On the omniscience of God

CCoburn

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Without reason there can be no truth.

There can be truth without reason, and an individual may even know what it is; it's just that it would be impossible if not nearly impossible to prove it, and at this juncture I'm okay with that. As opposed to trying to "reason" something out in a vacuum you can extrapolate, form analogies, and observe reflections of the larger(macrocosmic) aspects of creation in some of the smaller(microcosmic) aspects, which otherwise may be hidden, more or less, and yes, at times you may even fill in the blanks for unknowns with such that seems appropriate - at least temporarily and move on.

And of course contemporary science is of use where applicable, but last I knew even that does not have all the answers, so, general inventory. What do you know, or, what does your strict reasoning yield to you regarding the following :

How do you explain eternity? What does your 'reason' tell you about things without beginning or end? Is the universe expanding, if so, then what is it expanding in to, and if not then is it static and eternal? Is God eternal or emergent? Where is God, and in what manner did it begin creating things? Can time be infinitely regressed or did that have a beginning?

Just inquiries off the top of my head in no particular order really; maybe not even all the best of them, but at least a start for now, and as Einsten said, "If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, then you don't understand it yourself.", and as you have so blatantly declared (paraphrased) : I am a stupid mindless idiot, so keep that in mind too because it wouldn't be very "reasonable" to speak intelligently to an "idiot" now would it?

We'll see where it goes from here, if anywhere.
 

Idolater

"Lahey, I live in a tent!"
How do you explain eternity?
It's firstly grammatical. Time is a noun, and eternity is not limited by time. Timeless. Eternal things are not subject to time.

If you want to argue that time is some other category of word, such as a verb, then by all means, but unless someone really wants to explore this option I'd rather not (since it appears to me that time is a noun).
What does your 'reason' tell you about things without beginning or end? Is the universe expanding, if so, then what is it expanding in to, and if not then is it static and eternal? Is God eternal or emergent? Where is God, and in what manner did it begin creating things? Can time be infinitely regressed or did that have a beginning?
I would say God is not subject to space. I take space to be a noun too. This is grammatical first, just because it's obvious and easy, and no use banging your head against the wall trying to figure out a fake puzzle, after all. Convince me it's not a fake puzzle.
 

Clete

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I would like to point out irrational numbers (numbers that are not real)...

For example, √-1 = (1, -1). The square root of a negative number (mathematical symbol 'i') is irrational, not real, but very important in the world of electronics engineering (where the symbol is 'j', since 'i' is used for current).
The term "irrational numbers" doesn't just apply to the square root of negative numbers but to also to numbers like π where its an endless, non-repeating list of decimals. The use the word "irrational" is not being used in the philosophical sense of the word. It's basically just a title. It isn't trying to convey that these numbers have no logic behind them or that they violate some fundamental law of reason. They don't even violate any law of mathematics in any sort of fundamental way. It's just a good title to apply because they are quite hard to wrap your mind around and there isn't a way to write them down with precision, which is why they use symbols just as "i" or "π" or whatever.
 
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Clete

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I agree with that, and perhaps you might even say that eternity encapsulates time.


True, and I would add that "space" IS subject to God.


I'll wait for now and see if there are any other pending replies before commenting further.
Time is not a place that can be existed outside of, it is an idea. The concept of existence presupposes the concept of duration. The concept of duration (and it's corollary - sequence) is all time is. Thus, the idea of existence outside of time is a contradiction and therefore a fantasy.

Same goes for space. It is not a thing that can be existed outside of. It is an idea. If something exists, it exists somewhere.

No one ever addresses that argument! I wonder why?

Is it because the people who believe otherwise don't care whether their worldview is rational? :think:
 

Clete

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It's firstly grammatical. Time is a noun, and eternity is not limited by time. Timeless. Eternal things are not subject to time.

If you want to argue that time is some other category of word, such as a verb, then by all means, but unless someone really wants to explore this option I'd rather not (since it appears to me that time is a noun).

I would say God is not subject to space. I take space to be a noun too. This is grammatical first, just because it's obvious and easy, and no use banging your head against the wall trying to figure out a fake puzzle, after all. Convince me it's not a fake puzzle.
Who cares whether its a noun or not? I don't understand your pointing out the grammatical designation. Are you suggesting that the fact that the English words "time" and "space" are nouns that therefore they exist ontologically? The term "Mad Hatter" is a noun. It happens to be a proper noun. Does that mean that the Mad Hatter exists ontologically (i.e. outside of someone's mind)? The word "quality" is a noun but it doesn't exist ontologically, either. Quality is an idea. There are hundreds of nouns that fit this category! Love, hate, right, wrong, good, evil, wisdom, stupidity, diligence, laziness, desire, happiness, loneliness, anger, grief, excitement, contentment, growth, decay, etc, etc, etc, etc....

Wisdom (or whichever one of those concepts I just listed you want to plug in here) is a real thing but that doesn't mean it exists ontologically. Wisdom is a concept that we use to describe the quality of someone's actions (in thought, word or deed) but there isn't any substance called wisdom that can be poured over someone's head.

In short, the fact that the words are nouns isn't relevant at all to the discussion.
 

JudgeRightly

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There can be truth without reason,

No, there cannot.

and an individual may even know what it is; it's just that it would be impossible if not nearly impossible to prove it,

Stolen concept fallacy.

and at this juncture I'm okay with that.

You shouldn't be.

As opposed to trying to "reason" something out in a vacuum you can extrapolate, form analogies, and observe reflections of the larger(macrocosmic) aspects of creation in some of the smaller(microcosmic) aspects, which otherwise may be hidden, more or less, and yes, at times you may even fill in the blanks for unknowns with such that seems appropriate - at least temporarily and move on.

Part of discovering truth is using reason.

Just because one hasn't uncovered the whole truth, doesn't mean that there is "beyond truth" or "truth without reason."

And of course contemporary science is of use where applicable, but last I knew even that does not have all the answers, so, general inventory.

Some things cannot be answered. Others, you just have to try harder to understand.

What do you know, or, what does your strict reasoning yield to you regarding the following:

How do you explain eternity?

Eternity is just an aspect of God's beginning. He has neither beginning nor end, therefore eternity is a description of His existence.

What does your 'reason' tell you about things without beginning or end?

That they do not have a beginning, nor do they have an end. They are eternal.

The only thing (and I use that word loosely) that does not have a beginning is God. Humans have a beginning, but no end, because God, the Uncaused Cause, created us to live forever with Him.

Is the universe expanding, if so, then what is it expanding in to, and if not then is it static and eternal?

It is not expanding.

It is not static.

It is not eternal.

Is God eternal or emergent?

Eternal.

Where is God,

Anywhere He wants to be.

and in what manner did it begin creating things?

Reminder, you're on a Christian board. God refers to Himself using male pronouns. Please use them. He deserves at least that much respect.

Can time be infinitely regressed or did that have a beginning?

Time doesn't exist. It's simply a construct we use to relate one event to another.
 

Clete

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There can be truth without reason, and an individual may even know what it is; it's just that it would be impossible if not nearly impossible to prove it, and at this juncture I'm okay with that.
Saying it doesn't make it so, CCoburn.

Not only can there not be any truth without reason because the concept of truth is predicated on reason but there isn't any way to know ANYTHING at all without reason because knowing IS reason. Even if you didn't think it through in formal terms or even in any sort of verbal or linguistic terms, it is still a process of reasoning. Reason is the only thing your mind can do. It is THE only tool it has by which to work at all. Even direct divine revelation is a process of reason. ANYTHING at all that communicates meaning is, by definition, a process of reason. The only question is whether the reasoning has been done properly and even that question can neither be asked nor answered apart from the use of reason!

As opposed to trying to "reason" something out in a vacuum you can extrapolate, form analogies, and observe reflections of the larger(macrocosmic) aspects of creation in some of the smaller(microcosmic) aspects, which otherwise may be hidden, more or less, and yes, at times you may even fill in the blanks for unknowns with such that seems appropriate - at least temporarily and move on.
There would be no way to determine whether there are any unknowns without the use of reason!

I'm not trying to tell you that we can know everything there is to know. There are all sorts of things that we do not know how to explain, but that doesn't mean that those things are irrational or that logic doesn't work! It means that there is a lack of information.

And of course contemporary science is of use where applicable, but last I knew even that does not have all the answers, so, general inventory. What do you know, or, what does your strict reasoning yield to you regarding the following :

How do you explain eternity? What does your 'reason' tell you about things without beginning or end? Is the universe expanding, if so, then what is it expanding in to, and if not then is it static and eternal? Is God eternal or emergent? Where is God, and in what manner did it begin creating things? Can time be infinitely regressed or did that have a beginning?
Any one of those questions can be the start of long and stimulating discussion and debate but NOT apart from the use of reason! You can't even detect that there is a question to ask, much less actually formulate the question itself, without the use of reason. You can't utter a single intelligible syllable without the use of reason, including the sting of syllables that make up the words, "I don't know." There'd be no way for you to even detect that you don't know something, much less tell someone else about your ignorance, without the use of reason!

Just inquiries off the top of my head in no particular order really; maybe not even all the best of them, but at least a start for now, and as Einsten said, "If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, then you don't understand it yourself.",
You can't explain it to anyone without using reason to do it. Reason is the very act of explaining as is every other sort of intelligible communication. Even the telling of a lie uses reason to do it. Indeed, you cannot even intentionally utter total gibberish without the use of reason because without reason, you'd have no way of distinguishing gibberish from Hamlet!

and as you have so blatantly declared (paraphrased) : I am a stupid mindless idiot, so keep that in mind too because it wouldn't be very "reasonable" to speak intelligently to an "idiot" now would it?
No, it wouldn't! Keep it up and you'll eventually end up on my ignore list. For now, however, there still seems some hope for progress because at this point it almost sounds like your objections have to do with something I'm not actually saying. Jury is still out.

We'll see where it goes from here, if anywhere.
"See"?
You mean with your mind?
Care to explain how we're going to "see" anything without using reason?
 
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CCoburn

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God refers to Himself using male pronouns. Please use them. He deserves at least that much respect.

I understand what you're saying. The term "it" can appear to have a derogatory air about it, although that's most certainly not the way it's intended. Its use is more a matter of limitation pertaining to language than anything else. At times around the house here in an informal/non-academic context I occasionally utter the term 'father' even though I know that technically it isn't correct, but of the available options and given particular circumstances I suppose it may 'feel' like the best choice.
 

JudgeRightly

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I understand what you're saying. The term "it" can appear to have a derogatory air about it,

Using "it" to refer to a person is, in fact, derogatory. It has the appearance of being derogatory because it IS derogatory.

although that's most certainly not the way it's intended.

Then it should be a simple matter of not using it anymore, now that you've been informed.

Its use is more a matter of limitation pertaining to language than anything else.

On the contrary, at the very least, it's because you don't recognize tthe personhood of God. It's not a limitarion of language, At worst, it's a refusal to acknowledge Him.

At times around the house here in an informal/non-academic context I occasionally utter the term 'father' even though I know that technically it isn't correct, but of the available options and given particular circumstances I suppose it may 'feel' like the best choice.

Facts don't care about your feelings.
 

Idolater

"Lahey, I live in a tent!"
Who cares whether its a noun or not?
Me. And people who use language. Correctly. Which is prerequisite to good reasoning. Logic.
I don't understand your pointing out the grammatical designation.
God is a noun----yes?
God is subject to no other noun.
Are you suggesting that the fact that the English words "time" and "space" are nouns that therefore they exist ontologically? The term "Mad Hatter" is a noun. It happens to be a proper noun. Does that mean that the Mad Hatter exists ontologically (i.e. outside of someone's mind)?
There are fictional terms and there are nonfiction terms. Time and space are nonfiction.
The word "quality" is a noun but it doesn't exist ontologically, either. Quality is an idea.
So ideas don't exist?
There are hundreds of nouns that fit this category! Love, hate, right, wrong, good, evil, wisdom, stupidity, diligence, laziness, desire, happiness, loneliness, anger, grief, excitement, contentment, growth, decay, etc, etc, etc, etc....
You're saying none of these exist?
Wisdom (or whichever one of those concepts I just listed you want to plug in here) is a real thing but that doesn't mean it exists ontologically.
What on Earth do you mean by your distinction between "real" and "exists ontologically?"
Wisdom is a concept that we use to describe the quality of someone's actions (in thought, word or deed) but there isn't any substance called wisdom that can be poured over someone's head.
So concepts don't exist?
In short, the fact that the words are nouns isn't relevant at all to the discussion.
God is a noun and God is subject to no other noun. This is just semantics. It precedes logic. You can't do logic without defining your terms first.

What a mess!
 

CCoburn

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Then it should be a simple matter of not using it anymore, now that you've been informed.

Not only that, but my diverse musical postings/writing (which I do a lot of) will likely be restricted as well. I do engage multiple sites, so I thought about dividing things up a bit as a workaround, but now with this 'threat' of being told how to write by some of the staff. Thanks, but no thanks. I'm just going to call it a day on this place and resume my writing elsewhere.
 

Clete

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Me. And people who use language. Correctly. Which is prerequisite to good reasoning. Logic.
I have a really hard time believing that you don't understand the difference between an idea and something that exists independently. Let's take it step by step though...

There can be no such thing as either language or semantics without logic and so no, neither of those things precede logic. There is no transmission or reception of knowledge OF ANY KIND (linguistic or otherwise) that happens apart from logic (i.e. reason).

God is a noun----yes?
The word "God" is a noun. He is not a noun Himself.

God is subject to no other noun.
I really don't think you know what you're talking about. The words "righteousness" and "justice" are both nouns.

Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.​

Is God "subject" to righteousness and justice? Well, God is Righteousness! God is Justice! These concepts basically define who God is and His character defines what those concepts mean, so it isn't exactly a straightforward question. It sort of depends on just what you mean by "subject to".

There are fictional terms and there are nonfiction terms. Time and space are nonfiction.
No, this is not a distinction between fiction and nonfiction. That would be what they call a category error. Fictional things all fit into the category of things that do not exist ontologically but that doesn't mean that all things that don't exist ontologically are fictional. If you go the grocery store and buy a bag of salt, a bag of sugar and a bag of flour then you have three things that all fall into the categories of "things you can buy at the grocery store, things that come in bags and things that are granular. This, of course, does not mean that salt, sugar and flour and three forms of the same thing.
It a distinction between ideas and things that exist independently (ontologically).

So ideas don't exist?

You're saying none of these exist?

What on Earth do you mean by your distinction between "real" and "exists ontologically?"

So concepts don't exist?
Like I said, I have a hard time believing that you don't really understand the difference between an idea and something that exists independently.

Ideas exist but only as ideas. They don't exist outside of a thinking mind because the concept of "idea" presupposes a thinking mind because ideas are thoughts, not ontological things like oranges, cars, lightning, planets, insects, atoms, the Tree of Life, angels, you, me, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, God the Father and every other actual thing that exists whether someone thinks about it or not.

God is a noun and God is subject to no other noun. This is just semantics. It precedes logic. You can't do logic without defining your terms first.
As I said, this is simply wrong. You don't understand what logic is. Language, did not precede logic, much less semantics! There is no way to define terms without using logic to do it. You cannot utter a single meaningful syllable without the use of logic. Spoken language is merely the utterance of various sounds that represent various ideas. The sounds themselves are more or less arbitrary. The same sound can represent multiple things. The sound you make when you say the word "right" can mean a whole list of various things, several of which have no connection to one another other than that particular sound you make to convey the various concepts. The point being that someone or some group of someones decided that that particular sound meant something and that decision was not made absent the use of reason.
Not only that but the concepts communicated through language existed LONG before the words! You can build a shelter on a deserted island without saying a single word. The process that creates the shelter requires a long string of logic. You have to know, not only what you're building, but you must pocess some understand of the materials and process used to build it and, whether or not anyone ever calls it a "shelter", has no bearing on whether it got built. And so, NO, language DOES NOT, in any way precede logic. Quite the contrary, in fact.

What a mess!
The only mess is your thought process!
 
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MWinther

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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.

If God is omniscient, he can foresee what will happen in the future. But then he cannot intervene in Creation and change anything in the future, because then his foreseeing was false. So omniscience means that God's hands are tied, which is self-contradictory. Isn't it?
 

Clete

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If God is omniscient, he can foresee what will happen in the future.
God cannot see what will happen in the future.
Therefore, God is not omniscient.

But then he cannot intervene in Creation and change anything in the future, because then his foreseeing was false.
So omniscience means that God's hands are tied, which is self-contradictory. Isn't it?
YES! It is!

And what do we know about the self-contradictory?

In other words, don't stop your mind at that point. What does the fact that its self-contradictory mean you should do with that idea except to declare it false and reject it?

Not that you haven't done so. Perhaps you have and simply didn't include it in your post and that's fine but I just wanted to put a really fine point on it here.

Omniscience is a Greek idea about the nature of God, not a biblical one. It is the rational offspring of the idea that God is immutable (i.e. that God cannot change in ANY WAY whatsoever). This idea is so completely unbiblical that's its hard to imagine why it would even need to be stated out loud. I mean, it's not like you have to find some obscure verse hidden in the book of Nahum to know that God changes in ways that are so profound that it can't rightly be expressed in words! Why or how any Christian can allow such an idea to survive even a cursory reading of the gospels, is incomprehensible to my mind. The notion cannot survive even the first fourteen verses of the gospel of John!

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.​
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.​
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.​
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.​

Does the believer in immutability think that God was always flesh? That would be heresy of the highest order!
And again, that's just the first few sentences of the book of John! Later we read that Jesus "learned obedience" and that He died and then didn't remain dead but arose from the dead. Indeed, we have the words of the Creator Himself recorded in John's Revelation...

Revelations 1:7 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
I wonder how many books of the bible destroy the notion of God being immutable within the first chapter? Again, how any Christian has been tricked into believe it, is beyond my comprehension.

In II Corinthians, Paul teaches us that Jesus became sin!

II Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.​
Was Jesus always sin? Is He sin now?

No! Certainly not! God is NOT immutable! Therefore, we are saved! Amen!
And therefore, He is not omniscient (i.e. in the classical sense of those terms).

What the bible actually teaches about the attributes of God....
  • He has always existed and will continue to exist forever. God had no beginning and will see no end. (Note: Timelessness is not a biblical concept.)
  • God is absolutely unique. He has no peer. There is one and only one God.
  • God is triune, existing as three persons; God the Father, God the Son (Logos) and God the Holy Spirit.
  • God's character does not change. He is consistently and perfectly righteous. He always has been and always will be.
  • God is the fountainhead of all power. Any power that does not reside in Him has been delegated, and can be recalled, by Him at His sole discretion.
  • God can do anything that is doable that He chooses to do.
  • God knows, or is able to find out, everything that is knowable that He wants to know.
  • God is present, or is able to go, everywhere He wants to be and He isn't present, or is able to leave, anywhere that He doesn't want to be.
 
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