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A sometimes-overlooked foreknowledge question

Some people who look at the freewill-versus-foreknowledge debate come down firmly on the side that humans possess freewill and that, as a result, no divine being has perfect foreknowledge.

For those of you who are theists, what, if anything, is wrong with the suggestion that there is a God who does not have the ability to see the future?
 

VoidCat

Pronouns: he/they/it/neopronouns
Some people who look at the freewill-versus-foreknowledge debate come down firmly on the side that humans possess freewill and that, as a result, no divine being has perfect foreknowledge.

For those of you who are theists, what, if anything, is wrong with the suggestion that there is a God who does not have the ability to see the future?
It's not an issue for me a pagan who doesn't believe any god is omnipotient.
 

Rival

se Dex me saut.
Staff member
Premium Member
Some people who look at the freewill-versus-foreknowledge debate come down firmly on the side that humans possess freewill and that, as a result, no divine being has perfect foreknowledge.

For those of you who are theists, what, if anything, is wrong with the suggestion that there is a God who does not have the ability to see the future?
It would wipe away there being oracles, prophecies etc. So if one believes in a God who gives such, it would be a problem.
 

Audie

Veteran Member
Some people who look at the freewill-versus-foreknowledge debate come down firmly on the side that humans possess freewill and that, as a result, no divine being has perfect foreknowledge.

For those of you who are theists, what, if anything, is wrong with the suggestion that there is a God who does not have the ability to see the future?

Why do you call it " freewill"?
I dont think that is a word.
 

stvdv

Veteran Member
Some people who look at the freewill-versus-foreknowledge debate come down firmly on the side that humans possess freewill and that, as a result, no divine being has perfect foreknowledge.

For those of you who are theists, what, if anything, is wrong with the suggestion that there is a God who does not have the ability to see the future?
Humans have ego, and thus their actions are governed by the Laws of Karma (=known)

Hence:
* those humans have no "free will"
* no problem with "omniscient God"
 

VoidCat

Pronouns: he/they/it/neopronouns
It's not an issue for me a pagan who doesn't believe any god is omnipotient.
I could add onto this. Some might have foreknowledge some might not. But if one does have foreknowledge they might know just all different possibilities rather then know exactly what will happen. Or maybe they know what you'll choose but yet can't change your choice cuz they don't have the power or have no desire to. In such cases I reckon there could still be freewill. But I don't believe in a god that knows everything. Then again what do I know about this? I'm not a god.
 
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muhammad_isa

Well-Known Member
Some people who look at the freewill-versus-foreknowledge debate come down firmly on the side that humans possess freewill and that, as a result, no divine being has perfect foreknowledge.
Yes. That is because they can't comprehend how a Divine entity could know the future, as they perceive that "it hasn't happened yet".

Simply, for G-d, it is as if it has already happened.
Nothing to do with whether we have free-will or not.

Rival said:
It would wipe away there being oracles, prophecies etc. So if one believes in a God who gives such, it would be a problem.

Indeed, it would.
Yet that is not the main issue here. The main issue is the comprehension of the nature of time itself.
 

RestlessSoul

Well-Known Member
Firstly, I think the concept of time as a linear process is an illusion, a function of our limited perspective. The webs of causality are multi dimensional and multi directional. This is not to say that past present or future are fixed - everything in our material world is in a constant state of flux; nothing is settled, nothing is fixed, everything is connected. What does this say for free will? That’s very difficult to answer; but if all objects, all phenomena, all apparently autonomous beings are woven into the complex fabric of causality, then clearly freedom has limits. In truth we have very little control over our immediate environment, of which we are in any case an integral part; the freedom we do seem to have, is the freedom to accept the world as it is, to act in harmony with it, or to attempt to bend the world to our will, to impose ourselves upon it. This latter path can never go well. It is the path John Milton’s Satan chose, and in so doing, condemned himself to darkness and despair.

As for God; God sees all, but that does not mean that God controls all. We do play our part, in the carnival of light and shadow. We have then perhaps, at least two degrees of freedom.
 

Audie

Veteran Member
Firstly, I think the concept of time as a linear process is an illusion, a function of our limited perspective. The webs of causality are multi dimensional and multi directional. This is not to say that past present or future are fixed - everything in our material world is in a constant state of flux; nothing is settled, nothing is fixed, everything is connected. What does this say for free will? That’s very difficult to answer; but if all objects, all phenomena, all apparently autonomous beings are woven into the complex fabric of causality, then clearly freedom has limits. In truth we have very little control over our immediate environment, of which we are in any case an integral part; the freedom we do seem to have, is the freedom to accept the world as it is, to act in harmony with it, or to attempt to bend the world to our will, to impose ourselves upon it. This latter path can never go well. It is the path John Milton’s Satan chose, and in so doing, condemned himself to darkness and despair.

As for God; God sees all, but that does not mean that God controls all. We do play our part, in the carnival of light and shadow. We have then perhaps, at least two degrees of freedom.

So you get a prophecy which is arguably a reverse of cause and effect.

Then you try to keep it from happening.

Then what? Everything you do ends up
being what causes it, or, can a prophecy be foiled
 

Gargovic Malkav

Well-Known Member
It's only wrong when one believes in an All-knowing God.
Because it goes against the concept of All-knowing, provided that the future is considered part of the All.
 

It Aint Necessarily So

Veteran Member
Premium Member
For those of you who are theists, what, if anything, is wrong with the suggestion that there is a God who does not have the ability to see the future?

Not a theist, but I have a comment:

Calling the deity omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent has created problems. It would have better to call it the most powerful and knowledgeable being possible. I suppose it can be explained by thinking back to henotheistic days, and my God is better than your God. When kids do this, it escalates to infinity and beyond rather quickly: My dad makes a million dollars a year. Yeah, well mine makes a million and one. Well mine makes a million million. Mine makes infinity dollars. Mine makes infinity and one. Mine makes infinity infinity. Do this with gods, and you end up with the tri-omni God.

Today, walking this back a little can be done, since other gods isn't an issue any more, and it would help by resolving multiple logical conundra, such as the problem of "evil." It could be used to explain why prayers aren't always answered other than by saying that it must be for our own good, which isn't very convincing when we are talking about childhood leukemia, for example. They could put the blame for sin back on man, which they do anyway, but more convincingly, and in a less off putting way, since it negates the argument that with infinite ability comes infinite responsibility for outcomes.

And yet, they retain everything they like about God. He still created the world and man, still loves him, is still worth seeking, loving, and obeying, and has an afterlife in store for him.
 
Post #4: It is sometimes spelled as one word when used as a title or category, especially in order to avoid the double hyphenation of 'free-will-versus...' structure.
 

SomeRandom

Still learning to be wise
Staff member
Premium Member
Some people who look at the freewill-versus-foreknowledge debate come down firmly on the side that humans possess freewill and that, as a result, no divine being has perfect foreknowledge.

For those of you who are theists, what, if anything, is wrong with the suggestion that there is a God who does not have the ability to see the future?
I have no issue with it.
In my tradition free will is seen more like a test of strength in character. Those who “fail” get another shot in the samsara (reincarnation basically.)
I do find myself questioning this somewhat. But it’s never really bothered me, personally.
My Christian friends seem to regard free will in somewhat the same manner. Albeit with the catch that belief in Jesus will (hopefully) be enough to save their sinning souls.
 

Audie

Veteran Member
I have no issue with it.
In my tradition free will is seen more like a test of strength in character. Those who “fail” get another shot in the samsara (reincarnation basically.)
I do find myself questioning this somewhat. But it’s never really bothered me, personally.
My Christian friends seem to regard free will in somewhat the same manner. Albeit with the catch that belief in Jesus will (hopefully) be enough to save their sinning souls.

Ah, someone who calls it free will instead of
the somewhat weird "freewill".
 
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