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Author Topic:   All Knowing God proves problematic
Chessmaster
Junior Member (Idle past 4713 days)
Posts: 11
Joined: 03-15-2008


Message 1 of 82 (490724)
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


hi,
I was in a heated debate with some Christians recently, people who were preaching to me the whole idea of choice that we get. Being basic and upfront, I choose my destiny, I choose whether or not I accept god, love him and go to heaven. Or I choose evil and deny god, or just don't like him, and go to hell. However, with this argument, they seem to forget another thing they preach, that god is all knowing, he knows the future, there is nothing he doesn't know. It has been used in other examples, like he knew Satan would turn bad, yet he made him anyway. But it applies to this whole free-will and free choice thing.
They tell me, I have a choice, it's MY choice whether or not I go to hell.
Well, if he, or it, is really all knowing, then before he even decided I was to be born, he KNEW, or KNOWS, if I will go to hell or heaven. IN WHICH CASE, no matter what I do on this earth, how I act of behave, is not going to change the truth that he has foreseen. So, I may aswell not try and just enjoy my life and let it come naturally. I cannot influence my entry into heaven, for it has already been forseen whether I will enter or not, and his prediction, is of course perfect and cannot be wrong or changed.
Does this make sense? I just wonder if this has been dicussed before or if intelligent religious people realise this.

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Message 2 of 82 (490747)
12-08-2008 5:12 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
jaywill
Member (Idle past 2026 days)
Posts: 4519
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005


Message 3 of 82 (490754)
12-08-2008 7:39 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chessmaster
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


Chessmaster,
Minds smarter, more intelligent than mine and probably yours too, have contemplated such paradoxes in the Bible, ie. free will verses pre-destination.
It is a subject that has been contemplated from many angles.
I do not intend to try to reconcile this contradiction. But if God's knows what choice you make, you don't know and I don't know. And no one else in the universe knows. So for all intents and purposes do you not have the freedom?
The evangelist D.L. Moody, I believe, said something to the effect that on the outside of the kingdom of God is a sign that says "Whosever wills". But once one steps inside and turns around to look at the gate the sign says "Chosen before the foundation of the world."
Reconciling this is too difficult for me. However, I would suggest that when a Christians tells you of your choice to be saved, that you consider that person as your friend.
In fact I often feel that for that moment when a Christian is sharing with you the gospel of Jesus you are looking at your best friend in the whole world, at least at that moment.
And they are your friend because they are telling you the truh.
It is not easy to be put in a position to be quickly scorned, rediculed, rejected. He or she is doing so most often because the love of Christ within them will not allow them to have peace to ignore you and not warn you that the Gospel is important.
One other thing. Salvation is not a matter of going away to a happy place called heaven. It is really about "going" into God to be transformed into His son - a brother of Jesus, in life, nature, and expression.
The "going" to the Father is a transformation of the personality to live as Jesus. Or better yet to live Jesus. That is live out the Jesus who has come to live in your heart.
The nature of God in Christ is that HE can come to live in you and dwell in your innermost being.
Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
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Stile
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 4 of 82 (490758)
12-08-2008 8:34 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chessmaster
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


Chessmaster writes:
hi
Hello, and welcome to EvC. I like your question, I think it's rather fun to muse about such possibilities.
Chessmaster writes:
Well, if he, or it, is really all knowing, then before he even decided I was to be born, he KNEW, or KNOWS, if I will go to hell or heaven. IN WHICH CASE, no matter what I do on this earth, how I act of behave, is not going to change the truth that he has foreseen. So, I may aswell not try and just enjoy my life and let it come naturally.
I read your answer as "what I do doesn't actually matter so I'm just going to sit and suck on my thumb". Sounds a bit whiny. As if "what God thinks" is the only thing that matters. I can think of plenty of things that are more important to me than "what God thinks", like "what my wife thinks" for one. Then again, that's mostly because I've never heard of anything in this world I'd actually call "God", and I've certainly heard of my wife
Forget about that for a second though, consider the following scenario:
-Your life is relatively basic and average, and the only thing between you and Heaven is actually trying to go there.
-if you try to go to Heaven, you will go to Heaven
-if you do not try to go to Heaven, you will not go to Heaven
-God already knows if you're going to end up trying or not, and therefore knows if you're going to Heaven or not.
-You don't know what God knows.
I do not understand how this knowledge of God's restricts you from doing whatever you'd like to do? Can you explain to me how you are prevented from choosing one or the other?
Personally, I don't think this God you're thinking about actually exists at all. I think we should be good people because it's better to make people happy then to make people sad. Whether or not anyone else agrees with this doesn't matter. Regardless of their possible supernatural or divine stature or their ability to place us in Heaven or Hell.
But, I think your arguement is flawed. God simply knowing the future doesn't restrict freedom of choice.
Better questions:
-Whether or not we have freedom of choice in the first place.
-Whether or not an omniscient God would allow His knowledge of the future to affect our choices in any way.
-Whether or not an omniscient being who cannot be discerned from an illusion or delusion should actually have any contribution to important decisions (like what you do with your life).

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Zucadragon
Member
Posts: 94
From: Netherlands
Joined: 06-28-2006
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 5 of 82 (490895)
12-09-2008 2:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chessmaster
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


I understand the reasoning because its exactly the kind of reasoning I used when I first joined this forum... And I mean exactly the same topic with the same question.. But I learned a bit since then.
You are thinking human terms now basically.. If someone knows what you will do in 5 minutes, and its 100% sure.. Then you "will" do that, no matter what you believe you have as a choice, if he "knows" you will jump off a cliff in 5 minutes, you "will" jump off a cliff.
Thats basically it right ?
I'm not going to say that the premise is flawed, because technically it isn't and you make a very splendid point, though the conditions you make this statement in are wrong.
If we're talking about a god, a being with unimaginable power, who is outside of the timeline, who is all powerfull, who created everything. Then he would be the kind of entity that could break that rule.
No I know, it doesn't sound logical at all, but we are talking of an illogical entity in the first place, an entity that created the laws we function in.
So eventhough you make a great point, it doesn't work because you're putting limits on god. If god knows what I'm going to do, then I can't do anything else.. But if god is the one who created time, so that things can be done in a certain order, and god is the one who created free will so to speak. Then he's also able to give you free choice.
It took me years to actually get that, and I reckon it won't suddenly change your mind, but thats what I learned.. Eventhough I don't believe in god

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straightree
Member (Idle past 4835 days)
Posts: 57
From: Near Olot, Spain
Joined: 09-26-2008


Message 6 of 82 (490924)
12-09-2008 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chessmaster
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


Free will
Hi Chessmaster,
I think you are making refference to the basic problem of free will existance. It has been very central to philosophical debate, as stated in wikipedia: "The question of free will has been a central issue since the beginning of philosophical thought."
I think that free will is a conquest of human mind. I do not think the rest of animals may act with much free will, if any at all. And also think that for humans, it is not free, and it requires some training. As an extreme example, think of the little free will left to a person subject to drug-dependence.

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truthlover
Member (Idle past 4144 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


(1)
Message 7 of 82 (491029)
12-10-2008 10:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chessmaster
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


Well, if he, or it, is really all knowing, then before he even decided I was to be born, he KNEW, or KNOWS, if I will go to hell or heaven. IN WHICH CASE, no matter what I do on this earth, how I act of behave, is not going to change the truth that he has foreseen. So, I may aswell not try and just enjoy my life and let it come naturally.
If this is Logic 101 and I'm taking a test, then I write false as to whether this "if...then" statement is true.
I got a strong A in Logic 101.
Your reasoning here doesn't make any sense to me. While it's true that God may know you're foolish enough to use this kind of reasoning to live with no effort and thus condemn you, it's also true that you could decide to live life with effort in order to please God. In that case, God would know in advance that you are not going to be condemned.
Either way, God knows what's going to happen, but you get to be the person who made the wise or foolish choice.

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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 8 of 82 (491053)
12-11-2008 8:56 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by truthlover
12-10-2008 10:50 PM


ABE: Remove double post.
Edited by Percy, : See above.

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 9 of 82 (491054)
12-11-2008 8:56 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by truthlover
12-10-2008 10:50 PM


Logic? Reading your post brought images of the Red Queen to mind. All you did was restate the contradiction as if it were an answer.
--Percy

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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2782 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 10 of 82 (491062)
12-11-2008 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chessmaster
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


This is always a confusing thing to talk about.
But, to me, it seems obvious that there is a dysjunct between the person who has the foreknowledge and the person who performs the action. In other words, God's knowledge of what somebody does before they do it doesn't mean that God made them do it.
The weatherman can "know" what will happen tomorrow, the spy can "know" where the Nazis are going to bomb tomorrow, an alligator can "know" where the zebras are going to cross the river, and I can "know" that my baby is about to take off walking across the room while my wife isn't looking, but none of these imply that the observer's knowledge has any control over the actor's actions.
Granted, these are all incomplete predictions based on present observations, and not the perfect foreknowledge that God is supposed to have, but the principle is still the same: in all cases, the observer does not act (except in those theologies where God uses His foreknowledge to actively manipulate the future to His ends, which is mostly outside of my personal theology). Where the foreseer does not influence the actor, you simply cannot say that the knowledge has anything to do with the cause of the action.
Conflating the foreknowledge with the action foreseen is equivalent to blaming the weatherman for the snowstorm.

-Bluejay
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 11 of 82 (491064)
12-11-2008 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Blue Jay
12-11-2008 10:49 AM


Hi Bluejay,
I found your answer as contradictory as Truthlover's, specifically here after you provide a number of real-world examples of predictions:
Bluejay writes:
Granted, these are all incomplete predictions based on present observations,...
You can't equate knowledge by an omniscient (all-knowing) God with a prediction by a person with incomplete (*not* all-knowing) knowledge.
...and not the perfect foreknowledge that God is supposed to have,...
Yes, exactly, and that's why you can't equate God's omniscent knowledge with people's incomplete knowledge.
...but the principle is still the same...
No, it is not the same. You're confusing knowledge with other things that have nothing to do with the conundrum, like responsibility and overt actions.
Here's the contradiction in a nutshell:
Assume God is omniscient and man has free will. God therefore knows what a person will do before he does it, and a person is free to choose what he wants to do.
But if a person decides to do something different than what God knows he will do, then by simple logic the part of the initial assumption about God's omniscience is incorrect.
Or if a person always ends up doing precisely what God knows he will do, then by simple logic the part of the initial assumption about free will is incorrect.
There cannot be Godly omniscience and free will by God's subjects in the same universe.
Both you and Truthlover correctly characterize the contradiciton, but somehow or other your "makes sense to me" switch is going on anyway.
--Percy

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Replies to this message:
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Shield
Member (Idle past 2947 days)
Posts: 482
Joined: 01-29-2008


Message 12 of 82 (491065)
12-11-2008 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by truthlover
12-10-2008 10:50 PM


Your reasoning here doesn't make any sense to me. While it's true that God may know you're foolish enough to use this kind of reasoning to live with no effort and thus condemn you, it's also true that you could decide to live life with effort in order to please God. In that case, God would know in advance that you are not going to be condemned.
So god is not all knowing? He has created 2 options, do good and go to heaven, do bad and go to hell, but he dosent know which option you will choose? He just presumes you choose the Do Good option?
Why would you bring up some grade you might/might not have gotten? Why would that matter?

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ICANT
Member (Idle past 112 days)
Posts: 6769
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 13 of 82 (491067)
12-11-2008 11:27 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Chessmaster
12-07-2008 6:24 PM


Re Choice
Hi Chessmaster,
Welcome to EvC.
Chessmaster writes:
They tell me, I have a choice, it's MY choice whether or not I go to hell.
Chessmaster as I understand the Bible the first man had a choice. He could not eat the fruit and live in the garden forever or he could eat the fruit and die.
He chose to eat the fruit and die. God then kicked him and all his descendents out of his paradise.
As it stands today all mankind are residents of the devils world except those that have been redeemed.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Man is already condemned. You don't have to do anything to go to hell (lake of fire). You are already going there.
So the only choice you would have is to not go there if you so choose.
God Bless,

"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

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truthlover
Member (Idle past 4144 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 14 of 82 (491104)
12-11-2008 5:04 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Percy
12-11-2008 11:15 AM


But if a person decides to do something different than what God knows he will do, then by simple logic the part of the initial assumption about God's omniscience is incorrect.
You've got the cart before the horse here. That's where the problem lies.
Despite the difference in time, it's the person's decision that God foreknows, so it's the person's decision that comes first. What they decide is what they decide. Suggesting that foreknowledge--in the case of God--is true is simply postulating that God can "guess" perfectly what they decide.
What your statement above says is that there's a decision you can make that God foreknew, but then you can change that decision. If God can foreknow the decision, then he can foreknow you were going to change your mind. None of that means he decided for you.

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straightree
Member (Idle past 4835 days)
Posts: 57
From: Near Olot, Spain
Joined: 09-26-2008


Message 15 of 82 (491108)
12-11-2008 5:46 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Blue Jay
12-11-2008 10:49 AM


determinism and free will
I think that only the actions that are the result of objective causes may be foreseen. That is, that are deterministic. If we imagine that we could build a perfect computer, that contained all the past and present data, and all the laws that govern the universe, then if I have free will, the machine can not predict what my actions will be. Therefore, to think that God, being omniscient, knows what the actions of men, that he has made free, will be, has no sense.
This does not diminish God greatness, but underscores the big gift He has given to humans: free will.

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