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This is the forum to discuss the spectrum of views within Christianity on God's foreknowledge and election such as Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism, Open Theism, Process Theism, Restrictivism, and Inclusivism, Christian Universalism and what these all are about anyway. Who is saved and when is/was their salvation certain? How does God exercise His sovereignty and how powerful is He? Is God timeless and immutable? Does a triune God help better understand God's love for mankind?

While this area is for the discussion of these doctrines within historic Christianity, all theists interested in discussing these areas within the presuppositions of and respect for the Christian framework are welcome to participate here. This is not the area for debate between nontheists and theists, additionally, there may be some topics that within the Moderator's discretion fall so outside the bounds of mainstream evangelical doctrine that may be more appropriately placed within Comparative Religions 101 Nontheists seeking only theistic participation only in a manner that does not seek to undermine the faith of others are also welcome - but we ask that Moderator approval be obtained beforehand.

Atheists are welcome to discuss and debate these issues in the Apologetics 301 or General Theistics 101 forum without such restrictions. Theists who wish to discuss these issues outside the parameters of orthodox Christian doctrine are invited to Unorthodox Theology 201.

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  • #61
    Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
    If God is atemporal, how does He create ex nihilo?
    If God is temporal, how does He create ex nihilo? I have absolutely no idea how can can create something from nothing, or how God experiences eternity. Do you?


    Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
    It's a conclusion from Scripture, namely how God interacts with creation after creating it.
    I never said God doesn't interact with creation. Do you understand that both time and space are not fixed constants? In other words, not everyone or everything has to experience time and space in the same way.


    Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
    Using the example of the proposition T, the argument that infallible foreknowledge of T entails that you do not answer the telephone freely can be formulated as follows:

    (1) Yesterday God infallibly believed T. [Supposition of infallible foreknowledge]
    (1) assumes God is within time.

    As already stated I reject that premise.


    Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
    It rules out foreknowledge because the test resulted in new knowledge. That's the entire point of the test. If God knows the outcome, then the test is nothing more than a cruel joke
    Actually without the test, the knowledge would have NEVER EXISTED. So without Abraham doing it - God wouldn't know it. But Abraham does it, so God knows it.

    Do you believe that God can know something as reality that isn't reality?

    See, one of the problems it seems is that you are either (1) unwilling or (2) unable to divorce God's perspective from our perspective. I understand that this is a premise of OVT...but you need to realize that it is an underlying assumption of your belief system. Its not as if a 'premise' is bad...we just need to be honest with what those premises are.

    Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
    The question isn't whether James is part of Scripture, but rather on what basis you slap James 2 into Genesis 22. There is NOTHING in Genesis 22 about the application of Abraham's faith. It is called a test at the beginning, and God learns at the end. That's the narrative.

    Its not a question of 'slapping James 2 into Genesis 22' but rather seeing how James comments on Genesis 22:

    Originally posted by James2:20-24
    20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
    According to James, the Abraham and Isaac 'test' is an example of faith being completed by works.

    Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
    It refutes the idea of exhaustive definite foreknowledge because God gains knowledge.


    How can God relent if He is atemporal?


    Not possible if God is atemporal. IF God is atemporal, then all things are determined eternally. Thus, there cannot be any "response" to man, or free will.


    You'll have to explain, then, how God, who is atemporal, and has exhaustive, definite foreknowledge, both of which require hard determinism, can even say "If they do X, then I will do Y." Neither allows for a contingent response.

    Again, it seems that you are confusing God's perspective with our perspective. From our perspective there is a time in which God 'gains' knowledge, but within God's perspective He already knows it because it is.

    Your assertions assume that God experiences time as we do -something which I reject. Time and space are not constants.
    Last edited by phat8594; 03-12-2014, 12:52 PM.

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by RBerman View Post
      I can go so far as to agree that God's "experience" (if that's even the right word) is different than what we experiences within "created time." As to whether the word "chronology" is applicable to God's experience, I am not satisfied that it's a helpful term. We'll probably get into that discussing the rest here:



      Our whole experience, our set of instincts about life, springs from the fact that we experience time sequentially. Our language doesn't even allow for a phrase like "before the creation of time" to be meaningful; it's self-contradictory. I can see the appeal of an appeal (hah) to a "higher time" above and beyond our time, but that doesn't mean that's actually how God really is. It just means that we can't think outside of our own frame of reference.
      But we can look to evidence from what God reveals about Himself to draw some conclusions.

      The Bible gives us good grounds to reject the idea of an eternal creation; indeed, the very term "creation" implies that which springs from an act of beginning. I don't know why the only other possibility is that creation "eternally proceeds" from God. That seems like another way of asserting the eternality of the universe, which again is what the BIble denies. And even if the universe were eternal, that would not make it a person, comparable to the persons of the Trinity.
      Which is precisely why God cannot be atemporal. If God does not experience a sequence of events, then these are the two possibilities.

      Thus, we must conclude that God experiences a sequences of events, a Chronology.

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
        If God is temporal, how does He create ex nihilo? I have absolutely no idea how can can create something from nothing, or how God experiences eternity. Do you?
        The question was about time. If first there is nothing other than God, and then there is creation, then God experiences a sequence of contradictory conditions that cannot co-exist. If God creates, He cannot be atemporal.

        I never said God doesn't interact with creation. Do you understand that both time and space are not fixed constants? In other words, not everyone or everything has to experience time and space in the same way.
        But by claiming that God is atemporal, you prevent God from interacting, because that would require a time before God interacts and then a time when HE did interact.

        (1) assumes God is within time.
        No, I just assumes that God knows what I will do before I do it.

        As already stated I reject that premise.
        Except that isn't the premise, and it is obvious whether the term "yesterday" is used or not, foreknowledge requires.. knowing something before it happens.

        Actually without the test, the knowledge would have NEVER EXISTED. So without Abraham doing it - God wouldn't know it. But Abraham does it, so God knows it.
        And, thus, God didn't know what Abraham would do until Abraham made the choice. Welcome to the Open View.

        Do you believe that God can know something as reality that isn't reality?
        Nope. That's why I'm an Open View Theist.

        See, one of the problems it seems is that you are either (1) unwilling or (2) unable to divorce God's perspective from our perspective.
        Both are false. I've already stated that God's temporal existence is different from ours, and demonstrates that creation ex nihilo means God cannot be atemporal.

        I understand that this is a premise of OVT...but you need to realize that it is an underlying assumption of your belief system. Its not as if a 'premise' is bad...we just need to be honest with what those premises are.
        Except that it is a conclusion not a premise. God being atemporal may be a premise for you, because you have no basis for claiming atemporality. But I have a basis for claiming temporality for God. Maybe you shouldn't project.

        Its not a question of 'slapping James 2 into Genesis 22' but rather seeing how James comments on Genesis 22:



        According to James, the Abraham and Isaac 'test' is an example of faith being completed by works.
        But that doesn't state the purpose of the test, nor does it void the text of Scripture where God says, "Now I know". It just describes one outcome of the text.

        James 2 isn't interpreting Genesis 22. It's just using it as an example.

        Again, it seems that you are confusing God's perspective with our perspective. From our perspective there is a time in which God 'gains' knowledge, but within God's perspective He already knows it because it is.
        No, I think it is you that impose your perspective on Scripture, and cannot accept the fact that God says as a result of testing Abraham, "Now I know." That's still a temporal reference to God's knowledge, and in context can only inform us that God gained knowledge AFTER Abraham raised the knife.

        Your assertions assume that God experiences time as we do -something which I reject. Time and space are not constants.[/QUOTE]

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
          But we can look to evidence from what God reveals about Himself to draw some conclusions.

          Which is precisely why God cannot be atemporal. If God does not experience a sequence of events, then these are the two possibilities. Thus, we must conclude that God experiences a sequences of events, a Chronology.
          You keep saying that there are two possibilities, but I don't know on what basis you can declare those to be the only two possibilities. Are the only two possibilities for Jesus that he is only God, or that he is only man? Are the only possibilities for God that he is one, or that he is three? "The evidence that God has revealed about himself" is that (1) Creation has a "beginning," and that (2) God's thoughts are not as our thoughts. The Bible's descriptions of how God interacts with his creation seems a very slender reed on which to balance your certainty about what isn't possible for the nature of God distinct from his creation.

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
            The question was about time. If first there is nothing other than God, and then there is creation, then God experiences a sequence of contradictory conditions that cannot co-exist. If God creates, He cannot be atemporal.



            But by claiming that God is atemporal, you prevent God from interacting, because that would require a time before God interacts and then a time when HE did interact.
            Once again you are confusing our perspective with God's.

            For example, at the speed of light, there is no time and no space. That means that in lights POV, it is everywhere at one time. However, to us light is in a distinct place at a distinct time.

            Just because light has does not experience time and space in its POV does not prevent it from interacting with us in from our POV (within a distince time and place).


            And as for James, it is using Genesis 22 as an example of faith being completed by works. So without the work, the faith is not a reality. So when we look back, how could God know something that doesn't happen? Answer: He can't. This is not an exclusivley OVT view.

            Rather, free will theists of many stripes would affirm that God knows it because it happens. He can know it before it happens (in our POV) because He is not limited by our POV.




            Perhaps, I should ask this question:

            Do you believe that God created time? Or is time something that is self existent?

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by RBerman View Post
              You keep saying that there are two possibilities, but I don't know on what basis you can declare those to be the only two possibilities. Are the only two possibilities for Jesus that he is only God, or that he is only man? Are the only possibilities for God that he is one, or that he is three? "The evidence that God has revealed about himself" is that (1) Creation has a "beginning," and that (2) God's thoughts are not as our thoughts. The Bible's descriptions of how God interacts with his creation seems a very slender reed on which to balance your certainty about what isn't possible for the nature of God distinct from his creation.
              Its funny that I was also thinking about the Trinity. How, from our limited perspective of time, space and material it seems impossible. But then again, God isn't bound by what He has created.

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by RBerman View Post
                You keep saying that there are two possibilities, but I don't know on what basis you can declare those to be the only two possibilities. Are the only two possibilities for Jesus that he is only God, or that he is only man? Are the only possibilities for God that he is one, or that he is three? "The evidence that God has revealed about himself" is that (1) Creation has a "beginning," and that (2) God's thoughts are not as our thoughts. The Bible's descriptions of how God interacts with his creation seems a very slender reed on which to balance your certainty about what isn't possible for the nature of God distinct from his creation.
                Well, you're the one making the claim that God MUST be atemporal, and build theology upon that.

                The difference is that I present both evidence from Scripture to support my claim, and a logical case of what atemporality would mean.

                If you have another possibility, present it.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
                  Once again you are confusing our perspective with God's.

                  For example, at the speed of light, there is no time and no space. That means that in lights POV, it is everywhere at one time. However, to us light is in a distinct place at a distinct time.

                  Just because light has does not experience time and space in its POV does not prevent it from interacting with us in from our POV (within a distince time and place).
                  I don't think that science means what you think it means, and it's irrelevant to the discussion.

                  And as for James, it is using Genesis 22 as an example of faith being completed by works. So without the work, the faith is not a reality. So when we look back, how could God know something that doesn't happen? Answer: He can't. This is not an exclusivley OVT view.
                  But the only logical and Scriptural view is the OVT. I've already provided proof that foreknowledge and free will are incompatible. And I've already shown from Genesis 22 itself that God gained knowledge at that time.

                  And saying that God can't know something that hasn't happened (yet) is VERY OVT.

                  Rather, free will theists of many stripes would affirm that God knows it because it happens. He can know it before it happens (in our POV) because He is not limited by our POV.
                  But not in a logically consistent manner, as already shown.

                  Perhaps, I should ask this question:

                  Do you believe that God created time? Or is time something that is self existent?
                  God created the time that rules the universe. God has His own chronology by which He experiences a sequences of event. This is the only way creation ex nihilo makes any sense.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                    Well, you're the one making the claim that God MUST be atemporal, and build theology upon that.
                    I don't remember making that claim, at least in this thread. I'm not even certain that time actually passes in an absolute sense, or whether that sensation is just an artifact of our perspective. It seems to me that the orthodox doctrine of God's omniscience could stand under a variety of hypotheses about the nature of time, whereas the OVT view of God's omniscience depends on one particular view of time without actually being able to prove that view of time independently of the OVT view.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                      You're making the assumption that created time is the only system of chronology that can exist. God can be outside of creation and created time and still experience events in sequence.
                      I can't readily assign meaning to this.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                        I don't think that science means what you think it means, and it's irrelevant to the discussion.
                        How is it irrelevant? It shows that from two different POV's the same instance can experience time and space in a completely different way. This of course challenges the very presuppositions of what OVT is built upon.

                        Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                        But the only logical and Scriptural view is the OVT. I've already provided proof that foreknowledge and free will are incompatible. And I've already shown from Genesis 22 itself that God gained knowledge at that time.
                        I don't buy the premises and assumptions upon which that 'proof' is built upon.


                        Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                        And saying that God can't know something that hasn't happened (yet) is VERY OVT.
                        I never said that. I said that God can't know something that doesn't happen. God doesn't have to experience the reality of time like we do.


                        Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                        God created the time that rules the universe. God has His own chronology by which He experiences a sequences of event. This is the only way creation ex nihilo makes any sense.
                        So there is a time that God created, and a time that is self existent? Is that what you are saying?

                        And I am assuming that you believe God to be limited(in knowledge) by the time that He created?

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
                          How is it irrelevant? It shows that from two different POV's the same instance can experience time and space in a completely different way. This of course challenges the very presuppositions of what OVT is built upon.
                          How so? I've already said that God experiences a different kind of chronology than we do. So, that's a non-issue.

                          What open theism is really about is the nature of what God created: Free will. Time. Sequences of events. And foreknowledge is incompatible with free will given this particular universe.

                          I don't buy the premises and assumptions upon which that 'proof' is built upon.
                          The only objection was the use of the term "yesterday." I've already pointed out that this is irrelevant to the proof, and we can just as easily substitute "before now" or even "eternally". That doesn't change the nature of the proof.

                          Perhaps you could state how your objection substantively changes the proof.

                          I never said that. I said that God can't know something that doesn't happen. God doesn't have to experience the reality of time like we do.
                          You also said:

                          So when we look back, how could God know something that doesn't happen?
                          This is precisely the point. If something hasn't happened, how can God know it?

                          So there is a time that God created, and a time that is self existent? Is that what you are saying?
                          I usually say that God has a chronology so it doesn't get confused with created time, but that's certainly what is required in order to have creation ex nihilo.

                          And I am assuming that you believe God to be limited(in knowledge) by the time that He created?
                          God knows all things. To say that what is logically unknowable is a "limit" on God is like saying God not knowing how large a rock to make that He cannot lift it is a "limit" on God. It's an absurd claim.

                          And, as I've shown, if there is free will, the future is logically unknowable.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                            Are you suggesting that God is not powerful and wise enough to bring about His prophecies without fixing everything beforehand?
                            I am saying God cannot make a rock too heavy for Him to lift. Jesus telling Peter that he would betray Him 3 times before the cock crowed requires free will action on Peters part, so if Jesus did not know Peter would do it by free will choice then He must be a liar. If Jesus did know then there are two possible reasons, He foreknew it, or He forced Peter to denounce Him.

                            Do you hold to omnipotence and omniwisdom?
                            Omnipotent, and omnisciencent. I do not know what you mean by omniwisdom.

                            Do you think this is the only way God could bring about His prophecies?
                            If He doesn't know the future then He's either lieing about His prophecies or He is planning to violate free will to ensure they come true.

                            Only if your God is impotent.
                            Then demonstrate that you're correct instead of saying I'm wrong.


                            Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
                            Determinism is not necessary for God to have knowledge of the future. God can know for certain without being the one to determine that something happens. A lot of this gets back to presuppositions on all sides of the coin:

                            Like how God interacts with time, how God knows, etc.
                            If you are differentiating between foreknowing something and predestining something sure. Otherwise I don't know what you're saying.
                            Last edited by Pentecost; 03-13-2014, 11:46 PM.
                            Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                              How so? I've already said that God experiences a different kind of chronology than we do. So, that's a non-issue.

                              What open theism is really about is the nature of what God created: Free will. Time. Sequences of events. And foreknowledge is incompatible with free will given this particular universe.
                              With the universe set up in the way that OVT supposes it is, it sure does seem that the two don't work together. I just don't agree on the nature of how God interacts / is constrained by His creation.

                              The reason why the perspectives matters, is because the same circumstance can be experienced totally differently. So God can experience everything as 'now-necessary' while we still have not yet experienced it yet.

                              Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                              The only objection was the use of the term "yesterday." I've already pointed out that this is irrelevant to the proof, and we can just as easily substitute "before now" or even "eternally". That doesn't change the nature of the proof.

                              Perhaps you could state how your objection substantively changes the proof.
                              By adding yesterday, before now, etc. the proof is constaining God to our POV. I don't believe God is contrained by the time we experience in any way shape or form.

                              Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                              You also said:

                              This is precisely the point. If something hasn't happened, how can God know it?
                              You do realize that you just quoted me saying "If something doesn't happen..." ... which is exactly what I said that I said. It is a matter of perspective.



                              Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                              I usually say that God has a chronology so it doesn't get confused with created time, but that's certainly what is required in order to have creation ex nihilo.
                              Again, I am not going to begin to get into what God's existence even looks like, and how it interacts with His creation. IMO, that is something that is completely unknoweable.

                              Originally posted by themuzicman View Post
                              God knows all things. To say that what is logically unknowable is a "limit" on God is like saying God not knowing how large a rock to make that He cannot lift it is a "limit" on God. It's an absurd claim.

                              And, as I've shown, if there is free will, the future is logically unknowable.
                              And this is based on the supposition that God is unable to create time in such a way as to know it. You believe it is an absurd claim. I don't believe that its absurd to believe that God can know perfectly the past, present and future of our time without limiting our free will. This is because I believe that God's POV is not affected by our POV.

                              After all, if God already is outside of our POV of time (as you seem to have agreed with), in what way is it different than our POV of time if He can't know anything more than what is going on at our present time that we are experiencing?

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by phat8594 View Post
                                With the universe set up in the way that OVT supposes it is, it sure does seem that the two don't work together.
                                They work just fine.

                                I just don't agree on the nature of how God interacts / is constrained by His creation.
                                Well, you can have your assumptions if you wish.

                                The reason why the perspectives matters, is because the same circumstance can be experienced totally differently. So God can experience everything as 'now-necessary' while we still have not yet experienced it yet.
                                Except that you violate the law of non-contradiction.

                                By adding yesterday, before now, etc. the proof is constaining God to our POV. I don't believe God is contrained by the time we experience in any way shape or form.
                                And you really can't see how that doesn't change anything?
                                Using the example of the proposition T, the argument that infallible foreknowledge of T entails that you do not answer the telephone freely can be formulated as follows:

                                Basic Argument for Theological Fatalism

                                (1) God infallibly and timelessly believes T. [Supposition of infallible foreknowledge]
                                (2) If E is infallibly and timelessly believed, then E is necessary. [Principle of the Necessity]
                                (3) It is necessary that God believes T. [1, 2]
                                (4) Necessarily, if God infallibly believes T, then T. [Definition of “infallibility”]
                                (5) If p is necessary, and necessarily (p → q), then q is necessary. [Transfer of Necessity Principle]
                                (6) So it is necessary that T. [3,4,5]
                                (7) If it is necessary that T, then you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am. [Definition of “necessary”]
                                (8) Therefore, you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am. [6, 7]
                                (9) If you cannot do otherwise when you do an act, you do not act freely. [Principle of Alternate Possibilities]
                                (10) Therefore, when you answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am, you will not do it freely. [8, 9]

                                Better?

                                You do realize that you just quoted me saying "If something doesn't happen..." ... which is exactly what I said that I said. It is a matter of perspective.
                                Except that your "perspectives"s are contradictory.

                                Again, I am not going to begin to get into what God's existence even looks like, and how it interacts with His creation. IMO, that is something that is completely unknoweable.
                                And yet you claim that God is timeless. Are you abandoning that claim?

                                And this is based on the supposition that God is unable to create time in such a way as to know it.
                                1) It's based upon a logical proof, and thus isn't a supposition.
                                2) I never said that God couldn't create time differently than He did, such that He could know it. You've imposed that.

                                You believe it is an absurd claim.
                                And proven it from within the context of this creation.

                                I don't believe that its absurd to believe that God can know perfectly the past, present and future of our time without limiting our free will. This is because I believe that God's POV is not affected by our POV.
                                You mean other than the logical proof I've provided showing this to be a contradiction, and the violation of the law of non-contradiction you committed above?

                                After all, if God already is outside of our POV of time (as you seem to have agreed with), in what way is it different than our POV of time ?
                                It would be impossible to speculate on the nature of chronology as God experiences it, other than to say that God must be temporal (because of creation), and He is able to observe creation as its events unfold, and know all that is knowable within creation as it becomes knowable.

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