Only Knows "No" or "Probably not" as well?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    Most humans believe that possibilities are ontologically real. We now have good reason to believe that all possibilities have an inherent concomitant degree of probability and really, IMO, it is nonsensical to think that they wouldn't. Since the scientific study of probability is a modern development starting in the 17th century we are comfortable with deliberating possible actions based on their probabilities. Perhaps casting of the die was a way to arrive at a decided opinion between possibilities in situations for which there were no metrics to ascertain their probabilities or where greater reason was inconvenient or inaccessible. Yet, whereas man is just now coming to understand the ideas of 'possibility' and 'probability' we are confident that God has always known of them.

    My question is, While we live and believe in the idea of 'probabilities' does God know anything as a probability? Has God known possibilities and probabilities as only the creatures' illusions and are not ontologically real to Him? If God knows possibilities then how is it that He can not know them simultaneously in the same way?
     
  2. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,080
    Likes Received:
    49
    because he knows what he either caused or will allow to actually 'really" happen, that there is no other options?
     
  3. Cypress

    Cypress
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    0
    It must first be granted that the future consists of uncertain events. Once that is granted, probability comes in to play, but not before. Further, it is better I think to view it as not a question of will or will not happen but rather will or might not...... or will not or might happen. Make sense?
     
  4. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    1
    Immediate guess: He knows a random event BOTH as a "probability" and he knows also the reality of the future event. In other words: presumably, he perfectly understands all truths relating to the "science" of probability, but he I will use the word (incidentally) knows future reality as well. I have never believed that God purposely interferes in any way with all events, like say, the result of the die roll on a Monopoly board...He only "causes" what events he wants/needs to cause.

    I don't think they are illusory.

    I don't think it's really an either/or situation...more like a "both". My immediate guess anyway...Then again, I know nothing of probability theory as I can barely count to ten....and successfully failed H.S. (Pre-Algebra)......twice. :sleep:
     
  5. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,080
    Likes Received:
    49
    but can't it be that there are actually no other possibilities, in the sense that God already has known from eternity what he will either do or permit, so actually only ONE real happening?

    Why does there have to be number of potential possibilities?
     
  6. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0

    HT, I would say that God created the entire sample space and thus he is quite aware of all permutations and combinations.
     
  7. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
  8. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    There seems to be a contradiction if you say that God knows that something is red but also knows simultaneously that it is not red. How is it not only one or the other?
     
  9. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    If it IS red, then the probability wave has collapsed to certainty. :)

    I don't think that is what I was saying.
     
  10. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    I absolutely agree and I think you would agree that God knows the reality that it IS red. God cannot have a false belief. For one to think that something is a possibility and then simultaneously think that it is rather a certainty is contradictory. Would you agree that a deterministic/calvinistic view would mean that there are NO possibilities, that what theoretically could have been possibilities are all certainties?
     
  11. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,080
    Likes Received:
    49
    whatever {possibilities] actually existed at any given point in time would beither either determined or permitted by God anyways!
     
  12. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes I agree that it would only be a certainty when actualized (from our perspective) what about from God's? If He knows all possibilities, then He knows all certainties.
     
  13. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    Reply to OP

    Does God know possibilities as ontologically real, or simply as a mental construct in the mind of man? Jesus said if the folks in this town had seen His miracles, they would have repented. Therefore God knows possibilities as ontologically real.

    Here is the logic behind the conclusion - if the future is predestined exhaustively, then no other possibility exists, so possibility would be a mental construct of men. But, if the future is not fixed, i.e. things happen by chance as Jesus said, then possibilities exist in reality.

    But what about the Arminian claim that God can know the future exhaustively yet not fix it exhaustively. Then God would know all but one possibility as a fictional construct of the mind of man, and the one that will occur as a predetermined reality. No, it does not hang together, but the powers that be claim that is what orthodox Baptists specifically subscribe to. :)
     
  14. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, agreed. What's more from our view we may consider some events as possibilities when From God's perspective He knows that our thought is only theoretical.
    However, the main purpose for the OP was to consider God's opinions of what is actually 'possible' and what was actually 'certain'.

    yes, agreed. Now from God's perspective, the things that are not certainties he knows as such and to know them as uncertainties would be a contradiction, a falsity. The things that are uncertainties he knows as such and to know them as certainties would be a contradiction, a falsity.

    Would you agree?

    I particularly think your signature quote is appropriate to consider here:
    Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion. (Bierce)
    God, unless he is absurd as some say, cannot simultaneously hold these two contradictory ideas: that 'this' is a possibility and a certainty. The 'this' is ontologically either one or the other from God's perspective and should be from ours as well. While our perspective may be obscured His is not.
     
    #14 humblethinker, Jun 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2012
  15. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    My thinking is that God knows everything from a totally different perspective than we do because He knows all of the ins, outs, ups and downs. We cannot have a thought that God has not already had, can we?
     
  16. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my last post I have a significant typo that should be easily recognized but may obviously confuse the reading.

    The part, "yes, agreed. Now from God's perspective, the things that are not certainties..." should be read without the 'not'.
     
  17. MorseOp

    MorseOp
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    0
    While Gordon Clark devotees may wax long and eloquent on this subject, the true answer starts with understanding what God has revealed about himself. God is both in and outside of space and time. "In the beginning, God" was not just a statement of chronology, it is also a statement of his eternality in all three persons of the godhead. God is inside time and space through his dealings with mankind. Jesus occupied a physical place in linear history during his incarnation. God holds the universe together by the word of his power. He sets up and removes kings. All these things the scripture tells us about how God acts in human and cosmic events. God is outside of time and space because he is the creator of all things, including the law of physics. He existed before the physical laws he created to govern his creation.

    If you dwell upon this aspect of God, it is difficult to imagine that anything can take place in human events that escapes the knowledge of God. More than that, how can a God, who created all things and the laws to govern all things, not also direct all things? How can God keep himself from knowing? The very idea is antithetical to the nature of God. We are guilty of looking at the complexities of human choices/possibilities and trying to reduce them to an algorithm in order to provide a degree of certainty to our ever inquisitive minds.

    If scripture even alludes to God advocating a probability it is more for our sake then his. When Moses spoke on behalf of God, "choose life" (Deu. 30:19), was he waiting in anticipation as to who would choose him? If God is truly omniscient then the answer can only be, "no." But is the idea of probability alive and well within men? Certainly. As finite creatures we cannot help but exist in the world of uncertainty, probability and possibility. What we must careful of is not to transfer our finite reasoning to God. We may explain him in such ways, but we cannot go beyond that line.

    I've used an object lesson in teaching ontology and omniscience from God's perspective. Draw a large circle on a piece of paper. Next, draw a horizontal line in the middle of the circle stopping just short of connecting the line to either side of the circle. Basically you are creating a north and south hemisphere without connecting the dividing line to the actual circle. The circle represents God. The horizontal line in the middle represents linear time. The far left of the line is the creation event. The far right of the line is the end of the age. Every human and cosmic event occupies a spot on the linear line. The creation of Adam, the birth of Christ, the Civil War, Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon, and ultimately the ushering in of the eternal state. You and I occupy a spot on that linear line. Mere specks we are. God, as the circle, surrounds all of linear time. He sees pre-creation eternity, linear time, and post-creation eternity as happened, happening, and yet to happen. Where the object lesson breaks down (and actually makes it an even stronger illustration) is that the circle has borders. God has no borders. Borders are constructs of the human mind, allowing us perspective. God is beyond even that. Our minds lack the ability to comprehend the magnitude of this truth, and yet here we are discussing whether God knows all possibilities and probabilities.
     
    #17 MorseOp, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2012
  18. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,080
    Likes Received:
    49
    Since the Lord knows/determines/allows ALL that ever will happen, come to pass...

    Are there really a multitudes of possibilities IF only those allowed or done by him ever actually occur?
     
  19. MorseOp

    MorseOp
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    0
    Only in the mind and experience of man.
     
  20. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the following thoughts I would like to reassert post #14 to quantumfaith (and everyone that believes in free will but holds that the Open View of the future is an impossibility or is unscriptural) and look forward to replies from them.

    The main purpose for the OP was to consider God's opinions of what is actually 'possible' and what was actually 'certain'.

    Now from God's perspective, the things that are certainties he knows as such and to know them as uncertainties would be a contradiction, a falsity. The things that are uncertainties he knows as such and to know them as certainties would be a contradiction, a falsity.

    I particularly think this quote is appropriate to consider here:
    Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion. (Bierce)
    God, unless he is absurd as some say, cannot simultaneously hold these two contradictory ideas: that 'this' is a possibility and a certainty. The 'this' is ontologically either one or the other from God's perspective and should be from ours as well. While our perspective may be obscured His is not.

     
    #20 humblethinker, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2012

Share This Page

Loading...