Can omniscience choose?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Apr 22, 2011.

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  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    I was both very pleased and somewhat disturbed by the last thread on omniscience.

    I was pleased that the VAST majority of BB members believe in the omniscience of God.

    I was disturbed that there were two people who literally voted that they do NOT believe that God has always known all there is to ever know about everything.

    These people should not speak on theological matters in their church or anywhere. They are a great danger to people with no greater theological understanding than themselves.


    But our point of contention seems to not be whether or not God has always known all there is to ever know about everything. It seems rather to be about whether or not an all knowing God can make choices.


    Can there be a point at which God has not made up his mind and then suddenly, inexplicably, he makes up his mind?

    Isn't language about God choosing REALLY anthropomorphic because we can't comprehend matters beyond time, space and matter and because we have no words for such eternal matters?


    If God can be informed of something doesn't that of necessity mean that there was some knowledge he did not have which would most certainly mean God was not ALL KNOWING?
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    Not only that, he would not be immutable, since to not know something,then to know it, would represent a change in God.
     
  3. Skandelon

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    Yes and yes, which is why I disagree with your conclusions about how God can't make real choices. The bible says God makes choices and you say that he can't make choices because of his omniscience. If the bible says God makes choices then it can't be wrong to believe that God makes choices. If scripture employees anthropomorphic language in order to help us understand God then it shouldn't be wrong for us to understand him and explain him using those same terms.

    In other words, if scripture uses anthropomorphic terms so we can understand God, then we should understand him by those terms, not different terms made up by some dead theologian.
     
  4. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  5. Luke2427

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    Wrong.

    It is wrong for you to believe that the eternal God has hands and feet and nostrils.

    Why?

    Because the Bible tells us that God is eternal spirit which does not have flesh and bones.

    So we understand that God did not ACTUALLY blow from his NOSTRILS and thereby part the Red Sea.

    When we were small children we might have thought that God blew his nose and that parted the Red Sea.

    But as adults we know better. We know that such language is anthropomorphic.

    Just so, the Bible tells us that God has always known all there is to ever know about everything. We have agreed on this point.

    So when the Bible speaks of him making a choice which BY DEFINITION requires that he has to do some figuring which necessitates that he did not already KNOW what to do- then any mature Christian understands that this language about God choosing is also anthropomorphic.
     
  6. Luke2427

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    Well at least your consistent.:rolleyes:
     
  7. Skandelon

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    Non sequitur

    Your fallacy goes like this:
    1. God is described with human like qualities
    2. God is not human
    3. Thus, the description is false

    or

    1. God is described using human like qualities so we can understand Him better.
    2. We understand him better.
    3. Thus, the description is an inaccurate way to understand God

    It doesn't follow. We all KNOW that God doesn't have a body like ours, just as we understand that he doesn't make choices in the exact same manner that we do, but those are the terms given to us so that we can understand and relate to Him, thus to contradict what is clearly revealed through those terms (i.e. "God chose" vs. "God doesn't really choose" or "God relented" vs. "God doesn't really relent") does injustice to the text and redefines the very terms God inspired.

    So, in your argument you are comparing "God blowing his nose" with "God making a choice," as both being "anthropomorphisms."

    Ok, let me try one:

    God loves you. But not really cause that is also anthropomorphic. God doesn't love in the same way you and I love, so God really can't love because for an immutable, eternal, self sufficient being to love someone outside himself would make him less than perfectly self sufficient and subject to emotion and feelings which are humanlike qualities. Thus, I conclude God doesn't really love.

    Absurd, right? That is what you sound like to me. Sorry, not trying to be rude, just trying to help you see what this looks like and the absurdity of going down this road.

    So every mature Christian needs to contradict the terms used by the scripture which says that God chooses and say what Luke says instead, "God doesn't make real choices." And when He says "let us reason together" we all know that God doesn't really "reason" so let's conclude that God doesn't reason either. And surely God has no emotion, so lets say God doesn't love either. In fact just about every quality of God that doesn't start with an "omni" should just be dismissed as not really being true of God. Ok, good. We got that all straightened out. :smilewinkgrin:

    Yes, I'm jesting, but this is really getting to be a bit absurd, I think. Just say, God makes choices but we really don't know how to describe that because his ways are higher than ours and be done with it bro.
     
    #7 Skandelon, Apr 23, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2011
  8. Winman

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    Folks simply do not believe what the scriptures say, plain and simple.

    Gen 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

    We see that God entered time here and became a man. He limited himself in strength as Jacob prevailed over him when they wrestled. We see God limited his omniscience as he did not know Jacob's name. We see God in time as he needed to be released before sunrise.

    This is not anthropomorphic language, it is a literal account of Jacob wrestling with God. So, it is obvious God limits himself at times to personally interact with men, as no man can see God's face (in his glory) and live.

    Folks should simply believe what the scriptures say, and not interpret it to fit their false presuppositions.
     
    #8 Winman, Apr 23, 2011
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  9. jbh28

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    Winman, what is your username on this forum? Mine is jbh28, what's yours?
     
  10. Winman

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    You simply refuse to believe the scriptures. Did God limit his omnipotence in this passage? If so, then why could God not also limit his omniscience?

    Your problem understanding scripture is nothing but unbelief. You esteem the doctrines of men over the word of God.
     
  11. Luke2427

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    These syllogisms are not applicable to my arguments.

    - All human-like terminology that cannot rightly be applied to an infinite Being must be understood as anthropomorphic.
    - Having feet and making choices is terminology that cannot rightly be applied to an infinite being
    - Having feet and making choices when speaking of an infinite being is anthropomorphic language.

    That is the PROPER syllogism to represent my argument.



    It doesn't REDEFINE any terms. The definition for hand and choice remains the same. It simply interprets them properly.

    No reputable theologian thinks God has actual FEET and NOSTRILS.

    Yet you could apply that same argument of yours to every theologian who asserts that God has no body.

    You could say, "The BIBLE SAYS he has feet and nostrils!!! So he must have them!!!"

    Of course that would be ignorant and you are better than that.

    So you ought to be better than that on this issue as well.



    Wrong. This does not apply because your premise is erroneous.

    There is no logical necessity that purports that an infinite being cannot love outside of himself.

    If there were, you might have a point. Since there isn't you do not.

    Think of what making choices entails.

    - It means that there was a point when you had not made up your mind.
    This cannot be true of God because God already knows all there is to know about everything. He cannot make up his mind if he already knows everything. It must have always in eternity past been made up.

    Now this is a horrific premise that you base this argument on.

    You are saying that we have to take EVERYTHING in the BIBLE literally!!

    So God has nostrils, right?? That is your belief.

    God does not reason. That is absolutely right. He can speak to our reasoning capabilities but he does not WONDER ANYTHING.

    He CERTAINLY did not mean, "Let's talk this out and maybe you can share some things with me that I had not considered and maybe I can share some things with you that you had not considered and maybe we can meet in the middle somewhere."

    My HEAVENS! That is horrible! I hope that is not what you think of God.

    He cannot make up his mind any more than he can get stronger.
     
  12. Luke2427

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    If God can limit his omniscience then he can cease being God.

    If one does not get a hold of the fact that sayings in the Bible that seem to indicate that God does not KNOW something is anthropomorphic he will wind up an open theist and a damned heretic.

    I am not saying that Skandelon is. I AM saying that is where Winman's conclusions will lead one who follows them to their logical implications.

    Winman is an old man by his own testimony and will probably not live long enough to follow this out to it's conclusion.

    But what concerns me is that there may be some young ignorant person who thinks Winman knows what he is talking about who WILL live long enough to follow Winman's assertions out to their damnable end.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    If we adopt the position that God's asking Jacob his name means God didn't know Jacob's name, I suppose we must hold that when God called out in Eden "Where are you?", he really didn't know where Adam and Eve were.

    I am trying to get my mind to understand how an omniscient God can decide not to know something. Did he never know it? Or did he decide to temporarily "un-know" it?

    I can hardly visualize God saying, "I don't want to know that, so I won't." Why would God not want to know something, if in fact, he could know it?

    What if God accidentally knows something he didn't intend to know? Okay, never mind about that, I'm just letting my mind float freely. I didn't mean to ask that?

    I still contend that to limit God's omniscience (or to hold that God himself limits it), is also an attack on his immutability.
     
  14. Skandelon

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    Correct, but that doesn't mean the anthropomorphic understanding is incorrect. For example, if the poet wrote, "The trees outstretched arms swayed in the breeze." You would know that the tree doesn't have literal arms, but that doesn't give you the ability to dismiss the clearly revealed truth that the tree indeed was swayed by the breeze. Here is your fallacy.

    You would say (if consistent with what you have been arguing) "The tree doesn't have literal arms, so we must dismiss the clear intent of the verse to mean that the tree doesn't really sway in the breeze." Expect in our discussion you say it like this, "God isn't like a man, so we must dismiss the clear intent of the verse to mean that God doesn't really make choices."

    We believe God makes choices because the bible says that God makes choices. WE understand that he chooses differently than men because he is an eternal being, but we also know that is a mystery beyond our finite understanding. Period.

    Ok, I can live with that if you mean:

    God's hand = not a literal physical hand like man
    God's choice = not a choice made in the same finite way men make choices.

    But right now your seem to define it this way:

    God's choice = "not a real choice"


    If you understood me then you would know I am doing better than the straw-man you are attacking. As explained above, this has nothing to do with dismissing the concepts of anthropomorphic language. It has to do with accepting the intent of such language and not using the anthropomorphic aspects to merely dismiss that clear intent for the sake of protecting one's man-made dogma.

    Oh, but of course there IS the "logical necessity" that purports that an infinite being cannot make a choice, right? What you call "logical necessity," I call "man-made finite rules imposed on an infinite and eternal being."

    Listen, the bible says God makes choices with qualification, you say God can't make choices. I'll believe scripture and you can believe your "logical necessities."

    The fact that you say that only proves you have yet to understand my argument. Please read it again carefully and try to understand me, not just rebut me.

    No. Read the tree with outstretched arms comments above. Maybe that will help you understand.
     
    #14 Skandelon, Apr 23, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2011
  15. Skandelon

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    By that logic do you then admit that Jesus at some point ceased being God?
     
  16. Skandelon

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    I actually agree with you on this point. I think the argument that God chooses not to know something is just a way for "our side" to explain the mystery of the way in which a divine infinite God works. Just as I think the Calvinistic explanations of God seek to explain away the mystery to make God fit their logical systems. I argued this point with Van in the other thread sometime ago.

    I think we make the claims of scripture and leave it at that. If asked about nuances of HOW God makes choices or gives man free choices while being omniscient etc, the answer can simply be, "His ways are higher than our ways, but both truths are revealed as being true and I accept them both as truth."
     
  17. Luke2427

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    I'll answer that in a moment. But first, let me get this straight. Are you backtracking on your previous affirmation that you believe that God has always known all there is to ever know about everything?

    If not, please explain.
     
  18. Luke2427

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    Then God has a body by your estimation, right?
     
  19. Skandelon

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    See my longer reply to your previous post. I address this question there. (On another note and for another thread, it is clear that God has revealed himself with a body of sorts throughout scripture, certainly it would be a "spiritual body" and different than man's, but I don't think its unreasonable for us to think of God has having some kind of "spiritual body" or body-like manifestation by which he relates to and reveals himself to man)

    My answer to Tom addresses this, I think...
     
  20. Luke2427

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    No. But knowing what is already revealed to me about trees I understand that by "arms" the author means "branches".

    By what is revealed to me about God causes me to understand that when the Scripture says he does not KNOW something that it does not LITERALLY mean that he does not KNOW it. It is anthropomorphic language.

    And when the Scripture says that God makes choices, since Scripture reveals to me elsewhere that God has always known all there is to ever know about anything, and since making a LITERAL choice requires the acquisition of not previously held information, then I KNOW that terminology is anthropomorphic.

    That is like saying, "We believe that God has nostrils because the Bible SAYS that he has nostrils. We understand that his nostrils are different from men's nostrils because he is an eternal being, but we also know that is a mystery beyond our finite understanding."

    It doesn't work Skandelon. It doesn't work.


    It is NOT a real choice in no way like the choices we make exactly LIKE it is not a real hand in in no way like our hands.


    I do understand you perfectly. You have yet to grasp that choice IS anthropomorphic of necessity. That is the only obstacle betwixt us right now.

    Here it is:

    - A choice requires the acquisition of previously not held information.
    - Omniscience BY DEFINTION means that there is NO information which is not held.
    - Therefore omniscience cannot make a choice.

    That is LOGIC.

    You must prove one of the premises wrong before you can deny the conclusion.

    Listen the Bible says that God has nostrils, you say he does not. I'LL BELIEVE THE BIBLE you Bible hater!

    See how ridiculous that is?
     
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