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God's omniscience

  1. Sep 7, 2003 #1
    How does God know everything? Obviously, before God created the universe and everything in it, He had to know everything there is to know. Even if He had created a universe before this one where did He get the knowledge then. Think about the complexity of the human body. How did He know what to do to create one? How did He know that oxygen was necessary for life and created it before He created life? How did He know that water was necessary for life? The list could go on and on. I have thought about this for a long time. The only answer I can come up with is since God knows the future, He gleaned all His knowledge from the future. This would mean that He depends on us to figure things out for Him. If this is true, then the world cannot come to an end until we learn everything there is to know. Since we have a long way to go to know everything the world will be around for a long time. Or, if this world is destroyed in the near future, He would have to create another one so that everything can be learned. Unless He already learned everything from a former creation.

    I know this sounds far fetched, but there has to be a reason why God knows everything. The Bible clearly says that God knows the future. So what is to prevent Him from knowing everything that we have learned and will learn in the future? After all, it was God that gave us the ability to seek out knowledge.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2003 #2
    Or, maybe God has always known all there is to know and, that by setting everything up to follow an "evolutionary plan," it allows us -- His creation -- the opportunity to know who He is?
  4. Sep 8, 2003 #3


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    Uh... there is an alternative here you know... It begins with an "A"...

    Ah... um... because most of the oxygen was in fact created by life?

    Actually, this doesn't follow. Omniscient means that God does know everything - independently of existence. And also, if we really believe in creation, we say God created the laws as well, so there is no reason why water is required rather than a sudden whim of God.

    Be careful when you try to mix reason with God... That's atheist talk...

    Do you by any chance realise that's an oxymoron?
  5. Sep 8, 2003 #4


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    Woohoo, thanks FZ, thats the word I've been trying to remember to describe "Creation Science"

    Anyhow, I've always thought that if there is a god, he'd be somewhat dependant on life. I mean, think how much it would suck to be some vapor or whatever god is, never get to kiss a pretty girl, ride a motorcycle, climb a mountain, etc.

    I'd say if there is some grand creator, then our purpose would be to expieriance everything life has to offer so as to give him the expeiriance.

    But in the biblical sense, do you not see the blatantly obvious flaw the bible has presented? How can something no everything thats to come, with out it being written out? If god knows everything that will happen, then its not free will. The same idea works on pyschics as well. If a person knows your future, how do you have any control over it?

    My only other thought on this subject is that god is everything there is to know. In other words, god is information. In this case, god would know everything, since he is everything there is to know. Even in the earliest of stages of the universe, Information was present. I'd think it be safe to bet that whatever events triggered the Big bang, information was present.
  6. Sep 8, 2003 #5
    megashawn, I answered that question in this thread.
  7. Sep 9, 2003 #6
    If a deity knows everything, then the concept of existance becomes illogical. We exist, therefore an omniscient god doesn't exist.
  8. Sep 9, 2003 #7
    And yet if I'm a designer of say a computer, then I ought to know full well how it was designed to operate, and can most assuredly project ahead the specifics of how it will be used -- i.e., it's possible. Much in the way we can project one foot will follow the other when we're walking.

    Of course we're only speaking of the abilities of one "feeble mind" here, in comparison to God's, so who's to say that His ability to "project" into the future isn't light years beyond ours? Or, even light years beyond that? Again, who's to say?
  9. Sep 9, 2003 #8
    I agree that the argument that "If a deity knows everything, then the concept of existance becomes illogical. We exist, therefore an omniscient god doesn't exist." is false. First of all, you never even proved the first part, you can't just toss a "therefore" in there! :-)

    Actually, though, my idea of omniscience is a little different than most. But, only a little.

    You see, I think that all it means is that God knows everything that CAN be known. I think there are many things that can't be known. God doesn't know those things. For example, the future is not set in stone. There is no "the future". So, God doesn't know the future. He probably has a pretty good idea. (For example, if I write a program and put in some data, I have a good idea what the program is going to do with the data, but other things could happen.) But, he doesn't know the future for sure.

    That's my take.
  10. Sep 9, 2003 #9
    No, see, you miss the point...the greater the ability to see the future, the less activity becomes necessary. If I know how every movie turns out, I won't see too many of them. If I can see the entire movie in my head, I would NEVER go out to see a movie.
    In the same way, if a deity could see all possible futures, there would be no reason to actually do anything at all, because all teh outcomes are known.
  11. Sep 9, 2003 #10
    And yet what would be the difference between God and a playwright? The playwright and those who study the script will know the outcome of the play, but not necessarily those who just wish to view the play, which would be the audience, "us." In which case maybe the playwright derives his livelihood for the sake of the audience's appreciation?
  12. Sep 9, 2003 #11
    That still doesn't wash...if the 'playwright' on question already knows the exact ways that we will respond, there is no reason to do it.
  13. Sep 9, 2003 #12
    And yet, perchance because of the fact that we don't know and, that God has a tendency to "live on" through His creation, then maybe this is His way of playing "hide-and-seek" with Himself? Who knows? ...
  14. Sep 10, 2003 #13
    You don't know...so why do you go around making declarations?
  15. Sep 10, 2003 #14

    Sorry to say you are slightly confused in your ideas of terminology here. You are mixing up the concept of precognition, or the knowing of future events with preordained or predestined. Knowing the future is only that...knowing the future. It is not imposing ones own will to preordain or predestine the outcome of the future. I would agree completely that if God imposed his will on the outcome of the future then there would be no free will. But God knowing the future is not altering the free will of men.
  16. Sep 10, 2003 #15


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    Well, to me it seems that if it is possible to know of specific future events, and not ones that can be guessed, then it must contradict free will. Atleast the concept that you are in control of your life, by the decisions you make. If something knows what choices I make, before I'm alive to make them, then how is that free will? What is the purpose in doing anything, if its already planned out.

    Of course it is possible to know the future in some cases. For instance, I predict I will eat a cheeseburger for dinner tonight.

    This is knowable and reasonable. Something more extreme such as "I predict that in two years I will be adopted by Bill Gates and me and him will take over the world" is crazy. And also, if such a prediction came true, it would mean, atleast to me, that there is some sort of way to gain information from the future, which must already be happening in order to predict it.

    And of course, if god knows the outcome, and is all powerfull, why not just skip the 3 ring and get right to the main event?

    Why does an all powerfull being have to make a creation that must win the respect of its creator, when he could have simply made a being that would be as he wishes?
  17. Sep 10, 2003 #16
    but they are your decisions, you're just not aware that something else knew what you were going to choose. for example if god came down and said "at 3:00pm you will go to the store and buy some beer." would you actually go to the store or would you sit home laughing your ass off because you just proved god wrong? if god grabbed you and flew you over to the store, put the beer in your hands, and threatened to throw a lightning bolt at you if you didn't pay for them then it would be an obstruction of your free will. the only way to know specifics on the future is to make sure you're the only person who knows that future.
  18. Sep 11, 2003 #17
    The thing is again that knowing the future and having it planned out are completely different. To be planned/preordained/predestined would imply that someone other than yourself has planned/preordained/predestined your future. To say that God has planned your life is actually vastly different that God knows your life. With one you have no free will and everything is planned for you. With the other you still have your free will and will make the choices you make throughout your life. It is just that someone knows what choices you will make. It does not mean that person is making those choices for you.
  19. Sep 11, 2003 #18


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    And if a person knows what choice I'm making, before I reach that point, then I apparently do not have any influence in the decision process.

    But see, I know better then this.

    For instance, Hazzy's example, if god knows I'm going to by the beer, and told me I was, sure I'd probably wait until 3:15 just to be a smart ass, but the fact of the matter is that God knew my decision, before I ever had the question.
  20. Sep 11, 2003 #19


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    It doesn't say it is X's fault, but look at this analogy.

    Life is a journey on the traintracks of time. If life is pre-ordained, then it would be an on the rails experience. If life is free, you put down the rails as you go - there is a track behind you, but none in front.

    If we are to say that an observer in front of you can see the train tracks that you travel on as existing in front of you, this would be evidence that you are just on the ride and so any free will is an illusion. It may not be the observer that places them - indeed, the track may always have been there. But it is then clear that the life is ordained, and determined. God may not be making choices for you, but you aren't making any choices either.
  21. Sep 11, 2003 #20
    Ah yes, if life were only but a train ride? And if it were, what would you do on the train during all this time?

    Or, what about all the switching junctions which lay ahead? That would require a choice now wouldn't it? :wink:
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