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Thursday, September 06, 2012

God and the Future

A very good post that basically agrees with what I wrote a few weeks ago: the author contends that God knows all possible futures, but that there is no THE future to be known.

6 comments:

  1. And by "God", you just sort of mean some abstract, "that greater than which cannot be known", not the specific god articulated in some religious text, right? I just ask because sometimes you defend belief in god in a looser sense of the term, and I don't know if you mean that loose sense here.

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  2. Gene, I really continue to be amazed that you still think the God depicted in the Christian Bible doesn't know the future down to the molecule.

    Also, C.S. Lewis gave a good answer to why it makes sense to pray, even if God already knows what's going to happen. Basically, God also knew you were going to pray (before you were born), and took that into account when willing the future to unfold the way it does.

    There is no contradiction in any of this, if you take it to the logical conclusion. You get tied in knots when you go halfway.

    (I don't remember where CS Lewis discussed this. In one of his pop books.)

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    1. So does this influence or inform your answer to Newcomb's problem?

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    2. Silas, good citation. Yes, if I knew God Himself had set up the two choices, then I would pick just box B, assuming I didn't think this would be sinful for reasons of greed or something. And since He knew that I would do that, He would put the extra money in there. And then I would give 10% to the church.

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  3. That guy makes a very comforting pitch, and on the face of it it's difficult to mount a substantial objection to this view that doesn't sound like hide-bound, dogmatic traditionalism (I acknowledge that it might sound like that because that's all it amounts to).

    The most compelling reason for a Christian to consider this position is that it makes so much of Scripture much less confusing. But I think the fact that this view makes the Almighty easier to understand from a human perspective is actually an anti-recommendation, because on balance it leads to a diminished God compared to the more traditional view. I'm not proposing sticking to the old understanding as a noble lie, I'm saying we really can't know either way, and so taking a view that diminishes God is unwise, because it tends to elevate man relatively speaking, which is certainly not a good thing.

    But, I should admit I have something of a bias for hide-bound dogmatism.

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    1. Gabe, what do you mean we can't know either way? If you mean, ultimately we might be wrong, OK fair enough. But if you mean, we can't read the Bible and know whether it's saying God knows the future or not, then I think you are wrong. I still don't understand how this is even controversial.

      Gene, just to not sound like a jerk: When I say, "I think hell might be the absence of God, and so you choose to go there," I admit that this is hard to reconcile with the plain reading of the Bible. Can you at least give me that much on this point? That your view seems to be flatly contradicted over and over in the Bible?

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