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  #1  
Old 09-20-2005, 04:30 AM
David Sklansky David Sklansky is offline
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Default Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

This is a legitimate question because I think I stumbled on to something.

It was already established a long time ago in the thread I started about whether God could make two cubes add up to another cube, that God's omniscience did not mean he could do literally everything. Though some religious people thought otherwise, religious scholars of every make and model, including Not Ready, freely agreed that even God can't do things that amount to contradicting himself. Or something to that effect. Those who thought he could make two cubes add up to a third, simply didn't see that this was a complicated example of the above. But I'm not interested in arguing about that now. Assume it is true for the sake of this discussion.

Anyway on another thread I believe I have come up with an argument similar to "can God build a rock he can't lift?" that is an example of asking God to contradict himself. The argument applies to his ability to perfectly see the future while giving humans AND HIMSELF free will. And unless there is a flaw in the argument, it seems he can't. But I don't want to argue about that either.

For now I want to know which religions or denominations would fall apart if God couldn't perfectly see the future (perhaps because he voluntarily gave up that power). Keep in mind that if this was true many of the arguments against certain religions would go away (I'll let others elaborate.)

If the only reason a certain religion assumes God can see the future is because it assumes that God is omniscient, then there is no reason to stick to that assumption if that omniscience remains intact even if he doesn't have that power (like he doesn't regarding cubes or rocks).

What I'm asking is which religions have precepts that SPECIFICALLY REQUIRE tha God can perfectly see the future (rather than the more general requirement that he be omniscient). I'm thinking that many religions do not have specific beliefs that require this seeing the future ability. (If I'm right about that and if my argument that maps this subject onto rock building ability is not flawed, then given the upsides of postulating a non perfect predicter God, this little atheist may have done more for religion than Aquinas, Calvin and Spinoza combined.)
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2005, 05:33 AM
VanVeen VanVeen is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

The short answer to your question is "no", though I'm sure many theologians have defined omniscience such that it encompasses knowledge of futurity.

Let's dig a little deeper, shall we?

Omniscience is traditionally defined as knowledge of all true propositions. What does this mean? Well, it depends on who you ask! Many philosophers recognize limitations on the class of all true propositions an entity must know to qualify as omniscient. The incompatability of foreknowledge with the notion that human beings possess 'free will' has led many believers to argue that true propositions about the future do not exist. Alternatively, some have argued that while true propositions about the future may in fact exist, there is a sub-class of indexical propositions knowable only to entities with causal and temporal constraints (God, as he's usually defined, has neither!). In the latter case, God knows only those truths which are knowable given his nature as an eternal, unconstrained entity.

When discussing 'God' and his divine attributes one should always keep in mind that we define both God the concept and the attributes he possesses. You can't say, "well, in order to be omnipotent God must be able to do things which are logically impossible; since I am an amateur logician and I find that nonsensical, God is BS". That's a grade 8 argument against God's existence and betrays an ignorance of philosophy in general, not to mention modern analytic philosophy. Acknowledge this and many of the arguments on this forum dissolve in a flash. There are *highly sophisticated arguments on both sides* these days. Be best to brush up on your literature.

You can take it from there, I hope.
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Old 09-20-2005, 07:19 AM
BluffTHIS! BluffTHIS! is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

Very nice David. Very subtle. Naturally if God lacks or causes Himself to lack foreknowledge of future events, then He would be unable as a practical matter to intervene in earthly affairs in advance, even if it is assumed He can and would wish to on some occasions. Thus He would then only be able to intervene post hoc to mitigate rather than to prevent.

And yes, Christianity and Judaism would fall apart without that power. This is because God has made scriptural promises to preserve peoples, individuals and the church as a whole, not only from being destroyed by other men but also by the power of the Evil One. Thus if he lacked the power to carry out His promises, His word would be void.

But this really isn't a legitimate question as you say, since you are positing something that can't be, i.e. that an omnipotent god lacks a quality or power that is an indivisible part of an integral whole. This is exactly the same as positing an arithmetic where 2+2=3.
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Old 09-20-2005, 07:23 AM
VanVeen VanVeen is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

Wow. Haha. New favorite forum.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2005, 11:29 AM
RJT RJT is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

David,

I am going to have to give this some thought. I’ll have to brush up on a few things. (But, I just read Bluff’s piece and he seems to be doing a pretty good job.)

In the meantime, I thought you were agnostic. But, then you write this: “…this little atheist …” What gives? (Or were you were just taking literary license and it sounds better?)

RJT

p.s I just realized something –from which tradition and text do you think the name David came from? Careful, don’t prove yourself out of existence - remember the Descartes and the no French fries joke.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2005, 01:46 PM
NotReady NotReady is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

[ QUOTE ]

This is a legitimate question because I think I stumbled on to something.


[/ QUOTE ]

There's no logical bar to God being unable to foresee everything. He could still have all power such that He can overrule or control whatever happens.

The bar is Scriptural as it is clear from the Bible that He not only foresees all but controls all.


[ QUOTE ]

(If I'm right about that and if my argument that maps this subject onto rock building ability is not flawed, then given the upsides of postulating a non perfect predicter God, this little atheist may have done more for religion than Aquinas, Calvin and Spinoza combined.


[/ QUOTE ]

Why do you give yourself credit when the previous sentence is:

[ QUOTE ]

I'm thinking that many religions do not have specific beliefs that require this seeing the future ability.


[/ QUOTE ]

and there are large segments of Christianity which now question this doctrine?

Or for that matter look up Gnosticism which dates back at least as far as Christianity.
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2005, 03:06 PM
DougShrapnel DougShrapnel is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

[ QUOTE ]
It was already established a long time ago in the thread I started about whether God could make two cubes add up to another cube, that God's omniscience did not mean he could do literally everything. Though some religious people thought otherwise, religious scholars of every make and model, including Not Ready, freely agreed that even God can't do things that amount to contradicting himself. Or something to that effect. Those who thought he could make two cubes add up to a third, simply didn't see that this was a complicated example of the above. But I'm not interested in arguing about that now. Assume it is true for the sake of this discussion.

Anyway on another thread I believe I have come up with an argument similar to "can God build a rock he can't lift?" that is an example of asking God to contradict himself. The argument applies to his ability to perfectly see the future while giving humans AND HIMSELF free will. And unless there is a flaw in the argument, it seems he can't. But I don't want to argue about that either.

[/ QUOTE ]

I know you don't want to argue these points, however I was surprised that the xtians on this board where unable to defend the all powerfulness of God.

It's really simple when you ask if god can do the impossible. The answer is always yes. Even if there are logical implications and paradoxes.

Can God create an immovable object? Yes is the correct answer.

Can God then move that immovable object? You want to be able to say ah-ha here. But the answer is also yes. So you will be forced to deal with the consequences of a god that doens't have to obey logic.

This may be my weakest point, so don't spend to much time argueing this in a reply. When you pose the question, you state that God exists in the question and therefore no matter how quickly you come across an aparant contridiction. You can't help but contradict yourself. Saying "God exists and [insert logic here] therefore he doesn't"

As far as this whole predestination thing goes. I'm not really sure you are thinking about god in the correct manner, mainly, that he is eternal. He isn't really bounded by time in any direction, and time is of really no consequence to him. For instance god can see all points in time at the same time, and therefore really isn't affecting freewill.

The religions in questions require that god exist outside of time, and it's boundaries. And therefor god can "see the future" as much as god "can see the present" as it makes no real difference to him. Any attempt to limit god in regards to this ability is an attack on his always-existingness. And must be stopped, logic be damned.
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2005, 03:09 PM
chezlaw chezlaw is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

[ QUOTE ]
It's really simple when you ask if god can do the impossible. The answer is always yes. Even if there are logical implications and paradoxes.


[/ QUOTE ]

So you accept the possibility that god never existed

chez
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2005, 03:16 PM
DougShrapnel DougShrapnel is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

[ QUOTE ]
So you accept the possibility that god never existed

[/ QUOTE ] Personaly I strongly suspect that that is the case. But I wasn't given that option in the premises.
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2005, 03:22 PM
chezlaw chezlaw is offline
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Default Re: Do Christians (or Jews) Need God to see the Future.

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
So you accept the possibility that god never existed

[/ QUOTE ] Personaly I strongly suspect that that is the case. But I wasn't given that option in the premises.

[/ QUOTE ]

An omnipotent god unconstrained by logic can make it so that it never existed in the first place. Remove the constraint of logic and it just gets silly.

chez
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