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Thread: Interaction with perfect foreknowledge?

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    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Interaction with perfect foreknowledge?

    The popular argument on TOL lately regarding God's foreknowledge has been....

    God can have perfect exhaustive foreknowledge without closing the future and removing man's freewill. Personally I think this argument refutes itself but Clete, Philosopher, Yorzhik, Turbo, Godrulz, DRBrumley and many others have been doing a great job refuting this notion even further on several current threads here on TOL. True freewill and perfect exhaustive foreknowledge are not compatible, they are mutually exclusive.

    Yet I think there is another objection to this notion of freewill and exhaustive foreknowledge being compatible that hasn't really been explored yet.

    I don't like long setup posts so I am going to make this as brief as possible and develop the argument over time.

    So here goes . . .

    God is a personal God. God has been extremely involved in our history. God's word is filled with page after page of stories describing God interacting with His creation. God isn't a supernatural force sitting idly by on the other other side of the universe simply observing His creation. God is with us! He interacts with us, He moves us, shakes us, picks people for tasks and ministries. He smites some, kills some and destroys others etc. But why? Why does God interact with us?



    • When He left us His word in the form of the Bible it was an interaction with us on a grand scale and for good reason.
    • When He wiped out the world with a flood it was interaction on a global scale and for good reason.
    • When He picked Abram, Moses, David etc. He was interacting with His creation for a reason.
    God wants to affect our freewill! He wants to move us in the direction that more closely conforms to His will.

    If God were an uninvolved God watching creation from a distance one might be able to make a more persuasive argument that God can know our future without effecting our freewill (the argument still fails logically but it would be far more understandable). Yet that isn't the God of the Bible! Please don't misunderstand, I am not claiming that those arguing for freewill and exhaustive foreknowledge being compatible are claiming God is not involved, far from it! I am simply saying that their argument would be more believable if God weren't a personal God.

    God is in the business of effecting our will without completely controlling our will. Sort of like gathering sheep.

    God wants us to choose Him!

    He desires that we choose Him! (1 Timothy 2:3)


    God wants us to love our wives.

    God wants us to raise up our children

    God wants us to convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

    God wants to persuade and affect our will to be more like His will regarding these things and many other things.


    So one must ask . . .

    A millennia ago did God's perfect exhaustive foreknowledge contain His interaction with us?
    And of course the answer must be a resounding YES otherwise the foreknowledge isn't perfect yet lacking (lacking the interaction).
    Did God perfectly foreknow His interactions with man infinitely into the past? And if so, doesn't that defeat the purpose of the interaction?

    God interacts with man for a reason, I assert that divine interacting for the purpose of altering the course of history is only rational and logical if the course of history is truly alterable and not perfectly foreknown.

    Said another way . . .
    If there are two possible choices a man can make and God would prefer that we pick one of those choices above the other choice, He would only interact with us if He knew He could possibly influence that choice.
    Last edited by Knight; March 28th, 2006 at 11:33 AM.
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  2. #2
    Over 500 post club Free-Agent Smith's Avatar
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    Well said

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    Over 1000 post club logos_x's Avatar
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    Awesome!

    The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid. --G.K. Chesterton.

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    Just livin' life one day at a time. Poly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by logos_x
    Awesome!

    The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid. --G.K. Chesterton.
    So how do you feel about.... (emphasis mine)

    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    Did God perfectly foreknow His interactions with man infinitely into the past? And if so, doesn't that defeat the purpose of the interaction?

    God interacts with man for a reason, I assert that divine interaction for the purpose of altering the course of history is only rational and logical if the course of history is truly alterable and not perfectly foreknown.
    Do you agree?
    "The most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Reagan



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    Yes

  6. #6
    Just livin' life one day at a time. Poly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by logos_x
    Yes
    I'm having a little trouble seeing how you can agree with this and yet on another thread you said...

    Quote Originally Posted by logos_X
    While it is true that if God knows the future, and you cannot do anything but what He knows, it doen't follow that what he knows about you causes you to act a certain way...He simply knows what you will choose. He doesn't cause you to choose one way or the other.
    Therefore, God knowing the future does not affect how you would choose, therefore you can choose as you normally would, and you have free will.
    You agree that God interacting is only logical if He doesn't have perfect foreknowledge yet here you seem to be saying that He does have perfect foreknowledge.
    Maybe you've changed your mind since this post. If so I apologize for the confusion.
    Last edited by Poly; June 23rd, 2005 at 08:12 AM.
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    Rookie JCAtheist's Avatar
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    Sounds pretty good to me too...


    Still like my compass analogy though..



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    Quote Originally Posted by Poly
    I'm having a little trouble seeing how you can agree with this and yet on another thread you said...



    You agreed earlier with Knight that interaction of God is only logical if He doesn't have perfect foreknowledge yet here you seem to be saying that He does have perfect foreknowledge.
    Maybe you've changed your mind since this post. If so I apologize for the confusion.
    I have reconsidered my position on this.
    It is too problematic of a theological premise to sustain.

    The problems I was having with the Open View have been answered in Knight's OP of this thread.

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    Just livin' life one day at a time. Poly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by logos_x
    I have reconsidered my position on this.
    It is too problematic of a theological premise to sustain.

    The problems I was having with the Open View have been answered in Knight's OP of this thread.
    Awesome!

    I knew Knight was good for something.
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    Yes He is!

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    Merely Christian Nineveh's Avatar
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    Wow logos, that's pretty cool!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    God wants to affect our freewill! He wants to move us in the direction that more closely conforms to His will.

    If God were an uninvolved God watching creation from a distance one might be able to make a more persuasive argument that God can know our future without effecting our freewill (the argument still fails logically but it would be far more understandable). Yet that isn't the God of the Bible! Please don't misunderstand, I am not claiming that those arguing for freewill and exhaustive foreknowledge being compatible are claiming God is not involved, far from it! I am simply saying that their argument would be more believable if God weren't a personal God.

    God is in the business of effecting our will without completely controlling our will. Sort of like gathering sheep.
    This is the part that made it click for me.

  13. #13
    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    The TWO FOLD purpose of dispensing foreknowledge.

    Why does God dispense His foreknowledge to us? I assert there is a two fold reason with a single overlying reason. The single overlying reason I explained in my first post in that God wants to affect or will in an attempt to influence our will to more closely conform to His will.

    But now lets dig a little deeper.
    I assert that there is a two fold purpose in making foreknowledge known to others. When I use the word foreknowledge in this post I am speaking of foreknowledge as in the OV version of foreknowledge.

    EXAMPLE:


    When we say to our son who just got a new BB gun....

    "You are going to shoot your eye out with that thing!"

    Our foreknowledge (educated guess) tells us that our child is too inexperienced to understand the safest way to handle the BB gun so he is most likely going to shoot a BB and have it hit him in the eye.

    But why do we dispense our foreknowledge to him? Why do we tell him what we think is going to happen?

    I assert we do this for TWO REASONS:

    ONE. We want to effect the future. We want him to think about safety. We want him to NOT shoot his eye out!!!

    But it doesn't stop there. There is yet another reason we dispensed our foreknowledge to our son.

    TWO. We realize he may not heed our warning and he might STILL get a BB in the eye! And when that happens we want him to realize we were right in our foreknowledge and therefore give our foreknowledge credibility and therefore restore his faith in our enlightened foreknowledge.

    I assert to you that this TWO FOLD tactic is the very reason why God INTERACTS with us and dispenses His foreknowledge to us!

    CASE IN POINT:
    God wanted Peter to be a powerful witness for the gospel, a leader of the church. But God knew Peters heart. God knew Peter's faith was weak. Therefore God interacted with Peter using this TWO FOLD use of foreknowledge.

    God told Peter that Peter would deny Christ three times before the rooster crowed.

    What was the point of this foreknowledge being given to Peter?

    PURPOSE NUMBER ONE:

    God wanted Peter to NOT deny Him! He wanted Peter to NOT shoot his eye out with the BB gun (so to speak). Yet God knowing that Peter was likely going to deny Him anyway reason number two kicked in . . .

    PURPOSE NUMBER TWO:
    God wanted Peter to have renewed faith in God's foreknowledge and therefore renewed faith in God because God was able to accurately predict Peters future actions. Peter could then say to himself "WOW God must be the real God because He knew I was gonna shoot me eye with the BB gun." (so to speak).

    And therefore the overall purpose of the foreknowledge is manifested.... AFFECTING Peter's freewill in a manner which persuaded Peter to conform Peters will more closely to God's will for Peter.

    The dispensing of foreknowledge has NO purpose unless the future is unsettled. Dispensing foreknowledge is a lever to effect future actions.
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    Silver Member kmoney's Avatar
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    Knight,

    Interesting arguments in your original post. I have a question about something you said in this paragraph.....
    A millennia ago did God's perfect exhaustive foreknowledge contain His interaction with us? And of course the answer must be a resounding YES otherwise the foreknowledge isn't perfect yet lacking (lacking the interaction).
    Did God perfectly foreknow His interactions with man infinitely into the past? And if so, doesn't that defeat the purpose of the interaction?
    When you said "infinitely into the past" did you mean "infinitely into the future"?
    If not can you plean explain what you mean because I don't understand what you mean by God knowing his interactions with us infinitely in the past.

    Kevin

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    Pain Killer Prisca's Avatar
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    I really like your analogy. It also demonstrates how God's glory can be seen through our bad choices as well as our good without Him actually orchestrating everything. Well thought out!
    For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
    Galatians 5:13-15

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