has been revisited is the one where the premise of God as omnipotent, omniscient and beneficent is somehow weakened. The favoured one of the three is omniscience. So all the arguments put forward revolve round changing the definition of omniscience in such a way that you can claim omniscience without it actually being true. It is a form of sleight of hand. You move so quickly no one sees you palm the card.

The reason that this work has been going on for over a thousand years is that other people keep pointing out 'Oi, I saw you palm that card!'

The somewhat obvious truth is that you cannot claim omniscience for a being whose knowledge is constrained. As you rightly say.... "absurd"... but they keep trying!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 18:57:30 BDT
From A Time for Change: Examining the Claims of Open Theism by Wayne Burchell (2008), Masters Thesis:

Part of the Introduction (minus references):

In the late Twentieth Century a theology called `Open Theism' came to the fore; its proponents labelling it as a return to the original theology of Christianity, as have so many heretical groups prior to this. Its prime tenet revolves around God's knowledge of the future with Open Theism taking the view the future is open or unknown to God, except in a very broad sense (that allows for prophecy and eschatology). Opposition has been swift, particularly from Calvinistic theologians, who see it as a danger to the church.

Open Theism has also been referred to as Free-Will Theism, a phrase probably coined by David Basinger. This title emphasises the human aspect of the theology, in that it is man's free will that ensures that the future must be open. A third term, used by those who are opposed to Open Theism, is `Neotheism'. While Open Theism is the more dominant term among those referring to this particular theology, neither it, nor free-will theism are particularly satisfactory titles as they both emphasise one aspect of the whole theology and as it continues to develop it is clear that it involves more than just God's openness and man's free will. Neotheism is probably a better term to use since `neo' can mean new, modern or revived (c.f. neo-orthodoxy ), and my purpose is to determine if this theology is just a modern heresy or a resurrection of the truth."

Three attributes of God are of prime concern in the this subject: Temporality; Knowledge & Power. The remainder of the dissertation deals with the three separately (two chapters on temporality, one to establish what 'time' is and the second to consider how God relates to it). The final chapter tries to put the various ways that God is believed to have those attributes together to show the typical theological stances and how they work with those attributes, i.e. Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism and Open Theism. I added in Neo-Molinism based on a comment by Greg Boyd when he was defending Open Theism in God and Time: Four Views. This was in 2001 and the earliest reference to Neo Molinsm.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:00:08 BDT
"As for there being "nothing to know" as far as the future is concerned, that's also risible. As far as absurd rationalisations go it's a scorcher."

Why is it risible? Have you actually analysed the future and already know it yourself and therefore can claim that it is knowable. If so who wins the Eurovision Song Contest, X-Factor, the next World Cup etc. A few bets could make me a millionaire.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:03:09 BDT
"In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 18:45:33 BDT
Mr. W. D. Burchell says: Or to put it more simply, imagine an empty box. Done that, now tell me what is in the box. You can't can you? Does that mean you are ignorant of the contents of the box, or that there are no contents of the box to be ignorant of. You seem to be emphasising the former, while Open Theists emphasise the latter."

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

1. I can tell you exactly what's in the box as you stated it in your sentence, nothing.
2. In what way is nothing comparable to all future events?
3. No he's not emphasising ignorance of the contents of the box, as the box has no contents, it's in your posts.

Omniscience:

omniscience

the state of being omniscient; having infinite knowledge.

Now you can wriggle and twist over the definition of infinite.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:06:13 BDT
Bellatori says:
"The important thing to understand about Open Theism is that it begins with defining the future - as in it has no existence. If it has no existence, then God knows that it has no existence and him not knowing the future is not limiting his knowledge at all, since there is nothing to know."

I should imagine that God, were he to exist, might take exception to be classified as a bit thick. I suggest you get Boyd to read the wiki article on the n-body problem. God, the omniscient and omnipotent should have no trouble solving this for a universe given that he existed before the universe (I presume) and therefore outside time (so no time constraints). He should be able to produce a complete solution for the whole existence of the universe before it even starts.... Does anyone actually take Boyd seriously?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:07:05 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 15 May 2013 19:07:19 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:08:33 BDT
Hi Bellatori.

I am becoming familiar with the theists use of semantics to try and rationalise the claims their religion has traditionally made for their deity, it's alarming how entrenched the thinking gets, it really is. Of course Omnipotence is no easier for them to tackle, as the innate paradox in such a claim is obvious. The claim of omnibenevolence of course is probably most difficult of all, when contemplated along with ubiquitous suffering throughout all life on earth.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:08:41 BDT
Bellatori says:
"Or to put it more simply, imagine an empty box. Done that, now tell me what is in the box. You can't can you?" Of course I can... I don't even need to be God to do that. There is nothing in the box because it is, as you requested an imaginary 'EMPTY' box. The clue is in the word EMPTY.

You even fail were you to try the Schroedinger cat experiment.... I could not tell you if the cat is alive or dead BUT an omniscient God could (unless of course he is not omniscient!!)

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:11:45 BDT
Bellatori says:
Of course, polytheistic religions have no such problem which is the irony of it... The original gnostics who were also Christians would not have had this problem either.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:16:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2013 19:18:21 BDT
"In reply to your post on 15 May 2013 19:00:08 BDT
Mr. W. D. Burchell says:
"As for there being "nothing to know" as far as the future is concerned, that's also risible. As far as absurd rationalisations go it's a scorcher."

Why is it risible? Have you actually analysed the future and already know it yourself and therefore can claim that it is knowable. If so who wins the Eurovision Song Contest, X-Factor, the next World Cup etc. A few bets could make me a millionaire."

I'll go slowly for you as you're struggling. Since the future is a concept you're struggling with imagine the past. Now presumably no matter how far back you go into the past you believe your god existed before that time? So throughout your gods existence up to this point it either knew before hand what was going to happen, or it did not, but since we know that all manner of things happened, the premise that there was nothing to know is risible. If the answer is yes, then your claim for omniscience is at least logical, though it obviously negates free will, if the answer is no then the claim for omniscience is negated. QED

Now that I have your attention are you going to admit that Galileo was in fact interrogated, tried, and convicted of heresy by the inquisition, as I earlier claimed, and you denied? As you've since ignored my posts showing the evidence.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:22:16 BDT
"1. I can tell you exactly what's in the box as you stated it in your sentence, nothing.
2. In what way is nothing comparable to all future events?
3. No he's not emphasising ignorance of the contents of the box, as the box has no contents, it's in your posts."

God could tell you there is nothing in the box, but your reply seems to be that because God knows there is nothing in the box his knowledge of the contents of the box are lacking and therefore he is not omniscient.

If the future is empty, just like the box, then clearly there is nothing to know about the contents of the future. If there is nothing to know about the contents of the future, then God not knowing the contents of the future can hardly be considered lacking.

You don't state where your definition of omniscience comes from. The OED on my Kindle defines omniscient as as 'knowing everything' derived from the Latin for 'all-knowing'. A free internet dictionary defines it as 'one having total knowledge'. My own definition from my dissertation is: 'knowing all that it is possible to know'.

None of these mention the infinite while all include the infinite. Are there really an infinite number of things that it is possible to know - in a finite universe, I think that unlikely.

I will wiggle and twist over the definition of infinite. The first draft of my dissertation had a whole chapter devoted to understanding infinity, but I had to cut it down for reasons of length and non-relevance to the subject. If you really want to know about it I recommend: Brief History of Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable as a good starting point.

Otherwise I'd suggest not arguing about infinity with a mathematician!

Posted on 15 May 2013 19:27:21 BDT
WDB,

I didn't notice an admission that you fluffed Galilleo's history - and badly - in that post.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:39:22 BDT
Bellatori, where do I classify God as bit thick?

I don't know what Boyd says on the n-body problem, but Open Theism is not about saying that nothing about the future can be known, only that the actions of people cannot be known in advance.

So for example if an Earthquake occurs because of Open Cast Mining, then God cannot know it will happen until the Open Cast Mining starts the chain of events that will cause the earthquake, since it is based on decisions to actually mine, the method used and possibly even down to the angle a piece of machinery drills or the frequency of the drilling or somesuch - all dependent on human decisions. So in this case God cannot know in, say, 1700 that an Earthquake would occur in 2013, but he could know in 2010, when the drilling begins.

One of the reasons why I suggest reading books on the subject is that it is not possible to present simply the complete set of ideas relating to the issue at hand without doing them an injustice.

Start by grasping the simple ideas and then expanding them to take in the more complex cases.

A few years ago I used this example:

Imagine rolling a die (a six-sided one for those of you who are gamers). You may think that this is random, but it is not. In fact it would be possible to predict the result, if you knew all of the variables, such as: the speed at which the die was thrown; the angle it was thrown at; the distance from the table; the weighting of the dice; the imperfections on the table that would slow the movement down; the facing of the dice as it leaves you hand; etc. So a good mathematician could work out the result of a dice throw by working through the mathematical equations, a process that would probably take a few hours.... Obviously this is not a 'prediction' as the dice would have finished rolling long before the mathematician works through the equations (unless that mathematician is God).

Now the predetermination view is that the result of the dice roll is pre-existent. God knows it, because for him it has already happened. There is only one thing to remember - what the result is.

The orthodox view is that the result of the roll is known beforehand, even though it hasn't actually happened yet. Again there is only one thing known.

The open theist view is that nothing is known about the die roll before it leaves the hand, and guessing what the result is is a waste of time (even though God has lots of that at his disposal). However the moment that the die leaves the hand of the thrower, God knows what the result is, because he knows all of the variables and the mathematical equations and can work them out in an instant. Here God knows lots of things.

Wayne

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:50:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2013 19:59:41 BDT
I'm glad you went slowly, it does show how stupid you are being.

"Since the future is a concept you're struggling with imagine the past."

I'm not struggling with the concept of the future at all. Since it is in the future and not in the past, trying to equate it with the past is a waste of time.

Are you aware of the A-Series and B-Series in relation to knowledge of time. Tensed or non-tensed time. Static, or Dynamic views. Probably not. Since it seems that you hold a Static view of time and therefore deride anything that doesn't fit into that view. There are plenty of books on the subject of time, read a few before making snide comments that merely highlight your own lack.

"Now presumably no matter how far back you go into the past you believe your god existed before that time? So throughout your gods existence up to this point it either knew before hand what was going to happen, or it did not, but since we know that all manner of things happened, the premise that there was nothing to know is risible."

Take a look at your tenses - 'going to happen' and 'happened' are clearly not the same thing. This is why you probably hold a Static view of time.

"If the answer is yes, then your claim for omniscience is at least logical, though it obviously negates free will, if the answer is no then the claim for omniscience is negated. QED"

This is not QED unless you assume that time is static, since you make no such assumption at the beginning of your simplistic statement, you have no idea that the way time works (or might work) impacts your whole argument.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:50:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2013 19:57:47 BDT
Firstly you neglected to answer my question about Galileo, though from your previous gaff I think we can all reasonably assume he formed no part of your dissertation. Now once again was Galileo tried and condemned of heresy by the inquisition?

Secondly and again I'll try and dumb this down as dissertation aside you're obviously struggling.

1. Omniscience even by your own definition is limitless knowledge.

2. Your religion has made the claim that your god is omniscient, that is that it has limitless knowledge.

3. Your god existed before the universe according to your religion.

4. It either had knowledge of all that has unfolded from the start of the universe until now, or it didn't.

5. If you claim it did then the claim of omniscience is logical but again it negates free will, if you claim it did not then any claims of omniscience are negated.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:52:46 BDT
Norm Deplume says:
"You don't state where your definition of omniscience comes from. The OED on my Kindle defines omniscient as as 'knowing everything' derived from the Latin for 'all-knowing'. A free internet dictionary defines it as 'one having total knowledge'. My own definition from my dissertation is: 'knowing all that it is possible to know'."

The dictionary on your Kindle is the ODE (Oxford Dictionary of English), not the OED (Oxford English Dictionary). The latter defines 'omniscient' as

Knowing all things, all-knowing, infinite in knowledge. Strictly: esp. of God.

Note the infinite in knowledge part..

Collins (9th ed) gives "having infinite knowledge or understanding" as the primary meaning.

Of course if you simply define it differently for a peculiar purpose, then any interpretation is possible but may not address the original question. The passing reference to 'prophecy and eschatology' looks like another redefinition - God cannot know the future except when he can.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:53:06 BDT
Bellatori says:
"My own definition from my dissertation is: 'knowing all that it is possible to know'." Nice bit of obfuscation because you are then defining the future as not possible to know!!

"The open theist view is that nothing is known about the die roll before it leaves the hand, and guessing what the result is is a waste of time (even though God has lots of that at his disposal). However the moment that the die leaves the hand of the thrower, God knows what the result is, because he knows all of the variables and the mathematical equations and can work them out in an instant. Here God knows lots of things."

Yup... God is definitely being classed as stupid... You really do not understand the implications of being able to solve the n-body problem and the fact that God does not have some time, or lots of time but exists outside time. Your example is simply a nonsense on that basis alone.

However, as with OB, let me take you through your example very, very very,very, slowly. Because that is what an omnipotent God is going to do.

OK let us concede that at the moment the dice leaves the hand God knows everything about it and therefore can calculate at that moment from all the necessary vectors etc what will happen to the dice and therefore the result.

So now let us go back one microsecond before that point.... What information does God need to predict where the dice will be and in what state it will be one microsecond later? But he has all that information... now go back another microsecond... and ask the same question... reductio ad absurdem ... God will always know the future!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:56:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2013 19:59:24 BDT
Not knowing something negates the possibility of omniscience. I am truly sorry your unable to grasp that the past was actually preceded by events even further back in time, or the chronological nature of how those events unfolds. Nonetheless, if you claim your god didn't know how those events would unfold then that limits it's knowledge, if however you claim it did know beforehand then that negates free will. Wriggle all you want. Oh, and can I just say what a glowing advert for the benefits of a university education you are.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:57:07 BDT
Yes I made a mistake about Galileo, though I still think your view is biased in the way it is presented.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:57:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2013 19:58:54 BDT
Bellatori says:
"Are you aware of the A-Series and B-Series in relation to knowledge of time."

I cannot answer for OB but I am very aware of the definitions. The use of A-Series is simply an attempt to define away the problem without answering it at all.

There are only two assumptions involved. One is that time moves forward (Feynman might not entirely agree!) and that God exists outside time.

If your God can solve the n-body problem and exists outside time then he is truly omniscient AND will know everything unconstrained by A-series/B-series argument.

[EDIT] I meant also to mention that allowing your God some degree of prediction i.e. the final roll of the dice allows him unconstrained prediction. Unless of course you are saying he is not omniscient and omnipotent and is not up to the job.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 19:58:43 BDT
Careful, he'll wave his dissertation at you.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 20:00:08 BDT
Bellatori says:
Not a problem. I have written a few... the problem always lies in the assumptions. His lies in trying to redefine omniscience and then redefine his God!!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 20:02:04 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2013 20:11:16 BDT
"Mr. W. D. Burchell says:
Yes I made a mistake about Galileo, though I still think your view is biased in the way it is presented."

I never presented a view,

""Galileo was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest"

That was my post.. I just presented the facts, which you dismissed as fantasy. I'd have thought a university education would enable you to google Galileo and inquisition to avoid looking so silly. Now how about the battle of Hastings for which you claimed there was no empirical evidence? Then there was your constant denial of the existence of transitional fossils.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 20:06:50 BDT
1. It'll do.

2. Ditto

3. Definitely - though 'before the universe' is a very difficult phrase since 'before' is dependent on temporality, but time had no existence before the universe. Try discussing 'before the big bang' and you will see what I mean.

4. He didn't

5. Why are the claims of omniscience negated simply by saying that God did not have knowledge of all that unfolded - since it had not unfolded at the time the universe began, there was nothing to know.

You are totally stuck in the static view of time and appear to be assuming that this is the only way that time can unfold - that it has pre-existence and merely 'unfolds' as opposed to coming into existence from second to second. Each second dependent on the last for its existence, but not determined by it.
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