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Author Topic:   Is God omnipotent?
General Nazort
Inactive Member


Message 31 of 41 (146224)
09-30-2004 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by jalajo
09-29-2004 7:23 PM


Re: Quick aside
I keep hearing about God showing human qualities, this won't prove anything but actually we(humans) show God's qualities. It says in Genesis that man was created in the "image" of God. This is not his physical image, he has no physical body, this is about God making us with: intellect, emotions, will, and conscience.

Good point.


If you say there no absolutes, I ask you, are you absolutely sure?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by jalajo, posted 09-29-2004 7:23 PM jalajo has not yet responded

  
Chuck Diesel
Inactive Member


Message 32 of 41 (146554)
10-01-2004 4:44 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by jalajo
09-29-2004 7:23 PM


quote:
I keep hearing about God showing human qualities, this won't prove anything but actually we(humans) show God's qualities. It says in Genesis that man was created in the "image" of God. This is not his physical image, he has no physical body, this is about God making us with: intellect, emotions, will, and conscience.

This sounds like a fundamentally sound argument, that God created man in His image, but does can this claim wash with the attributes given to God? (i.e. Omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, free will, etc)

The answer, I believe, is no. God, given the conditions that He has some human qualities, cannot exist while at the same time containing attributes that contradict His so-called human attrubutes (such as emotions, free will, that you had mentioned).

To expand, humans feel emotions almost always because of some action that has taken place that was previousy not known. Receiving a phone call about a friend dying iin a car accident would excite certain feelings inside of us all - and I'm sure you can agree. Not so with a God that knew there would be an accident even before He created the entire universe. Some might contend that God feels certain emotions, but not ALL human-like emotions, but the same logic can be applied to ALL emotions, good or bad. If God feels happy, for instance, there must be some outside reasons for His happiness. This implies that before being happy, He was either not happy or not AS happy, which would imply that outside factors determine God's emotional status - which would deny Him his omniscience status. We can read throughout the Bible that God does display many emotions (most of them are anger) as reactions to his creation's actions.

God, being all-good, by defenition cannot feel ANY "bad" or "evil" emotions since He is "all" good and "no" evil. If God does feel hate, for example, then He is breaching His omnibenevolent status. The God of the Bible has displayed many times that He is NOT all-good. Genocide, infanticide, pillaging, rape, torture, human sacrifice, pestilence, disease, etc have all been condoned (sometimes caused directly) by the God in the Bible. God also mentions many times that He "hates" such and such tribe of Isreal.

The idea that God has free will contradicts His omniscient status. For a being that knew all events as they would unfold past, present and future is bound by those events and is powerless to stop them from happening. God , in essense, has no "will" as to what actions He will take in the future since all actions are already known by Him. We can read throughout the Bible that God does change His mind (repent) and seems to display some type of free-will, however this does not override the logical implications of what it means to be omniscient. Either God has free will and is NOT omnibenevolent, omniscient or omnipotent; OR God does NOT have free will and is omniscient, but not omnipotent.

These are by no means expansive explanations, as my reply included information that only the time I was given would permit. Perhaps this can be expanded upon in the future?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by jalajo, posted 09-29-2004 7:23 PM jalajo has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by General Nazort, posted 10-01-2004 7:10 PM Chuck Diesel has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 494 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 33 of 41 (146615)
10-01-2004 7:02 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by jalajo
09-29-2004 7:23 PM


Re: Quick aside
It says in Genesis that man was created in the "image" of God. This is not his physical image, he has no physical body, this is about God making us with: intellect, emotions, will, and conscience.

please read exodus 33:12-23 and possibly genesis 32:25-33 and tell me whether or not god has a physical body.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by jalajo, posted 09-29-2004 7:23 PM jalajo has not yet responded

  
General Nazort
Inactive Member


Message 34 of 41 (146620)
10-01-2004 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Chuck Diesel
10-01-2004 4:44 PM


Diesel,

I must disagree with much of what you say.

To expand, humans feel emotions almost always because of some action that has taken place that was previousy not known. Receiving a phone call about a friend dying iin a car accident would excite certain feelings inside of us all - and I'm sure you can agree.

I think this definition of emotion is wrong. You can have emotion about something even when you know what is going to happen. Say you are a sentimental person and you cry at a sad movie. Then you go to see it again and you cry again. The second time you went, you knew what was going to happen, and yet you still had new emotions about it. I have not really thought much about what causes emotion, but it is something a lot deeper than actions happening that were not previously known.

Thus, God can be omniscient, and also have emotions.

God, being all-good, by defenition cannot feel ANY "bad" or "evil" emotions since He is "all" good and "no" evil. If God does feel hate, for example, then He is breaching His omnibenevolent status. The God of the Bible has displayed many times that He is NOT all-good. Genocide, infanticide, pillaging, rape, torture, human sacrifice, pestilence, disease, etc have all been condoned (sometimes caused directly) by the God in the Bible. God also mentions many times that He "hates" such and such tribe of Isreal.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by omnibenevolence... do you mean God is love? Ok here is what Christian theology says. God is love, but God is also just. God loves people, but he must judge their sin or he would not be just. To solve this dilemma he sent Christ to take the punishment for our sins - his justice is complete and he can now love us because the barrier of sin has been removed.

Some people God chooses to judge after they die, others he judges in this life. Since all have sinned, all deserve to die. All of the examples you gave of God being not-good are actually the opposite. Justice is good, and God was giving out the punishments required by justice.

The idea that God has free will contradicts His omniscient status. For a being that knew all events as they would unfold past, present and future is bound by those events and is powerless to stop them from happening.

Whats this? The old predestination/free-will debate, but applied to God. Interesting... but it doesn't work.

God knows the past, present, and future because he choose, of his own free will, to create them. He is not controlled by them - he could change them if he wanted. It is perhaps comparable to a director making a movie. The director knows everything that will go on in the movie. But the director is not controlled by the movie - the movie is controlled by the director.

Awaiting your reply.


If you say there no absolutes, I ask you, are you absolutely sure?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Chuck Diesel, posted 10-01-2004 4:44 PM Chuck Diesel has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Chuck Diesel, posted 10-02-2004 5:01 PM General Nazort has responded

  
Chuck Diesel
Inactive Member


Message 35 of 41 (146793)
10-02-2004 5:01 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by General Nazort
10-01-2004 7:10 PM


Perhaps what I had written did not expand on the issue as much as I would have liked, so I will go a bit more into details about the God vs. Free Will argument.

To begin, this isn't the free will/predestination argument with God taking the place of humans; rather it is a different free will argument as a different logic is applied to an all-knowing being than would be applied to mortals like you and I.

If God is all-knowing (omniscient), then He, by defenition, knows all future events. Thus, God knows what decisions He will make in the future and is completely powerless to stop those actions from taking place. If God can change what He knows He will do in the future, then the knowledge He has previous to His change was wrong, and therefore He is not all-knowing. If He cannot change His future decisions, then He has no free will. He is merely a chain of events - a train riding on rails - so to speak. He knows what decisions He will make in the future, but since he knew all along that He would make them, then He is powerless to stop from making them. Ergo He has no free will. A good example of this problem can be formed in the proceeding philosophical question:

quote:
There is a light switch on the wall. God may either turn it on, or leave it off. But since God already knows the future, God knows that he will turn it on. That is a part of His knowledge. What if God exercises freewill, and chooses not to turn it on, despite His knowledge that He will turn it on? Is this possible?

If He does leave it off, He may have free will, but cannot have knowledge of future events.

You are, at this very moment, reading this message; which means that at some point you made a choice to start reading it. You may feel you "chose" to read it. You also know that you do not have free will to go back and change that choice. It is impossible - even if you want to - you can't. If you had knowledge about a choice you were going to make in the future, then what would it mean? You would have no free will to change that choice. No option, no choices - based on the fact that you know it's going to happen - it is predestined and no amount of power can change it.

An omniscient being knows every action and decision it will make during every moment of time. In effect, God is simply an observer. An omniscient being has no free will - His entire future is set out and He has no choice but to follow His predestined path. God knows your prayers before you make them, He already knows what sacrifices people are going to make for Him - and who is devoted enough to make them. We have nothing to prove to an omniscient being, and none of our actions will "change His mind" (as was lightly discussed in another message). He already knows what our actions will be, therefore His mind is already set. We present no new knowledge so cannot change His mind. Knowing His own future, too, He can never change His own mind and thus has no free will.

God also cannot have free will if He is omnibenevolent (all good) since His decisions are always directed by the most "good" option. This also raises a question about wether or not God has a moral basis or creed of His own, or if He defines what good and bad are without a moral standard. In the latter case, "good" and "bad" are empty words that carry different meanings than how we humans commonly interpret them to mean. But that's off the subject.

It might be objected that God exists outside of time completely and is therefore not subject to "riding the rails" as if He passes through time with the rest of us, therefore my argument doesn't work. But this defense only raises another objection to God having any kind of free will.

Free will is making choices according to our own deliberation. Deliberation requires thought, and thought requires change over time. If time were frozen and nothing changed, then no-one would have free will. Free will is a concept that only exists inside the timeline. If God is - as is required - the Creator of time and space, then God must exist outside of time. When talking about events happeneing "before" the universe was created is an exercise in logical futility. It is senseless to talk of "before" the big bang, "before" the creation of time, because there was no "before" - no passage of time before these events.

In this "void" where nothing changes, God can not posess free will. His thoughts can't change and flow because time does not change for anything that extends outside of time and space. Taking the hypercube as an example, it may appear to us to change over time as we view it in a series of 3D slices, but in reality the hypercube is completely unchanging from it's own point of view. From God's own point of view there is no "thinking", no change in states of mind over time. All choices were instantly made according to what is most "perfect" (if God is said to be a perfect being), and there were never any choices or willpower involved. By His very nature, if God is perfect and created Time, then God has had no free will to either engage, change, or affect any free will on His own part.

To re-touch on God being omnibenevolent, from these these we can draw the following conclusion:

God is triply denied free will; the following three contradict the existence of a being with Free Will:

* An omniscient being cannot have free will
* A perfectly benevolent being cannot have free will
* The creator of time cannot have free will

Now what is the point of saying that God is moral if God cannot choose to do anything bad? How can it be a moral being if it has no choice? The answer is that God is not a moral being. He is, at most, an amoral being - the God of Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, Aristotle, and (amazingly) Blaise Pascal.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by General Nazort, posted 10-01-2004 7:10 PM General Nazort has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by General Nazort, posted 10-03-2004 3:04 PM Chuck Diesel has not yet responded

  
General Nazort
Inactive Member


Message 36 of 41 (147013)
10-03-2004 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Chuck Diesel
10-02-2004 5:01 PM


Chuck Diesel,
Nice cut and paste

To begin, this isn't the free will/predestination argument with God taking the place of humans; rather it is a different free will argument as a different logic is applied to an all-knowing being than would be applied to mortals like you and I.

It sure seems like the same argument to me.

Anyways, let me try this analogy.

Say that you record on film a day in the life of a person. He goes through his day making choices with his own free will. So far so good. Now say that you start to watch this video on your TV - you know everything that the person is going to do. You might say he is predestined to do the actions that he does. But that does not change the fact that all of his action were a choice of his free will in the first place!

The person watching the video can be compared to God. He knows everything a person will do, but just because they are going to do those actions does not mean that those actions were not an act of free will.

Say that God is watching a video of himself. He knows everything he is going to do, but the things he does are still his own choice of free will.

Thus, an omniscient being can have free will.


If you say there no absolutes, I ask you, are you absolutely sure?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Chuck Diesel, posted 10-02-2004 5:01 PM Chuck Diesel has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by sidelined, posted 10-03-2004 7:19 PM General Nazort has responded

  
sidelined
Member (Idle past 4424 days)
Posts: 3435
From: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Joined: 08-30-2003


Message 37 of 41 (147058)
10-03-2004 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by General Nazort
10-03-2004 3:04 PM


General Nazort

Say that God is watching a video of himself. He knows everything he is going to do, but the things he does are still his own choice of free will.

If god is watching a video of himself then of course he knows what he is going to do in hindsight.If the video faithfully recorded his actions then he has no free will to alter those actions without therefore changing the content of the video he is watching.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by General Nazort, posted 10-03-2004 3:04 PM General Nazort has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by General Nazort, posted 10-03-2004 11:17 PM sidelined has responded

  
General Nazort
Inactive Member


Message 38 of 41 (147084)
10-03-2004 11:17 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by sidelined
10-03-2004 7:19 PM


If god is watching a video of himself then of course he knows what he is going to do in hindsight.If the video faithfully recorded his actions then he has no free will to alter those actions without therefore changing the content of the video he is watching.

Sorta - my theory is that free will and predestination are not mutually exclusive - that they both exist at the same time.

Basically this is my argument: Just because you are going to do an action doesn't mean that you did not choose of your own free will to do that action.

I think the problem is how we are defining free will.


If you say there no absolutes, I ask you, are you absolutely sure?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by sidelined, posted 10-03-2004 7:19 PM sidelined has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by sidelined, posted 10-03-2004 11:42 PM General Nazort has not yet responded
 Message 41 by crashfrog, posted 10-04-2004 2:17 AM General Nazort has not yet responded

  
sidelined
Member (Idle past 4424 days)
Posts: 3435
From: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Joined: 08-30-2003


Message 39 of 41 (147092)
10-03-2004 11:42 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by General Nazort
10-03-2004 11:17 PM


Hold on there
GN

Just because you are going to do an action doesn't mean that you did not choose of your own free will to do that action.

Unforunately the concept of free will allows us to change an action before it occurs which if we were to do so would therefore negate predestination since predestination has the action already mapped out.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by General Nazort, posted 10-03-2004 11:17 PM General Nazort has not yet responded

  
Brad
Member (Idle past 3304 days)
Posts: 143
From: Portland OR, USA
Joined: 01-26-2004


Message 40 of 41 (147100)
10-04-2004 1:38 AM


EXCELLENT
I was waiting for this topic to get to this based on my first few posts, chuck, I like your thinking. So the only solution to this tricky omnipotent problem I can think of becomes, God doesn't act, in any way. What would motivate God to act? He would already know any outcome. There would be no challenge. Can you think of any reason an omnipotent God would act?
Brad

  
crashfrog
Member
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 41 of 41 (147102)
10-04-2004 2:17 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by General Nazort
10-03-2004 11:17 PM


Just because you are going to do an action doesn't mean that you did not choose of your own free will to do that action.

If there's only one possible outcome, you didn't have a choice.

Let's put it this way. I tell you to pick either apple or cherry pie. But no matter which one you pick, you get apple. Is there any coherent way that we can say that you really had a choice?

Choice requires the genuine potentiality of alternate outcomes. Predestination means that no alternatives are possible.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by General Nazort, posted 10-03-2004 11:17 PM General Nazort has not yet responded

  
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