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On Divine Omniscience and Freewill

Trite, superfluous and mundane as internet chat room discussions usually are, there are occasionally flashes of real serious and interesting debate or dialogue. It is usually at times like that that I would start paying very close attention to what different people often say when they start waxing philosophical.  It is usually at times like this that you would be truly impressed or disappointed at the astonishing depth or shallowness of arguments or viewpoints that one may not have bothered to contemplate closely.

One of such discussions was taking place recently, when a usually infrequent but popularly known regular of the chat room started a much-needed and thematic deconstruction of Christian Theism. If you asked him, he would deny that he was launching any personal attacks – as a matter of fact he simply maintained that he was just philosophically analyzing popular belief and pointing out the fatal flaws and inconsistencies of the positions advocated by Christians. This sort of critical analysis of faith-based or religious claims are usually seen by the majority Christian theists in the room as a premeditated attack on their faith, but I beg to differ. I welcome such philosophical ruminations, because it helps to strengthen and bolster theistic belief when it is properly understood and seen to be free of some self-referential incoherence.

At any rate, the young man – I’ll just call him Kendoll – made a statement to this effect:

God’s Omniscience negates Free will. They cannot both exist. It is either human beings have free will or God is not omniscient for both cannot exist at the same time.

That statement was very confusing to many people at the time, as I noticed.  Indeed, it was of a sufficiently complex nature to many people that he actually had to stop typing his viewpoints in order to get on the room’s audio feature to speak on it. When he did, he seemed to be quite passionate about the topic that he set out to discuss.

Before he got up to speak though, I had been partially engaging him on the subject to get a feel for how he would actually explicate the position. I have to say, in retrospect, that his answers to me were unusually brief and curt, and lacked the enthusiasm which I had expected of one who had decided on a philosophical interjection in a room dominated by theological banter.

But if we examine the claim critically, is it really the case that God’s Omniscience negates human free will? Is it really true that if God knows everything in the past, present and future then it is not possible for human beings to exercise their choice as free moral agents?

I’ll beg to differ. I had wanted Kendoll to flesh out his position – not because I have not heard the argument before – but because I had wanted to see if there was any new angle that he might introduce to a raging philosophical debate that had already been tackled by considerably more astute Christian philosophers. But why think that Kendoll’s argument is true? It sounds deceptively plausible, but is this rudimentary elucidation of the Newcomb’s paradox of such compelling gravity? I am not so convinced it is.

For me to handle this objection, it may be necessary to define some terms and introduce others. The simple and proper Christian definition and understanding of Divine Omniscience is that “God knows all logically possible propositional truths or facts”.

This definition is actually more precise than many Christians recognize. Divine Omniscience for example, does not entail that God knows “everything” where “everything” might include things which are logically inconsistent or factually false. By saying that God knows everything, we cannot just assume that we can say or propose anything at all and have it be the case that God already knew that. If I say something like “John McCain is the president of the United States”, God’s omniscience does not require him to know this. For some skeptics, the fact that God cannot be said to know this absurd and false claim means that God obviously does not know everything, and for them, God would cease to exist or otherwise be divested of the attribute of Omniscience. This, as any theist would readily agree, is a poor objection.

Another objection is the skeptical thinking that since God is essentially morally perfect and cannot experientially know what it means to sin, then God’s knowledge is somewhat incomplete and thus, he is not omniscient. This objection fails to see that God’s Omniscience or knowledge of all things does not include things that are by their very nature antithetical or logically contrary to his character. God’s Omniscience simply informs us that God already has a logically and chronologically prior knowledge or awareness of ALL propositional truths of facts. In other words, anything which can be determined to be true is already known by God. Therefore, God does not know, by way of a shoddy example, that “1+1=4”. As you can see, these are rather underwhelming objections which palpably demonstrate a poor understanding of what theists understand by Divine Omniscience.

Granted the definition above, does it follow then that since God knows all past and present propositional truths, that he also knows future contingent truths? If in 2012, President Obama does not get re-elected as the president of the United States, does God at this time in 2010 already know that this will be the case? It does not necessarily and logically follow that God must possess this knowledge just by virtue of his all-encompassing knowledge of past and present propositional truths. At best, if we want to remain logical, we might grant that a any being with such a magnanimous scope of knowledge, may be able to accurately infer what could happen in the future. There is no logical constraint that demands that such a being has to also know future-tensed contingent propositions.

Nevertheless, Christians also believe that God also knows these future-tensed propositions. They believe that God also knows what will be; what will happen in the future. However, this is not part of his Divine Omniscience. This is more appropriately called his Divine Foreknowledge. The reason why Christians have to try and understand the difference in the meaning of these terms is so that they cannot be trapped in subtle or not-so-subtle skeptical rhetoric. This is because future tensed or future contingent propositions have no present reality, and cannot be described as facts. Granted, this distinction only makes sense with the more intuitive Tensed Theory of Time, but the point still stands. These future tensed propositions will merely become facts when the time finally arrives. God’s knowledge of all logically possible propositional truth (Divine Omniscience) should not be conflated with God’s knowledge of the future (Divine Foreknowledge).

It is plain to see from the above that neither God’s personal awareness of all truths nor his personal knowledge of future truths has any immediate and discernible bearing on the free will decisions and actions of human moral agents. That free moral creatures can and do act according to their wishes or as a response to external stimuli is and cannot be invalidated because God already foreknows it. His foreknowledge of free human actions may be chronologically prior to such actions but, and this is a huge distinction, it is not causally prior or causally determinative of these human actions.

As a simple example, if you are a dog owner, you will know, by constant interaction with your dog, certain ways in which your dog would react when placed in certain situations. You may know for example, that if you left some doggie treats in his doggie bowl when he is hungry, and he happened to pass by his doggie bowl, he would of his own accord choose to eat the contents of his bowl. You know your dog enough to say that you don’t even need to tell or instruct your dog to go and eat from the bowl – you just instinctively know that he will do this. Now, while you have a chronologically prior knowledge about your dog’s future action (a rudimentary foreknowledge at best), it cannot be effectively argued that you have robbed your dog of its own “free will”. It cannot be effectively argued that just because you knew what your dog would likely do then such an action on your dog’s part is now causally determined by you! For all we know, your dog still reserves the choice and may indeed, on occasion, contrary to any expectation, refuse to eat from his favorite doggie bowl!

This serves to illustrate the erroneous assumptions behind Kendoll’s claims. God’s Omniscience is a total non-starter in this discussion and should be dropped; I suspect that he is thinking of God’s Foreknowledge and how it might impact human freedom or human freewill. However, as I have argued, there is nothing about the proper meaning of God’s Foreknowledge that says that he intentionally acts to rob moral agents of their libertarian freewill. Indeed there is nothing about this divine attribute that suggests that his simple keen personal knowledge of future free human choices therefore causes or mandates that choice. It is indeed possible for anyone to choose any course of action, but of course, any such action would already be seamlessly and effortlessly known to God.

God’s Divine Foreknowledge therefore can be likened to impeccably accurate meteorological radar. The radar does not determine the weather; it does not dictate what sort of weather patterns will form. All it does is to simply and accurately foreknow or record what weather patterns will eventually form. This is but a crude human example, but it appropriately illuminates the misapprehension in Kendoll’s position. God’s foreknowledge does nothing to invalidate or negate human libertarian freewill choices and actions.

P.S: There is another divine attribute which is even more perplexing. It is called God’s Divine Middle Knowledge. It is popularly known as Molinism. I will not get into that topic now, but if the need comes for it in the future, we can  flesh out the discussion, in the likely case that Kendoll’s possible reaction involves an expatiation of that term.

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Posted on November 17, 2010, in Religion/Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. May God be praised. god-f u have killed it, well done….. another distinctive description of
    the truth behind the glory of GOD. Thanks for taking your time to clarify in writings on how widely Gods knowledge extends truthfully. Therefore its up to us to accept it or reject it, but u have done ur part and i am thrilled.

  2. Godfather this is a ridiculous re bottle , chop full of Religious verbal models to stimulate your Christian Readers. Im pretty sure that 95% of the people who read this Blog, have no idea what in the world your talking about but rather are just applauding because you said “Christian God” Behind everything smh. Whats more annoying your using religious belief as logistics. I’m not even Christian so i can’t except any those premises what so ever. About God for knowledge, middle knowledge, backwards knowledge, etc.Sounds like unproven nonsense to me. If your going to debate me I would suggest you be less subjective and just go with logic . Perhaps research the Omniscience vs Freewill Paradox , create a more sensible theists than come back. Im sure your hoping I write a blog responding to this. I might ,considering you been begging me to write one for weeks,smh. And No you have not Killed nothing, Your logic is based on your religious beliefs at most and the equation Nth Possibilities.One of which is not unacceptable in a debates,the other an equation that those not work at the root of it … I understand completely what you wrote, probably more than any reader here, and just like always you can’t escape the box I put you in (walks away shaking his head)

  3. Kendoll:

    First of all, I want to welcome you to my blog. How did you find out about this new quiet blog? The blog is just one week old. Imagine seeing you here when I have not yet seen you in the chat room to inform you about it. But boy oh boy–what’s wrong? Wetin spoil? Kai, do you sound annoyed or something? Was it anything I said or did?

    Well well well… okay, so you are the apostle of Reason and Logic, huh? And yet, you have demonstrated clearly on this page, that you cannot be trusted to use your much-vaunted reason and logic to respond to this piece.

    Now, to say that I am surprised at your ad-hominems, would be an understatement. I actually thought you were better than this. As you can see, it is so easy to sound like you really know what you are talking about, or that you can discuss/debate the issue when you are pontificating in a chatroom with one liners. It is so easy to sound thoroughly informed on the issue when you are in a chat room where I can’t do a point by point rebuttal of your plethora of obfuscations. I told you, on many occasions that the chat room is not the ideal place to have a discussion of this sort of philosophical depth. You probably also know that this is true.

    So, I have to say that I am surprised that your reaction here is of rage or bitterness. Pray, did you wake on the wrong side of the bed? Or really, what’s the source of this outburst? Who pissed on your wheaties Mr Buddhist? 🙂 By the way, I need to correct an impression. I wasn’t BEGGING you to come and respond. If that’s the impression you got, then you are mistaken. I merely extended you an invitation to discuss in greater detail a topic which I felt might be up your alley –away from other all other distracting concurrent chat room interactions. Your acceptance or refusal to discuss the issue is neither here nor there:) If I may inform you, I am not starved of serious intellectual discussions as to hound you all over the place BEGGING you to come and respond. Really, you give yourself too much credit.

    The least you could have done if you really can’t be bothered to put your money where your mouth is to respectfully decline citing a number of polite reasons. That would have made you look respectable at least, even if cynics think you are running from a real discussion.

    Now, I have to say that you sounded terribly conceited in assuming that 95% of the people who read the comment were totally clueless. Of course, you want people to believe that you understood my response better than 95% of the people who read it. Now that may be true or not–but if that were the case, your response up there, riddled with punctuation errors and brimming with petulance strongly suggests otherwise.

    But you know what takes the cake? The insinuation up there that I should go do the necessary research on the terms of the discussion and at the same time complaining about my use of a few of the technical language that one must know to actually discuss a philosophical issue like this. Trying to eat your cake and have it? 🙂

    You are the one that waded into a philosophical cum theological discussion, so quit whimpering. Familiarize yourself with the subject matter first and then if you have any real bone of contention, that can be tackled. Otherwise, quit waddling all over the place parroting “Omniscience vs Freewill paradox” when you have shown that you probably do not understand it well enough to discuss or debate it. What did you really think was going to happen? That you’d suggest your interlocutor go look up the topic and then somehow manage to avoid the discussion altogether? Why bother bringing it up?

    If you are claiming that your forte is not theology or philosophy because you cannot understand my response, then feel free to move it to a neutral ground that you are more comfortable with. Perhaps, you want to take refuge in science? If that be the case, be my guest. You set the parameters of the discussion with your initial comment; and I merely responded to your comments in the spirit of the discussion. Since we are all really trying to communicate better here and to learn from each other, perhaps, you needn’t act like this is trench warfare. You can do better.

    Finally, if it is not clear to you, your atheism/skepticism/Buddhism (I don’t really know whether you have sorted out this personal confusion on what you really are) is NOT the issue. Neither is my Christian background. Nothing says that we cannot have a meaningful and productive discussion and agree to part ways where we cannot agree. So, there is no need for some of these cheap below-the-belt punches. My aim is not to convert you, if that is what got you so flustered. Relax Mr Man.

    If you did not understand the terms I used, do the smart thing and research them. Yes, perhaps, I am the one that needs to tell you to go read up 🙂 Seriously, if these common and relatively easy philosophical lexicon sounds like gibberish to you, it simply suggests that this topic is out of your depth. And I want to believe it is not. If it is, then limit the way you opine on matters that you have demonstrated sophomoric grasp. Do yourself a favor and pick another area where you’d feel free to discuss without alleging that your interlocutor is playing to the gallery — because it really sounds like sour grapes.

    If this is the loftiest logic I can expect from you my good friend–if this is the best that your Buddhism can offer, then color me unimpressed 🙂

    Have a blessed day, mate. Namaste!

  4. GodFather & Kendoll naawaa 4 u pple oo…wen will u 2 get along??? lol nwayz GF aka da wise one, i know u havn’t told me bout you blog but words in da street brought me here ND im luvin it olready…it’s really intrestin so keep it up

  5. Aww thanks a lot Sunshine!

    Yes, I have not told many people of the blog because I am still working out the kinks; you know–tinkering with design and layout. But welcome all the same. You can subscribe to the blog if you want. That way, whenever I drop a new piece, you’d be informed.

    LOL.. oh by the way, I treasure the feedback/comments. Don’t spare me–give me your honest and unflinching opinion on whatever i have written. I am a big boy–and I can handle all comments including constructive criticism.

    Once again, welcome Sunshine 🙂

  6. Thank you for the warm welcome Godfather. To be honest I am not bitter or angry,but it was somewhat irritating to here your response , and the way you made it seem like a valid answer to me was just ridiculous. First and foremost if your going to make a blog you should appeal to your audience. Not using sophisticated lingo and verbal model to confuse the reader into agreeing with you.People here are like “Yaay you got him,” but don’t know what the hell you said. Your point is not coming across, if you don’t believe me ask anyone on this page to relay your thoughts in layman terms,smh… I understand the argument precisely but I don’t think your grasping the full implication. Lets examine the argument shall we
    To understand the full implication you must first know the definition of Omniscient. Omniscient as defined by Webster’s Dictionary ” Omniscient: having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things. “. So why does an Omniscient God negate Freewill. Very simple , infinite Knowledge can’t co exists with choosing . Here is a Syllogistic Version of the argument for better understanding:

    1.) If a omniscient God exists he has perfect foreknowledge of everything that will happen
    2.)If people have freewill they could do differently from what God already knew
    3.) If people could not do differently from what God already knew ,they don’t have freewill
    4.) If people could do differently from what God already knew , than God is not omniscient…

    Plain and simple without bigwords smh. Anyone can see the paradox in that.. This is the paradox, can you answer it without making things up. By the way ,FyI: So many people have already came up with the idea that God knows the infinte number potentials/outcomes/possiblities, etc… I dabble in that and sorry that answer does not work at all.., Just Knowing the Possible outcomes doesn’t give way Omniscient… Remember Omniscient is infinite Knowledge, of everything at all times,BY DEFINITION. Ex: Lets say Your going to choose between a Apple and a Pear. If you say God knows the nth Possible outcomes of you choosing a Apple and the nth Possible outcomes of you choosing a pear, doesn’t change the fact he should already know what your going to choose. And if God didn’t know which path you would take , he wouldn’t be omniscient. In fact it still falls under the Syllogism Argument,look at (3) and (4). To God your not making a choose,he knows you will select Apple and the nth possible outcomes after that…. The fact that you compared this analogy to that of a dog owner, was plain idiotic . Knowing ones behavior and being a omniscient God, is two different thing. That was just a argent way of giving God human values..Its not at all the same argument, and I hope you never use it again. All that other stuff you d welled up with your imagination and your perception of your own religious beliefs… Finally, why attack my religious values, that was very distasteful. Especially for a man who thrives on being Educated.Simply pathetic if you ask me. I really hate debates with people who don’t understand the argument and just throw low blow . I never came out here as a Buddhist nor did I attack , your religion so why attack mine?I simply made a statement about the potential Oxymoron of Freewill and Omniscient. But If you want it to be a battle of insults make it apparent , if you want it to be a battle of intellect make it apparent…

  7. By the way, keep note that I said the “potential” oxymoron between omniscient and freewill. I actually think i have figure a equation that works, however i doubt you can come up with anything responsible passed your big words, that can only explain little things 🙂

  8. Welcome back Kendoll:

    I’ve realized some of the problems you were having with the way I initially phrased my response. Rather than write a short concise rebuttal to your fatally flawed and obviously incorrect syllogisms, I had initially chosen to write an expose illuminating the various angles of the discussion. This I did because I was not directly addressing you in the first post. I deliberately went through that to elucidate on and inform many people who may not necessarily understand the complex nature of this issue. But in your usual pompous, overconfident manner, rather than trying to understand or follow the prosaic nature of my initial post, you came in, appropriated for yourself the title of Logician-in-chief, and then launched your barrage of ad-hominems. You have been forgiven. 🙂

    At any rate, I have to say that your second entry here is definitely better than the first. It seems that you have decided to drop what seems like some ill-thought out rage. I welcome this change, and I hope you’ll continue along this path. I am going to ignore the last underhanded comment you made about big words that explain little things in the interest of advancing the discussion.

    I’ll make this second reply focused simply because in this case, I am addressing you directly. If I felt like addressing a wider audience, I will be a little bit more detailed in my explanations of other relevant issues. But for now, let me just address the bare bones of your confusion.

    A) I’ll suggest that for future discussions with other people, or with people of your ideological persuasion, you should go and read up on what omniscience really is. There are two ways I could dismiss your argument. One is to argue that your understanding of Divine Omniscience is flawed and incomplete because you obviously make no attempt to distinguish it from Divine Foreknowledge. Your argument essentially is making the case that Divine Foreknowledge is incompatible with Freewill – not Divine Omniscience. This is a minor objection anyway, and for the purposes of this discussion, I’ll let you skate free with this misapprehension – simply because the subtlety of that difference may be lost on many people.

    B) The second way, and the way I have chosen, is to systematically unpack your faulty syllogism

    Now let us examine your syllogism:
    1) If an Omniscient God exists he has perfect foreknowledge of everything that will happen
    2) If people have freewill they could do differently from what God already knew
    3) If people could not do differently from what God already knew ,they don’t have freewill
    4) If people could do differently from what God already knew, then God is not omniscient…

    When I finally made some semblance of sense of your haphazard confused rejoinder, I’ll make the following observations:

    C) Your second premise is obviously false. You seem to think that you have no freewill if God already knows what you will do because you think that you cannot act differently. This may sound convincing to you, but it is not readily apparent to any critical thinker. You are confusing an actual future with a potential future there. In any given situation, you have your choice from a set of actions. Your choice of any of these actions leads to a different future or outcome. These are all your potential futures because at this point in time when you are faced with this choice or decision to make, any of these outcome or futures COULD potentially happen. But note that only one of these futures WILL occur necessarily. This is true of random events or even situations that do not involve human agents. One particular future MUST occur. You erroneously and illogically seem to think that having freewill means that you are able to change the future (after you have already chosen to follow and actualize a set of actions). This is clearly nonsensical.

    D) Let’s suppose that I hypothetically traveled to the future (and take note, I am merely analogizing here because I noticed how quickly you jumped on a previous attempt at drawing an illustration), and I saw what you eventually DID, and then came back to the present. It means that I know what you eventually chose to do; I know what choice you made. You seem to think that my knowledge now FORCES or CAUSES you to choose that particular action and that is clearly illogical. The reason why you cannot suddenly choose a different course or set of action has nothing to do with my foreknowledge or your lack of freedom. It just means that I witnessed what you WILL eventually do; not what you could have potentially done. You need to reflect a lot deeper on this point or you will not get it.

    E) You see, it is possible to NOT do what you COULD do. This means that in a given situation, faced with a number of choices, it is possible for you to refrain from a particular action and thus avoid a potential future. You could freely choose not to do something which you can logically do. Eventually though, you WILL definitely make a choice and inevitably be met with a specific future. However, and this is where you exhibit some fatally flawed reasoning, you seem to assume that it is possible to NOT do what you WILL do. This is just self-contradictory and illogical as it has nothing to do with either freewill or even the existence of an Omniscient God. Let me restate it again so that it will sink deeper. Freewill does not mean the ability to go back after making a choice to undo what you WILL do. While it is possible for you to NOT do what you COULD do, it is logically impossible for you to NOT do what you WILL do. This is so simple that I can’t understand why a hubristic self-styled advocate of logic like you fails to realize this.

    F) You also erroneously assume that foreknowledge implies causation and this is not readily apparent from your premises. Why should any logical person think this? You are yet to demonstrate why this has to be the case. Why should anyone think that merely foreknowing a thing implies that you cause a thing? Your syllogism collapses there. Your third premise is just misguided and fatally wrong. God’s Foreknowledge simply implies that when you are faced with all these different choices which you COULD freely do (freewill), God observes/knows what you WILL eventually do. His foreknowledge speaks to an actual future and it does not constrain your choice or freedom. The things you could freely do are your choices – this is where you exercise your freedom or freewill. Whatever that choice eventually is – whatever you will freely end up doing is what God foreknows. If you WOULD have made a different choice, God’s foreknowledge would have been different. This point really cannot be made any simpler except to the willfully ignorant, or the dogmatic skeptic. Pick your poison.

    G) Finally, with regards to your last flawed premise, let’s assume for example that God does not have foreknowledge or that in fact he does not even exist. Can you show me a demonstrable difference between the actions of free human agents in this world devoid of an Omniscient God and in a world where an Omniscient God does exist? You have not demonstrated that there is any such disparity with your syllogism: it goes to show you how irrelevant and absurdly illogical this argument is. You are merely assuming your own conclusion in thinking that God is the deciding factor in whatever choices people make. By doing so, you are basically assuming that there is no freewill to start with.

    So to recap: your premises are faulty, and your conclusions are illogical. Despite your blustery proclamations, your paradox is no paradox at all. You have not demonstrated why anyone should logically agree with you. It is not your fault though because this old argument is popular and strongly held by many atheists and skeptics. They just haven’t really thought deeper on the subject. When they do, they will drop it and find some other argument. Try harder my friend.

    Namaste!

  9. OMG Godfather!! This is about the worst reply yet. I have told you from the beginning that the whole theory of nth Possibilities does not work. Thats the answer that the teenagers on youtube are giving smh. Stop ,stop,stop if you don’t have a better solution. First and foremost, I never said anything about causation. I told you the first time that I don’t like irrational arguments, so why would i imply causation? That’s your assumption , please don’t place it on me. I never said God caused the things to happen, rather that he knew about it. The whole nth possibilities theory to me is just silly , im tired of people bringing it up ,and you did it for the second time .

    Why are you so caught up with actual future and potential futures. I am a believer of Quantom theory don’t you think i would have thought of it that way. Nth possiblities is not the solution to the paradox . maybe your reading wrong . Here let me expain something:

    Even if you say that there are nth number potential futures of each choice,it does not and I repeat does not change the fact that God knows all potential futures and the potential future you will choose . It just doesn’t , and the moment you say it does he is no longer Omniscient ….Even if all possiblites exists under the same sky multidimensional , he still know the one you will take in this dimension .

    In Choosing between A and B , both answers have different potential futures Yes, God Knows all potential future. but have you forgotten you are choosing A or B?Even if both have a infinite number of potentials, in DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT GOD WILL KNOW WHICH ONE YOU CHOOSE AND AND THE POTENTIAL FUTURE YOU WILL TAKE.Sorry about the caps, but its like you can’t see why this is wrong when its so simple. To God your not making a choice and there are no potential future , he knows exactly which choice you will take and which answer he will choose.Anything short of this is not omniscient.And even if you are considering a multi dimensional universe where all potentials exists , it doesn’t change the fact that God won’t know what the current you in this current frequency of existence will choose . Anything less he wouldn’t have infinite foreknowledge .. Smdh, im not responding to this if you bring it up again. Yes I know you googled it and youtube it, because I have seen that answer a million times since I was young. I been contemplated it even before you knew the question smh. It doesn’t work godfather, thats why this is still consider a paradox… One of the many Omni-God Paradox…

    The point is this, Omniscient God’s perspective vs Mortal Man Perspective. What a mortal man sees as a choice ,God already knows what he will choose ,so its not a choice he did what he was ment to do. A Omniscient God must know, or he is not omniscient. Words like Potential and choice don’t apply to Omniscient, because they give a sense of not knowing. You may not understand this at first but think deeply about it and im sure you will arrive at the same conclusion… And stop saying the

    The argument isn’t faulty but the way your taken it is… and you really just need to think about it. How does freewill work in a world with or without an Omniscient God.
    In the frame of reference of the mortal man ,nothing changes . Freewill is always the perception , But with an Omniscient God Freewill might be the experience but destiny is the actual design. Plain and simple. I understand all the points your trying to get at , but your not thinking deep enough. You took some good shots at me but they just didn’t work , you should really think about this. To beat this you can’t use the same old ideas people have used because there are loopholes why they dont work …. peace guy

  10. LOL (shaking his head)

    So this is the best you can conjure, Kendoll? You have not demonstrated how your syllogism stands, or how this so-called paradox succeeds. That is the challenge you are supposed to be meeting here my friend – not this direction-less prattle on “nth possibility”, “quantum theory”, “multidimensional universe” etc. I think you are deliberately obfuscating issues again, like you are wont to do.

    Focus on the issue and explain in a more organized post, how the paradox succeeds so that one can actually meet you on your own ground. It is quite funny how you keep dancing around on the issue–making all sorts of wild unrelated assertions and pretending to be making some cogent point. 🙂

    Look dude, if you make a point that I consider legitimate, I’ll actually tell you that I agree with you. So far though (and I’ll let others judge), you are not actually doing yourself any service in trying to explain your views, or at best, showing how your syllogism stands.

    If you remember, you are supposed to show how God’s Foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom/freewill. After reading your last attempt, this portion of your last submission illustrates your confusion poignantly:

    In Choosing between A and B , both answers have different potential futures Yes, God Knows all potential future. but have you forgotten you are choosing A or B?Even if both have a infinite number of potentials, in DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT GOD WILL KNOW WHICH ONE YOU CHOOSE AND AND THE POTENTIAL FUTURE YOU WILL TAKE.Sorry about the caps, but its like you can’t see why this is wrong when its so simple. To God your not making a choice and there are no potential future , he knows exactly which choice you will take and which answer he will choose.Anything short of this is not omniscient.And even if you are considering a multi dimensional universe where all potentials exists , it doesn’t change the fact that God won’t know what the current you in this current frequency of existence will choose .

    Now, what exactly are you saying there? Or perhaps, I should ask you, how is that submission of yours essentially different from the point I am making? You have to pardon me for asking you to properly explain or defend your point of view because I am ashamed to say this–but you don’t seem like you are too good at smoothly outlining your view

    You know, upon close examination of that submission, it is beginning to look like you were arguing that from God’s perspective a human was not making a choice because he already foreknew the actual future. Is that it?

    Now, assuming I grant you that from God’s perspective, a choice was not made (something I disagree with), does that also imply that from a human perspective there was no choice? Do you see how you have been confusing the issues by arguing for the Incompatibility of Divine Foreknowledge with Divine Freewill?

    My friend, how come you are throwing my question back at me? In subverting your 4th premise, I wrote, inter alia:

    ….let’s assume for example that God does not have foreknowledge or that in fact he does not even exist. Can you show me a demonstrable difference between the actions of free human agents in this world devoid of an Omniscient God and in a world where an Omniscient God does exist?

    Your job is to thoroughly go over what was written and provide a reply to each point illustrating how your point stands or how my objections are not a valid defeater of your premises. Come on, man– I am not supposed to be telling you this. At least keep this slightly interesting. If your next rejoinder is deliberately filled with obfuscations, a lack of clear argumentative direction and a pausity of logical input, I’ll have to seriously consider the possibility that you have nothing impressive or worthy of my time to share here.

    By the way, I had to delete that silly YouTube clip you posted here. Yeah, I know it gives you the jollies 🙂 I am sure you must have been super impressed with yourself for coming up with something “oh-so-creative”, but, other than the slight chuckle it gave me for underestimating your childish tendencies, I don’t think it serves any meaningful purpose in advancing our discussion. 🙂 Feel free to share it with your Facebook friends though. I am sure they’ll all laugh and praise you for your “ingenuity” 🙂

    Nevertheless, and in order to preserve the dignity of this little exchange, I’ll encourage you to remain focused and above all COHERENT. Who knows, there might even be a point or two to your generally haphazard piece 🙂

    I am waiting. Better luck with your next attempt.

  11. Your a Sad Sad man. Ok let me calm down and just hit the points you need to me to validate

    “If you remember, you are supposed to show how God’s Foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom/freewill”:

    Its free simple ,If God has *infinite* foreknowledge than he knows everything you will do every single day from the time you were born. If you except this premise you must also except the premise that you can never do different from God’s foreknowledge. So that can only lead to the conclusion that the nature of your world is destiny, and not freewill. Although you may perceive a sense of choice and freewill
    you can only speculate that those perceptions are a figment of your imagination. Because if such perceptions truly exists than you would be able to choose differently from what God knew from the *beginning*. Here’s the best example to fit the argument:

    Consider yourself the owner of a “Harry Poter” Book . Lets say you know what will happen from begining to end. Although in the book Harry Poter seems to make decisions and choices, in your perspective it is what Harry Poter is ment to do. At no point can harry poter do differently from what you speculate, he has no free will in the matter.

    Right now your probably contemplating to important factors. Just because you know the whole book did you cause Harry Potter to make the decisions he did ? The answer is No of course not. Second question , does that mean Harry Pottery does not have free will? Simple answer to this is: Do characters in a book have free will? No what they are ment to do is already written,regardless of who wrote it. The only difference between you and a Omniscient God at this point is that- God always knew what was in the book from beginning to end since the beginning of time …. Its not a question if God is pulling the strings, but rather are there strings to begin with ..And there are . If not God perfect Foreknowledge couldn’t work…

    Here is a real life example of this:

    The great Prophet/Clairvoyant Nostradamus, who had many millions of predictions . Alot of which came true, some of which didn’t noted this: “That his prophecies /predictions are subject to change being that People have Freewill”. So in other words people could still choose differently from what Nostradamus Prophesied . If to say , Nostradamus predictions where 100 percent accurate and always happen, than you would just have to consider them destiny. Thats why I argue with those Scholars who say Nostradamus was not making real prophecies . How could you prove him wrong with a disclaimer like that

    Here is another example but a bit more biblical . There has been a argument for centuries, in weather or not Judas was evil … Being that Jesus told Judas , that he would betray him ,did Judas ever have freewill in the matter or was it something Judas was ment to do? Remember Jesus didn’t say he could betray me , but rather he would betray me.Could Judas be marked as bad ,if that was something he was ment to do. Or could Judas have actually proved Jesus wrong in the situation ?That is a Freewill vs Destiny Argument. And do note although, Jesus said this, Judas still had the perception that he had a choice , but weather he could choose differently from what Jesus knew is questionable or rather prove Jesus wrong is questionable. So how could he be evil if that what he was ment to do.

    On that note, so how could the true Nature of the Universe be freewill when an Omniscient God knows everything that will ever happen in existence?Its a werid Idea so you might not grasp it at first, but with time you will . How could God have a judgement day, when from the begining he knew what everyone would do ? Did he create people to go to hell or heaven. How could things be considered evil when they are ment to happen

    This is just one of the Omni-God paradox .Paradox like this aries when you are considering a perfect being in a imperfect existence. But it is also for that reason I sorta don’t think that this paradox works at all. But when you have a better understanding of this I will share with you my theory . There are other paradox like the Omnipotent God vs Impossible creations.

    Last but not least , on the nth potentials and dimensions. There is a theory that one of your favorite scientist Michio Kaku, sort of pioneered. Which was String theory and the Paraelle Universe theory. And just like you , I to love this Scientist . Perhaps the only place we can agree with. Thats why I was thinking you would understand what i ment by the whole potential futures multidimensional universes bit. But instead of typing this I will post a couple of links. See the whole idea of potential Futures, works when considering the Time Travel Paradox, but not the Omniscient God Paradox which in a certain sense is pointing to destiny anyway. But anyway let me post the links . Ciao for now

  12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7AupwRJrgM Now this is where potential futures work

  13. Your a Sad Sad man. Ok let me calm down and just hit the points you need to me to validate
    “If you remember, you are supposed to show how God’s Foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom/freewill”:
    Its free simple ,If God has *infinite* foreknowledge than he knows everything you will do every single day from the time you were born. If you except this premise you must also except the premise that you can never do different from God’s foreknowledge. So that can only lead to the conclusion that the nature of your world is destiny, and not freewill. Although you may perceive a sense of choice and freewill
    you can only speculate that those perceptions are a figment of your imagination. Because if such perceptions truly exists than you would be able to choose differently from what God knew from the *beginning*.

    Once again, you demonstrate palpably why I contend that you have not fully understood what this discussion is really about. Firstly, this is not a Freewill vs Destiny argument, and your attempt to wangle that secondary and irrelevant issue into this discussion is somewhat suspicious. If I may remind you again, you are supposed to be demonstrating how Divine Foreknowledge is incompatible with Human freedom/freewill. Granted, at first blush, it seems that you made some attempt at understanding my reply, but the wording of your objection leads me to conclude that once again, you missed the thrust of my reply.

    I’ll attempt once again to correct your misunderstanding of my response to you, for only when you understand my response can we begin to sensibly agree or disagree.

    Yes, I do hold that God’s Middle Knowledge implies that he knows the chronological details of your potential futures (the outcome or future of actions which you could do but didn’t do); and that his Divine Foreknowledge implies that he knows your actual future (the outcome or future of the actions you eventually did). The problem however seems to be that you imagine that such a knowledge on God’s part necessarily invalidates human freewill. Now, remember, at no point have I mentioned Destiny, because that is secondary to the discussion. What you were attempting to do is to change the discussion from “Divine Foreknowledge vs Human Freewill” to “Freewill vs Destiny”. That to me is a clever sleight of hand. I am not interested, at this moment, in any philosophical discussion on the latter—not because I do not have a position on it, but because, at this point, it is unhelpful to the larger issue we are discussing. At some other time, I may be persuaded to examine that raging debate but suffice it to say that I am not ready to dabble into it now, especially as we have other fish to fry here.

    Now what reason persuades you to aver that human freewill is just a figment of the human imagination? When I read the full content of your objection, I could sense that you were subtly splitting the difference between a divine perspective and a mortal one. The problem you are having seems to be an inability to perceive the difference between God’s superlative attributes and infinitesimally smaller human endowments of such attributes.

    Let me illustrate: If you find yourself at time T1 faced with one of 4 possible choices A, B, C and D, it is safe to state at some point in the future, T2 you would have chosen one of these choices and you would thus be experiencing some definite kind of future (granting in this example that a choice to do nothing or a choice to do more than one or all is out of the question). Remember this is a thought experiment and the variables can be tweaked. Before we reach T2, there are options which you could have chosen, and if you did chose any of those options, then at T2, your actual future will be different from what it is now. Before the future outcome of your decision or action becomes apparent, there lies the point where you necessarily have to make a choice between A,B, C and D. This is the point where you exercise your human freewill. At this point, and as a limited human sans foreknowledge, you cannot possibly know what the future WILL eventually be, even if you can hazard a guess. The concept of freewill—listen attentively here—grants that it is possible for you to NOT do what you COULD do. This is to say that, your freewill is not violated in stipulating that you might decide NOT to follow any particular choice A, B, C or D. This is perfectly consistent with human freewill. However, it is IMPOSSIBLE to NOT do what you WILL do. It is self-referentially incoherent; it is just illogical for it is either you WILL do it or you WON’T. Do you get it? Do you agree with me thus far? Remember, at this point one needs not even invoke God.

    If you agree with me thus far, then let’s continue. From the human perspective, you have every freedom to choose one way or the other from a set of alternatives, whether or not there is some God out there. Divine Foreknowledge, as is being held up by philosophers and theologians, is the idea that God softly tracks future occurrences. It is the position that God is effortlessly and personally self-aware of what you eventually will FREELY decide to do.

    Now, there may be a disagreement over whether God’s foreknowledge is because he has providentially willed that such be the case; or whether his foreknowledge is because by virtue of his omnipotence, he intentionally acts to bring about such ends. That is a raging debate especially when you throw in Middle Knowledge which would also assert that God also knows the counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. But like I said, this is neither here nor there—because at this stage, we are squarely on Divine territory. Frankly, whatever the case may be, and as incomplete as our notions of Divine attributes may be, God’s infallible and personal self-knowledge of future contingent propositions do not necessarily or logically invalidate human freedom. From the human perspective, there is a choice to be made; the outcome of that choice however is not known to him, being a finite being with limited investitures of God’s infinite attributes.

    So, the reason why you cannot do any differently from what God foreknows is because you are asking to do the impossible—which is to NOT do that which you WILL do. Do you get it? It is simply a nonsensical demand on your part for if in the hypothetical scenario you are attempting to create, it were possible for you to do something different, or in our example, to choose B over A, that IS what God necessarily foreknows—his foreknowledge would have stipulated that you eventually wound up choosing B rather than A.

    Do not confuse human freedom with God’s foreknowledge.

    Here’s the best example to fit the argument:
    Consider yourself the owner of a “Harry Poter” Book . Lets say you know what will happen from begining to end. Although in the book Harry Poter seems to make decisions and choices, in your perspective it is what Harry Poter is ment to do. At no point can harry poter do differently from what you speculate, he has no free will in the matter.

    This poor example of yours serves to illustrate the problem I have been pointing out which is that you seem to be conveniently and randomly switching between Divine and Mortal attributes or perspectives. Let’s dissect your opinion here. The reason you can, as an owner of a Harry Potter novel, exhibit some anthropological foreknowledge, is because after reading it, you know what Harry Potter DID in the book! In this example, you are investing yourself, as it were, with God’s foreknowledge of events that WILL happen in the life of the character Harry Potter. But does this then follow that Harry Potter at each point in his life, as the novel progresses, lacks the freedom to make choices as he sees fit (if at all it makes any sense to think of characters in a book as possessing freewill)? The answer is clearly NO. Harry Potter as well as other characters in the book have the freedom to make whatever choices they want to make from their own frame of reference! The only difference is that if they’d chosen and acted any differently, your foreknowledge would have been different as well. So to use your example, if Harry Potter had made different decisions and faced different futures, you would have read a different Harry Potter book altogether and your foreknowledge would appropriately be different for it softly follows or tracks what eventually ended up happening! What you are erroneously imagining is that it is possible for you, after you have read a Harry Potter book, found out what Harry definitely DID do, to then somehow obtain this strange and illogical circumstance where it turns out Harry DID NOT do what he DID! Can’t you sense how ridiculous this sounds? Logically, what you were imagining violates the Law of Non-contradiction. Think about it – it is either Harry made a choice and DID some action A, and brought about some future which you then know as the owner of the novel OR he clearly didn’t. It is logically impossible for him to have done A and to not have done A at the same time.

    Right now your probably contemplating to important factors. Just because you know the whole book did you cause Harry Potter to make the decisions he did ? The answer is No of course not. Second question , does that mean Harry Pottery does not have free will? Simple answer to this is: Do characters in a book have free will? No what they are ment to do is already written,regardless of who wrote it. The only difference between you and a Omniscient God at this point is that- God always knew what was in the book from beginning to end since the beginning of time …. Its not a question if God is pulling the strings, but rather are there strings to begin with ..And there are . If not God perfect Foreknowledge couldn’t work…

    You are certainly right that by virtue of your foreknowledge you do not necessarily have to cause Harry Potter to do what he did. But when you say that characters in a book do not have freewill, I’ll have to remind you that you were the one that dredged up this shoddy example and I was only discussing with you on your own terms. I’ll agree that characters in a book do not possess freewill in any real sense of the word, but I merely followed your analogy because I figured you were using it to analogize the real world. In that analogy, imperfect as it may be, one has to agree that if Harry Potter , which in essence, is mere ink on paper, were to be personified, he necessarily, as well as other human characters in the book have to take on human attributes least of which includes the freedom to make choices. If you are not satisfied with that perfectly rational inference then you can discard the entire example if you want.

    Here is a real life example of this:
    The great Prophet/Clairvoyant Nostradamus, who had many millions of predictions . Alot of which came true, some of which didn’t noted this: “That his prophecies /predictions are subject to change being that People have Freewill”. So in other words people could still choose differently from what Nostradamus Prophesied . If to say , Nostradamus predictions where 100 percent accurate and always happen, than you would just have to consider them destiny. Thats why I argue with those Scholars who say Nostradamus was not making real prophecies . How could you prove him wrong with a disclaimer like tha

    My friend, leave the “Predestination vs. Freewill” argument for another day. I am not in the least bit interested in what Nostradamus had to say as they are not germane to this discussion.

    Here is another example but a bit more biblical . There has been a argument for centuries, in weather or not Judas was evil … Being that Jesus told Judas , that he would betray him ,did Judas ever have freewill in the matter or was it something Judas was ment to do? Remember Jesus didn’t say he could betray me , but rather he would betray me.Could Judas be marked as bad ,if that was something he was ment to do. Or could Judas have actually proved Jesus wrong in the situation ?That is a Freewill vs Destiny Argument. And do note although, Jesus said this, Judas still had the perception that he had a choice , but weather he could choose differently from what Jesus knew is questionable or rather prove Jesus wrong is questionable. So how could he be evil if that what he was ment to do.

    Once again this seems to have morphed, intentionally or otherwise, into another Freewill vs Destiny argument. The only difference is that in this case, you attempted to tie in Divine Omniscience into the matter. Did Judas have the freedom to choose NOT to betray Jesus? We can agree to disagree here, but to me I think he did have that freedom. Let me make one thing clear here—there had already been a prophecy that there would be a son of perdition that would accomplish the things that Judas eventually did. It is logical to imagine that Judas could have avoided that fate, but it just means that someone else somewhere on their own would have made choices that would fulfill that prophecy. So that history could have recorded that Matthew for example was the one that eventually did betray Jesus. Judas unfortunately turned out to be the one that did. If you take a look at the events that happened you would realize that Judas by nature, loved money for he kept the disciples’ purse. Of his own volition did he go to the Pharisees; of his own volition or choosing did he suggest the means by which to capture Jesus; he was fully aware of his deeds when he collected the 30 pieces of silver to betray his master; of his own freewill did he do so—no one physically forced him to do it; of his own freedom did he go back after he realized the magnitude of his error to return the money he collected. This sort of ties in with that stuff you were talking earlier about Nostradamus and freewill.

    It is useful to think of it this way—Jesus FOREKNEW what Judas would do of his own free choice. It was precisely because this is what Judas WILL do that Jesus foreknew it. Jesus did not need to say that Judas COULD betray him when he had the foreknowledge that this was precisely what Judas WILL do anyway (of Judas’s free choice). It is not possible for Judas to NOT do what he WILL do. Is it possible however that Judas could do this but did not? Very much possible indeed.

    At any rate, I don’t know how you are familiar with the idea of Molinism or Divine Middle Knowledge. That seems to be the concept that adequately tackles the issue that you are raising. As a matter of fact, God’s Middle Knowledge holds that God knows how differently Judas might have behaved if the circumstances were different from what they were in the real world. He knows what possible states would have eventually become actual if circumstances other than those in the real world were the case. I don’t necessarily expect you to understand this or even to accept it—but I am merely sharing it just in case you want to read up on that further.

    On that note, so how could the true Nature of the Universe be freewill when an Omniscient God knows everything that will ever happen in existence?Its a werid Idea so you might not grasp it at first, but with time you will . How could God have a judgement day, when from the begining he knew what everyone would do ? Did he create people to go to hell or heaven. How could things be considered evil when they are ment to happen
    This is just one of the Omni-God paradox .Paradox like this aries when you are considering a perfect being in a imperfect existence. But it is also for that reason I sorta don’t think that this paradox works at all. But when you have a better understanding of this I will share with you my theory . There are other paradox like the Omnipotent God vs Impossible creations.

    I think at this point, with your introduction of Judgment Day, Hell or Heaven, we are straying away from the mark. I will suggest that we refocus on the issue of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freewill if you don’t mind. I don’t know what you meant when you said “how could the nature of the universe be freewill…..”. As far as I am concerned, I haven’t made any argument like this, and I don’t know where you are getting this idea from. I don’t think the universe has freewill—for me, freewill is an attribute of persons—not the cold impersonal universe.

    And by the way, I’ll grant that there are other interesting paradoxes out there. We may agree on some of them and disagree on others. This happens to be the one that we just may have to disagree on.

    Last but not least , on the nth potentials and dimensions. There is a theory that one of your favorite scientist Michio Kaku, sort of pioneered. Which was String theory and the Paraelle Universe theory. And just like you , I to love this Scientist . Perhaps the only place we can agree with. Thats why I was thinking you would understand what i ment by the whole potential futures multidimensional universes bit. But instead of typing this I will post a couple of links. See the whole idea of potential Futures, works when considering the Time Travel Paradox, but not the Omniscient God Paradox which in a certain sense is pointing to destiny anyway. But anyway let me post the links . Ciao for now

    Aww, looks like you are feeling charitable with your last submission in supposing that I’d be interested in quantum physics, string theory, Multiverse theories and the like. And I am. Who knows, we may be more in agreement on those science-related aspects of the discussion. I know what you were alluding to, but if you know the way I like to discuss issues, you’d know that I like to sort out one issue first before dabbling into another. On a good day, we can discuss the deep, mysterious and quirky phenomena that lie in the domain of science—I just didn’t want to muddle up a philosophical cum theological discussion with science-based chatter. I am not suggesting that one couldn’t employ knowledge from one field in illuminating the other. My experience however is that such efforts usually end up in rabbit trails—with interlocutors weaving in variegated strands of thoughts thereby needlessly complicating an otherwise simple discussion.

    Cheers!

  14. Greetings Il Padrino.

    Sorry for the long delay as I had lots of businesses to take care of within the Family (wink wink) Lol! I must confess that your knowledge of the Esoteric and that which borders on the Divine goes beyond what I ever imagined. Did you ever think of becoming a Reverend Father in your life? Lool!!! What you have just said is a reaffirmation of my sentiments. But you have given it that Theological finese which to the untrained eye sounds too cerebral.

    God put us in this world with destinies to fulfill. However, our decision to fulfill that destiny or not depends entirely on us. That is where the concept of man being a free moral agent comes into play. He does not in anyway compel us to fulfill our destinies or to make decisions in this regard. If he does that, the entire idea of being on earth would have been defeated as we would have just being like puppets in his hands. I’m sure this would have been boring even to God himself.

    Though we are given the opportunity to make our decisions here on earth, God has also put in place what i’ve come to refer to as ‘REWARD MECHANISMS’ for our actions. For example, If you work hard at school and manage to make good grades, there is every probability of you coming out tops and enhancing your future career and academic prospects. On the other hand, if an individual resorts to a life of crime and violence, there is every likelihood of that individual having a tragic end eventually.

    Whether we like it or not, these are REWARD MECHANISMS which God has put in place for every individual here on earth irrespective of religious inclinations. That is why we have lots of Bhuddists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians who have success as well as tragic stories because of their decisions and personal convictions.

    I don’t believe that God has a hand in our personal future. He gives us 2 choices. Take the right path and you’ll end up well. How well you want to end up is of your own making as well as a stroke of good fortune and vice versa. Such choices as our schools, careers, relationships, marriage, and even down to the rudimentaries such as the kind of clothes or cars we want to have are all down to our ability as Free Moral Agents which God has proposed us to be.

    ….To be continued

  15. Don Clemenza:

    Buon giorno mi amico and welcome to my blog. How have you been lately? I hope all’s well – (within the Family of course 🙂 )

    Thanks for your refreshing take on the issue. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you stop by again in the future even if only to continue or finish up the opinion you have lucidly shared here today. Have a great day.

  16. oh no! not here again! me and kendoll were arguing this on fb… i wont even be bothered to read both arguments because i know kendoll does even care wat u write (even when you show him the inconsistencies in his theory).

    anywho, i agree that omniscience and freewill can co-exist. this is what i would argue, however stupid it may sound. God knows all, but he does not affect any of the decisions we make. he may know you will make the decision, but it was totally up to you to make. knowing someone will do something and making someone do it and very different things. GOD does not influence our free will. so both can co-exist.

    *runs off before she gets caught in the crossfire*

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