• bahman
    530
    Foreknowledge simply is the divine knowledge of our decisions/acts. One can ask God about this knowledge and decide opposite which is paradoxical.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    If god is construed as omniscient, then god knows everything, from the beginning to the end of time, the whole shebang, but if this is so then his knowledge of our decision/actions is similar to our reflections on past events, which neither he nor we can change, in this way we are free to do what we will, because god can't change them, god is past them.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307

    I remember discussing this paradox in one of college philosophy classes. I can't recall which authors we read, but I remember we watched a portion of Minority Report, because it deals with the same idea--seeing the future, and the implications of that. I wish I remembered more details to share, but unfortunately I don't. Considering it now, though, it's difficult to even comprehend. Essentially, the ability to see/predict the future would require determinism, and yet if you show a person their future you are now adding a variable that wasn't present before (them having knowledge of the future) which means you are changing their future, which shouldn't be possible if you were able to see it in the first place.
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    One can ask God about this knowledge and decide opposite which is paradoxical.bahman

    Unfortunately this is not true, I have never heard of anyone getting answers from god. So no one can decide the opposite.
  • jorndoe
    535
    There's a more straight forward incompatibility to be found, as far as I can tell.

    Suppose one entity, or single mind, that's both omniscient and free (to change it's mind).
    Mind and freedom to change it's mind already implies temporal. †

    Freedom (to change mind) is independent of whatever, including whatever knowledge.
    In principle it's solely dependent on (the existence of) said mind, if it's to be free at least.
    So, freely changing mind along the way cannot be known prior by the mind, since otherwise it wouldn't be free (to do so).

    Conversely, in case said entity already knows everything at an earlier time, then that means the knowledge is true.
    Which, in turn, cannot be false later on, and hence means the entity cannot change mind by then, since otherwise it would be false.

    Not because omniscience itself is causative, but just because the knowledge is true.
    (As an aside, this line of reasoning doesn't involve modal logic per se.)

    Note, this stuff pertains to just one mind that's assumed both all-knowing and free, it's not about any other entities/minds.

    Thus, God cannot be a mind that's both omniscient (with foreknowledge) and free.

    † Some responses to the incompatibility will have the entity (or God as a special case) be "atemporal".
    I think this may be even more problematic, though.

    EDIT: added "by the mind" to clarify
  • bahman
    530
    If god is construed as omniscient, then god knows everything, from the beginning to the end of time, the whole shebang, but if this is so then his knowledge of our decision/actions is similar to our reflections on past events, which neither he nor we can change, in this way we are free to do what we will, because god can't change them, god is past them.Cavacava

    No, His knowledge of our decision is not similar to our reflection of past events. He can tell us what we will do in future.
  • bahman
    530
    I remember discussing this paradox in one of college philosophy classes. I can't recall which authors we read, but I remember we watched a portion of Minority Report, because it deals with the same idea--seeing the future, and the implications of that. I wish I remembered more details to share, but unfortunately I don't. Considering it now, though, it's difficult to even comprehend. Essentially, the ability to see/predict the future would require determinism, and yet if you show a person their future you are now adding a variable that wasn't present before (them having knowledge of the future) which means you are changing their future, which shouldn't be possible if you were able to see it in the first place.JustSomeGuy

    Interesting.
  • bahman
    530
    Unfortunately this is not true, I have never heard of anyone getting answers from god. So no one can decide the opposite.Sir2u

    There are claim of prophecy in the past and even now.
  • bahman
    530
    There's a more straight forward incompatibility to be found, as far as I can tell.

    Suppose one entity, or single mind, that's both omniscient and free (to change it's mind).
    Mind and freedom to change it's mind already implies temporal. †

    Freedom (to change mind) is independent of whatever, including whatever knowledge.
    In principle it's solely dependent on (the existence of) said mind, if it's to be free at least.
    So, freely changing mind along the way cannot be known prior, since otherwise it wouldn't be free (to do so).

    Conversely, in case said entity already knows everything at an earlier time, then that means the knowledge is true.
    Which, in turn, cannot be false later on, and hence means the entity cannot change mind by then, since otherwise it would be false.

    Not because omniscience itself is causative, but just because the knowledge is true.
    (As an aside, this line of reasoning doesn't involve modal logic per se.)

    Note, this stuff pertains to just one mind that's assumed both all-knowing and free, it's not about any other entities/minds.

    Thus, God cannot be a mind that's both omniscient (with foreknowledge) and free.

    † Some responses to the incompatibility will have the entity (or God as a special case) be "atemporal".
    I think this may be even more problematic, though.
    jorndoe

    I came across this which of course apply to temporal God, Jesus. What is the issue related to atemporal God?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    You mean like he told Judas or Peter.

    "The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born." Judas, who betrayed him, answered: "It isn't me, is it, Rabbi?" He said to him: "You said it."

    “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

    He played his own story?

    Still like my argument.
  • bahman
    530
    You mean like he told Judas or Peter.

    "The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born." Judas, who betrayed him, answered: "It isn't me, is it, Rabbi?" He said to him: "You said it."

    “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

    He played his own story?

    Still like my argument.
    Cavacava

    That is one of the example if they could make firm decision then they could do the opposite.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    How? If this is god then what he says is all there is, regardless of what they think.
  • bahman
    530
    How? If this is god then what he says is all there is, regardless of what they think.Cavacava

    Either they are free to do the opposite or they are not free. There is no blame in both cases.
  • bahman
    530

    Moreover there is another problem related to omniscient being who has free will. It is described in here.
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    There are claim of prophecy in the past and even now.bahman

    If indeed god did actually tell them the future then he told them what WOULD happen not what COULD happen. There was no way they were allowed to change the future.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k




    Conversely, in case said entity already knows everything at an earlier time, then that means the knowledge is true.
    Which, in turn, cannot be false later on, and hence means the entity cannot change mind by then, since otherwise it would be false.

    This is similar to the argument I had in mind. God if you assume he is just, cannot not affect our freedom of action, but the Bible suggests otherwise. Judas's betrayal, and Peter's denial were foretold and they behaved as Jesus described. They were predestined to act the way they acted. If Jesus is god then he foretold what he already knew, and Judas and Peter had no choice but to play out their roles. Jesus's free act denies theirs.
  • tom
    1.5k
    No, His knowledge of our decision is not similar to our reflection of past events. He can tell us what we will do in future.bahman

    I think science needs to come to the rescue of philosophy, yet again. No, God cannot tell us what we will do in the future, because what we will do is in principle unknowable (according to science), and if you check your theology, you will find that God only knows what can be known.

    Here's how it might work. Defer a decision to a quantum bit generator - e.g. an electron prepared spin up along x, measured along z. What did the bit tell you to do? Can God in principle have known which decision you would make?

    It turns out that if you take the realist interpretation of quantum mechanics, then God cannot know what your decision will be. Unfortunately, in this case, neither can you.

    When it comes to more normal decision situations, I have seen arguments that imply that if there were counterfactuals, then God can't know your decision.

    I need to start compiling a list of paradoxes resolved by realist quantum mechanics.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    God cannot tell us what we will do in the future, because what we will do is in principle unknowable (according to science), and if you check your theology, you will find that God only knows what can be known.tom

    You are subjecting God to the constructs of time, which is a mistake. The reality is that everything that ever has existed or happened, and everything that ever will exist or happen, can just be seen as being. A sort of singularity of things going on. We cannot help but view things through the lens of time because that's how our brains process information, but time is not something "out in the world", it only exists inside our minds.

    Think of the universe as a hunk of clay, with it's own bumps and shapes and characteristics, all just existing at once as it is. God can look at the clay as a whole and see all of it, because he is not part of the clay. He can also make changes to the clay, make shapes and marks, form it how he wants to. What we experience from inside is not the clay changing, we only experience the clay as it exists "after" whatever God does to it.

    So, in the example of the Bible passage being discussed, God did not intervene in time and change anything, the things that God changes are already there when we get to that time. For instance, we cannot say that God could change the past because whatever changes God may have made to the past have already happened for us, meaning it happened as God intended with whatever changes he made to it already.

    Is this making sense? I'm sorry if it isn't, I'm having trouble accurately expressing what I'm trying to say.

    It may help to think of it in terms of time-travel stories in which people go back in time and "change" something, but when they return to the present nothing is different because the change they made had already happened before they went back.

    To quote Rust Cohle from True Detective: "Time is a flat circle."
  • jorndoe
    535
    What is the issue related to atemporal God?bahman

    A copy/paste from elsewhere (without embedded links, too lazy):

    Mind is typically used as an umbrella term, including the likes of, or synonymous with some of: (1st person) experiences, qualia, (self)awareness, consciousness, sentience, thinking, ideation, feelings, pain/joy/love, perhaps “free will” (whatever that may be exactly, if anything); mind is such activities, such parts of individuated selves.

    • Suppose x is defined as not spatial, “outside of space”. Well, then obviously x is nowhere to be found. And x cannot have any extent, volume, area, length, or the likes, not even zero-dimensional (like a mathematical singularity).
    • Suppose x is defined as atemporal, “outside of time”. Well, then there can be no time at which x exists. And there can be no duration involved, x cannot change, or be subject to causation, cannot interact, and would be rather inert.

    Yet minds partake in the world, interact, are active.
  • tom
    1.5k
    You are subjecting God to the constructs of time, which is a mistake. The reality is that everything that ever has existed or happened, and everything that ever will exist or happen, can just be seen as being. A sort of singularity of things going on. We cannot help but view things through the lens of time because that's how our brains process information, but time is not something "out in the world", it only exists inside our minds.JustSomeGuy

    It's absolutely nothing to do with time.

    Think of the universe as a hunk of clay, with it's own bumps and shapes and characteristics, all just existing at once as it is. God can look at the clay as a whole and see all of it, because he is not part of the clay.JustSomeGuy

    And He cannot tell which decision you will make, in principle. All that can be known is what proportion of the Multiverse contains the instances you you that made a particular decision. He cannot know, which particular you made the decision, as prior to the decision all of the instances are indistinguishable, in principle.

    Thus the paradox of freedom and foreknowledge is solved. Unfortunately, in my experience, people don't like solutions.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    It's absolutely nothing to do with time.tom

    It has everything to do with time.

    And He cannot tell which decision you will make, in principle.tom

    You're still subjecting God to time, which doesn't make sense. God sees all of your decisions at once, your entire life as a point, a singularity. This is what the universe looks like outside of time.
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