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Author Topic:   6 questions about an "omni" God
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1376 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


(1)
Message 1 of 21 (40289)
05-15-2003 5:51 PM


6 "simple" questions
I apologize if these questions have already been asked and/or answered in some other thread, but I am just beginning here. If they have, please just post the thread that has the answers for me.

These questions are mostly for biblical literalists, and for anyone who believes in the Christian God. I am personally a skeptical agnostic. I will admit the possibility of a supreme being, but do not personally believe in one.

1) How can you have free will with an omniscient god?

2) Why would an omniscient god "test" people?

3) Why would an omnipotent god need the flood, and if it was just chosen arbitrarily, why would an omnipotent god need an ark to save Noah and the animals?

4) Why would an omniscient and omnipotent god make a group of people that would need to be killed in the flood, or get kicked out of the Garden in the first place?

5) How do we know that god is omnibenevolent rather than omnimalevolent?

6) If god is not omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, as some may say to answer some of the above questions, why would he be worth praying to?

Once you give a character too much power and/or knowledge, it becomes difficult to explain many of the occurances in the Bible, and even in current, observable life. I have a few other questions, but will wait to see what answers I get to these "simple" ones before bringing in other, more complicated ones.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Micah

"Of course...we all create god in our own image" - Willard Decker Star Trek: The Motion Picture
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

edited to change the topic name

[This message has been edited by Perdition, 05-15-2003]


Replies to this message:
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Mister Pamboli
Member (Idle past 5716 days)
Posts: 634
From: Washington, USA
Joined: 12-10-2001


Message 2 of 21 (40293)
05-15-2003 6:24 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Perdition
05-15-2003 5:51 PM


Re: 6
I'm not in a position to answer your first five questions, but your sixth is a little odd:
quote:
6) If god is not omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, as some may say to answer some of the above questions, why would he be worth praying to?
Are you implying that if God were omniyadayada, She would be worth praying to? If so, ask yourself why.

Take that answer, and consider if the properties that make prayer to such a God worth while are absolute or progressive. For example, if an omniscient God is definitely worth praying to, what about a God who is not all-knowing, but just very very very very knowing? Maybe She is worth praying to, but just not as much as the omniGod.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Perdition, posted 05-15-2003 5:51 PM Perdition has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Perdition, posted 05-16-2003 12:47 AM Mister Pamboli has responded

  
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3881
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 3 of 21 (40321)
05-15-2003 8:52 PM


Fixed topic title
Originally the title got truncated after the 6. This was because the next word (apparently) was "simple", enclosed in quotation marks. For some reason, the system does not like quotation marks in titles.

Hopefully, the new title is descriptive of what the topic is about.

Adminnemooseus


    
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1376 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 4 of 21 (40350)
05-16-2003 12:47 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Mister Pamboli
05-15-2003 6:24 PM


Re: 6
I'm not saying an omnigod is definitely worth praying to, but I AM saying that I do not believe that a non-omnigod is worth praying to. If ghod is just a very intelligent being, we do not owe it any more supplication than, say Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein. It/She/He may be very smart and powerful, but if not totally, there is allowed the capacity for mistakes, and is therefore fallible. I would personally find it irrational to praise a fallible being. Now, as I've said, if god WERE an omnigod, it wouldn't be definitely worth supplication and praise, but the only being that would be worth those would have to be an omni-being of some sort. Any other being may be worth awe or wonder, but not praise and supplication.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Micah

"Of course...we all create God in our own image" - Willard Decker, Star Trek: The Motion Picture
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


This message is a reply to:
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Flamingo Chavez
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 21 (40352)
05-16-2003 1:12 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Perdition
05-15-2003 5:51 PM


Re: 6
1) First of all, is a God that purposefully limits himself/herself/itself any less omniscient than one that does not? They both have the same power, but one uses it differently.

2) God does not test my faith for his own knowledge, but so that I may know its depth.

3-5) Some Christians don't believe that the flood was a historical event (like me) but rather a story to show a Biblical truth.

------------------
"Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." - Albert Einstein


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Asgara
Member (Idle past 441 days)
Posts: 1783
From: Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 05-10-2003


(1)
Message 6 of 21 (40367)
05-16-2003 2:22 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Perdition
05-15-2003 5:51 PM


Re: 6
Micah,

In reference to your first question, I believe that omniscience and free will are mutually exclusive. If the outcome of a choice is already known, is it really a choice?

Some definitions of free will include:

The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company

A will free from improper coercion or restraint
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc

If making the "wrong" choice can be based on the fear of eternal damnation is it truly "free"? It would definately seem to me, to be a matter of coercion. The supposed fact of an omniscient god giving wo/man any choice (of which he already knows the outcome)and yet attempting to coerce the choice with a threat is almost laughably illogical to me.

So many times Xtian answers to the tough questions in life come down to "It's God's will." If everything seems to be based on the will of god, than how does wo/man have a true choice?

__________________________________
Asgara

"An unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates via Plato


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Mister Pamboli
Member (Idle past 5716 days)
Posts: 634
From: Washington, USA
Joined: 12-10-2001


Message 7 of 21 (40373)
05-16-2003 2:44 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Perdition
05-16-2003 12:47 AM


Re: 6
quote:
I'm not saying an omnigod is definitely worth praying to, but I AM saying that I do not believe that a non-omnigod is worth praying to. If ghod is just a very intelligent being, we do not owe it any more supplication than, say Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein.
You seem to have a strange idea of what prayer involves.

Needing guidance, would you not respect the wise for their wisdom? Needing help, would you not seek help from those who can assist you? Needing comfort would you not seek comfort from those who can comfort you?

Maybe you wouldn't, but it would hardly be remiss of others if they did. And have you never praised someone for their virtue, their skill, their intelligence, their wisdom? Have you never been in love and adored your lover for nothing more than being there? If you haven't, I am truly sorry for you!

Now, what if these qualities were not even infinite, but still almost unimaginably great, though with their flaws. Would you still not respect, or seek help, or seek comfort in proportion to those qualities?


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Perdition
Member (Idle past 1376 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 8 of 21 (40378)
05-16-2003 3:33 AM


OK, I'll give you the prayer and praise things, I can see where you're coming from. I should rephrase my last question then: If god is not omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, is s/he worthy pf being called god?

----------------------------
Micah

"Of course...we all create god in our own image" - Willard Decker, Star Trek: The Motion Picture
----------------------------


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 21 (40379)
05-16-2003 3:38 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Perdition
05-16-2003 3:33 AM


If god is not omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, is s/he worthy pf being called god?

Well, obviously that depends on what you use to define "god". In the past "god" simply meant a person of enduring legend or an anthropomorphication (is that a word?) of a natural concept. In more modern theology, god is generally refered to when talking about "infinite" beings, whatever that might be. A non-omni* god would not be infinite, so the answer would be "no."

But you'll have a hard time picking a definition of god that everyone can agree with, because there's simply no way to test any definitions because there's no evidence about god that people can agree on.

It's a tough (potentially unanswerable) question. If it's one that is so important to you that it keeps you up at night, I don't envy you.


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The_Search
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 21 (40481)
05-16-2003 11:14 PM


I know its a little off topic, but I have a question about God's omnipotence.

This question is based on the assumption that God wants all of us to go to heaven (which is what I have heard from christians).

If God wants us to go to heaven, and his will is always done, then there is an obvious contradiction. The way I see it, either God doesnt want all of us to go to heaven, which doesnt seem very moral, or God cant send us to heaven because we didnt love him; If that is the case, then there are laws that God must obey when passing judgment,and even though he really wants to send us to heaven, he cant, and therefore isnt really omnipotent.

But I'm probably missing something so perhaps someone could enlighten me...


  
Brian
Member (Idle past 3098 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 11 of 21 (40506)
05-17-2003 12:53 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Perdition
05-15-2003 5:51 PM


Re: 6
I think these questions reveal more about the fertile imaginations and limited reasoning abilities of the biblibal authors than they do about an 'omni' god.

Brian


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Agent Uranium [GPC]
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 21 (48565)
08-04-2003 8:17 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Asgara
05-16-2003 2:22 AM


SOOOO not meaning to bump up an old (and therefore unworthy?) topic
but I agree with you here, Asgara. As a young lad I used to explain this away by saying that God merely knew what choice you would make of your own free will, and that He didn't pre-write what you would do.

However I now see that this equates with a Schroedinger's Cat type of paradox. How much does simply "knowing" the future actually influence it? If an omniscient God knows something will happen a certain way then surely it can't happen otherwise.

And Perdition - number 5. I often wondered that myself. Why do people automatically assume that God = good simply because He created everything? Because He says so in His holy books? Dictators in human life hardly admit their evil nature now do they?


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Mr. Myriad
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 21 (48632)
08-04-2003 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Agent Uranium [GPC]
08-04-2003 8:17 AM


You don't scare ME, Old Testament God! Aha!
Accepting that God is omniscient, and knows how evryone would react to any given situation, and he knows how the future is going to turn out... does that mean we're all governed by predestination? Does that mean God forsees every major disaster and every minor tribulation, but, and here's the kicker... it's our fault? Even though we assume that he knew exactly how it was going to play out, and that it couldn't have turned out any other way?

1) Well... we do have free will... but God knows exactly what we're going to do with our free will. The man upstairs may have his hands the Master Plan. This is assuming omniscience.

2)Why would he test people? Imagine you become all-powerful when you wake up tomorrow morning. You do all the things you've dreamt of doing with godlike power... and then you start getting bored. There's nothing left to do... So whip up some playthings. Think of life as the divine version of the Sims. Perhaps you're meant to guide the lives of those little fellers, but by golly, it's so much more satisfying to put them in little windowless rooms while the house is aflame.

3)Why the Flood...? I have no faith in that, so i'll blame it on Jesus

4)In fact... why did he make a people who would need to eat the Apple? Physically, or mentally... think about it. Tell me i can do anything - anything at all - in the Garden of Eden, but eat this one apple which grants knowledge, it'll be devoured the second you turn your back.

5)Malevolent, benevolent, it's a bit arbitrary. Option A. God has a master plan, which is always playing out, and he just sits back. Option B. God interferes with free will and watches the Chaos unfold. Option c. God is like any of us, and plays around with humanity for a bit of a laugh.

------------------
Push through that door...

Beyond it are monsters and saints and sinners and freaks more remarkable than anything you have seen on our travels through antiquity...


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JustinC
Member (Idle past 2983 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 14 of 21 (48666)
08-04-2003 6:27 PM


The freewill/omniscience so called contradiction has always interested me.

In my college philosophy book entitled "Philosophy of Religion" there is a piece by Nelson Pike called "Omniscience and Free Will are not Compatible" in which he goes into great detail on the issue. The next piece was by Alvin Plantinga called "Omniscience and Free Will are Compatible" in which he criticises Nelson Pike's piece. Nelson Pike wrote a piece responding to Plantinga's criticism that I have yet to read and cannot find anywhere.

Has anyone read these?

It seems to me that a prerequisite for freewill is the inability to know the future by anyone or anything.

JustinC


Replies to this message:
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John
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 21 (48691)
08-04-2003 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by JustinC
08-04-2003 6:27 PM


quote:
It seems to me that a prerequisite for freewill is the inability to know the future by anyone or anything.

Close. The problem isn't really the 'knowing the future.' It is the 'omniscient.' A creature could exist who has always been able to predict the future and has always been 100% accurate, and this since the beginning of the universe. This would not be a problem. The problem occurs when a claim is made that the creature CANNOT be wrong.

------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com


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