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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Now that school's out, I'll be able to blog more! In this post I share some thoughts in kernel form that I hope to flesh out soon in full size posts.



There are two interesting varieties of scientism: epistemological and ontological. The former claims that the methods of the (natural) sciences are the only reliable ones for obtaining knowledge of the world. The latter claims that the only things that exist in the world are those which are transparent to the methods of the sciences. Note that the two must be distinguished, as one could hold to epistemological scientism without ontological scientism (there may be entities other than scientific ones, but we don't know anything about them).

Epistemological scientism is vulnerable to at least two objections: 1) the claim that the methods of the sciences are the only reliable ones for obtaining knowledge of the world cannot itself be assessed using those methods, as one would have to assume their reliability prior to making this assessment. In other words, epistemological scientism is self-referentially incoherent. 2) Before we can even engage in science we must presuppose a host of knowledge which we did not arrive at scientifically, so science cannot be the only reliable source of knowledge. Working scientists must rely on sense perception, memories and the authority of other scientists in order to get on with their work. More interestingly, there is a good case to be made for aesthetic and moral perception as revealing truth about the world (see below).

Might one modify epistemological scientism to the thesis that, while we do sometimes obtain knowledge by other means, these means are quite fallible and that scientific methods are the MOST reliable? But this reply would fall afoul of the first objection again. How do we assess the reliability of scientific method? Any such procedure would involve relying on other sources of knowledge.

A further and more comprehensive objection is that there may be no useful way to distinguish scientific from other methods of investigation. This is known in philosophy of science as the demarcation problem. As Samir Okasha put it in his excellent Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction:

Is it actually possible to find some common feature shared by all the things we call science, and not shared by anything else? Popper assumed that the answer to this question was yes. He felt that Freud’s and Marx’s theories were clearly unscientific, so there must be some feature that they lack and that genuine scientific theories possess. But whether or not we accept Popper’s negative assessment of Freud and Marx, his assumption that science has an essential nature is questionable. After all, science is a heterogeneous activity, encompassing a wide range of different disciplines and theories. It may be that they share some fixed set of features that define what it is to be a science, but it may not. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein argued that there is no fixed set of features that define what it is to be a ‘game’. Rather, there is a loose cluster of features most of which are possessed by most games. But any particular game may lack any of the features of the cluster and still be a game. The same may be true of science. If so, a simple criterion for demarcating science from pseudo-science is unlikely to be found. (pp.16-17)
If this is the case, we might realize that science is not discontinuous from other ways of knowing. It seems more likely to me that science is basically continuous with our everyday methods of reasoning (involving such practices as induction and inference to the best explanation), focused and refined by concentrating on questions that are uniquely amenable to empirical investigation. If science has been so spectacularly successful, that is because it has focused on questions which admit of quantification and manipulation by statistics and other technical tools (see also Susan Haack, Defending Science-Within Reason: Between Scientism and Cynicism).

Ontological scientism is vulnerable to the 'fish-net' objection: it is like a fisherman proclaiming that fish under two inches in length do not exist because all he has ever caught using a net with two-inch wide gaps are fish greater than two inches in length! Moral facts, if they exist (and I am increasingly convinced that this cannot really be doubted), are not the kinds of facts that can be discovered simply by reading off a list of energy exchanges. A rape can be described in terms of the biology of the victim and the perpetrator without once making reference to how heinously wrong (indeed, abominable) this act is. However we come to know moral facts, they exist and thus making this a 'haunted' universe from a naturalistic perspective. Good testimonial evidence for the presence and influence of spirit-beings would also constitute a decisive challenge to ontological scientism.

The refutation of vulgar materialism

By vulgar materialism I mean a metaphysical view governed by the basic image that all the things we see around us are built up from fundamental building blocks like elementary particles, which interact mechanistically (that is, strictly according to physical principles that are 'blind' to final causes or any kind of intentionality) and combine in various ways to form the structure of the world.

There are various criticisms one might make of this view, but one that has recently been forming in my mind, which is not often encountered, is that it may be a mistake to start from the bottom when trying to understand the complexity of the world. The 'building block' model is appealingly simple, but perhaps too simple. What if fundamental particles are not actually fundamental building blocks, but merely a convenient abstraction from the more organic, continuous, intentional structures that make up the world of everyday experience? Take my arm, for example: while it makes sense for certain purposes to speak of it as if it were a detachable limb, would it really still be an arm if severed from my body? Is it not only an arm in the context of its organic connection to the rest of my body? Similarly, elementary particles can be said to be building blocks, as it is a heuristically helpful image, but perhaps we should take a top-down instead of bottom-up understanding of matter, where instead of viewing objects as composites of fundamental building blocks, we should view them as objections which can be heuristically decomposed into various components, but the reality is at the macro rather than the micro-level.

I know this would be a pretty big departure from standard ways of thinking about the world, so take this with a grain of salt. But it seems that some approaches such as Whitehead's process approach move in this direction, and Whitehead was no scientific slouch.

Atheists use this as derision, likening God to an imaginary friend; relating to God is like a child with an imaginary friend. Well is it? In some ways it is. Imaginary friends are said to be positive things by child psychologists. Through the assumption of God's active presence in our lives we can model holy living just as through imaginary friends children are modeling real friendships later for life. It really depends upon the extent to which people take it. I've never been comfortable with "Jesus is here invisibly" idea. I am not comfortable with the way of relating to God that assumes God is saving me a parking place. Some Christians sort of assume they are experiencing God and then letting God step into such occasions. That's actually not all bad really. The sense of God's presence, or what we call "God's presence" is documented over and over again in empirical studies as a valid life transforming experience and something that really changes people's lives for the better in dramatic ways. Some studies show that the mystical type experience is the most mature form of Christianity. The study by Robert Voyl shows this, and it links Christian experience to mystical experience.


That being the case we have no choice but to assume that the experience is the sensation of a reality that is actually present to us at the time. That's very different than the "Jesus is here invisibly" thing I refer to. That idea is about something the people who talk about it are not really experiencing. It's an assumption based upon the concept of God's omnipresence, and extrapolation from imagination. The actual presence of God felt by mystics and peak experiencers is a real palpable sense, it's not imagination.

The atheist can't evaluate this by just hearing about or reading about. I thought people who had such experiences were insane until I had one myself. It's as simple as this, you have to experience it. It's a way of life, it is not just one more hypothesis in a life of hypothesis testing. It's a relationship and develops over time. Not all Christians think they hear God, or even believe in that sort of interactive interpersonal relationship with God. There are many kinds of spirituality and many ways of relating to God. I went through my Charismatic phase in the 80s. I still believe some of what I picked up in that era, the "gifts" for example, miracles and healing. But I have ot tried to interact in that way, that God is my invisible friend, in some time. That is, in my opinion, a phase. It's the lower level of stages along the road to mystical union. Mystical union is the highest level of relationship with God and most Christians don't even know about it and will never get there. I will never get there in this life. But it is something, I believe, we will all experience in after life.

Mystical union is not in the Bible as such. There are verses that pertain to it, but it's not stated explicitly as such. It's part of the voluminous literature of Christian mysticism.

Diverse Expressions of Spirituality


There are as many different views of spirituality and styles of relating to God as there are people to do the relating. Christians are very different. G.K. Chesterton was as different from Billy Graham as was Adli Stevenson from Barry Goldwater. Which is to say as different as Clinton from Bush. Even within the closed ranks of Christian mystics it is very diverse. You don't have to relate to God like a big guy in the sky. You can relate to God like a principle or an idea. We can internalize the values and just learn to discern the will of God without having to "hear" or sense works or ideas. Atheists can't understand this because they have to assume it's all made up and so they can only go by words on paper. But they don't even bother to read anything except the bible and that they read for loopholes rather than understanding.

Atheists often confuse popular piety with Christian doctrine and spiritual experience. Popular piety is neither, it is not doctrine nor is it spirituality, at least not in a deep sense. The real depth in spirituality is the mystics; St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and mystical writers not saints, such as blessed John Riseborke, Madame Guyon, Baron Von Huggle. There are hundreds, or thousands. They are all different. They are as different from each other as Plato from Thomas Kuhn. Reading them will only give us a clue. You can't know God until you open your heart to him and begin a relationship with him. Until then it's only stuff you hear about and assumptions not in evidence. The first step is open your heart to God's love. Let God love you. If you think love is control and manipulation then you are just missing the boat on what life is all about.

Being a Christian is about knowing God in a personal way. This means experiencing God's presence, but it means a lot more than that too. It's a personalized relationship which fits the individual's own style; it's a love relationship:

1Jo 4:7

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1Jo 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.


This is something that has to be experienced to be understood. Once it is experienced it is known. The atheistic claims to "just know" there's no God don't stack up to that, because they are by their very definition the absence of a relationship. One cannot experience the fact of a thing not existing. We can experience the lack of food, clothes, shelter, taxes, peace, whatever, but that doesn't prove these things don't exist, merely experiencing a want and a lack is not proof of anything. Experiencing the presence is proof of something. Atheists may assume or speculate as "what that really is experience of" but that is not the same as experiencing it. To have this kind of relationship with God is to know God. To know God is to love God because God is love. It is also knowing that God loves us. No one can understand this from outside the relationship and no one can judge God. People who think they are rejecting God are really just rejecting love.





Update: now with 100% more Prisoner Dilemma game theory! {g} "Option A is made of fire!"


Some people believe the Golden Rule is that there is no Golden Rule. This kind of person worships the void, rejecting truth (perhaps to serve themselves or else perhaps in despair). And yet in doing so, they only commit intellectual suicide: for if there is no Golden Rule then neither can that be a Golden Rule.


Some people believe the Golden Rule is that there is a Golden Rule. This kind of person worships static existence or maybe mere power effect. They do at least acknowledge truth; but typically they expect the truth to be worthlessly simple--or maybe themselves if they have enough power!


Some people believe the Golden Rule is "Do not do to others what you'd rather not have done to you." These people worship nothing, not knowing what to worship; but at least they reject the worship of mere power as improper, and might be looking to worship more than themselves if they could find it.


Some people believe the Golden Rule is "Do unto others as you would be done by."

And those people worship active love and righteousness, justice and fair-togetherness--even if they do not yet believe that love between persons fulfilled is the ground of reality.

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Atheists think it is. I've seen many a knock down drag-out fight, multiple threads, lasing for days, accomplishing nothing. I wrote that dilemma off years ago before I was an internet apologist, so long ago I don't remember when. I wrote it off because at an early date I read Boethius who, in his great work The Consolation of Philosophy (circa 524), puts to rest the issue by proving that foreknowledge is not determinism. In this essay I will demonstrate not only that this is true but the atheist error about omniscience and omnipotence contradicting are actually hold overs from the pagan framework which Boethius disproved.

___________________

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
(480?-524)
Aurthor The Consolation
of Philosophy
___________________

For years my debates on the matter were marked by silly repetition. I would constantly argue that just knowing that someone does something is not controlling it. But atheists were always cock sure that it was. I used the follow analogy: I know how the Alamo turned out. Travis and the men stepped over the line and chose to stay and die. I know they did that, does my knowledge of it mean that I made them do it? Of course the atheist say "O of course not, but you are not in the past, you are knowing this by a look back in history to see what they already did." Of course, but God doesn't know about events before they have happened in time, he knows about them because he's beyond time and he sees everything in time as a accomplished fact. From our perspective in time God's knowledge is "foreknowledge" becasue it is for us. But it's not foreknowledge for God, he doesn't know before it happens, he knows about events because form an eternal perspective its a done deal. Just as my knowing what the men at the Alamo already did does not give me control over their choices, so God's knowledge of facts we have already accomplish does not give God control over our choices.

Of course, predictably, the atheists dismiss this idea as "nonsense" and go right on asserting that to know of an action is to control, but they can't tell me why. They can tell me a theoretical reason but they can't tell me why if my knowing about the Alamo ex post facto does not control those actions why would God's knowledge of a past even already done control the past event? Why are these not analogous if God is outside time and sees all things in time as accomplished facts? They can't tell me but they are certain the idea is nonsense. The reason they give initially is this. Say that God knows today that I will go to the store tomorrow. That means that i can't tomorrow morning decide "I don't want to go tot he store, I hate the walk." I can't decide that and follow it because God already knows I went so I have to go. But the problem is they are not following a modern concept of God knowing becuase he's outside of time. They are still stuck in the pre Christian framework which has clung to modern Western Philosophy lo these many centuries. That frame work can be clearly seen in Boethius because that's what he was arguing against. The fame work is the Greek Gods were controlled by the fates, but they also had foreknowledge, so they were trumping the fates, to whom they were really subject. That creates an issue. Moreover, foreknowledge was about things that had not yet taken place, thus that is a contradiction; it hasn't taken place, how can it be known what one will do, to know it is to set in stone and thus not free will. But that only holds in the case of god in time not outside of time. It doesn't apply to the idea of God transcendent of time and thus that's why they can't answer me, but because they know the philosophers they read still assert the old Greek idea they must cling to it.


We can see the exact kind of thinking the atheists use in the Consolation and it is the framework against which Boethius toils. This quotation is form a summary in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The summary is by John Marenbon.


The first point which needs to be settled is what, precisely, is the problem which Boethius the character proposes? The reasoning behind (7) seems to be of the following form:
  1. God knows every event, including all future ones.
  2. When someone knows that an event will happen, then the event will happen.
  3. (10) is true as a matter of necessity, because it is impossible to know that which is not the case.
  4. If someone knows an event will happen, it will happen necessarily.(10, 11)
  5. Every event, including future ones, happens necessarily. (9, 12)
The pattern behind (8) will be similar, but in reverse: from a negation of (13), the negation of (9) will be seen to follow. But, as it is easy to observe, (9–13) is a fallacious argument: (10) and (11) imply, not (12), but
  1. Necessarily, if someone knows an event will happen, it will happen.
(emphasis mine)
The summary of the problem he's working against indicates exactly the problem I frame it, that the atheist (following the Greeks) is not assuming transcendence of time but is working on the assumption that God's knowledge is prior to the completed nature of the action. This was framework in which Boethius found the problem in his own contemporary scene which came from the pre-christian Hellenistic world. Even when the philosopher writing the article sums it up he still speaks form the same perspective:


The fallacy, therefore, concerns the scope of the necessity operator. Boethius has mistakenly inferred the (narrow-scope) necessity of the consequent (‘the event will happen’), when he is entitled only to infer the (wide-scope) necessity of the whole conditional (‘if someone knows an event will happen, it will happen’). Boethius the character is clearly taken in by this fallacious argument, and there is no good reason to think that Boethius the author ever became aware of the fallacy (despite a passage later on which some modern commentators have interpreted in this sense). None the less, the discussion which follows does not, as the danger seems to be, address itself to a non-problem. Intuitively, Boethius sees that the threat which divine prescience poses to the contingency of future events arises not just from the claim that God's beliefs about the future constitute knowledge, but also from the fact that they are beliefs about the future. There is a real problem here, because if God knows now what I shall do tomorrow, then it seems that either what I shall do is already determined, or else that I shall have the power tomorrow to convert God's knowledge today into a false belief. Although his logical formulation does not capture this problem, the solution Boethius gives to Philosophy is clearly designed to tackle it.
He's speaking form the perspective of future events which have not yet happened, being known before they happen. But that leaves out the assumption that's God's is not actuality foreknowledge so much as translucence eternal knowledge that sees the events as an accomplished fact because it sees the the end result from a perspective after the event is accomplished. That's the wider perspective. Transcendent eternal knowledge is the knowledge of all time as the "eternal now" not "foreknowledge" in the sense of known only prior to the doing of the event. Then there is also an issue about the nature of the knower. This is a point Boethius may be making but it's hard to say. God knows form the standpoint of eternity but he speaks within times arrow to us so it appears to be foreknowledge, knowledge of that which has not yet transpired. Thus the illusion of determinism is created. But the fact of it is the knowledge comes from viewing all events as accomplished facts. It's in the perspective of timeless transience which only God can have.

This latter issue of the nature of the knowledge is marked by the summary and by the text itself as "modes of cognition." The Constolation of Philosphy is the old fashioned Philosophical dialogue which no one writes anymore, the kind Berkelely write (out of date in his day--early 1700's).

Erronious: "hi fallacious how's it going?"
Fallacious: "great, I'm now considering a new idea"
Erronious: "prey tell good sir what idea might that be?"

And they go on to discuss and provide endless house of fun writing Monty Python style paradiges of themselves. Then burst into a course of "Rene Descartes was a Druken fart, 'I drink therefore I am.'

But before they do that they discuss issues and the philosopher places his arguemnts in the mouth of the character. In the Consolution the Charactor Boethius is agonizing over philosphy when Philosophy personfie as a beautiful woman comes to him and gives him the answers. That's the context in which this reviewer states the following:

Her view, as she develops it (in V.5 and V.6), is based on what might be called the Principle of Modes of Cognition: the idea that knowledge is always relativized to different levels of knowers, who have different sorts of objects of knowledge. Although she initially develops this scheme in a complex way, in relation to the different levels of the soul (intelligence, reason, imagination and the senses) and their different objects (pure Form, abstract universals, images, particular bodily things), for most of her discussion Philosophy concentrates on a rather simpler aspect of it. God's way of being and knowing, she argues, is eternal, and divine eternity, she says, is not the same as just lacking a beginning and end, but it is rather (V.6) ‘the whole, simultaneous and perfect possession of unbounded life.’

Boethius did not have the knowledge of modern cosmology, the big bang, quantum theory or any of the other scientific data that we have so he did not possess the concepts of being outside of time. He did however have an understanding of eternity that came form his own spirituality, and it seems to coincide remarkably with the modern notion. What's he's saying is that God an eternal perspective. He can see the events of what to us are the future but to him is an eternal now. So he's not knowing something that hasn't happened yet, he knows something that to him has happened, but to us has not yet happened. Without the big bang Boeithius still has the concept of God being outside of time and he saw that as the basis of non-deterministic events in time which known to God as completed events due to God's unqiue persective.

A being who is eternal in this way, Philosophy argues, knows all things—past, present and future—in the same way as we, who live in time and not eternity, know what is present. She then goes on to show why, so long as God knows future events by their being present to him, this knowledge is compatible with the events’ not being determined.

Through the mouth of philosophy Boethius speculates that there two kinds of necessity. The first is:

Simple necessities are what would now be called physical or nomic necessities: that the sun rises, or that a man will sometime die. By contrast, it is conditionally necessary that, for instance, I am walking, when I am walking (or when someone sees that I am walking); but from this conditional necessity it does not follow that it is simply necessary that I am walking.

Although some philosophers disagree, she is not noting the scope fallacy above but is actually using Aristotelian modality to argue about the eternal perspective. All things are known to God as though they were in the present. Future events for God are necessary in just the way that present events are necessary for us. What I'm doing writ now I am necessarily doing because I'm really doing it. But because it's my choice to do it and I'm doing it now (as opposed something I already did five years ago) my will to do it is not negated. I can stop doing it and so something else. But I can't go back five seconds ago and stop doing it in the past. All moments are known to God from this perspective.

Now so far so good. But there are two problems:

(1) Most philosophers today do not accept this reading of the issues.

It is important to add, however, that most contemporary interpreters do not read the argument of V.3–6 in quite this way. They hold that Philosophy is arguing that God is a-temporal, so eliminating the problems about determinism, which arise when God's knowing future contingents is seen an event in the past, and therefore, fixed.
That's going to be a problem for me becasue it means that timeless state of "beyond time" would mean God is "frozen" unable to act and thus can only act in time and thus the temporal problem. Rather, God sees as past and while may not control past is also not free to act in the past becuase it is a done deal.

(2) Philosophy seems to swing to a predestination view at the end.

She make God the determiner of events. There are also interpreters who see the Consolation as a satire that should be called "the insufficiency of philosophy." The only problem for me is that atheists will read this part of hte article and say "O see Metacorck is stupid because he didn't read the whole article." Marenbon argues that Boethius purpose is complex it can't be summarized as either "philosophy is insufficient" or "the whole issue is decided." what he's really saying is that philosophy is an ongoing concern. The true consolation of philosophy is not that such issue can be put to rest and summed up easily in nice little easy to understand phrases that only take a few syllables but we can have partial solutions and we can continue to work on problems and continue to seek answers and the act of so doing is a consolation even if we never find clear and easy answers. The interpretation of the Consolation is a literary problem, not a theological one. I will, therefore, bracket that until such as a time as I work on literary criticism.

The first problem is of much greater concern but I have an answer. I think I've analyzed Boethius' claims in the section where philosophy answers the issues of foreknowledge,I think I have that right and it works. It doesn't seem to work when we extract it form the framework of his day and place it in the world of modern cosmology, but it works again when we extract it from the framework of modern cosmology and place it in the framework of my theology (the Berkeley-Gaswami argument). My theological frame work differs from the modern cosmological in this way: I do not see God as a big man in the sky existing beyond the big bang which is a timeless void. I see God as the mind that thinks the universe, and the universe is therefore, analogous to a thought in a mind. I say "analogous" becuase it's a metaphor. If it was literal it might be more deterministic than any other view because it would mean that all events are thoughts in the mind of God in a litteral sense. I do not think that. The Gaswami part comes in where I take a page form the book of physicist Amit Gaswami (a Hindu vedantist who teaches physics at University of Oregon. Like Gaswami I see mind as the fundametnal stuff of the universe rather than energy or mater. I don't mean that in the sense of the universe being a mind, but that is related to mind in the way that a thought is related to a mind. I take that as a metaphor because like
Bishop George Berkeley I accept the premise "to be is to be perceived." God is the observer that collapses the wave function and causes the universe to be by beholding it. God is observing a thought that he has set up to run on it own. He's not making it happen or thinking every event at a microscopic level.

Two analogies that will clarify the difference. In the standard view God's relation to the world is like that of a man standing in a big room holding a world globe. The room is the timeless void beyond our space/time. The man is God, of course, and the globe is our space time. That puts God as a thing in "creation" or at least a timeless void, it makes God subject to the laws of physics and the problem of time. It makes God out to be a big man in the sky, although really far up in the sky. My view we have the room and the globe, no man. The room is the mind of God. the globe and the empty void of "timeless" are both thoughts in the mind of God. What this means is God is not subject to either time or the problem of non time. Both are pseudo problems for God because they are just ideas he thought up to create a framework for our world, which is a further thought of that preliminary thought in his mind. God is no more subject to the problems of time or even non time than we are to our day dreams and momentary fleeting fantasies that cross our minds.

This has many implications that have to be weighed. For one thing we just forget about the issues surrounding the omnis,, let them go completely. Not that God is not all knowing or all powerful, but the concepts "all knowing" and "all powerful" are hazy shadowy concepts that do more to confuse us than to help us. These are Aristotelian ideas and they hold overs from Greek philosophy. These things enter Western philosophy from Greek thought and they preserved by the prejudices of Western European philosophers. Modern philosophers still think the Greeks were the summit of human civilization, even the Church adopted ht language of Greek philosophy to discuss doctrine so we should look to the Greeks. The Hebrews were corn pones and the early Christians were Greeks themselves so Greek ideas hang on in philosophy. Thus the older meaning of "foreknowledge" and it's problems adhere to all modern discussions. The chruch began to use the language of Aristotle after the Apostolic age so we continue to speak of "omnipresent." "Omnipotent" even though the Bible doesn't so speak. We should scrap the language of "all knowing" " all powerful" because it communicates badly. Rather than these we should say, not that God is the "most powerful" that's a mistake too (from a Tillichian perspective) but that God can do whatever is logically doable. God knows whatever is logically knowable.

The problem is ni speaking of God as "doing" and "knowing' we give the importation of God as a big man and God's knowledge as the kind of knowledge city zoning board use to plan things. All of this anthropomorphic language is bring God down to the level of a thing in creation. It's not preserving the transcendent nature of God's knowledge which so different form ours we can't even know what it's like. What we can be sure of is that God has left us free will and he's not violating it. God knows whatever is logically knowable. It may not be logically knowable for God to know how it feels to be not God. But at the same time, he does know empathy, he knows the heart he knows the mind, he can take a much better intuitive feel of what that might be like than even we can ourselves. He doesn't know first hand what it's like to be human.

God does not have to make rocks he can't lift. That is a childish trap set for eighty grade apologetic hobbyists in Sunday school classes. I know because I'm still smarting from falling for it in eighth grade.God can't smell next Tuesday because days don't have smells. The eager beaver atheist can say "there's something God can't do." I say "so?" God cannot do nonsense, ok so what? We need to redefine the omnis and come up with a new term ( I don't like "maximal greatness" too easy to confuse with "most power being"). The import this has for this issue is that there is no contradiction between omniscience and omnipotence because those are not helpful words and they don't really mean that much so they don't really describe God's attributes well. Since God is beyond the problems of either time or non-time he is not in the big room of timeless void so he's not frozen. Thus God's knowledge can come form all perspectives, from the eternal now and from time's arrow.

Might there actually be aspects of time God chooses not to see? The problem with that question is it assumes God is a rubber-necking tourist roving the expanse of all existing matter and observing it as one would observe the country side of France from a train window. Because God is not a big man in the sky, not anthropomorphic we can come up with other metaphors to compare God to, and that indicate that God's relationship to time is one we can't understand. Compare God to the strong force, to the unified field, to the laws of physics, the Hegelian dialectic. The Zeitgeist. I don't believe that God is impersonal but I do think it's a good exercise to think of him that way at times just to break the habit of thinking of God as a big man in the sky.

Such a God cannot waste his time worrying about conflicts between one badly worded phrase that doesn't really describe him and another badly worded phrase that doesn't describe him. Thus the problem is now reduced to a pseudo problem. It' an antiquated problem because it's rooted in the pre-Christian Greek understanding of God and time and the world, and it's also rooted in thinking of God as a big man in the sky rather than the transcendent and immanent ground of all being that God is.

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