On the omniscience of God

Lon

Well-known member
If God is omniscient which He is,
The proposition is sound, but an Open Theist would need the above proved. If however you meant "Let's say that nobody debated that God was omniscient..."
why do men believe in Open Theism
"...then would men be able to be Open Theists?" ...could be meaningfully answered. The answer would be 'no.' I believe from a physics standpoint (all created things) that we can show that " God knows all things knowable" (Open Theist paradigm given as true), necessarily applies to all created things, if Einstein's theory is consistently true (E=mc2). If we could/can show Peter meant "everything" literally when he said "all things," John 21:17 (perhaps quoting Psalm 139:1-6) we could prove omniscience from scripture (among other scripture considerations).

I do believe there is an onus, upon me, to show why I believe they do teach exactly that. A few scriptures do come to mind (listed in thread now). Foreknowledge is another: the 'literal' meaning is "knows" (not implication - 'knows' implicitly) "beforehand." It is at least strong evidence for the proposition. The immediate verse following John 21:18 is a revelation of foreknowledge regarding Peter's end of life. If there were any qualification we could infer, we'd truly want to see it in scripture: some incredibly pedantic expiation of 'all things that "I" can actually know.' The only thing we have that would even call us to question, would be "Adam where are you?" as if God didn't know.
While one and the other (Omniscience vs. limited) have implications that can assault our theology understanding, I've reckoned that the Open paradigm does more damage to what I expect to be Biblically true as well as doesn't ring true with all of scripture. While it may seem "Adam, where are you?" is damaged by omniscience, it is ever my understanding that God uses scriptures instructionally for 'my' (all men) understanding, thus does anthropomorphize language to us. He didn't ever need to 'come down.' If you follow: God could have sent an angel. It is always, rather, because the men (Adam, Lot) needed God's interaction. It necessitates that we realize God came not to 'find out' but 'to interact.' I do see dilemma, in that "If not I will know" implies His reason (not clearly stated) for 'coming down,' but that is rather an implication. Reading the rest of Genesis 18, we get the sense that both Abraham and God knew how many were righteous. Sodom and Gomorrah were not spared.
 

ttruscott

Active member
God knows all things knowable
the pagans like to add: from eternity past to eternity future, a good bit of logic if you don't know GOD which the Church accepted even though it conflicts directly with HIS other attributes of lovinging, righteous justice.

IF this definition of omniscience is true, all HE had to do to keep hell empty, as HE has told us was HIS desire and pleasure, was to not create those who HE knew would end in hell. The fact HE did create them is all the proof I need to see that we must redo the definition of HIS omniscience because a loving righteous and just Being would never knowing create those to eternal damnation for no good reason.
 
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Lon

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the pagans like to add: from eternity past to eternity future, a good bit of logic if you don't know GOD which the Church accepted even though it conflicts directly with HIS other attributes of lovinging, righteous justice.
Problem: It is a surmised assumption based on the line of reasoning that also assumes a truth. It isn't really engaging truth (of scripture) but sidestepping it to embrace an assumption. In this case "pagan" enters as a pejorative (much like "Greeks"). It next assumes that logic and love for God are in conflict. Even Clete would step in here against that blanketed assertion: it needs work. Finally, It doesn't, as far as 'my' apprehension, conflict at all with loving righteousness or justice.
IF this definition of omniscience is true, all HE had to do to keep hell empty, as HE has told us was HIS desire and pleasure, was to not create those who HE knew would end in hell. The fact HE did create them is all the proof I need to see that we must redo the definition of HIS omniscience because a loving righteous and just Being would never knowing create those to eternal damnation for no good reason.
My perspective: the parable of the wheat and tares rings true and accurate for my grasp:

Matthew 13:24b-29 “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”

While it may not seem 'loving' the parable is very loving. The reason given to answer your posit, from the parable is love and concern that no wheat is harmed. It explains why we go through what we go through in life through difficulty. If I may, the parable speaks both to traditional and Open Theism concerns well. It also works both for omniscience or what 'all things knowable.'

I've stated in the past that 'all things knowable' would also mean where Adam and Eve were. Such was wholly knowable without having to 'come down' because David reminds us nothing can flee from His presence "Omnipresence," Psalms 139: 7–8 "You are already there, wherever I go" and it is wholly 'knowable.' It means even many Open Theists deny that God didn't know where Adam was. It was why Sanders asked Enyart: It is one story that challenges Open paradigms.
 

Lon

Well-known member


Will Duffy (I believe this one was at an earlier date Dec 1, 2017) makes mistakes and when he argues for one thing and 'assumes' the second part of a truth. Open Theism most often misrepresents views it doesn't grasp and often assumes its own preference like "Change."
It goes back to a clock analogy as before: Will would argue a clock changes and yet I'd argue that if that is the kind of 'change' he is advocating, it is more than Calvinistic, it is fatalism where the clock is 'fated' to change 1) with no say and 2) with no ability but to 'change' and 'choose' from a very limited repertoire. Such a definition scope of 'change' isn't meaningful for these discussions. There needs to be a LOT more defining of terms and agreement upon them. I noticed again, in this debate, part of it could have proceeded a bit better upon definitions agreement.

Will is correct that prayer doesn't 'change.' It 'makes.' Matt did a good job of explaining his position about the future (almost agreeing with Open Theists that the future is somewhat open).

I'm more aligned with AMR's position on this one, that the future if fully known with our prayers already ordained as well. For me, prayer doesn't 'change' but 'makes' something happen. Whenever we interact, like here in thread, we aren't so much 'change' agents as people who influence one another. I'd not say your future was 'changed' because I exist and have influence, but that I've simply made it with you and you with me.

Yes, Will believes with Open Theists, that the future will 'change' but he incorrectly assumes 'change' is necessary for God or that 'new' is necessary. They are loaded words where I believe better words fit. If we aren't exacting in our theology, then the inaccuracies will play a role in misinforming our theologies respectively.

The being of God is 1) Already eternal, thus anything 'new' is ALREADY eternal. In that sense, no, just as Lamentations declares "There is nothing new under the sun." If something is 'already' it already doesn't fit the definition of 'new.' 2) Such things WILL be new to us, if we have never seen or heard them before, BECAUSE we are finite-growing-toward-the-infinite. We sometimes confuse the two and it does hurt our theology.



Most of Duffy's proofs are from a desired premise, like 'new' thus circular. It assumes one to prove the other.

Hezekiah: God was telling the truth. IN FACT, 'telling Hezekiah' MADE Hezekiah live longer o_O

No Will. God is not constrained by His own Unchangeable will. You are missing, again, that 'without Him, NOTHING comes into being, that comes into being' (Colossians 1).

Let us see if Will Duffy is correct:

Will: There are no verses (in the Bible)that say God is outside of time.

First of all, clarification: We do not say God is wholly outside of time. We say He is relational to, yet unconstrained by it. Further, we say time is created.

John 17:5 '...before the cosmos existed...'Will Duffy shows no grasp of Einstein's theory of relativity nor E=Mc2. Both are proven true in all kinds of experiments and consistently reveal that time is 'relative' not a constant. No physicist to date has been able to assail the theory, just the opposite: That the theory is proven accurate for all predictions about time and the universe: that it is relative and not a constant.

Finally then: 2 Timothy 1:9 Literally before time began 0.o

Will: Never an eternal now.
"...same Yesterday, Today, and Forever..."
"...before...was...<ahem> --> "Am"

Sorry Will.

Will: No verse that says God created time.
I'll give this one but if you understand 2 Timothy 1:9, where then did 'time begin?' 🤔

Will: No verse that says God knew us before we were conceived.

Er, no. First of all David says literally "You knit me in my mother's womb." Nobody starts a sweater before they just begin 'knitting' willynilly. This doesn't even make sense, Will.

Will: There are no scriptures showing God 'can' change the past.
Non sequitur: You'd have to admit that He can. Changing the past is literally an act. Changing records, wiping memories, altering all ensuing consequences would make it literally like it didn't happen. This is just a logically consistent position. It is a bit moot for any discussion, it is simply an arguing point that even Will cannot defend to any successful degree. He nor I likely know of a scripture that says God can or cannot. Mark 14:16 is as close as I remember scripture coming to the idea: "It'd be better if that man were never born."

In another sense, both the Open Theist and the rest of Christendom wouldn't be caught up in Him changing history. 1) we literally wouldn't know it and 2) it affects our theology outcome similarly so isn't a prime point of discussion. The rest of Christianity believe He works 'all things to the good' such that a redo isn't something necessary. I simply believe, we who have a logic, follow that God could, as Romans 9 says, do whatever He wants with His own creation, and 'redos' while unecessary are certainly possibly/plausible.

Part of this Open conundrum is due to how we as finite beings conceive of the 'past.' We see it as indelible but in every sense that it is tied to our physical existence, it is but an aspect. It may be difficult to wrap the mind around, but Einstein's theory made past/present/and future more akin to 'eternal now' (not even so much Greeks at this point as modern physical science, so Will Duffy was wrong on this point, for blaming Greeks as well). If one doesn't grasp that past/present/and future are more fluid, they will continue to think of God in terms of His being a product at worst, coeternal at best, with the universe. It is not His maker, He rather its. It is a huge flip in the mind that must be grasped else one will continue to think like an Open Theist. Important? No, at least for me, it is better than other kinds of alternatives out there. I'd much rather see men and women wrestling with God at this level, than ignoring their scriptures or grasping scriptures on a superstitious level as many denominations have done/still do. I do believe I can reason with Open Theists.

Will: No verse that says God knows everything that will ever happen.

In those exact words? I agree, I don't recall them. In something that means exactly that? Nope. David was asking God if Saul would find Him if he and his men went one way. God said 'yep.' Prophecy is ability to either 'see or make' (or both) something in the future happen.

Even by Open standards, TOL member Godrulz and Knight have said "God is a master chess player, He knows every move." If that's the case, then it is the definition of foreknowledge. The Bible says God literally 'knows' "beforehand." It may not lead to knowing 'everything' but it certainly pinpoints a genuine ability to know beforehand. Peter told Jesus "Lord you know all things." Did he miss 'about me'? Was that the part of scripture left out? 🤔

Will Duffy: God doesn't decree everything to happen. It is not found in scripture but theology and philosophy.

Acts 4:27–28 "according to Your predestined plan"
It isn't proof again of 'everything' but how did the Apostles know? James 4 specifically (SPECIFICALLY mind you) says: James 4:13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.

Proverbs 3:5,6 and 16:9 are prohibitions against thinking God doesn't decree.

While I might give Will some space for what he believes is not 'emphatic' in scripture, I have to call his complete scripture knowledge into question, because scripture talks much about God's decrees. Every little thing? From James, Job and other passages, it'd seem so and/or at the very least, that we should live as if we assume so, not assume not, so much so that James calls the other 'sin' and 'not good.' Whatever we Christians believe, we don't want it to ever fall into the camp of 'evil,boastful,' and 'not good.'

Will: There are dozens of verses that say "God changed His mind." Literally none. There isn't one verse in the whole of the Bible that uses that very modern colloquial term. Literally none. "Changing one's mind" is literally not possible. Brain transplants? Nope. Literally think a different way than your own personality already dictates? Nope. Worse: Does God EVER do wrong? (no) There are indeed scriptures that say "God repented." The word is more akin to 'relented' than the idea most attributed to it by Open Theists "changed His mind." In fact, in most of the passages Will addresses, there has already been 'options' to influence behavior and outcomes.

Finally, Will talks of Jesus 'growing' and 'learning obedience' as well as God 'becoming' Creator.

For the most part, these are arguments 'inside' and 'experiencing' time from man's perspective. Again, if one grasps Einstein's theory of relativity, the greater something is 'in' the universe (let alone out of it), then 'learned' is about that thing/being (Jesus) going through the thing 'in' time, not experiencing it as the whole.

Illustration: When I put my hand in the fish tank, I'm partially wet, but I'm mostly dry. In the same sense, God is relational to us. He is 'partially' in time thus partially experiencing while with us, our constraints. It is what is meant in Philippians 2:5-10 and John 1:1-18

And and explanation: When I made my fishtank, I had all the materials, the dirt, the grasses, the rocks, the filters, the lights, and the water. While I am not a fish, I would in a sense 'experience' all the things I already know, if I could shrink down and become a fish. God already knows what man is. Colossians 1:15ff says nothing that exists that exists without Him and all things came from Him. In Genesis, God spoke and all became. All of finite man's thoughts are tied to this physical universe. We have no concept of speaking anything literally into existence from a being that has no mouth. We are caught in anthropomorphic understandings.

Back to Einstein, the greater one is in the universe, the less time affects the observer. As the observer of the whole of the universe, nothing would appear to move, but simultaneously and this is the theory proven by Einstein's relativity.

Whatever part of God 'emptied Himself' in Philippians is the part that experiences like you and I while God is still outside of the physical parameters (and inside) of the universe, thus we necessarily have to say God is both relational to (in) and apart (out) of the universe at the same time. It 'seems' contradictory at face value, but I believe this part of the discussion proves out that any one can follow and grasp the point.

Will's closing remarks at the 29 minute mark then, are shown inaccurate.

Matt Slick: Open Theism is akin to Mormonism

I had posted on CARM a few times, but the heavy-handed authoritarianism that comes from Matt in debate here, is also present on the CARM website. After one warning, I realized, not being 'my' website, that I wasn't going to take that, having a fair share of scripture myself.

In Matt's defense, Will is a bit like that too, so I understood some of Matt's frustration during the debate.

Psalm 139:16 Job 14:45 His days are determined.
God can declare.

Matt is correct, but these do not show exhaustively.

Foreknowledge isn't a force (can be).

Matt seems to desire to not restrict 'freewill.'

I'm not committed to a necessity to defend freewill at all, because for me, it is the mark of our fallen nature. I was more free before sin. My will was more free. Now instead I agree with Paul in Romans 6 and 7 "the good I want to do" ('free'will?) I don't do and that which I do not want to do (a will that is truly 'free?') I do.

Matt talks about immutable characteristics which most Open Theists I've come across also believe. In the infancy of debate with Open Theists, I think this had to be hammered out but Open Theists don't deny God's immutable character, just believe He interacts.

Matt does a good job of addressing "it did not enter my mind" from Open Theism by showing that it 'had crossed His mind" in Deuteronomy.

Will asks: Is God 'free.'

Not exactly: "Free" simply means without constraints and God's own character dictates actions. That is why the 'Greeks' had a hard time, logically with the question, but Scriptures do too: "Stand silent, and know 'I' am God." "Be Holy as I'm Holy."

Will: Could God have added another grain of sand to the universe?

Yes, but it answers the question of 'power' not about 'freedom.'

Will: Do you agree that God is not 'free?'

Me: doesn't apply. It is like asking if God could make a rock He cannot pick up.

I'm a bit with Matt on this: "Free" is 'without' restraint so 'defining the term' is important.

Will: Can God write a new song? Can God make a new butterfly?

No: "New" is a finite perspective. For us? Yes. It'd be new to us.

So can God 'decree' something 'new?' For us? Yes. For Him, who knows all things? No. It'd not be new for Him.

Will: God 'cannot' write a new song or create something 'new.' Not exactly: "New" to us. It is part of the relational yet apart.

Will: Do you agree that God cannot do something that He did not decree.

Me: another way of asking if God can do something 'new.'
New for us, not to Him.

Will: Did Jesus have to 'ability' to call angels?
Did God not have the ability to deliver Jesus?

He had ability but the 'decree' was to save man through Jesus.

I'm not sure if Will is trying to fight for 'what ifs' and ability to 'do other.' I can say to my brother, 'put your fists down, I can fight for myself.' It doesn't mean I have to fight. There is no lie in saying "I can fight if I want to do so."

Matt, I believe is correct that Will conflates ability and decree.

Will: God hopes

Romans 15:13 "God of Hope" Read Romans 15:12, not the God 'Who hopes' but God as the object of hope of "the Gentiles."


Will Duffy: It did not enter God's mind that Hinnom would offer women to Molech.

Me: No, It did not enter His mind 'to command them' to do this. We have to pay attention to actual phrases in the Bible. Matt Slick showed previously God knew it was happening. We must therefore read Jeremiah 32:35 as it never entering God's mind, not that they did it but that they should think God would command such a thing. Literally "It isn't something I'd ever ask of anybody, ever!"

In Jeremiah 32:35, it isn't that He didn't have knowledge, but not such a wicked command.

Will Duffy: What about Isaiah 5 where God expected Israel to turn to Him?

1) Then Christ would have never been prophesied.
2) Isaiah said "let ME sing a song 'for' God (my Beloved)." It needs to be read as Isaiah's song with poetic liberty that puts onus upon men for their unfaithfulness. Did God 'expect' good grapes?

Open Theist tend to have God working 'on the fly.'
Isaiah 5:7 gives a clearer picture of this 'expectation.' It isn't a God caught unaware (the prophets had already told them what would happen 'if' so it'd be wrong to think of 'expectation' as bewilderment as such an idea does damage to the rest of scripture), but that God demands responsibility. That we are responsible is His expectation. It doesn't mean surprised.

Will got lost in the story: God didn't literally build a winepress.


Will: What does it mean that God regretted?

It doesn't mean a second-guess of His own actions, but the actions that took place.

Will: Then didn't God know they were going to be bad?

Me: Yes, but it simply shows God's thoughts while going through that part with men. He is both relational and apart from His creation.

It is also very important to know the difference between 'translation' and actual. Nacham doesn't mean "change mind" as previously discussed (very modern colloquialism that is very inaccurate and problematic for Hebrew translation). It means literally 'to sigh deeply.'

Will said God knew where Adam and Eve were. Kudos Will. Exactly right.

I disagree with Matt: God in no way 'changes His mind.' It never happens.

Will: "Every time God 'repents' means He regrets something."
Incorrect. It is a Hebrew word that means 'to sigh heavily.' From that are all kinds of ideas that often fly wild (let alone wide) of the mark. It is problematic and greatly affects one's theology to use a colloquialism from the 20th century that isn't even possible. Literally nobody can change their mind. Yes, we grasp a bit of the meaning when I say "I'm doing something different" but only because I'm not omniscient. I'm human. I STILL never change my mind. It is way more accurate to say: we ran out of time so will do C instead of B. It is a change in action, not mind. My mind is still back there wanting B. I literally did not change my mind. It is much more problematic as an idiom when trying to attribute something so inaccurate to the mind and actions of God.



Jeremiah 18 if that nation repents, I'll no longer do what I was going to do.
Not a change of mind: again simply an action. This consequence follows this action, this other consequence follow this other action: Like driving through a stop light. If Green, good consequence. If red, poor consequence. The light literally doesn't change its mind nor did the driver. No change of mind was going on. If I 'control' the light (a sensor could have judged Nineveh). Whether God is actively controlling the light or whether there was a 'switch' already in place, it requires no 'change of mind.' It really is a poor concept for understanding actions and consequences.

Will Duffy: Does God test people?

Yes, for them.

Will might have asked: Did "Now I know that you have not witheld your son" mean God didn't know, but now He does? Does He learn something from the test?
Me: No. "Now I know" is a translation.

Will: Do you believe in God's impeccability?
Me: Yes. Jesus could not have sinned.

Will: Was God the Son more perfect with one nature or two?

Me: Yes! Perfection is perfection.

Matt: Does God's Divine Holy Trinitarian nature change? He is immutable?

Will: Yes

Matt: When Jesus became a man, there was no change
WIll: Mark 13:32 "Only the Father knows the hour."
Matt: Revelation 19:12 Jesus' Name that only He knows.

Matt: Are the laws of logic unchangeable?

Will: No

Me: Yes. Logic is simply the disciplined study of meaning and is wholly an apprehension of man.

"Truth" rather, is the absolute unchanging reality of God. We use 'logic' (we study and find meaning) by observing the unchanging reality of God.

Jesus didn't say "true worshippers must worship Him in Logic and Spirit" but "Spirit and Truth."

Matt: The laws of logic are the emmination of the character of God.

Me: Disagree. "Logic" and "Truth" are not synonymous terms.

When God says Come let us reason "logic" can be be interchanged here. When we come to God we bring 'our' apprehension and ability (form of logic) to His (not just logic but all that is true).

Matt: Does God know all of Himself
Will: No.

Will: God cannot have love without 'risk.'
Me: Not true else Adam and Eve didn't love Him.

Will: God can choose not to be Holy. God can choose to sin.

Matt: Did God fore'know' He was going to make the earth?
Will: in a nutshell, didn't 'know' but had more akin to 'forethought'

Me: One thing from the debate: Both sides did a good job of exposing chinks/holes in the other's theological armor. Questions that get us to think more deeply about our own theological position are very worthy of our time.


Matt: Do you believe in God's Aseity (self-sufficiency).
Will: Yes

Matt: Is your will coerced or independent?
Will: coerced
Matt: How do you know you have an uncoerced will?
Will: I have autonomous freewill, God has autonomous freewill

Matt: Do you pray?
Will: Yes but why do Calvinists if everyone is already predestined?
Matt: Why would an Open Theist pray for anyone who has a completely autonomous freewill (when its not possible)?


Me: Oddly, I've not heard most Open Theists talk about an autonomous freewill. Most I've talked to believe 'free' is not completely autonomous. For instance: I cannot spring feathers and fly. Meaning? I don't even have the 'power' to be completely free.

Matt: 2 Timothy 1:29 Why does God grant us repentance.
John 6:65 Cannot come to me, unless it has been granted.
Philippians 1:29

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Matt: Proverbs 16:4 God makes all things, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Will: I don't believe that.

Matt: Freewill is the ability to make uncoerced decisions.

Matt: is the ability of man to make a choice, caused?
Will: No, autonomous.

Matt: Can God lie?
Will: Yes, to the wicked.

Matt: Can God sin?
Will: Yes.

Matt: God does not have the ability to sin.
Will: Confusing ability with desire
Matt: A God who can lie is from
From Plato, Greeks, Islam, Socinians

Matt: Ontological nature of God prevents Him lying or sin.

Will: Matt had a difficult time answering whether or not God could have done differently with the universe or 'new' things.

Will: God is not bound by anything

Will: The incarnation shows God exists in sequence and has a past, and went from one nature to two. Will: perfection doesn't mean changeless. A perfect baby grows to be a man....

Me: Not the definition of perfection. Matthew 5:48

"best"

Will: In Jonah, Nineveh wasn't destroyed.

Me: Used for everyone to show their theological perspective. Again: it is problematic to say God 'repents' as something in His mind. It is an action verb that simply means 'do something different' not 'change one's mind.'

Will: God takes risks is negative I've been told.

Me: True. It is playing a dice game with lives.

Will: Freewill is necessary for love to exist

Me: Not true.


Matt: Will failed to recognize that foreknowledge is descriptive, not causative.

(reason why some are double-pred Calvinists and why most Open Theists press the problem to all Calvinists).

Matt, even with a bit of authoritarian heavy-handedness, does a fairly good job of handling Calvinist discussion.

Matt: Yes, I believe God experiences sequence.

Me: Me too, but it is a partiality.

Matt: Incarnation isn't ontology change (His nature doesn't and didn't change).

Me: Relativity helps: The whole does not experience on the level of a part BUT Jesus entered the world (part).

Matt: Num 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Titus 1:2 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began

Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.

Matt: Ephesians 1:5
I'm just quoting scripture.
Presupposition will have you rejecting the word of God.

Me: True.

Matt: A rejection of God 'granting' salvation is an elevation of autonomous freewill

Me: also keeps us from coming to God in thankfulness for many aspects of my own salvation. An autonomous(absolute) free-will strips me of gratitude for things He has done that I would otherwise take credit for.

It'd be like: "Thank you Jesus for saving me!"
Lord Jesus Christ: "You did a lot of it yourself. You chose this."

Bob Enyart: What does it mean that God is outside of Time?

Matt: What did you mean? https://carm.org/about-god/is-god-outside-of-time/

Question: What translations can we trust?
Matt: All of them, just know when an expression has been used, don't get stuck on translation for theology.

Me: We have to use resources to look further into meanings.

Question: Doesn't Psalm 139 just say God knows us at our conception?
Will: Psalm 139:13-16
God can look at our DNA and know a lot about us.

Me: James 4, as discussed tells us not to be presumptuous but instead say 'as the Lord wills.'

We aren't just given an idea that God knitted us in Psalm 139 but that God formed us AND saw our UNFORMED being.

Matt does a good job saying what most Calvinists believe over those of the small extreme group or what Calvinists most get characterized as.

Was my wife destined for me?

Me: Yep, much like Matt.
 

marke

Well-known member


Will Duffy (I believe this one was at an earlier date Dec 1, 2017) makes mistakes and when he argues for one thing and 'assumes' the second part of a truth. Open Theism most often misrepresents views it doesn't grasp and often assumes its own preference like "Change."
It goes back to a clock analogy as before: Will would argue a clock changes and yet I'd argue that if that is the kind of 'change' he is advocating, it is more than Calvinistic, it is fatalism where the clock is 'fated' to change 1) with no say and 2) with no ability but to 'change' and 'choose' from a very limited repertoire. Such a definition scope of 'change' isn't meaningful for these discussions. There needs to be a LOT more defining of terms and agreement upon them. I noticed again, in this debate, part of it could have proceeded a bit better upon definitions agreement.
Because God is as present and at the same 'time' in the end as He is in the beginning He cannot help but know the end from the beginning. He does not mandate and control events and people so things will turn out the way He 'planned.' He knows how things will turn out because he dwells in eternity which is not bound by time.
 
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Lon

Well-known member
Because God is as present and at the same 'time' in the end as He is in the beginning He cannot help but know the end from the beginning. He does not mandate and control events and people so things will turn out the way He 'planned.' He knows how things will turn out because he dwells in eternity which is not bound by time.
It makes sense if explained this way, but I really do appreciate that Open Theists make me think, pray, and study. -Lon
 

oatmeal

Well-known member
Been watching a lot of Soteriology101 videos recently, in which Dr. Leighton Flowers consistently shows the errors of Calvinism, and promotes "Provisionism," which teaches that God has provided a way of salvation for mankind. (I definitely recommend listening to his shows on YT.)

But he pokes at the Open Theist camp (in love, of course) saying that he rejects our (as I am an Open Theist, too) view of God's omniscience, which is that God can know all things knowable, but also that God does not know the future. He obviously (because his show isn't really about Open Theism so much as it is Provisionism and attacking Calvinism,

I figured I'd start this thread to discuss what it means for God to be omniscient.
Omniscient meaning all knowing, I presume that is your defininition.

For me, that begs many questions. If we look at two Greek words for "to know" we have oida, meaning to mentally perceive, and ginosko, meaning to know by experience. I can understand God knowing, oida, but not ginosko, for to experience something is far different than simply being aware of something. God is good always because God is love and God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Does God know evil because He has done evil? No, God does not do evil, although He does permit it to happen because He gave His intelligent beings, ie, man and angels, free will. Not all angels chose to obey God, thus Lucifer, the dragon was cast down from heaven. Man, obviously, does not obey God all the time, with the notable exception of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, who always did the Father's will.

Thus we need to define "to know"
 

Hawkins

Active member
God's omniscience and omnipresence are not something uncontrollable, or else He's not omnipotent. Both omniscience and omnipresence are based off God's omnipotence. They both reflect God's ability. God thus can choose not to know what the wicked do while He counts the number of hairs His sheep have. The wicked are still choosing their choices in the absence of God's knowledge.

Our choices are made based on two prerequisites. First, we made our choices out of a list of possibilities. God has control over that list. That is, if God doesn't want an outcome as your choice, He can remove that choice from your possibility list, such that you don't have such a choice to choose from. The Holy Spirit can guide slightly to certain choices, while the devil can tempt you to pick some other choices in the list. Second, we make choices along the axis to time. God on the other hand, is not bound by time. Our reasoning of cause and effect is about how something in a time spot affects another later time spot on the time axis. We can't apply this reasoning of cause and effect to God as He doesn't need to follow the same rule. Cause and effect are only fully applicable to humans as we are living in an axis of time. God may respect cause and effect to a certain extent, but He's not controlled by such an element of time.

Similarly for His omnipresence. In a so called permanent separation from God, God is not present in a burning to watch what the wicked doing. They are the abandoned on their own, without God's knowledge and without God's presence. God has all the ability to choose not to be there and not to know them, though by His capability He can be there and can know what they are doing. It is as a matter of God's own preference.
 
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Clete

Truth Smacker
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God's omniscience and omnipresence are not something uncontrollable, or else He's not omnipotent. Both omniscience and omnipresence are based off God's omnipotence. They both reflect God's ability. God thus can choose not to know what the wicked do while He counts the number of hairs His sheep have. The wicked are still choosing their choices in the absence of God's knowledge.

Our choices are made based on two prerequisites. First, we made our choices out of a list of possibilities. God has control over that list. That is, if God doesn't want an outcome as your choice, He can remove that choice from your possibility list, such that you don't have such a choice to choose from. The Holy Spirit can guide slightly to certain choices, while the devil can tempt you to pick some other choices in the list. Second, we make choices along the axis to time. God on the other hand, is not bound by time. Our reasoning of cause and effect is about how something in a time spot affects another later time spot on the time axis. We can't apply this reasoning of cause and effect to God as He doesn't need to follow the same rule. Cause and effect are only fully applicable to humans as we are living in an axis of time. God may respect cause and effect to a certain extent, but He's not controlled by such an element of time.

Similarly for His omnipresence. In a so called permanent separation from God, God is not present in a burning to watch what the wicked doing. They are the abandoned on their own, without God's knowledge and without God's presence. God has all the ability to choose not to be there and not to know them, though by His capability He can be there and can know what they are doing. It is as a matter of God's own preference.
All nonsensical gibberish that the bible does not teach (but that Plato did teach). God is neither omniscient nor omnipresent and is only omnipotent to the extent that He hasn't delegated power to others.

God can do anything that is doable. God CANNOT do the absurd. He cannot stop being God, for example, nor can He create a contradiction like perfectly round spheres with flat sides and sharp corners or go to a place that does not exist.

All power that exists has God as it's ultimate source but does not all reside with God now as He has given (delegated) power to others, which is His right as is the ability to recall that power at will.

God knows what He wants to know of that which is knowable.

God is everywhere He wants to be but is in no place that He desires to be absent from.

And lastly, it is laughably false to say anything even similar to "Both omniscience and omnipresence are based off God's omnipotence."! That is so far away from being right that it's just impossible to believe that you've even bothered to pretend like you're educating yourself on the subject. All of the omni-attributes of God come from Plato and Aristotle. That's why they call it Classical Theism. The logical basis of which is not the notion that God is omnipotent but that God cannot change in any way whatsoever. The classical understanding of divine immutability is the foundation upon which every single Calvinist distinctive doctrine and many Augustinian (i.e. Catholic) doctrines are based, including all of the Omni-attributes. In fact, Calvinism is nothing more than reformed Augustinianism, especially in regards to Calvinist Theology Proper (i.e. the attributes of God). And there isn't a single syllable of it that is biblical or even rational for that matter.

Clete
 
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Lon

Well-known member
God's omniscience and omnipresence are not something uncontrollable,
Awkward. It pits a characteristic 'against' the Being possessing the attribute, as such, it causes, if you will, perhaps a false dilemma THUS provides for the proof of something already assumed.
or else He's not omnipotent.
I don't believe these are exclusive. However, such already allows 'omni's' into the discussion as givens, if you follow.
Both omniscience and omnipresence are based off God's omnipotence.
I don't believe I agree on this point, such would be nearly impossible for finite beings to assert.
They both reflect God's ability.
Or just attribute. Admitting any omni, already causes trouble with Open Theology paradigms (not sure where you are coming from, but you seem to be an Open Theist who holds to Omni's inconsistently, AND doesn't really grasp the ramification of the debate between Open Theists and every other theist).
God thus can choose not to know what the wicked do while He counts the number of hairs His sheep have. The wicked are still choosing their choices in the absence of God's knowledge.
Such isn't 'omniscience' at that point. It seems you are somewhere between omni's and Open Theism, and caught in between with something else I don't have a descriptor for.
Our choices are made based on two prerequisites. First, we made our choices out of a list of possibilities. God has control over that list. That is, if God doesn't want an outcome as your choice, He can remove that choice from your possibility list, such that you don't have such a choice to choose from.
Not sure where this comes into the discussion, but it does describe 'finite' if that is where you are going.
The Holy Spirit can guide slightly to certain choices,
I'm not sure how to even touch this than to say I completely disagree: As God, the Holy Spirit can make you explode into billions of pieces so this part of the discussion is completely irrelevant and meaningless to me. Your sentence means absolutely nothing true to me at this point and either needs you to capitulate you were wrong, or having to explain this incredibly better than you have at this point.
while the devil can tempt you to pick some other choices in the list. Second, we make choices along the axis to time. God on the other hand, is not bound by time. Our reasoning of cause and effect is about how something in a time spot affects another later time spot on the time axis. We can't apply this reasoning of cause and effect to God as He doesn't need to follow the same rule. Cause and effect are only fully applicable to humans as we are living in an axis of time. God may respect cause and effect to a certain extent, but He's not controlled by such an element of time.
Trying to work through this, it needs a LOT more thought before it is presented in a cogent manner. It simply doesn't 'communicate' clearly. It doesn't have any cogent meaning, THOUGH I agree God isn't limited by time constraints. No Open Theist or one who believes God isn't constrained by time is going to argue God is 'constrained.' While I believe Open Theists do have Him constrained in their conception, they aren't going to say He is, either.
Similarly for His omnipresence. In a so called permanent separation from God, God is not present in a burning to watch what the wicked doing.
You didn't post a cogent sentence here. God was VERY present when I was abused as a child. While an Open Theist (not sure if you are) will say God doesn't desire to see atrocity (and I can agree as far as 'desire' is concerned), He was with me the whole way and saw it all. THERE IS a discrepancy at that point.

They are the abandoned on their own, without God's knowledge and without God's presence.
Nope. God never left me alone. Sorry, wrong.
God has all the ability to choose not to be there and not to know them,
Nope. His own nature negates 'ability.' God was there when I was abused. You are quite wrong.

though by His capability He can be there and can know what they are doing. It is as a matter of God's own preference.
Er, love travels to the darkest parts, to rescue, love, and redeem those who are perishing.
 

Clete

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Awkward. It pits a characteristic 'against' the Being possessing the attribute, as such, it causes, if you will, perhaps a false dilemma THUS provides for the proof of something already assumed.
That is an excellent point! Bravo!

Such isn't 'omniscience' at that point. It seems you are somewhere between omni's and Open Theism, and caught in between with something else I don't have a descriptor for.
One of the most excellent and powerful points in favor of Open Theism is that everyone who isn't an open theist has the exact problem that you just described. Immutability and the omni-attributes, as classically understood, are irrational. They cannot be held to consistently at all, by anyone, and especially not by the saved Christian who believes that God became a man, that He was dead, that He was in the grave for three days as a dead man, and then rose from the dead with a glorified yet scared physical human body which He hadn't ever had before and which He still has to this day and forever more. (Revelation 1:18 and elsewhere).

There is obviously lots more to say on this topic. I could perhaps write a whole book on this one but I'm out of time for now and that gets the gist of the point anyway.

Clete
 

Lon

Well-known member
That is an excellent point! Bravo!
Thank you
One of the most excellent and powerful points in favor of Open Theism is that everyone who isn't an open theist has the exact problem that you just described. Immutability and the omni-attributes, as classically understood, are irrational.
I believe we've talked about immutability in the past along this line. Open Theists agree God doesn't change in essential nature. If you mean 'Greek' philosophical versions, I believe they served a good purpose in furthering discussion, but of course they were wrong. They didn't believe God could incarnate as a man. They were wrestling back then with very 'man-like' gods, so I appreciate them trying to wrestle with a God who is truly god-like' even if they didn't have all the right answers. I'd say at that point, 'irrational' isn't the right word, at least for me. They rather didn't understand a 'relational' God. Immutability is a good characteristic of God that doesn't change. For instance, we both believe ala your other thread, that God will always be Good and cannot/will not change (immutable).
They cannot be held to consistently at all, by anyone, and especially not by the saved Christian who believes that God became a man, that He was dead, that He was in the grave for three days as a dead man, and then rose from the dead with a glorified yet scared physical human body which He hadn't ever had before and which He still has to this day and forever more. (Revelation 1:18 and elsewhere).
I've not seen an open theist deal with this question: If Colossians 1:15 is taken into clear theological consideration, man is 'from' God already. While it is true God did not incarnate prior or after, the act is still within His being, not from outside of Himself. It is very important, as far as logic, reason, and expressions of God, that we see that God is not 'a part' of the universe, but rather that it is created and sustained by His being. While such would be pantheism, I'd argue for panentheism, and the reason is this: God is Spirit and not to be confused with His creation. For me, creation caused an issue: we are part of it, and very much, most of our logical concepts are constrained by our 'created physical' brains. Whenever I see anybody argue regarding this subject, I'm well aware of my and other's limitation and where the ceiling (restraint, as part of a finite creation) is located. With all, I am not capable of thinking 'outside' the box other than to grasp God has often intimated that there truly is an outside in His experience and existence. Such is the necessity of a truly unlimited and infinite mind. God is already 'infinite' so 'new song' is already 'contained' in the ramification.
There is obviously lots more to say on this topic. I could perhaps write a whole book on this one but I'm out of time for now and that gets the gist of the point anyway.

Clete
It truly needs a couple of books and series. John said all the books could not contain His limited life on this earth! To me, I don't see that as a platitude, but an expression of continued finite expansion from the Infinite. -Lon
 

Clete

Truth Smacker
Silver Subscriber
Thank you

I believe we've talked about immutability in the past along this line. Open Theists agree God doesn't change in essential nature. If you mean 'Greek' philosophical versions, I believe they served a good purpose in furthering discussion, but of course they were wrong. They didn't believe God could incarnate as a man. They were wrestling back then with very 'man-like' gods, so I appreciate them trying to wrestle with a God who is truly god-like' even if they didn't have all the right answers. I'd say at that point, 'irrational' isn't the right word, at least for me. They rather didn't understand a 'relational' God. Immutability is a good characteristic of God that doesn't change. For instance, we both believe ala your other thread, that God will always be Good and cannot/will not change (immutable).
God's character does not change but that is NOT what is meant when the Catholic, Calvinist or even the Armenian talks about God being immutable. They flatly and explicitly mean that God does not change in any way, at all - period. And, if you do not believe that to be reality then I heartily recommend that you not use their terminology. For all practical purposes, they own the term "immutable" and you should be content with letting them have it. There is no profit in using the term to describe a God who can become a human being and who can suffer, die and rise from the dead. It serves only to make you sound like them and lend their vernacular a credibility it does not deserve. If you believe, without qualification, that the God who created the universe is the same God that became a man, took on your sin and died on your behalf then you do NOT believe in the doctrine of immutability.

Of course, that realization comes with consequences because all of the other classically derived attributes that have been been pinned on the God of scripture since Augustine lose their rational foundation. If God can change IN ANY WAY then there is no reason to believe that God is impassible or that everything is predestined or that God knows the entire future in advance or that He exists outside of time or any of the other irrational ideas that people maintain about the only real God in existence.

I've not seen an open theist deal with this question: If Colossians 1:15 is taken into clear theological consideration, man is 'from' God already.
I just wanted to point out here that three verses later, the Holy Spirit through Paul, tells us that Jesus is "the first born from the dead".

This single verse alone is sufficient to blow up the whole idea that God is immutable.

While it is true God did not incarnate prior or after, the act is still within His being, not from outside of Himself.
I submit, without intending any offense, that this sentence has no meaning. At best, any meaning that one might construe from it would require the presupposition that God is immutable which would be to beg the question. There's just no two ways about it, if "became" implies a change, which it does, and God became a man, which He did, then God changed when He became a man. The source, manner, motive or type of that change might make for an interesting topic of discussion but any such discussion would, by necessity, leave the doctrine of immutability crashed out and burning in the ditch.

It is very important, as far as logic, reason, and expressions of God, that we see that God is not 'a part' of the universe, but rather that it is created and sustained by His being. While such would be pantheism, I'd argue for panentheism, and the reason is this: God is Spirit and not to be confused with His creation. For me, creation caused an issue: we are part of it, and very much, most of our logical concepts are constrained by our 'created physical' brains.
Okay, wow. I'm not sure exactly where to start with this so let me just say that there isn't anything biblical about panentheism and that it, in my view, is nothing more than an attempt to compromise with Classical Theism. Further, your stated reason for believing it is self-defeating. If you cannot trust your mind because of our created physical brains then by what means did come to the conclusion that panentheism was a valid? Indeed, it was your mind in the same created physical brain that told you that you cannot trust your mind. I cannot think of any idea that is more self-defeating than that.

Whenever I see anybody argue regarding this subject, I'm well aware of my and other's limitation and where the ceiling (restraint, as part of a finite creation) is located.
Again, this is self-defeating. Where do you draw the line and by what means, other than the very mind you are attempting to limit and by what means would you determine that you've done a good job of decided where this ceiling is?

There is only one answer to that question and you've intentionally taken it away from yourself.

Logic, that is rational thought, is your ONLY means of knowing ANYTHING. Now, to be clear, that should not be understood to mean that we can "figure it all out" or get even close to doing so. There are several avenues by which knowledge comes to us. We can discover truths ourselves, we can be taught by others, God Himself can teach us in various ways, including and perhaps most importantly, by revelation but regardless how knowledge is communicated it is never communicated in a manner that is irrational. The whole concept of irrational communication is a contradiction. Contradictions do not exist. Contradictions are not real. The irrational is not real. Sound reason is, therefore, the conforming of your mind to reality. Conversely, reality is not optional and thus reason is indispensable, unavoidable, irreplaceable and irrefragable. If you undermine reason then there is no way for you to know anything, including that you can't know anything and you certainly would have no means by which to split hairs about where the knowledge "ceiling" is or even whether such a ceiling exists.
With all, I am not capable of thinking 'outside' the box other than to grasp God has often intimated that there truly is an outside in His experience and existence. Such is the necessity of a truly unlimited and infinite mind. God is already 'infinite' so 'new song' is already 'contained' in the ramification.
This is more of you trying to make piece with the unbiblical Creek version of God. There is nothing biblical about the idea that God exists outside of time. Not only that, but I've argued many many times on this website and elsewhere without refutation that the notion is more than unbiblical, it is in fact self contradictory.

Why believe it? Why cling to something that not only isn't taught to you by God in His word but that is so clearly self-contradictory? Tradition? Habit? Pride, perhaps? Just drop it altogether and suddenly there isn't any need to vex yourself over such childishly obvious things as whether God can write a new song or not. If God can write Adam's DNA code then it seems to me like God could write a song.

It truly needs a couple of books and series. John said all the books could not contain His limited life on this earth! To me, I don't see that as a platitude, but an expression of continued finite expansion from the Infinite. -Lon
No, it is your last sentence that is the platitude. John's statement has nothing to do with a "finite expansion from the infinite". That doesn't even have any meaning and it is only that "to you" because you cling to pagan ideas about what God is supposed to be and don't trust your own mind enough to reject as false either the unbiblical or the irrational.

You can trust reason, Lon. More than that you can trust the God who is Reason! You should reread my opening post!
 
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Lon

Well-known member
God's character does not change but that is NOT what is meant when the Catholic, Calvinist or even the Armenian talks about God being immutable.
"Arminian" An Armenian is of German heritage if I remember correctly. I cannot remember who corrected me about 20 years ago here on TOL.
They flatly and explicitly mean that God does not change in any way, at all - period.
In the way that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, we'd mean in His character, there never was a change. As far as 'flesh' it isn't easy: I know everything everything everything comes 'from' Him, thus any reproduction (like incarnation) is already from within His being (Colossians 1:15-20 John 1:2) Such greatly influences how we think through John 1:14 "...the Word became flesh...." Philippians 2:6-8
And, if you do not believe that to be reality then I heartily recommend that you not use their terminology. For all practical purposes, they own the term "immutable" and you should be content with letting them have it. There is no profit in using the term to describe a God who can become a human being and who can suffer, die and rise from the dead. It serves only to make you sound like them and lend their vernacular a credibility it does not deserve.
I'll take that under advisement. At this time, as I've talked with all theists, they all mean immutable in nature and agree (if I hear them correctly) that the incarnation was a real happening and that He 'became.' Such by definition is something, at least. Philippians says 'took on the nature.' For me, the scripture consideration is both that John 1:2 that He became and Philippians 2 that He 'took the nature.' I want to do a careful walk that I'm honoring and embracing the scriptures at this venture.
If you believe, without qualification, that the God who created the universe is the same God that became a man, took on your sin and died on your behalf then you do NOT believe in the doctrine of immutability.
Again, I can take that into consideration. I'm not sure most Christians believe 'no change' at all, but let me state the conundrum (I believe Biblical): All that has ever been is created by the Lord Jesus Christ, which includes us humans. As He sustains all things (Colossians 1) then there is a very real sense that 'becoming flesh' is something of His existence and creative power already: logically. I'm not quite sure of the implication, but would have us all VERY careful about inference. I simply know what scripture says and want to be somewhere, where all scriptures is collated correctly, if loosely. The triune view is like that for me: I want to be careful to go to the extent of scripture, then be very careful that 'Lonology' doesn't get in God's way.
Of course, that realization comes with consequences because all of the other classically derived attributes that have been been pinned on the God of scripture since Augustine lose their rational foundation. If God can change IN ANY WAY then there is no reason to believe that God is impassible
Such attempts to build trust in God's unchanging character. It gives men assurance that there are things about God that will not change and that 'emotion' won't over-rule His character of Grace, for instance.
or that everything is predestined
I'm not worried about predestination. It doesn't affect my hope in God other than that He doesn't lose that which is His. I've often been encouraged, not that I have a hold of Him, but that He has a hold of me.
or that God knows the entire future in advance or that He exists outside of time or any of the other irrational ideas
Not really the place for this, but I believe an eternal nonbeginning already busts 'outside of time' as irrational. Having an eternal nonbeginning demands a rational apprehension against what most consider 'logical time.'
that people maintain about the only real God in existence.


I just wanted to point out here that three verses later, the Holy Spirit through Paul, tells us that Jesus is "the first born from the dead".

This single verse alone is sufficient to blow up the whole idea that God is immutable.
It really depends on definitions and a grasp of the greater picture. Most of this is covered in Enyart's atomic clock thread. Think of your body for a moment: Your cells do not move. One doesn't travel from one index finger, across your chest, to the other index finger, except as put your two fingers together. It is that sense that Einstein was discussing internal movement vs the expanse of the universe: He suggested that to the universe, things didn't change, just went through internal avenues already in place (kind of like an old numer flip clock, all the numbers are all there, there is no change, just a repeated turning of a spindle constantly). In a similar way, 'change' is the big issue of definition. I've often heard the 'new song' idea, but grasp the logic of what these others are saying: To the Being that all else eminates from, ALL eminates 'from' the very being. "Without Him, nothing exists (or will exist?) that exists." It is scripture.
I submit, without intending any offense, that this sentence has no meaning.
It does. I realize it doesn't to you, but look just above▲ If you are the 'source' of everything that will EVER exist, can anything EVER exist without you knowing about it? Aren't you arguing for God's 'potential' rather than that He is infinite at that point? Doesn't it fall to reason, in your mind, that God has a 'limitation' that is against the very concept of His being and nature at that point? AMR used to ask: If God is limited, how could you ever be certain of anything without a being who is able to affirm a certainty for 'eternity?' Do you follow?
At best, any meaning that one might construe from it would require the presupposition that God is immutable which would be to beg the question.
Please read Malachi 3:6 with me: "For I the Lord do not change...." Those ellipses indeed do point to an 'or else' but the statement shouldn't be interpreted previously. Why? Because the standard, the guarantee, that Jacob is not destroyed comes specifically, at this time, when Jacob 'should' be destroyed, is held back an eternal unchanging (immutable) character of God.
There's just no two ways about it, if "became" implies a change, which it does, and God became a man, which He did, then God changed when He became a man.
Agree, still hard for us as we think about the change 'coming from Himself' if you follow.
The source, manner, motive or type of that change might make for an interesting topic of discussion but any such discussion would, by necessity, leave the doctrine of immutability crashed out and burning in the ditch.
Agree, good topic. Would it leave 'immutability' out? I don't believe so. Like you, it'd have a qualification on what anybody means by 'not changing' lest even His character could change. You nor I believe that. I believe you are talking about 'completely immutable' as the Greeks thought. I've not met many theologians who believe fully in 'no change.' Revelations 21:5 "Behold, I'm making ALL things new!" New to Him? The trouble is always that any one concept we have could bring disservice or dishonor to our Lord and God. I appreciate anyone, for the sake of His character, wrestling to honor Him. Every knee will bow, for certain, and everyone who loves Him, willingly.
Okay, wow. I'm not sure exactly where to start with this so let me just say that there isn't anything biblical about panentheism and that it, in my view, is nothing more than an attempt to compromise with Classical Theism. Further, your stated reason for believing it is self-defeating. If you cannot trust your mind because of our created physical brains then by what means did come to the conclusion that panentheism was a valid?
Let me highlight for you:
Colossians 1:15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Indeed, it was your mind in the same created physical brain that told you that you cannot trust your mind. I cannot think of any idea that is more self-defeating than that.
I realize you 'think' that, but isn't your own premise, that your brain is the standard, ALSO self-defeating by the same token?
See Philippians 2:13 It is God Who works in you, to will and to act... That's really something, isn't it? John 15:5 "Remain in Me, without Me, you cannot do even one single thing!" That too is really something. Then, the first verse I ever memorized: Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not upon your own understanding! Acknowledge the Lord in all of your ways, and HE will direct your path. It is a matter of Whose I am. Myself? Him? James 4:15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your proud intentions. All such boasting is evil. Pride is the issue here, but realize that if we have intentions 'without God' as the driving force and Director, it is 'evil.'
Again, this is self-defeating. Where do you draw the line and by what means, other than the very mind you are attempting to limit and by what means would you determine that you've done a good job of decided where this ceiling is?
Cannot (impossible) for it to be self-defeating. As 'finite' beings, we have a limit to where we are, including what we can grasp. Without 'infinite' minds, we have a 'finite' limitation. You have to face this, we aren't God. There is a limit to 'my' ability to convince anybody of anything concerning God (limited to scriptures, my apprehension of them, and any of His further revelation).
There is only one answer to that question and you've intentionally taken it away from yourself.
And you. It is unavoidable. It is WHY we have to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and why also, He didn't come for those who know it all, but those who need a physician.
Logic, that is rational thought, is your ONLY means of knowing ANYTHING.
Don't agree (I don't believe you do either, just below). A bit about my uncle: Rational thought is how we put things together, but even in pieces, a being can put their trust in God. I've talked to you about my uncle: his mind was gone and he had no ability to reason or rationalize. At that point, he simply asked me to pray for him and ask Jesus to remember him when he came into His kingdom. Was it rational enough? I think so, but we, alternately, are using our limited knowledge to answer that question. "All who trust in Him will not be ashamed." Did my uncle trust in Christ or me? I believe he did the best he could, without a rational thought. The real issue wasn't his mind, it was if Christ had a hold of him.
Now, to be clear, that should not be understood to mean that we can "figure it all out" or get even close to doing so. There are several avenues by which knowledge comes to us. We can discover truths ourselves, we can be taught by others, God Himself can teach us in various ways, including and perhaps most importantly, by revelation but regardless how knowledge is communicated it is never communicated in a manner that is irrational.
Agree
The whole concept of irrational communication is a contradiction.
I never claimed that, certainly. I claimed that 'our' rationality isn't always as 'rational' as we finite beings think it is. I've been greatly mistaken before, you?
Contradictions do not exist. Contradictions are not real.
You'll have to break that down for me. I see contradictions all the time. 🤔
The irrational is not real. Sound reason is, therefore, the conforming of your mind to reality. Conversely, reality is not optional and thus reason is indispensable, unavoidable, irreplaceable and irrefragable. If you undermine reason then there is no way for you to know anything, including that you can't know anything and you certainly would have no means by which to split hairs about where the knowledge "ceiling" is or even whether such a ceiling exists.
Disagree: If we are "His" workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) AND are NOT to lean on our 'own understanding' but acknowledge the Lord in all HIS ways, then our paths will be straight, then my 'ability' isn't the sole arbiter, God is. All I'm arguing for is that God is the pinnacle, not your or my ability, even in our own respective lives. I don't for instance, trust my pastor however good he is at theology. "Logic" of he and me is assailable. If 'assailable' then faulty. How then do I know? Only trust and faith. Do I very much lean on my own understanding? Yes, but prayerfully, and with God invited to assail anything I believe is right. I'll not assert that, He has to do so. I'm nobody in Clete's life to assert anything. Clete conversely...you get the idea. 'Our' collective 'logic' and 'rationalizing' hits a very real ceiling incredibly quickly. To whatever degree I 'don't trust Clete's rationality,' I've also learned to not be so haughty that I lean wholly on mine either. I do have a good mind, but it is follow to lean on it when Someone who has a perfect mind, is asking me through scripture, to lean on Him and trust Him.

Perhaps we are in agreement, more than disagreement here. I think, for the first time, we've come full circle on what we both mean. At least, it seems to me, all the cards are finally on the table, there aren't any left to overturn at this point.
This is more of you trying to make piece with the unbiblical Creek version of God.
There is nothing biblical about the idea that God exists outside of time.
We disagree. I believe strongly (logically) that an eternal non-beginning splits away from every concept we have of time and is fully against the grasp or scope of it's forward march. It already does it for me, long before I ever heard of an Open Theist.
Not only that, but I've argued many many times on this website and elsewhere without refutation that the notion is more than unbiblical, it is in fact self contradictory.
We both have this delusion: That we both believe we are correct. I totally believe Open Theism is illogical and doesn't comprehend even remotely, what an eternal non-beginning means. I don't honestly believe any Open Theist can or has shown ability to even grasp the concept and from my purview, it is inescapably true. We both will either be frustrated or angry until such a time as we can somehow traverse such a seemingly insurmountable blockade. I'm not stating that in any way of a posture or offense either. I simply see it as an impasse, one against the other.
Why believe it? Why cling to something that not only isn't taught to you by God in His word but that is so clearly self-contradictory?
You've made up the mind, much like I have with "eternal." I believe it means, logically/necessarily 'without beginning.' God always was. That is a statement completely without time or its ability to quantify OR qualify, by definition and logical end.
Tradition? Habit? Pride, perhaps? Just drop it altogether and suddenly there isn't any need to vex yourself over such childishly obvious things
Again, we are speaking of an impasse. On the flip side of the coin, I cannot see but that it has to 'certainly' be true.
as whether God can write a new song or not. If God can write Adam's DNA code then it seems to me like God could write a song.
Is it 'new?' Here is a hard logical concept: What does 'eternity' contain, that isn't already there? It is very important lest God is not eternal. On this particular I may be able to help over the impasse hurdle on this instance: How do we who actually 'have' a wall, see a Being who has none? We see things from point A to B, thus "B" is the 'new song' but a Being who by definition is by definition, already beyond 'parameters' would already contain 'B' as the source of everything 'already.'
No, it is your last sentence that is the platitude. John's statement has nothing to do with a "finite expansion from the infinite".
Then you likely didn't understand the point: We as finite beings, will live forever BUT are not and never will be God. It means He'll always be ahead of us 'for infinity.' A ray has a beginning, in the sense that it proceeds forever, it can 'learn forever.' Such is a 'finite' that continues to expand toward the infinite.
That doesn't even have any meaning and it is only that "to you" because you cling to pagan ideas about what God is supposed to be and don't trust your own mind enough to reject as false either the unbiblical or the irrational.
Some irony: that is fleshly by itself. You are saying 'pagan' but not recognizing your short-sighted limitation. God is why I know 'He has placed eternity in their hearts.' It makes sense in math: A line has no beginning or end. A segment has a beginning and an end, a ray has a beginning but no end. We were born finite, with a sin condition. The eternal God gave us a life forever, a ray, with a starting point. Our minds will expand: John 3:2b "When we see Him, we shall be like Him, because we will comprehend (finally) Him as He is." Paul said 1 Corinthians 13:12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
You can trust reason, Lon. More than that you can trust the God who is Reason!
Proverbs 3:5,6 🤔
You should reread my opening post!
The one below? ▼
 
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Lon

Well-known member
A precise version of the argument can be formulated as follows: Choose some proposition about a future act that you think you will do freely, if any act is free.
Presupposes 'free' without definition as well. A 'culpable' will is what he/she is driving at, a will that cannot do otherwise).
Suppose, for example, that the telephone will ring at 9 am tomorrow and you will either answer it or you will not. So it is either true that you will answer the phone at 9 am tomorrow or it is true that you will not answer the phone at 9 am tomorrow. The Law of Excluded Middle rules out any other alternative.
It cannot. My wife and I could answer simultaneously (have done so in the past), etc. etc. The law of exclusive middle is forfeit imho, it is all thus suppositional to certain restrictions of the logical mind.
Let T abbreviate the proposition that you will answer the phone tomorrow at 9, and let us suppose that T is true. (If not-T is true instead, simply substitute not-T in the argument below).

Let “now-necessary” designate temporal necessity, the type of necessity that the past is supposed to have just because it is past. We will discuss this type of necessity in sections 2.3 and 2.6, but we can begin with the intuitive idea that there is a kind of necessity that a proposition has now when the content of the proposition is about something that occurred in the past. To say that it is now-necessary that milk has been spilled is to say nobody can do anything now about the fact that the milk has been spilled.
Problem 2) if it is 'now necessary that milk has spilled' it is then unalterable that milk had necessarily spilled by the observation. It doesn't require that I leave it to be 'necessary.' What is necessary is simply stating the fact that it did indeed spill, regardless of outcome. I cannot undo milk having been spilled in my kitchen, thus it is 'necessary' to say truthfully "milk has previously spilled in my kitchen.' That is a logical necessity.
Let “God” designate a being who has infallible beliefs about the future, where to say that God believes p infallibly is to say that God believes p and it is not possible that God believes p and p is false. It is not important for the logic of the argument that God is the being worshiped by any particular religion, but the motive to maintain that there is a being with infallible beliefs is usually a religious one.
Too convoluted (for me): Simply let a being have infallible foreknowledge ("Beliefs" further complicate what would be logically straightforward, better, without it).
One more preliminary point is in order. The dilemma of infallible foreknowledge and human free will does not rest on the particular assumption of foreknowledge and does not require an analysis of knowledge. Most contemporary accounts of knowledge are fallibilist, which means they do not require that a person believe in a way that cannot be mistaken in order to have knowledge. She has knowledge just in case what she believes is true and she satisfies the other conditions for knowledge, such as having sufficiently strong evidence. Ordinary knowledge does not require that the belief cannot be false. For example, if I believe on strong evidence that classes begin at my university on a certain date, and when the day arrives, classes do begin, we would normally say I knew in advance that classes would begin on that date. I had foreknowledge about the date classes begin.
Incorrect (not a necessary contention for this post, just need to point out the disagreement and move on because he/she does argue for 'definite foreknowledge, I simply disagree that any other is by definition, 'normal foreknowledge'). He/she had 'reasonable expectation.' Such isn't the definition of 'foreknowledge.' There is only one Being that can actually authenticate foreknowledge. You and I, as believers, have foreknowledge of what God has told us will come to pass. Nobody else has certain foreknowledge. Period. He is arguing for a 'fuzzy' definition of foreknowledge against 'reasonable expectation.' It ruins this set of proofs.
But there is nothing problematic about that kind of foreknowledge because events could have proven me wrong even though as events actually turned out, they didn’t prove me wrong. Ordinary foreknowledge does not threaten to necessitate the future because it does not require that when I know p it is not possible that my belief is false. The key problem, then, is the infallibility of the belief about the future, and this is a problem whether or not the epistemic agent with an infallible belief satisfies the other conditions required by some account of knowledge, such as sufficient evidence. As long as an agent has an infallible belief about the future, the problem arises.

Using the example of the proposition T, the argument that infallible foreknowledge of T entails that you do not answer the telephone freely can be formulated as follows:

Basic Argument for Theological Fatalism.
(1) Yesterday God infallibly believed T. [Supposition of infallible foreknowledge]
Incorrect: "knew" didn't 'believe' there is a difference.
(2) If E occurred in the past, it is now-necessary that E occurred then. [Principle of the Necessity of the Past]
(3) It is now-necessary that yesterday God believed T. [1, 2]
(4) Necessarily, if yesterday God believed T, then T. [Definition of “infallibility”]
(5) If p is now-necessary, and necessarily (p → q), then q is now-necessary. [Transfer of Necessity Principle]
E = event
3) No, it is necessary God knows T (see James 4:14,15)
4) "Infallibility" places onus upon God rather than logic at this point. 4), as a proposition of logic for men should rest on the principle of 'identity' rather (if T, then T).
(6) So it is now-necessary that T. [3,4,5]
Note that he is talking about the past at this point. That is his/her proof.
(7) If it is now-necessary that T, then you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am. [Definition of “necessary”]
No, he/she jumped from 'past' to future possibility. It is a broken proof. He/she never demonstrated future inevitable 'T' (or E, or p or q for that matter and too many letters lose people in these kinds of proofs).
(8) Therefore, you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am. [6, 7]
Way too soon for a .: It isn't time for a proof based on these observations.
(9) If you cannot do otherwise when you do an act, you do not act freely. [Principle of Alternate Possibilities]
Is of no consequence at this point, the premise is not proved BUT one has to argue for or against 'free will.' My contention isn't that you have freewill. It doesn't matter if you choose Chocolate or if God made your palate specifically that way: You enjoy it. The only contention debate point is when we do what we 'don't want to do.' It deals with the problem of sin.
(10) Therefore, when you answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am, you will not do it freely. [8, 9]
A lot of 'if' statements. When you have more than 2, the problem in logic, is that only 'if' all stated propositions are true with certainty and I've already shown that 'belief' is wrong and a few others. "If" statements must be 1) unassailable (I've assailed few ) and 2) lead obviously and logically to the end summation. IOW, the propositions must ALL be true or it is all wrong. It is how if/then statements logically work, the if's have to necessarily be unassailable by proposition. They have to stand for everybody else it isn't a logical construct, it becomes illogical and the summary is unsupported.
This argument is formulated in a way that makes its logical form as perspicuous as possible, and there is a consensus that this argument or something close to it is valid.
It isn't.
That is, if the premises are all true, the conclusion follows.
Correct. They were not true, however. I think I've done a good enough job to call at least a couple of these into serious question. The rule again: If any of it fails, it necessarily all fails. The jump from 'past certainty' to future 'certainty' was never postulated thus consequently there is no proof-statement. The conclusion MUST follow the 'if' statements to the letter! -Lon
 
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Lon

Well-known member
1) You receive an almanac from the future (easier to discuss certain foreknowledge without convolution).
2) It says it rains on March 2nd in Seattle.
Proposition before proof: Does it prove it cannot help but rain on March 2nd in Seattle? Or does it merely record what 'did' happen? Did the Almanac have some magical power?

Answer: "No, of course not. We logically know the Almanac just recorded and held the knowledge.

My proof isn't unassailable, you can assail it, but I'm guessing few will, it is what makes a good proof: It appeals to logical ability to walk with someone and make sense of a proposition. Such is why God says 'come let us reason together, though your sins are as scarlet you shall be white as wool.' God has given most of us, and ability to reason which is encouraging when we all bump heads. If you bump heads with God, you'll have a couple of bruises with me.

Let me rework this above proof now, for this thread premise:

1) You receive an almanac from a friend, from the future (impossible if time is unassailable, but we simply have to follow if I 'logically' prove a point 'if' such were possible).
2) You read the Raiders win the Super Bowl this year.
3) Did the Raiders 'have' to win the Super Bowl? Did your friend have ANYTHING to do with the Raiders winning the Super bowl?
4) Your friend nor the Almanac had ANYTHING to do with the Raiders winning the Super Bowl.
.: foreknowledge has nothing to do with making an event happen or removing possibility.

Did I prove that? Yes. It requires "something else" for the Raiders to lose the SuperBowl. Is it likely, even with careful planning, I could 'thwart' the game? Not likely, even if I kidnapped one player. Let us say, however:
5) I, with knowledge, accidentally crash my plane on the field I meant to watch 'because' of the Almanac and the game, because of it, is postponed perhaps even the Raiders lose.
.: the almanac, having come 'from' the future, will have already been written recording that fact.

Was there a change in an actual event? To me, it'd look like it, if I weren't dead from the plane crash. Everybody else would think I was insane, maybe until they saw the almanac, if it survived the crash.

Like above: Did the almanac have anything to do with the Raiders winning? Nope. Not in the least.

.: Foreknowledge, in this sense, simply records events, it doesn't by necessity enforce them. An Open Theist believes God is omnicompetent, thus even they aren't going to reckon God unfair for participating in His desired outcome. After all, He works "all things for good for those who are His and called by His name." It is exactly what we want Him to do. Does it often involve our will. I think always, in a good and most excellent way. -Lon
 

marke

Well-known member
God's character does not change but that is NOT what is meant when the Catholic, Calvinist or even the Armenian talks about God being immutable. They flatly and explicitly mean that God does not change in any way, at all - period. And, if you do not believe that to be reality then I heartily recommend that you not use their terminology. For all practical purposes, they own the term "immutable" and you should be content with letting them have it. There is no profit in using the term to describe a God who can become a human being and who can suffer, die and rise from the dead. It serves only to make you sound like them and lend their vernacular a credibility it does not deserve. If you believe, without qualification, that the God who created the universe is the same God that became a man, took on your sin and died on your behalf then you do NOT believe in the doctrine of immutability.

Jesus is God and God changes not. If rebels turn back to God and God turns back to them, for example, that does not mean that God changes.


Malachi 3
5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.

6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
 

JudgeRightly

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Jesus is God and God changes not. If rebels turn back to God and God turns back to them, for example, that does not mean that God changes.


Malachi 3
5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.

6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

You're making the same error Lon makes, which I shall address below.

Not really the place for this, but I believe an eternal nonbeginning already busts 'outside of time' as irrational. Having an eternal nonbeginning demands a rational apprehension against what most consider 'logical time.'

Having existed forever is entirely rational, even though we as created (and therefore, we have a beginning) beings do not have a reference point from which to fully comprehend an infinite past.

Existing "outside of time" is irrational.


Please read Malachi 3:6 with me: "For I the Lord do not change...." Those ellipses indeed do point to an 'or else' but the statement shouldn't be interpreted previously. Why? Because the standard, the guarantee, that Jacob is not destroyed comes specifically, at this time, when Jacob 'should' be destroyed, is held back an eternal unchanging (immutable) character of God.

God's mercy endures forever.

That doesn't meant that God is immutable in every way, which is why Clete was cautioning against using such terms.

All the verse says is this:

“For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. - Malachi 3:6 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Malachi3:6&version=NKJV

In what way does the Lord not change?

Is it in every way? Or was the Lord saying something consistent with other scripture?

How about the fact that "His mercy endures forever", which appears in 41 different verses in the NKJV... Is not the context of Malachi 3:6 talking about the mercy of God?

Thus, reading "God is completely immutable" into this verse is a step too far, as the context is about God's mercy, not
 

Clete

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Jesus is God and God changes not. If rebels turn back to God and God turns back to them, for example, that does not mean that God changes.


Malachi 3
5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.

6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
Of course it means exactly that God changes IN RELATION TO THE REBELS!!

He doesn't change in His character. That is the fact that He is alive, that He is personal, relational, loving, righteous, etc doesn't change but I'm telling you that this IS NOT what the doctrine of immutability is about. Classical Theism teaches that God is not a contingent being, that He does not respond to anything outside Himself - period. C. S. Lewis wrote "We correctly deny that God has passions …He cannot be affected by love..." -C.S. Lewis, Miracles, (London: HarperCollins Publishers, 1960-1974), pp. 92- 93. Imagine that! Why would any Christian say such a thing? Well, its because they believe that God cannot change IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER - period! (or exclamation point ;) )
 
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