Post Reply 
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Omniscience and Free Will
11-05-2017, 02:31 AM
Post: #1
Omniscience and Free Will
How can a deity know everything that's going to happen, if we have free will to choose?

Really, it's a (relatively) simple matter of seeing every possible outcome of every action and reaction. For we who have limited minds, that's a very difficult thing to comprehend.

In Norse lore, there are two beings who have this gift; Frigga and Urðr. Frigga - Odin's wife - knows all that will transpire, but tells no one. Urðr shapes our fates from the actions that we take. If two options were to exist, and we choose one, the other is cut from the thread of our life's tale; actions cannot be undone, and our options from there are thus limited.

If one has ever played a Role Playing video game such as the Mass Effect series, where decisions that players make have wide-reaching effects, such an example provides an ample illustration as to how this is possible. If our lives were as the Mass Effect games, Urðr and Frigga know everything that can possibly happen - every choice, every effect, and every ending. They know how all possible romances will turn out, given the multitude of choices therein, and all possible diplomacies and alliances.

Some events will always happen, no matter what we choose. We will always become a Specter, Sovereign will always attack the Citadel, the Reapers will always return to end life in the galaxy. So too in our lives will certain events always happen; Fate woven into the very fabric of being that demands for certain events to play out. Planets and asteroids will always blaze along their set paths, the Earth will always buckle and tremble when it must, volcanoes will always erupt when it is their time, we will always die one day. These things are inevitable, they must happen, and cannot be delayed or set aside; one of the lessons taught in the Ragnarök myth.

Yet we still retain our free will. Despite the day of our death being fated, we choose what we do until that day. Much like the character of Shepard, we choose who we romance, what we say, where we shop, who we befriend and who we make war with. As we make choices, some paths become closed to us, other paths become more difficult to attain. Yet the choices remain ours; fate does not compel us towards one path or another (save the path of mortality and eventual death). Though Urðr and Frigga know every possible choice and outcome available to us (omniscience,) they do not know which one we are more prone to choose or not until it is chosen. That choice remains ours, and ours alone.

Кровь за Кровь, Во Славу Великим!
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-07-2017, 07:38 PM
Post: #2
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
Divine omniscience, for example, the kind that Christians believe in, requires that there be no free will.

An omniscient God would have perfectly known, a trillion years ago, whether you were going to pick your nose tomorrow morning at 9:53 A.M. It would be impossible for it to turn out any other way.

Belief in an omniscient God completely negates any concept of higher "meaning" or "purpose" because every moment of the life of every human, every human action, every detail of your life, has always been perfectly known by God and you are powerless to change any of it.

What explanation does the Bible provide for this?

"You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?" Romans 9:19-20
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-07-2017, 07:45 PM
Post: #3
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
(12-07-2017 07:38 PM)JesusGirl1988 Wrote:  Divine omniscience, for example, the kind that Christians believe in, requires that there be no free will.

An omniscient God would have perfectly known, a trillion years ago, whether you were going to pick your nose tomorrow morning at 9:53 A.M. It would be impossible for it to turn out any other way.

Not necessarily. Such an interpretation requires the assumption that there is only one option for everything. Though it's hard for us to imagine, an omniscient god would know every possible option, and all possible outcomes from there.

Кровь за Кровь, Во Славу Великим!
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-07-2017, 08:16 PM
Post: #4
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
Agree to the above
Smile
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-07-2017, 09:22 PM
Post: #5
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
(12-07-2017 07:45 PM)Satyros Wrote:  
(12-07-2017 07:38 PM)JesusGirl1988 Wrote:  Divine omniscience, for example, the kind that Christians believe in, requires that there be no free will.

An omniscient God would have perfectly known, a trillion years ago, whether you were going to pick your nose tomorrow morning at 9:53 A.M. It would be impossible for it to turn out any other way.

Not necessarily. Such an interpretation requires the assumption that there is only one option for everything. Though it's hard for us to imagine, an omniscient god would know every possible option, and all possible outcomes from there.

This would appear to rule out the idea of perfectly accurate prophecy about actions that will be performed by people many years in the future. For example, what if the soldiers who crucified Jesus had not cast lots for the seamless undergarment of Jesus but had gotten into a fight over it and it got ripped or one of them was just bigger and meaner and demanded it for himself or maybe offered his share of the clothing for it? This is assuming it survived in one piece through all the rough treatment meted out to Jesus

But to fulfill the prophecy in Psalm 22, they had to cast lots for it. No other options were allowed. This means that all other options that would have gotten in the way between the prophecy and the event must have been ruled out, like the undergarment having been made in multiple pieces in the first place and sewed together as most garments are. Weaving a single piece garment like that would involve a lot of loving labor to make it more comfortable by having no seams. Which raises the possibility that the soldiers might have taken pity on Mary who was looking on and given her the garment back. That could be the result of the upbringing the solders received. That is also true of the fighting or intimidation or trading possibilities raised above.

God knowing all possible options does not confer the ability to make perfectly accurate prophecies about actions that will be performed by people far in the future unless those people do not have free will. For prophecy of this type to work requires God to know the exact choices that will necessarily be made and all the factors that influenced those choices. In other words, no free will.

And here I sit so patiently waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice
Dylan
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-07-2017, 09:49 PM
Post: #6
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
That's assuming that the narrative of Jesus' death and crucifixion was not written several decades after the fact to fit with prophecies of the past.

Кровь за Кровь, Во Славу Великим!
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-07-2017, 11:11 PM
Post: #7
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
(12-07-2017 09:49 PM)Satyros Wrote:  That's assuming that the narrative of Jesus' death and crucifixion was not written several decades after the fact to fit with prophecies of the past.

The prophecy 'fulfillment' parts clearly were created ex post facto, and not only in the passion narratives. But I was just using that as an example of what perfectly accurate prophecy about human activities would imply - no free will. I was not suggesting that any of this really happened.

A God who sees a 4D 'block universe' could be omniscient. But this would be equivalent to all the events being already 'completed'. Inserting a prophecy at a point prior on the time dimension to the subject being prophesied would be changing something that had already happened. Arranging the entire package so that a prophecy precedes the prophesied event is possible. But that implies that all events - including the activities of humans - are planned in detail, ruling out free will.

And here I sit so patiently waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice
Dylan
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-08-2017, 01:01 AM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2017 01:22 AM by Blunderbuss.)
Post: #8
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
(12-07-2017 11:11 PM)Imprecise Interrupt Wrote:  The prophecy 'fulfillment' parts clearly were created ex post facto, and not only in the passion narratives. But I was just using that as an example of what perfectly accurate prophecy about human activities would imply - no free will. I was not suggesting that any of this really happened.

A God who sees a 4D 'block universe' could be omniscient. But this would be equivalent to all the events being already 'completed'. Inserting a prophecy at a point prior on the time dimension to the subject being prophesied would be changing something that had already happened. Arranging the entire package so that a prophecy precedes the prophesied event is possible. But that implies that all events - including the activities of humans - are planned in detail, ruling out free will.

Thats a good but interesting ruling out a free will perspective.

Obviously the bible or similar theist belief, see free will on different or multi-levels. I agree to your above in areas for example such as the "laws of physics" restricting/determining what we can or can't do regardless of any free will effort. We are born ... and we die, however the inbetween has variable possible outcomes from various choices.

The direction is deteministic as is the "laws of physics" going one way only. God knows the destination we will all end up at e.g... driving on the motorway to reach Northtown but each individual have the choices of lanes to get there. Some turn off at fork roads and go a different route and some get lost. Eventually one by one all individuals reach Northtown, in which God expected. From the theist perspective, I guess its down to ; what did some of the individuals pick up on the way and which lanes did they choose to get there?

(Not the best of analogies coming to mind at the moment)
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-08-2017, 02:25 AM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2017 03:12 AM by Amememhab.)
Post: #9
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
(12-07-2017 09:22 PM)Imprecise Interrupt Wrote:  But to fulfill the prophecy in Psalm 22, they had to cast lots for it.

Not totally sure Psalm 22 is a prophecy, in the sense of exact prediction of future, although all four gospelists mention casting lots for the clothes, which in John 19:24 (but not the synoptic gospels) aren’t ripped before they do so. Psalm 22 says nothing about whether they’re ripped. But let’s say it is a prophecy, as the gospelists claim, and not some embellishment they added to the crucifixion story.

Most garments in that era were in fact made in one piece. The loincloth was a triangular piece of linen, the cloak and coat larger rectangles. People learnt how to fold and fasten these to cover their bodies. If a garment had sleeves, these would be separate parts sewn on.

There is a way to predict the specific event, casting lots, without completely determining the paths the players take. I diagram it below:

[Image: k4i6pe.jpg]

Only the second of the events pictured here need be arranged to fulfill Psalm 22. Of course, I think absolutes such as omnipotence, omniscience, and free will are problematic, logically and ethically. For they do clash with one another as pointed out on this thread, and each one is rife with internal contradictions as well. Although alluded to, none are invoked in the bible, where none of the three terms appear.

St. Augustine, then St. Anselm, and then, most signally, Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, were the ones who developed these concepts into a theology. Free will is certainly a useful concept, Paul referring to it as “liberty,” yet human beings simply don’t have absolute free will. Our wills have some freedom, yet they are constrained by circumstance.

Similarly, the bible talks of God knowing the fall of every sparrow, or the number of hairs on one’s head, as if omniscient. I prefer the definition for omniscience as God knowing whether any given proposition is true. Yet God need not know everything. He need know only the truths of those propositions which will arise in his creation and management of the cosmos. Whew! That saves a lot of labor, while permitting God to know far more than any other intelligent agent does.

(12-08-2017 01:01 AM)Blunderbuss Wrote:  The direction is deteministic as is the "laws of physics"... God knows the destination we will all end up at e.g... driving on the motorway to reach Northtown but each individual have the choices of lanes to get there. Some turn off at fork roads and go a different route and some get lost. Eventually one by one all individuals reach Northtown, in which God expected...

Yes, I subscribe to your general take on the matter, which is essentially the same as in my post. The goal state, the destination, life everlasting in a kingdom of heaven, is what’s important to God. And he has the needed knowledge and power to get us there.

(12-07-2017 09:49 PM)Satyros Wrote:  That's assuming that the narrative of Jesus' death and crucifixion was not written several decades after the fact to fit with prophecies of the past.

Which in fact is almost certainly the case. But there’s a reason for it. An ignorant, illiterate, superstitious populace needed a sign from God that Jesus was the Christ, so, as a literary device, the gospelists inserted one for them, fulfillment of Psalm 22, in order to motivate those who heard the gospel read aloud in churches, homes, or public squares to come to belief.

Yet this hardly makes the gospelists liars. The fate of the garment is an aside, a subplot dramatizing the central theme, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Documentary producers such as Michael Moore do it today—his movie Sicko, on the state of American health care, decorates the argument with horror stories, the latter unlikely if possible.

Yes, one can suffer an adverse medical outcome, including death, from lack of insurance. Yet that’s not too common. Hospitals do not withhold lifesaving measures from all who come, and clinics providing follow-up care for the uninsured who present with conditions such as diabetes or schizophrenia are found in any sizeable American town. Not to say our health care system is ideal. Costs are soaring out of control. Uninsured patients go bankrupt, forfeit assets, and face annoying debt collectors.

Moore isn’t lying to his audience with his embellishments. He’s underlining just how sick our health care system really is.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
12-08-2017, 05:12 AM
Post: #10
RE: Omniscience and Free Will
(12-08-2017 02:25 AM)Amememhab Wrote:  Which in fact is almost certainly the case. But there’s a reason for it. An ignorant, illiterate, superstitious populace needed a sign from God that Jesus was the Christ, so, as a literary device, the gospelists inserted one for them, fulfillment of Psalm 22, in order to motivate those who heard the gospel read aloud in churches, homes, or public squares to come to belief.

Yet this hardly makes the gospelists liars.

No, it does make them liars. With no fulfilment of the prophecy, Jesus was not the messiah. He was just an executed criminal. Moore is a liar too, if he's "embellishing" stories to make them more impacting.

Кровь за Кровь, Во Славу Великим!
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 




User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)