Man’s ability is a function of his innate existential limitations. God’s INability is a function of His innate existential omnipotent perfection.
At the risk of offending what few readers I have (I really hope I don’t, though), I felt it prudent to post an explanation of the morality of my metaphysical statements regarding God’s existential truths. I want to be clear: my objective is to laud God’s power, nothing less, and I refuse to limit God by my own fallible existential reality simply because it is the only immediately obvious frame of reference I have. I mean no offense, but I understand that the “knee jerk” reaction to my ideas can run the scale from “hypocrisy” to “blasphemy” to “apostasy”.
Please know this: I seek TRUTH, and I appeal to metaphysical reason because apart from that, God will never be anything but a flawed contradiction in terms. And this simply cannot be true if God is true. If God is not metaphysically consistent, then I submit He is not real. And my posits are in keeping with that belief.
When I say that it is IMPOSSIBLE that God know the future, it is because I acknowledge that omnipotence and perfection have rational metaphysical obligations attached to them. God cannot be a hypocrite and still be God, in other words. If the Christian faith means that we must accept that He is both perfect and NOT perfect, then the Christian faith is a lie. And I submit that unless we start to look at how God IS, truly, in light of His omnipotent perfection, then we will never gain anything from Christ’s sacrifice except perhaps that which the apostle Paul declares: salvation as through fire, with…not much else. Salvation is good, but it does not stop ignorance and tyranny of the mind and spirit. THAT will continue unabated unless Christians shed all the influence of the secular philosophical understandings and interpretive premises of their faith; and that means getting new “truth”. And that means going back to the Bible, especially the Torah for our philosophical and epistemological foundations, and throwing out all that Augustine whispers in your ears as you read it. And while we’re at it, we can tell Calvin and Luther and Edwards and Knox and Piper and Mahaney and Mohler to go dig a hole…we’ll be there later.
In regards to my ideas and metaphysical arguments, I am well aware that they are striking in their deviation from what we as Christians have come to understand as the nature of God. I understand how they can appear to “box” God in, as it were (e.g. “God cannot know the future”, “God cannot “control” His Creation”, “God cannot “elect” man”, “Past and present do not contain God”). However, to be frank, this initial observation of my ideas I think stems from a lack of understanding just how different God is from man, by virtue of His status as Creator, and all that that implies. Certainly, man is in God’s image, but that idea must be limited to man’s ability to be self-aware; to use reason to recognize the abstract truths that not only form his reality even though they cannot be viscerally “felt”, but also enable him to see himself as a separate entity from the rest of Creation; and to independently use his “soul”, or reason, to determine what is or what is not. But existentially, it is impossible to apply to God those things that are requisite for man to BE; for God’s being is such that it is not only different, but utterly different from ours. And, in a slight aside of self-pity, let me say this: To be fair to me, if I may be so bold, I believe it is wrong to initially assume that somehow my ideas limit God. On the contrary, I emphatically declare that my ideas do the exact opposite.
My ideas are far from blasphemous…they represent God as true perfection; meaning all that IS is within Himself. God is the I AM, so we must understand that beyond THAT, there is nothing—and I mean NOTHING—which is necessary for Him to be perfect, which means there is nothing else that can contribute to the truth of His existence. And if this is true (and it must be if God is, in fact, perfect…meaning ALL in ALL) then God is never truly limited when I say: God cannot know the future. Why? Because the future is a function of man’s existence; it is not relevant to God, therefore, for Him to know it is REDUNDANT. And redundancy is a mark of imperfection; of NON-omnipotence.
God cannot be redundant, therefore, He cannot know or control created things because this would be, in fact, redundant to Him. He does not NEED to control or know certain things because His power to act is well beyond the need to control or know those things. What limited thinking of man says that in order for God to affect A, He needs to control B! THAT is what boxes God in. But my saying that God cannot control man because God does not create a thing to achieve an objective which He can, by definition, achieve better Himself (which is everything) is not limiting to God’s omnipotence. No, it declares it.
Perfection simply cannot be redundant. So I submit that the true blasphemy is suggesting that God MUST know or control things which are wholly unnecessary to Him to know or control in light of His perfect omnipotent power. And if God IS beholden to redundant acts, like direct control of creation, “election”, perfect knowledge of the future, etc., etc.–which are things that, by themselves, even outside of His power, can NEVER subvert His will–then He is a false God and our faith should be immediately abandoned like a dead car on the side of the road.
So, in other words, yes, truly, God is “limited, but those things that limit God are not relevant to Him, and as such, are not relevant at all as a means of realizing His perfect Will. Like I said above, any “limitations” of God merely speak to the fact that God cannot be held accountable to or at the mercy of the “truths” and other entities necessary for US to exist. And so these are not true limitations at all, but mere functions of His perfection. Perfection cannot, by definition be limited, because what it is that would “limit” it would simply serve to make the perfect, imperfect. Perfection IS what it IS. “Limitations” are merely acknowledging that there is a created existential reality that cannot contain the Perfect, because it is, by definition, outside of and separate from Perfect.
Think for a moment. Why does man need a future and a past? Because man is not an AM. Man’s existential reality is not the SUM of Himself; for he is split between soul and body, reason and brain, will and acts; past, present, future…all of this defines “man”. Why does man need to “know” abstract things…that is, why does man think, then act? Why is there thought before reaction? Why is there contemplation before decision? Because the existential truth of man is that he is a function of degrees of truth, morality, etc., etc. Decisions are based on degrees of right and wrong, perfection and imperfection, preference and non-preference, and on and on. And, also, because man is NOT his own space. Man, in order to exist needs “space”…he needs spacetime, (for you physicists), in order to BE. God needs none of this. None of the above can define God’s existential reality.
So is it wisdom and metaphysical reason to suppose that God, then, does NOT need these things? Of course! What I am trying to do is proclaim the need to start grasping the gravity and overwhelming TRUTH of God being ALL in ALL. What does that mean? It means that the sum total of God’s existential reality is HIMSELF. There is nothing beyond HIM that HE needs in order to BE, and to act/create.
Why can God not need a future or a past? Why is He eternal? Because He IS His own space. He is everything to Himself…all time and space is found in Himself, as far as His ability to be is concerned. He is a perpetual NOW because He is not in need of “room to move”; and room, or space, implies time; implies past and future, and a moving of existence from inward to outward.
Why can God not know his own future? Because He has no future. The future, in other words, cannot be real to Him; it is only real to man. To HIS existential reality, there is NO future, or past; there just IS. In addition to the metaphysically redundant time aspect of the future, future implies thought…implies contemplation before action or reaction; none of which are necessary to God because He is perfect. Everything He does is of HIM, so He does not NEED to think in man’s sense (His thoughts are not our thoughts), because thinking implies what? A moral or practical dichotomy, and degrees thereof, and an abstract truth (time) beyond oneself, NONE of which are relevant to God who is ALL in ALL, whose very meaning of everything He does is Himself.
“Who shall I say sent me?”
“Tell them “I AM” sent you.”
That quote “I AM sent you.” is the sum total of the definition of God. It is the complete metaphysical and moral accumulation of Him. ANYTHING that falls outside of that is NOT applicable to God; and cannot form part of Him.
Why can God not know man’s future? Why can God not predict? Why can God not control His Creation? Because…well, to answer in the form of a question: Of what ultimate meaning or relevance can knowing or controlling or predicting be to God? NONE at all! God is perfectly omnipotent. God has the power of Creation. If we can begin to grasp even just a mite of what this means…and the power that is found in One who can create anything that is not HIM (every object, thought, law, event, action, purpose, whim, dream…anything that is outside of Him), then we can begin to understand just why and how we MUST re-evaluate our own existential reality in light of what God can and cannot do, according to HIS existential reality and power. For what can man do or think that can subvert God’s will or objective? And what IS then that objective (Himself), and what does this mean for the ultimate FREEDOM of man to BE, APART from God? It means man must indeed be free to be himself, because, by all metaphysical and moral reason, it is redundant and thus impossible for God to be man FOR man, which is exactly what control, knowledge, and prediction imply. That man is truly not free to exist; that he, himself is merely an illusion, and that the reality of man is one where he is simply a puppet; a functional extension of the Deity. THIS is blasphemy, if you want to know what true blasphemy looks like. If man is determined, then man IS God. There is your depraved theology and “sound” doctrine.
Friends, this can be nowhere found in any metaphysical or even logical description of true, creative “Omnipotence”.
To a God who is His own space, His own Time, His own utter definition (I AM what I AM…in other words, how do you define God? The answer is: God IS God. That is the beginning and end of His truth), and has the power of creation (to make anything from literally nothing at all), ideas and actions like “control”, “knowledge”, “past, future”, are—in man’s existential sense—irrelevant to God. And if they are irrelevant to God they cannot be a part of Him, in any sense.
And irrelevancy is always a limitation on perfection.