I think that this post is sort of a putting of the cart before the horse. Before we can really discuss consciousness, either man or God’s, we need to find a way to actually define it. And this, believe me, is not easily done. In fact, of all the ideas that I have been thinking on since starting this pilgrimage towards TRUTH as a function of purely that which can be explained reasonably (for I do not concede that truth exists apart from this; that is, all truth is reasonable (i.e. non-contradictory) truth), defining consciousness so that it is, indeed, truly conscious, instead of merely an illusory entity subservient to some other “law” or rote mechanical process has been…hmm, well, if not by far the most difficult it has been at least beyond-question observably the most difficult.
Nevertheless, I do believe I have a workable definition that still conforms to my premise that all truth is derivative of what actually IS; that is, the physical, observable, universe. Which certainly excludes that which cannot be known or seen apart from physical, actual objects. Like “spacetime” or the “void” or “laws” of nature and physics. (I’m not saying that we observe everything, but that everything that is, IS someTHING which is ACTUAL…not a law, or process, or “spirit world” or theoretical abstraction. For example, I believe in God, and I believe that God is physically real. He is real in the same way that we are real; that everything is real; for all is real in the same way. Our existence “there” may be relative, but our REALITY is the same: physical. Not law, not abstraction, not theory, not idea, not different “dimensions”.)
At any rate, the point is that I am going to plod on and discuss the nature of how a consciousness actually does something—in this case predict things—before I define what consciousness is. It is a little ass-backwards, I know, but I think it is important to discuss this now; for more than defining consciousness, the importance of continuing to bludgeon to death all notions of determinism, whether physical or metaphysical, is of life-saving importance.
In general, I believe that God’s consciousness functions pretty much like man’s if you want my honest opinion. It, that is, consciousness is likewise a product of God’s ability to be self-aware; that is, to see Himself as an “other” in a holistic sense…and a perpetual sense; as an “other” from everything including Himself. Like man, He can predict the “future” (as an abstraction, not as an actuality) in Creation in a sense, I suppose, according to cognitive quantification of how things move (do, act, be). And God’s predictive ability is perfect, of course. But this is not actually that profound, for so is man’s in many cases…man is able to use abstract mathematical laws to describe movement and thus predict perfectly, or nearly perfectly, how objects will move…that is, what they will do in the “future”. The real difference is that God’s predictive ability must also be comprehensive …complete in regards to ALL of the physical universe at any given moment IF He so chooses. Meaning God will not choose to predict something if that thing is irrelevant to His perfection, which would make Him redundant. He predicts only what is necessary/reasonable to predict, that is. And not every choice of His will need to be based on prediction. Prediction has limited usefulness for the free consciousness of God because His omnipotence–that is, perfect power to ACT–precludes the necessity of prediction in most cases, I would argue.
Now, God’s comprehensive predictive power, I assure you, does NOT mean that the “future” is REAL before it comes to pass. That is nonsense; a logical impossibility. Nothing can exist before it exists. Which is why I deny the doctrine of election; for you cannot elect something that does not exist. You cannot do anything with something that does not exist. Go ahead…try to make a pizza with ingredients that do not exist. I’ll wait. Forever. Incidentally, this is also why the concept of inevitability is purely abstract. There is no such real thing; for nothing is “inevitable”…this is merely another way to qualify movement of objects. A thing either is or it is NOT. Both is and is NOT are absolutes which cannot be mitigated by anything…and this is according to their infinite nature as abstract qualifiers. As I said, a thing cannot exist before IT does, and when it does, its existence is ultimately infinite on the physical level because it will always be a function of something physical, and whatever the physical thing in question is, it cannot be a function of is NOT. You see, “being” itself is actually an abstraction. In reality, there are only objects and relative movement. Everything else is abstraction.
The fact is that ALL quantification of movement, whether mathematical or otherwise, is a function of the object itself, not a function of the abstract idea which is quantifying. This is purely how it is described, and thus not a function of prediction, which is purely rooted in a free consciousness’s ability to cognitively organize its environment according to theoretical, abstract constructs . And thus, because of this, regardless of how precise and perfect the prediction is, even to describing the object’s “future” movement 100%, the object itself must first ACT according to its own ability (in order that IT is doing the act, not something else) to do so BEFORE the predicted/declared movement occurs. And so the object, regardless of how accurately the object’s actions are quantified—including “prediction”, is still utterly culpable for making the action actual; for bringing it to pass. Remember, prediction, like everything else, is always a function of the “present”, the “now”; it does not occur in the “future”. Nothing, by definition, actually occurs in the future. For if it did, the future would not be the future, it would be the “present”. And there are no degrees of present; degrees of now. There is no such thing as an earlier “now”, a present “now” and a future “now”. Thus, prediction is merely assumptions about what can only ever be not yet. When it comes to pass, that is the predicted action becomes a function of the present, then prediction itself is dead. Moot. And irrelevant. And you cannot ascribe TRUTH to that which is always irrelevant to what is happening now, in the real present. In this sense, prediction itself is wholly meaningless in reality. Since everything is always a real and actual function of now, prediction is moot and irrelevant in describing REALITY (which makes declaring “laws of physics” what “guides” and “directs” the universe impossible). It is merely theoretical; a way to qualify/quantify. It has no actual bearing on NOW. Ever. As I said, you only have objects and relative movement. Anything else is pure abstraction.
The actions of an object, no matter how well predicted, DO NOT exist UNTIL the object engages them ITSELF. There is a functional difference then–and more importantly a moral difference–between what is assumed to be true based on perfect prediction, and what ACTUALLY occurs as a function of the object actively doing. You cannot judge someone or something for acting BEFORE they act, no matter how well you may predict it. Because, really, though you may predict the action the object has to DO IT before it can be known as real. And reality is the only true knowledge.
The difference is not slight, nor a matter of semantics. The difference is seminal. The difference is between what is ACTUAL, that is real, and what is theoretical, that is, NOT real. And one cannot be judged on what he WILL do, because WILL do is not the same as actual DOING. The existential reality of creation is that there is only doing. “Not doing” is an existential impossibility. And prediction is an abstraction rooted in assumed actions verses assumed non-actions; but in the end, all that is real is the object and what it does, there is no NOT doing which gives definition to the doing. There is the object doing, period, which is merely then this: objects. Doing is merely the object quantified and/or qualified as movement by an “observer” (another object; preferably conscious and self-aware) . Which is why all movement of objects with mass is relative movement. Don’t argue with me on that one, you can take it up with Doc Einstein.
One cannot be judged for NOT doing something, no matter how accurate the prediction is. Because prediction is not reality, there is nothing real to judge, and nothing real to KNOW, and you cannot KNOW what does NOT exist, by definition (for knowledge can only be a function of what actually IS; if it isn’t actually there, then it isn’t truly KNOWING, it is assuming or presuming). There is no true knowing unless and until an action becomes observably ACTUAL as a function of the object, not a function of the cognitive abstractions of the consciousness, which is what prediction is.
So, in the case of God knowing the “future”; okay, I can concede that His predictive power is as accurate as man’s and more so in that, because He is everywhere (and must be “everywhen”, per se) it can be utter. But even this does not change the fact that any declaration or moral judgment of such actions can only be purely presumptuously descriptive of an action that must FIRST be freely and wholly and volitionally performed by the object or consciousness which makes them “predictable” and “knowable” to God. Because only way a thing can be even predictable is because it is assumed that the object will “later” do it, not that it has already done it. Which means that its “doing” does not presently exist. So,there is nothing to judge, because you cannot judge that which does not exist. NON-existence, by definition, precludes everything.
So, despite human and divine predictive ability, Man and Creation are still utterly free. And it must be, because without the free ability of Creation and man to act and do of their own, innate and separate-from-God power, there is no “future” or actions of any kind for God to know, predict, judge, see, and/or declare. The “future” (as well as “past”) is still purely theoretical, and its understanding is still purely abstract. I maintain that there is no ACTUAL thing as time, and so basing our understanding of our actions and God and His actions as a function of time as the setting for what then must be determined-but-not-yet-existing actions is inherently dangerous to human existence.
There are merely objects and relative movement. That is all that is real.
God’s existential substance and His relationship with “time”:
God is not necessarily a function of movement. Man, having mass, like any other object with mass, MUST move; there must be movement implicit in his existence because he has “parts”; he can be quantifiably separated from other objects, and he can be geometrically separated from himself. This cannot happen without implied movement. If a thing does not move, then it cannot have “parts”, per se…it is what it is, and it is infinite; it cannot be measured. But a thing with mass has parts. It has a “here” and a “there” to it, as it were. And this cannot happen without movement; that is, movement is implied. You do not get nor maintain a “here” versus “there” without movement, and movement perpetually. If an object always has “parts”…a here verses there, for example, a right or a left, up or down, and thus it can be divided as it were, in relative space, then it must always be in a state of movement, even if it is perhaps positionally static relative to an outside observer.
So, to summarize: I submit that there can be no thing which does not perpetually move which can, at the same time, be geometrically divided into parts.
But God is not like this. God is an absolute. He has no parts, by definition. He is the sum of His own TRUTH. He is absolute and infinite; He cannot be divided and can have no definable limitation. Therefore, God does not move in relative space. God merely IS. There is NO movement implied in His own existential reality/being. Now, He can move in Creation, but this is only relative to US, the created observers, witnessing the stark limitation of God separate from Creation; He does not possess it, therefore, between us and Him is a limitation… an existential and physical boundary. When He acts and moves in Creation, His movements and actions, in other words, are limited to HIMSELF; He does NOT become Creation. So, since God, having no parts– because any part of a perfect and absolute God must also be 100% perfect and absolute God; you cannot have part absolute or partly perfect, by definition–does not move. And if He does not move, one cannot ascribe a theoretical timeline to His being and doing. In other words, there is NO time which can be efficaciously applied to God’s existential reality. And this being the case, one cannot declare a WHEN to any thought or action to God. For all that God is and does is merely is and does, period. That is, perpetually IS…never “was” or “will be”. There is no “future” to God. The theoretical coordinate system of spacetime cannot apply to that which has no “parts”, and therefore must be infinite (and does not move). So to declare a “when” to God knowing what He knows or doing what He does what He does is irrational. It has no logical basis within His absolute and infinite existential metaphysical reality. ANY value of God’s doing or knowing is always going to be a value of infinity—his infinite, timeLESS being–which will always equal infinity. Thus, there can be, again, no WHEN to God’s knowing what man and/or Creation will do or how it will act. So any attempt to declare that God knows or decides BEFORE man exists or acts is logically untenable.
Literally then, there can be NO determination or declaration by God of something BEFORE it exists (including “election” or “predestining” this or that), because there can be no such thing as a “before” with God. And because of this, there can really be no prediction of an action in man’s sense by God because prediction is predicated on the theoretical framework of time, which as we have already shown cannot apply to God.
The point is that when God declares something “will be”, whether because He is orchestrating it or “predicting” it, we can only accept that the declaration is of something that will come to pass as a direct function of the Created object acting of its own free and unfetter ability/volition to act and to be; we cannot make assumptions about “when” God knows this or “when” He sees it. There is no such thing as when to an absolute, infinite Being.
So, in summary, I do not accept time as anything other than a theoretical quantification of movement for man and Creation. And I deny it even more so with respect to an absolute God, who must be, by definition, utterly immune to the concept of time, even theoretically. It is impossible to apply any concept of time to anything of God. We can quantify God’s actions by “time”, but we must understand that the definition thus will be limited to assumptions based upon OUR physical observations within our own existence. It cannot describe how God acts as a function of Himself apart from Creation.