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Thread: Interaction with perfect foreknowledge?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    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 us 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.
    The only way your argument makes sense, and this is true of all of the arguments put forth like this, is if foreknowledge=control. It does not demonstrate the notion that foreknowledge=control.
    God . . .even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV


    A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent. . . . John Calvin

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    Exhaustive foreknowledge is only coherent if determinism/fatalism is true. Exhaustive foreknowledge precludes libertarian freedom and wrongly assumes all of the future rather than only some of the future is settled. There are two motifs in Scripture: some of the future is settled/determined/knowable, while other aspects are unsettled/open/unknowable. Both sets of texts are taken literally by Open Theists. The latter set is taken figuratively by Calvinists. God knows possibilities as possible (contingencies) and actualities as certain/actual. He knows reality as it is. The reality is that we are not in a deterministic universe, but one with more than God as a free moral agent. This type of creation necessitates that God cannot know the future exhaustively. The alternative was to not create or to create controlled robots. God is responsive and providential in His sovereignty. He is not a meticulous control freak.

    The theological debate is compatibilism vs incompatibilism. OT is generally in the latter group (except Molinism?).
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    Quote Originally Posted by godrulz
    Exhaustive foreknowledge is only coherent if determinism/fatalism is true. Exhaustive foreknowledge precludes libertarian freedom and wrongly assumes all of the future rather than only some of the future is settled. There are two motifs in Scripture: some of the future is settled/determined/knowable, while other aspects are unsettled/open/unknowable. Both sets of texts are taken literally by Open Theists. The latter set is taken figuratively by Calvinists. God knows possibilities as possible (contingencies) and actualities as certain/actual. He knows reality as it is. The reality is that we are not in a deterministic universe, but one with more than God as a free moral agent. This type of creation necessitates that God cannot know the future exhaustively. The alternative was to not create or to create controlled robots. God is responsive and providential in His sovereignty. He is not a meticulous control freak.

    The theological debate is compatibilism vs incompatibilism. OT is generally in the latter group (except Molinism?).
    Here is the problem. And I am not going to get into all this again, but I felt compelled to once again point out the problem. In all the arguments put forth, the "fact" that foreknowledge precludes freedom is simply asserted and never demonstrated. With due respect to Knight, his argument seems to be that "foreknowledge precludes freedom because foreknowledge precludes freedom." If I am missing something with regard to that statement, please let me know.
    God . . .even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV


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    Quote Originally Posted by docrob57
    Here is the problem. And I am not going to get into all this again, but I felt compelled to once again point out the problem. In all the arguments put forth, the "fact" that foreknowledge precludes freedom is simply asserted and never demonstrated. With due respect to Knight, his argument seems to be that "foreknowledge precludes freedom because foreknowledge precludes freedom." If I am missing something with regard to that statement, please let me know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    Do you believe God's perfect foreknowledge can change?
    No, but again, that doesn't solve the problem. Beleive it or not, I am open to this possibility, but I still haven't seen a convincing argument. The statement "God knows X is going to happen" is not the same as "God causes X to happen."

    For example. Clearly God knew from the beginning that we would need a Savior. Did God cause us to turn from Him so that we would need that Savior? I don't think so, do you?
    God . . .even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV


    A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent. . . . John Calvin

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    Quote Originally Posted by docrob57
    No, but again, that doesn't solve the problem. Beleive it or not, I am open to this possibility, but I still haven't seen a convincing argument. The statement "God knows X is going to happen" is not the same as "God causes X to happen."
    If God's foreknowledge cannot change then nothing can happen unless it is contained within God's foreknowledge.

    Do you disagree with that statement?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    If God's foreknowledge cannot change then nothing can happen unless it is contained within God's foreknowledge.

    Do you disagree with that statement?
    No, I do disagree that this means that God caused to happen what He foreknew would happen. You can use the argument of God's interaction with humanity to make the opposite point. If God did not know what was going to happen if He didn't act, why would He act to begin with?
    God . . .even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV


    A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent. . . . John Calvin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    If God's foreknowledge cannot change then nothing can happen unless it is contained within God's foreknowledge.

    Do you disagree with that statement?
    It happens as it is contained within His foreknowledge, not because or as a condition there of. So I disagree.

    "nothing can happen unless it is contained within God's foreknowledge."

    could be written

    "anything can happen but it always happens within God's Foreknowledge"

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    Quote Originally Posted by docrob57
    No, I do disagree that this means that God caused to happen what He foreknew would happen. You can use the argument of God's interaction with humanity to make the opposite point. If God did not know what was going to happen if He didn't act, why would He act to begin with?
    • Freedom of choice means I have the ability to choose to do or to do otherwise.
    • Love must be chosen.
    • Therefore if I have no freedom of choice I cannot love.


    • If the future is closed I cannot do other than what the closed future has in store for me to do, I cannot do otherwise.
    • Therefore if the future is closed I have no freedom of choice.
    • Therefore if the future is closed I cannot love.

    • The inability to love is antithetical to everything Christianity is about.
    • Therefore the future cannot be closed if Christianity is true at all.
    • Christianity must be true because of the rational impossiibilty of the contrary (I will not establish this point).
    • Therefore the future is open.



    Resting in Him,
    Clete

    I see that eccl3_6 has just posted while I was typing this up so I'm done here. You guys will have to discuss this line of reasoning without further comment on it from me on this thread.
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete
    • Freedom of choice means I have the ability to choose to do or to do otherwise.
    • Love must be chosen.
    • Therefore if I have no freedom of choice I cannot love.


    • If the future is closed I cannot do other than what the closed future has in store for me to do, I cannot do otherwise.
    • Therefore if the future is closed I have no freedom of choice.
    • Therefore if the future is closed I cannot love.

    • The inability to love is antithetical to everything Christianity is about.
    • Therefore the future cannot be closed if Christianity is true at all.
    • Christianity must be true because of the rational impossiibilty of the contrary (I will not establish this point).
    • Therefore the future is open.



    Resting in Him,
    Clete

    I see that eccl3_6 has just posted while I was typing this up so I'm done here. You guys will have to discuss this line of reasoning without further comment on it from me on this thread.
    Before continuing Brother Knight, could you address the question that I asked. As to the above, a logical argument is only as good as its premises, and there seem to be some premise problems above which I will get to later.
    God . . .even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV


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    Quote Originally Posted by eccl3_6
    "anything can happen but it always happens within God's Foreknowledge"
    If the "Fore" in foreknowledge means "before" (which of course it does) then your statement is false.

    Anything cannot happen if only one possible future exists which is contained in God's perfect foreknowledge which doesn't change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by docrob57
    No, I do disagree that this means that God caused to happen what He foreknew would happen. You can use the argument of God's interaction with humanity to make the opposite point. If God did not know what was going to happen if He didn't act, why would He act to begin with?
    You disagree with the following statement?
    If God's foreknowledge cannot change then nothing can happen unless it is contained within God's foreknowledge.


    How could you possibly disagree with that statement?

    What can happen that isn't contained in God's perfect foreknowledge?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    You disagree with the following statement?

    How could you possibly disagree with that statement?

    What can happen that isn't contained in God's perfect foreknowledge?
    I don't disagree with that, read what I wrote again. And please answer my question.
    God . . .even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV


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    Quote Originally Posted by docrob57
    I don't disagree with that, read what I wrote again. And please answer my question.
    sorry, I mispread your post. - My bad!

    You asked . . .
    If God did not know what was going to happen if He didn't act, why would He act to begin with?
    Great question!

    I do not reject foreknowldge (no open theist does). It's exhaustive, perfect foreknowldge that I reject.

    If God can "see" what's coming in the form of a prediction God may want to intervene to change the course of history.

    Yet if the course of history is already contained within God's foreknowledge - changing the course of history becomes impossible and therefore His interaction with us has no purpose.

    You must ask yourself. Can God change the course of history He FOREsees?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    sorry, I mispread your post. - My bad!

    You asked . . .Great question!

    I do not reject foreknowldge (no open theist does). It's exhaustive, perfect foreknowldge that I reject.

    If God can "see" what's coming in the form of a prediction God may want to intervene to change the course of history.

    Yet if the course of history is already contained within God's foreknowledge - changing the course of history becomes impossible and therefore His interaction with us has no purpose.

    You must ask yourself. Can God change the course of history He FOREsees?
    Maybe this is just semantics then. This is what I think.

    God knows what will happen if he does act and if he doesn't. He does at times intervene to change the course from what would have happened otherwise. He knows what the outcome of his action is. He is not suprised when one thing or another happens.

    Do we agree to this point?
    God . . .even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV


    A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent. . . . John Calvin

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