• xinye
    16
    In his article, Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action, Nelson Pike discusses that “If God exists and (essentially) omniscient, no human action is voluntary.” He reasons through this argument:
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj6x5C54v_sAhVHs54KHVmsBRUQFjAHegQIDBAC&url=http%3A%2F%2F25qt511nswfi49iayd31ch80-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fpapers%2Facerp2013%2FACERP2013_0407.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2jCAkkE6H_0UAQUJQfA-Rt
    What Pike’s trying to do is that he’s trying to build a relationship between God’s omniscience and every human action: Essentially, if God believed that you’ll do something at some time, there is no way for you to not do it at that time. Therefore, that is God who decides every of our actions, and we don’t do anything voluntarily. I’ll argue that there’s no such a relationship because God is not limited by time, and we do have voluntary actions.

    Pike’s argument is a logical one, but premise 1first fails to define God’s omniscience well:
    1."God existed at T1" entails "If you did X at T2, God believed at T1 that you would do X at T2.” (T1 indicates a time prior to T2)
    Personally, I think God’s omniscience and human free will are two separate things that don’t impact each other (God knows everything, while we act according to our own wills), but in order to reject premise 1, the relationship between the two can be described such that: “Given the fact that you did X at time T2, God believed at time T1 that you would do X at T2.”; And if you chose to do Y instead at T2, it becomes “Given the fact that you did Y at T2, God believed at T1 that you would do Y at T2.”, which means that at time T2(or any time in your life), as for you, X and Y were two options that you can equally freely choose in between, and you could end up choosing either, depending on what you wanted. And, as a result, at time T1, God had already known that. This may sound counterintuitive because our common sense tells us that something happened at T1 couldn’t have been a result of something happened at T2, but it becomes less confusing when you think of that God exists beyond time. God’s omniscience makes sure that everything that will ever happen to us “in the future” is pre-existed (in God’s omniscience), where “the future” is to us, not to God. However, as they’re pre-existed, they are not pre-decided by anyone. Which is to say that, God may know every of our actions in our lives as soon as we are created, without deciding anything for us. Therefore, returning to Pike’s argument, there is no such thing as premise 6 describes, that “…if it was within your power at T2 to refrain from doing X” – because we are free to choose to do anything, so we don’t refrain from doing anything at any time.

    Another weakness of his argument is simply that, if all of our actions are pre-decided by God and we do nothing voluntarily, no one should be judged, even for those who had done horrible things, because they didn’t get to choose.

    (If to say that God is not “the decider” of our lives, will it be contradictory to say that there’s a plan for everyone? No, to think this way: God sets all of the possibilities to your life, but it’s completely on your own decision to choose which roads to take, at all the time. In a Christian perspective, if you choose to follow Him, you will be on the “planned” path, but if you choose to follow your free will, you probably won’t be.)
  • 8livesleft
    62
    Hello xinye,

    This is my first post on this forum. I was looking for an introduction page where I could give a background of sorts but unfortunately could not find any such page. At any rate, I apologize for my possibly unconventional or simplistic composition style, as I'm not a Philosophy graduate.

    Admittedly, I've used a similar argument with regards to the free-will discussion: if God knew all, then all actions are predetermined, therefore free-will becomes irrelevant.

    On Time:

    I don't see how the issue of time comes in with regards to this since if you remove "time," this god will still have the knowledge. Knowledge is not dependent on time. It's either this god knows what you will do or it does not.

    On Accountability:

    This is an issue that I also find troublesome with regards to this topic. All acts are basically permitted or predetermined by an omniscient deity. So, why hold mere pawns accountable?

    Nobody knows for sure what such a being would consider as moral or immoral.

    But, for us humans, we have to clearly define what are moral or immoral, good or bad acts. Simply put, it makes life easier if we laid out rules instead of relying on "might makes right" for everything. Although it is impossible to remove Might Makes Right, it is far more efficient and sustainable to follow the more humanitarian principle of Preventing unnecessary harm and suffering and promoting well-being.

    Therefore, we need to hold offenders of that principle accountable in order to preserve and maintain it.


    *Again, I'm likely not doing things right so I hope you'll forgive me.

    regards,

    8
  • CallMeDirac
    21
    At the begining you proposed that our action determine past knowledge rather than vice versa. I had not though of it that way but here is my take.

    Omniscience and free will cannot exist in the same universe, omniscience is a claim to knowledge and if you were to know what will happen then it will happen. The actions dictating knowledge is a bit incorrect as the action would have theoretically already happened which would change the knowledge which would dictate the action. Changing past knowledge cannot work in out known universe and the existence of god and the existence of free will cannot coexist
  • Ignance
    16
    Admittedly, I've used a similar argument with regards to the free-will discussion: if God knew all, then all actions are predetermined, therefore free-will becomes irrelevant.8livesleft

    Omniscience and free will cannot exist in the same universe, omniscience is a claim to knowledge and if you were to know what will happen then it will happen.CallMeDirac

    can you both expand on your respective points for me, please? im not really grasping this. how can’t an omniscient being be a passive observer of these actions taking place? just because the being knows what’s going to happen before it happens wouldn’t mean the action wasn’t done out of the creature’s own accord/self interest? it’s not like God has a joystick for every individual organism and it has a hand in any actions taken by them?
  • 8livesleft
    62
    can you both expand on your respective points for me, please? im not really grasping this. how can’t an omniscient being be a passive observer of these actions taking place? just because the being knows what’s going to happen before it happens wouldn’t mean the action wasn’t done out of the creature’s own accord/self interest? it’s not like God has a joystick for every individual organism and it has a hand in any actions taken by them?Ignance

    This being isn't passive because it also supposedly made us fully knowing each and every decision we were going to do. Everything was planned, predetermined.

    We can never do what we weren't planned to do.
  • Outlander
    776
    We can never do what we weren't planned to do.8livesleft

    This I'd so humbly argue is where I'd like you to consider you may be mistaken.

    Everything is planned, predetermined. According to most religion God has a plan for each and everyone of our lives. And then came free will. We have freedom to ignore this plan, and live and do as we please. Granted, it doesn't necessitate this non-acceptance wasn't known long before it happened and all actions aren't known. It means we have the freedom to either accept or reject the plan for our life. Theo-philosophically speaking at least.

    If I know a friend has an alcohol addiction, and I planned for him to become sober and improve his affairs, I could present every opportunity and yes even show him the most likely outcomes of either continuing or discontinuing his consumption, he still gets to make that choice and it is still his. So, if I offer him 5,000 dollars to either go to a nice rehab, and get his life on track, with the caveat that he can actually choose to spend it on whatever he wishes, I knew his choice, but it wasn't my plan. Makes sense somewhat eh?
  • CallMeDirac
    21


    If it is always known what will happen how is there choice.
  • 8livesleft
    62
    Everything is planned, predetermined. According to most religion God has a plan for each and everyone of our lives. And then came free will. We have freedom to ignore this plan, and live and do as we please. Granted, it doesn't necessitate this non-acceptance wasn't known long before it happened and all actions aren't known. It means we have the freedom to either accept or reject the plan for our life. Theo-philosophically speaking at least.Outlander

    Only the option is available but you can never choose it. There is only the plan which all gods creations follow.

    All acts are planned.

    If I know a friend has an alcohol addiction, and I planned for him to become sober and improve his affairs, I could present every opportunity and yes even show him the most likely outcomes of either continuing or discontinuing his consumption, he still gets to make that choice and it is still his. So, if I offer him 5,000 dollars to either go to a nice rehab, and get his life on track, with the caveat that he can actually choose to spend it on whatever he wishes, I knew his choice, but it wasn't my plan. Makes sense somewhat eh?Outlander

    What's different with your example and this deity is that this deity made you knowing you would be an alcoholic.

    This God didn't come in after your alcoholism offering a better option.

    So this would be a better example:

    You make robots that can do 2 things - go left or right and you know exactly which way the robots would go. Robot 1 - left, robot 2 - right, robot 3 - right etc....

    The robots "can" go either direction but you already knew where they'd go prior to making them. So it's the same as if you made Robot 1 go left only, 2 right only, 3 right only etc...
  • Outlander
    776


    How is there not? Your mind is not on the same level as a hypothetical omniscient being.

    If there's two paths to take home and someone in traffic infrastructure knows there's going to be a construction project on the path you normally take, in this example, you could've chose to take the normal path, but due to circumstance unforeseen by you, why would you? Say for some reason he's also your insurance agent and knows your license or insurance lapsed and the other road is patrolled by cops often, whereas this road is normally absent of them. Perhaps he would know you'd still take the road undergoing construction. It can be as simple as knowing things you don't and how you respond to currently-unknown future circumstance and why.

    Otherwise we're just charting into mysticism/divinity and determinism/fatalism territory. Which I can't see one subscribing to the latter without some form of the former. Save for circumstance/cause and effect, as in the examples given.

    Edit: My argument is there's a difference between knowing the actions of men and "planning them", so to speak. A hypothetical God can know a certain road has gone without work for a time and people are speaking of fixing it and say there's a time frame when said work is usually done. Ergo, even a person who knows of all these things can "know" what your actions will be. Of course another argument would be seeing as God created the nature of all material including it's inevitable degradation over time it was "planned". If you want to look at it like that.
  • CallMeDirac
    21


    Omniscience is the state of all-knowing, so the being had the knowledge since it came into existence if it is, by nature, omniscient. Your life would have already been fully mapped out and he room for choice is none. If you cannot change your path do you have choice in your life?
  • 8livesleft
    62
    Yeah. There is 1 plan, or one path, whatever you wanna call it, which is this gods' alone and all it's creations are there do enact the plan.

    The creations technically *can do something else but they never ever will.
  • Outlander
    776
    Your life would have already been fully mapped out and he room for choice is none. If you cannot change your path do you have choice in your life?CallMeDirac

    I think we might be conflating two concepts here as one. An omniscient being would simply know the choices we would make in advance, regardless of whether or not they were in accordance to the plan we were assigned. Doesn't mean we don't have the chance or even many blatant opportunities to reform.

    It's the fact we can deviate from this plan and do have choices we experience more hardship and suffering than needed. Question is, how do we know what the plan is?

    Touching on that religious perspective, according to Abrahamic religions there is a form of punishment in the afterlife. Even in others, reincarnation or justice either good or bad. So, if we truly had no choice, why would a God create someone destined to go to Hell or otherwise suffer? Doesn't add up going off of most popular religion.
  • Ignance
    16
    We can never do what we weren't planned to do8livesleft

    how do you know we were “planned to do” something from this being? it’s simply all-knowing. that’s exactly where it ends at. you don’t do certain things out of a laid out blueprint of your existence, you do whatever you FEEL you need to do in the present moment, whether that’s eating, going to work etc. there’s no magical being sending thoughts nor controlling you to do things.
  • Ignance
    16
    I think we might be conflating two concepts here as one. An omniscient being would simply know the choices we would make in advance, regardless of whether or not they were in accordance to the plan we were assigned.Outlander

    exactly. put much more eloquently than i could do.
  • 8livesleft
    62
    how do you know we were “planned to do” something from this being? it’s simply all-knowing.Ignance

    Maybe there is a plan maybe there isn't. Point is that in the context of this Omni-being, all it's creations can only do what it wants. There is no choice.

    you don’t do certain things out of a laid out blueprint of your existence, you do whatever you FEEL you need to do in the present moment, whether that’s eating, going to work etc. there’s no magical being sending thoughts nor controlling you to do things.

    Indeed. This is how I view things as well.
  • Outlander
    776
    Maybe there is a plan maybe there isn't. Point is that in the context of this Omni-being, all it's creations can only do what it wants. There is no choice.8livesleft

    How could one justify the existence or purpose of a "Hell" then?

    I was in a discussion semi-recently that touched on this concept a great deal. I think you or anyone else interested in this discussion might enjoy reading it. Starting from here.
  • 8livesleft
    62
    How could one justify the existence or purpose of a "Hell" then?Outlander

    Hell is a remnant concept that the Jews picked up from their captors - who didn't have Omni gods.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    42


    Perhaps there is free will, or perhaps existence is at least stochastic, as quantum mechanics suggests? Maybe it's that the omniscient deity conceives all possible realities.

    The deity would represent all potentialities. We would perceive but one path.

    I like this passage I happened across:

    Another way to put this is to say that a wavelength of zero, where there are no ‘features’ to be seen, is akin to the situation where no statements are overtly made, but in which all possible statements are inherent. The silence that we are talking about here is not therefore impoverished, or lacking, but rather it is a like a ‘pregnant pause’ – it is like the Gnostic conception of the ‘fruitful womb of Eternity’, the ‘Pleroma’. If a particular statement is made (a particular rule) then this is all very good and it might look like a ‘step forward’, it might look like an act of creation, like as the positive act of creation whereby God created the world in Genesis, but from the Gnostic point of view this was not ‘creation’ at all but arbitrary limitation masquerading as creation since the particular positive statement can only stand as a particular positive statement if it implicitly denies the existence of any competing positive statements.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    42
    I suppose free will and the concept of choices in general presuppose temporality. There must be a before and after in which to make a choice.

    However, if God is omniscient and contains within Itself perfect knowledge and experience of all things, then time to God is meaningless. God's perfect memory and prescience of all events, down to every last elementary partial, means that the the whole of existence is always at hand; It is atemporal.

    I think Whitehead's envisioning of space-time as a descriptive relationship between events, as opposed to the Newtonian model of space-time as a recepticle/container is useful here.

    Also useful is the example of Gnostic cosmology. For the Gnostics, the Monad was omniscient, but also ineffable. Space-time and the entire material world itself was but the flawed emmanation of an imperfect being. The concept of time, and thus choice, is simply a by-byprosuct of the demiurge's shoddy work in manufacturing an ersatz existence. Platonic forms after all, don't change with time.
  • EnPassant
    483
    The question is 'how does God know what we will do at T2?' He knows because that is what we chose to do. That is, God's knowledge is a result of our actions, not vice versa.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment