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LogicalFallacy

Christians: A logic problem - an all knowing God and free will

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     God is like someone who is watching a movie that they, themselves, also wrote, directed and produced.

 

     So, imagine, while you're watching a movie that you don't really know what's happening except what's in the moment.  It's same for the characters.  Now, rewatch the movie.  You now have all knowledge while the characters do not.  So being omniscient doesn't mean that you are determining the actions on the screen.  In this sense, the characters are doing things of their "free will" as it were.  You can move to any time in the movie and that will be the case.  Your hands as an omniscient observer are clean.

 

     The problem is that god also wrote this movie by thinking it all up.  God also directed and produced it by creating it.  So in these steps he thought up all the actions that everyone and everything would do *in his mind* before anything ever happened.  At this point he could have altered the story...assuming...god also has free will at this point.  If not then he had to produce this one and only draft regardless, which calls into question what is a perfect plan as well as love and other things that are beside the point, but if we assume he did have free will then he had the ability to alter it but chose not to and went to the creation phase.

 

     What this means is going back to my first bit above is god, as the omniscient observer, starts to fall apart.

 

          mwc

 

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Exactly what MWC said.

 

(Damn it, you keep beating me to a reply!)

 

@TEG Your example is fine, until you take into account that before you started creating these robots you knew what was going to happen to each and every one of them. Even allowing for it to be some sort of random generator effect and you are giving them free will, because you know what will happen, at the moment of creation you've taken free will from them. This is because at that point, knowing what will happen, you chose to create them therefore you've set in motion a deterministic world.

 

Of course this runs into a further issue in that did God have a choice to set the universe in motion, or did he already know he would? Hmmm

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On 12/15/2019 at 12:00 PM, midniterider said:

"All generalizations are false, including this one." (Albert Einstein)

 

"I can resist everything but temptation." (Mark Twain)

 

https://hubpages.com/politics/What-Are-Lifes-Greatest-Contradictions

 

 

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On 12/15/2019 at 12:38 PM, TEG said:

I feel like I am arguing about a comic book character like they did in the big bang theory, but . . . even though people use the word “omniscient” to describe god, he doesn’t always know everything.  

 

He isn't always "omnipresent" either, look again: 

 

On 12/15/2019 at 12:38 PM, TEG said:

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

 

On 12/15/2019 at 12:38 PM, TEG said:

Even statements like “god cannot be both all-good and all-powerful if he lets evil exist” have an answer that most christians wouldn’t like:  god must not be all-good, at least as we imagine it.  He must have an evil streak.  There are a number of verses in the old testament that talk about god creating or bringing evil; modern translations usually use the word “calamity.”  And the wrath of god is a thing in the new testament as well.  A lot, maybe most, believers create god in their own image, to suit themselves.  Maybe she isn’t an all-good santa claus in the sky.

 

The answer is that the bible never set out with all of these "attributes" ideas fully developed from the outset.

 

We have to ask why we think god is "all "something or another?

 

Well, it says in some random verse somewhere that god is such and such. Let's say always present. Which is then taken to mean that god is "omnipresent." It never uses the word "omnipresent," though. It's just a writer being poetic in some way. "God is always present, and......." 

 

But the writer of Genesis 1 and the writer of the other verse had no contact and weren't even thinking of god in the same way. The writer of Genesis 1 was referring to the "Elohim" pantheon of many "gods." Gods that were like the Greek and Roman pantheons who could come down and walk in a garden. Humanoid, in a similar "image" to our own. And who Adam and Eve could play hide and seek with in the garden. Not some further developed idea of one monotheistic, universal and "omnipresent" god that didn't yet exist at that point for the writer to have any knowledge or understanding thereof. That concept of god hadn't yet been developed at that point in time. It would come later, after some other writer made a poetic type of statement about god.  And then people much more further removed reflected back on the poetic statement and determined, concretely, that 'the bible says god is omnipresent!!!' 

 

And the further question is what if the god isn't anything at all - he, she or otherwise? Not all-good, not partially good, not anything. Not immanent or transcendent. But an obvious figment of the mind's active imagination, usually placed up in the sky or beyond the universe out of sight. Of which no one can agree on. That wasn't real at any given point to begin with. And perhaps that's why the god amounts to an interconnected line of logical fallacy, inconsistency, and repetitive, ongoing self contradiction....

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5 hours ago, mwc said:

The problem is that god also wrote this movie by thinking it all up.  God also directed and produced it by creating it.  So in these steps he thought up all the actions that everyone and everything would do *in his mind* before anything ever happened.

 

5 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

Your example is fine, until you take into account that before you started creating these robots you knew what was going to happen to each and every one of them. Even allowing for it to be some sort of random generator effect and you are giving them free will, because you know what will happen, at the moment of creation you've taken free will from them. This is because at that point, knowing what will happen, you chose to create them therefore you've set in motion a deterministic world.

 

I still think these are unproven assumptions, and one could just as well assume that the creator could choose to give his creatures free will apart from his foreknowledge.  (Just like he could have made pigs with wings that could fly.)

 

And since it’s all fiction, why stop here?  If I were a gnostic, and believed that humans are little sparks of the divine trapped in matter, I might think that we have a will of our own that, even though it is tiny, is independent of the will of the creator.

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22 minutes ago, TEG said:

 

 

I still think these are unproven assumptions, and one could just as well assume that the creator could choose to give his creatures free will apart from his foreknowledge.  (Just like he could have made pigs with wings that could fly.)

     I see.  So (looking back at one of your earlier posts) god chose to not know where Adam or Eve were in the garden but, according to the gospels, also chose to know how many hairs they had on their heads at that same exact moment?  But not knowing where they were could they not have been shaving their heads and thus changing the number of hairs on their heads making god's knowledge about hair incorrect?  I suppose he could know the number of hairs were changing but not know in what location they were changing?  I suppose this is possible, clearly there's no rule against it, but it is a rather odd way to manage things.  I also have to ignore things like Psalm 139 where it says that god knows our thoughts before I even think them.  I had to look to make sure but Jeremiah was chosen before he was even "formed in the womb" to be a prophet.  That just can't happen and keep free will intact.  I suppose that Jeremiah could have not been a prophet but then god would have been incorrect but according to all of our  definitions of god is supposed to be and so that just cannot happen.  Even if we allow that god does not have omniscience god cannot be wrong since that goes against perfection.

 

     I suppose what I can do here is acknowledge different versions (and/or interpretations) of god.  An earlier anthropomorphic god wouldn't have the same attributes as a later variation and most certainly not a distant and almost entirely, if not entirely, spiritual version like we have now.  The thing is we anachronistically apply these newer standards onto these older variants since, we're told, they're the same god (and in some ways they are just earlier, less evolved, versions).  If we were to have had this conversion maybe 2500-3000 years ago we probably would have no problem agreeing that god didn't know everything in the same sense we're talking about right now and perhaps, depending on the time, god couldn't know without literally checking for himself (such as the Garden of Eden, the Tower of Babel or visiting Abraham before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah).  Of course some say those weren't god but angels or even a sort of incarnation of jesus himself and that god has always been a distant spirit keeping his current attributes intact.  I think this is all a bit of a digression though.

 

     I think what I'd need to do is ask how your version of god would work?  How does free will work with a god that knows the future?  I'm not only talking about free will for any creation but for the creator too.

 

22 minutes ago, TEG said:

 

And since it’s all fiction, why stop here?  If I were a gnostic, and believed that humans are little sparks of the divine trapped in matter, I might think that we have a will of our own that, even though it is tiny, is independent of the will of the creator.

     Of course it's all fiction.  I don't if we need to muddy up the waters with gnosticism though.  I guess if you need it to make your point though then go right ahead.  I'd be interested.

 

          mwc

 

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On 12/15/2019 at 9:27 PM, LogicalFallacy said:

 

I'm not sure if this works for the Christian God? Let's assume you are correct. While God might know all possible outcomes, if he doesn't know the choices people will make then he doesn't know the actual outcome. If he doesn't know the actual outcome then how can prophesy work? For prophesy to work God has to know every choice that everyone makes that leads to the fulfilment of the prophesy under the Christian worldview. Otherwise 'prophesy' is just random guessing that manages to get it right.

 

I think this is basically right. There is still a problem there. You could say that prophecy only occurs in such cases where something will happen regardless of what choices we make. I think it's possible for somethings to be predetermined without everything being predetermined. Prophecy could be cases of God saying "no matter what you choose to do, I will do X", which he can do, because He's all powerful. We would still have free-will in general. Even in those specific cases we'd still have it; it's just that the choice we make wouldn't affect the outcome of the prophecy.

 

These don't strike me as terribly good answers, but if I were committed to Christianity I might say something like this. Notice, though,  that I've now had to adjust what is meant by both "all-knowing" and "prophecy". This should give us pause.

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7 hours ago, mwc said:

I suppose what I can do here is acknowledge different versions (and/or interpretations) of god.

 

This is my point.  I am not defending any particular version of god.  All I am saying is that, when a calvinist says that foreknowledge necessarily implies predestination, my response is, no it doesn’t.  If there were a god, he could predestine his creatures, but there is no requirement for it and a person could just as well believe in free will.

 

7 hours ago, mwc said:

I think what I'd need to do is ask how your version of god would work?

 

I do not have a version of god.  And I have no expectation that the bible is consistent.  I brought up gnosticism to show that there are all kinds of versions of god, even among christians down through history.

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37 minutes ago, TEG said:

there are all kinds of versions of god, even among christians down through history.

This is certainly true.  However, the purpose of this thread is, I think, to discuss the one version of the christian god who is understood to be omniscient, but who, also, gave people free will.  As in, the commonly accepted, and believed in, version of god in current christianity.  Pointing out that other gods, or versions of gods, do not have certain attributes does not nullify the arguments against a god who (supposedly) does.

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36 minutes ago, TEG said:

 

I do not have a version of god.  And I have no expectation that the bible is consistent.  I brought up gnosticism to show that there are all kinds of versions of god, even among christians down through history.

 

Hypothetical Jebus could operate under some completely bizarre rules that dont have anything to do with the bible.

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Do illogical things occur in real life? 

Can bibleGod, being the almighty, be (seemingly) contradictory to us? 

 

Is logic the ultimate God (principle)?

Is logic fallible?

 

 

https://www.johnrothra.com/sharing/evangelism/human-logic-fails-us/

 

"When trying to understand the divine, there must be a level of faith because human logic cannot reach the levels of divine logic. Human understanding falls far, far short of God’s understanding. Nevertheless, many hold to the conviction (aka, faith, belief) that if something makes no sense according to finite, fallible human logic, then it cannot be true, thus making the imperfect the standard of perfection." --- 

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On 12/14/2019 at 12:30 AM, LogicalFallacy said:

If God knows what you will do, then you cannot do otherwise.

 

On 12/14/2019 at 12:30 AM, LogicalFallacy said:

So how do you deal with it? Is there a logical pathway out?

 

How I deal with it:  “If God knows what you will do, then you cannot do otherwise” is an unproven assumption.  Foreknowledge does not require causality.

 

I’m done.

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1 hour ago, TEG said:

How I deal with it:  “If God knows what you will do, then you cannot do otherwise” is an unproven assumption.  Foreknowledge does not require causality.

 

If your choices are known beforehand then your "free will" must therefore be predictable and unchangeable. That's just where logic takes me with this, I assume nothing.

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6 hours ago, TEG said:

 

 

How I deal with it:  “If God knows what you will do, then you cannot do otherwise” is an unproven assumption.  Foreknowledge does not require causality.

 

I’m done.

 

Seems like I know what someone will do...at times. That doesn't mean I am causing their decision.

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50 minutes ago, midniterider said:

 

Seems like I know what someone will do...at times. That doesn't mean I am causing their decision.

That's just a lucky guess based on circumstances and past performance. "God" is claimed to know every fucking thing.

 

My take on it wasn't that the knowledge is causal but rather that if the "free" choices are already known to some entity, then they are essentially set in stone.

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7 hours ago, TEG said:

How I deal with it:  “If God knows what you will do, then you cannot do otherwise” is an unproven assumption.  Foreknowledge does not require causality.

 

I’m done.

 

I'm not sure I'm following  your reasoning here. I think I stated earlier that it's not an assumption, but a logical conclusion.

 

The assumptions are: God exists, God is all knowing, and God gave humans free will. We are also assuming Omnipotence. All these are unproven assumptions, and unprovable that is true. That does not prevent us applying logic to these assumptions are reaching the conclusion that the God as described, and free will are logically contradictory.

 

One can imagine a God that knows everything but cannot cause anything, and another God that is omnipotent but not all knowing. In that that case the omnipotent God could give humans free will, while the omniscient God knows what will happen and this won't cause any logical contradictions... I think. I haven't thought about it - it just popped into my head now.

 

Maybe I need to more carefully define the problem because I think you are just thinking about some random God that might know what you will do, as opposed to the specific all knowing God that knows the hairs on your head type. And knew everything you'd ever do before he set in motion the events/creation that would lead to you doing it.

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9 hours ago, TEG said:

 

I do not have a version of god.  And I have no expectation that the bible is consistent.  I brought up gnosticism to show that there are all kinds of versions of god, even among christians down through history.

     I understand.  And this is pretty much where I land when I just go about my life.  I just didn't think it was the point of this thread which is why I was pushing.

 

          mwc

 

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1 hour ago, florduh said:

That's just a lucky guess based on circumstances and past performance. "God" is claimed to know every fucking thing.

 

My take on it wasn't that the knowledge is causal but rather that if the "free" choices are already known to some entity, then they are essentially set in stone.

 

If something appears to be a choice to a human being to decide, and Jebus allows any choice to be made, but secretly knows which decision will be made.... hmmm. 

 

Decides to start thinking about the rock that Jebus might be able to make that is too heavy for him to pick up. :)

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Why would Jebus care to know when I scratch my balls next? A lot of wasted knowledge, imo.

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3 minutes ago, midniterider said:

Why would Jebus care to know when I scratch my balls next? A lot of wasted knowledge, imo.

 

Not only that... he knew before he created the universe. Hmm perhaps you were created for the purpose of scratching your balls? Who knows.

 

Also it occurs to me that he also knew eons ago that I would pick my nose just now... funny I didn't even figure it out until after the fact. You think of the useless shit he must know lol

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15 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Not only that... he knew before he created the universe. Hmm perhaps you were created for the purpose of scratching your balls? Who knows.

 

Also it occurs to me that he also knew eons ago that I would pick my nose just now... funny I didn't even figure it out until after the fact. You think of the useless shit he must know lol

 

lol. 

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I guess christians tend to tone down religious debate around their hijacked, and usurped pagan winter solstice holiday...........

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It has been kinda quiet lately. While I'm the first to confess that I don't actively participate in the debates much, I do enjoy seeing Christians going up against some of the more intellectually gifted members here...educational AND entertaining ;)

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On 12/14/2019 at 2:30 AM, LogicalFallacy said:

However, it's also said among many Christian doctrines that in order to solve the apparent unfairness of the fall in Eden that humanity was granted free will. 

 

That is the difference between the doctrine of Christ and Christian doctrines. 

 

Christian doctrines also say that all things are possible with God, but don't ask if it is possible for God to lie.

 

But by two immutable things , it is impossible but not all men abide in the doctrine of Christ.  2 Thess 2:11-12

 

PS  Isn't Eden that planet with all the trees?

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9 hours ago, Justus said:

 

PS  Isn't Eden that planet with all the trees?

 

 

And a serpent that will lead you astray! 

 

Wow! This turned out to be quite an educational thread!

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