What brings this question to mind is the thread about prayer vs. the divine plan. Recent posts in that thread have strayed a bit into questions about how the freewill of man can be reconciled with an omniscient creator. Since this subject is off-topic to that thread, I would love to discuss it within its own thread.
Might not god roll the dice before we are born, and we get to choose our fancy? That would imply a beforebirth similar to an afterlife, but after all, god is omnipotent, as well as omniscient. Or, can god even roll the dice, since he would already know the outcome? It is not a trivial question, since computer programmers are familiar with the difficulty in achieving true randomness from a machine that is designed for 'perfect predicability'.
Of course, there is the problem of circular reasoning. Any randomness that god manages to achieve is destroyed by his fore-knowledge of those outcomes. So, is this one 'power' that eludes him? Or, can he at least achieve pseudo-randomness, and therefore claim pseudo-omniscience?
Oh, and one more question. Does god have free-will? Or does his omniscience not include his own actions?
This message has been edited by mogur, 05-15-2004 09:00 PM
Fascinating answer, crashfrog. You have made me stretch for a response. But doesn't a non-temporal god have a problem in 'dealing' with temporal beings that have an arrow of time, and a cause-and-effect experience? Let me try to illustrate my point. Say I have a petri dish with a culture of bacteria to play with. Their lifetime is so short, compared to mine, that I 'verge' on (but not quite) appear non-temporal to them. Please allow me the latitude to assume that they possess 'human-like' intelligence and self-awareness. (This is just a thought experiment.) I would also appear almost omnipotent, due to my ability to devastatingly upset their environment, on the slightest whim. Their view of me would also verge on omniscient, especially if I communicated the fact that I created the environment that they currently enjoy, and that I am in control of their future.
Here is where I finally make a point. If you now can imagine that I go beyond 'seemingly god-like', and I truely become non-temporal, omniscient, and omnipotent, then I no longer share even the arrow of time with my play-toys. So what? Well, even though we still share the same 3 spatial dimensions, there is no longer any correspondence in our temporal dimension. That would make my playtoys very uninteresting to me at the very least. I suspect that it also might make it impossible for me to even interact with them. Your mileage may vary.
From the perspective of our physical world, the flow of time only comes to a grinding halt when an entity reaches the exact speed of light. Relativistic physics prescribes that a sub-luminal mass would indeed acquire infinite inertial mass at the speed of light, an obvious problem for our reality. While quantum mechanics and the 11 dimensions of string theory make me nostalgic for the comfort of deterministic relativity, I have no qualms about accepting all manner of new physical principles (but not magic) that would allow a better modeling of reality suited to our feeble awarenesses.
Since we fall short of any concrete evidence relating to the supernatural, I do not hold my conjectures any higher than yours. But my egocentric perspective sees a rougher road than you do when we cross the border of a naked singularity, into a world of unkown physics. I personally would rather flip your still pictures in either direction of time, but why don't you go first, and I'll catch up later?
Oh, we aren't talking about the Biblical God then?
Sure, any god, all gods, immortal gods. And whether they do or can interact with us lowly humans, and why they even care if we do clown around.
Biologists usually don't reside within their Petri dishes. Why would God?
You crack me up, crashfrog. I may not agree with everything that you say, but I enjoy every word of your posts.
Anyone on this planet that believes in god, as well as those that don't, have a minority view about the particulars of their god (or even their disbelief). But the one thing that commands an almost universal agreement throughout the entire human race is the mathematics of the physical world that we find ourselves in. Mathematics not only lets us translate our knowledge of the world into useable real-world values, it also allows us to predict and verify new observations that either strengthens or weakens the veracity of that knowledge. But most importantly, it usually lights our way to new descriptive models of reality. The Lorentz transformations guided Einstein's insights. Schrodinger's wave equation paved the way for quantum mechanics. Mathematics has now taken us on a trip to explore the weird world of string theory, before we have even imagined the possible reality of 11 dimensions. My point, again? It's just that when we cross the boundaries of our known universe into the supernatural, the math gets really hinky. I don't know what's going on beyond our reality, but the chances are that the reality is hinky, too.
In the Bible does it specifically mention that God knows the future?
After all, isn't it possible to interpret omnicience as knowing everything that there is to know, yet treat the future as something that doesn't exist yet and therefor can't be known?
Yes, omniscience only means complete, universal, or infinite knowledge. Non-temporality is a different phenomenon. Good point, Raymon, I should have used the term, non-temporal, for omniscient in a few of my previous points.
This message has been edited by mogur, 05-16-2004 12:09 PM
This message has been edited by mogur, 05-16-2004 12:13 PM
Does the free will of man really mean independency from the will of god? If this is assumed, then the mind of man must be a limit on god's omniscience, since there is within man's mind that which cannot be known by god.