I commented on SpiritualSoundingBoard.com today, and it was so long and I enjoyed it so much that I thought it prudent to post it as a new article. It concerns one of my all time favorite topics, which is “time”; more precisely, expressing rationally why time is nothing more than a human abstraction used to organize his environment. This is important, because as soon as we elevate abstract concepts to the place of existential reality, and even worse, causal power, we have destroyed the very self of man and God. Existence becomes an illusion, and understanding impossible. There can be no God or man or Jesus or salvation unless we determine that only what physically IS can ACTUALLY exist, and drive action.
Here is my post:
“Lydia – I do not believe that God forced Adam and Eve to sin. You admit that the fallen world was not a surprise to him. So He knew about it in advance, right? Could He have decided, then, to not create the world? I think the answer is yes. But He created it anyway, knowing about the fall. Forget for the moment about whether or not He ordained it. He had the knowledge that it would happen. Wouldn’t you say then that he was cruel to have created it? I think that if you are consistent, you would have to say yes. The bottom line is that a world was created that would undergo a fall, and that God knew it would happen.”
Jeff Brown said this to Lydia…and, you see, this is another one of those ideas that somehow we get about God and it never seems to shake loose, even though the idea changes the entire nature of God and man, even contrary to the biblical notion of God and man in a relationship.
Where do we get the idea, and why do we assume that God, in order to be a perfect God, must someone “know the future”? Jeff’s very comment illustrates the rational force fields which prevent forming a coherent understanding between God’s knowledge of things, His ordaining of things, and thus His moral culpability in such things. There is no way God cannot ultimately be responsible for “evil” that He knows before it happens but does nothing to prevent. Impossible. This is directly because we have a false understanding of time, and we make the false assumption that God functions in a way in which He always understands what “will happen” to some kind of infinite point.
Where in the bible, or in even common sense is this idea manifest as an absolute truth? Not only is God’s perfect wisdom and knowledge NOT predicated on any sort of absolute knowledge of the future, it is a rank logical fallacy to accept this. It destroys the concept of BOTH man and God as any sort of definable “selves” completely.
Listen, if God knows the future, and His knowledge is perfect, then everything that happens MUST be determined. Everything you do now is nothing more than an act that was already “seen” by God BEFORE it happened (and here is that logical fallacy again says that something can exists before it exists). And since God is the Creator of everything, then He must be directly responsible for whatever acts He sees you doing in the future, which you have not yet done. And if His knowledge is perfect and He sees you acting in the future, then you MUST act in the way God sees. Your actions are determined. Morality cannot exist. There can be no just reward and no just condemnation. Morality is a lie.
But worse than that is the blasphemy inherent in this idea of God absolutely knowing the future.
God cannot act FREELY in a future He already knows. This means that if He sees the future, and the future must include Him, then whatever actions He sees HIMSELF doing in the future are determined. God not only sees man absolutely in the future, but He also sees Himself, too. God, Himself, is determined.
But what determines God? It is a logical impossibility to say that God freely determines Himself. That makes no sense. Free will cannot choose to determine itself at the EXPENSE of that will. If you freely decided to determine your actions, you have utterly destroyed YOURSELF. If God determines Himself, then it is no longer He who is in control of His actions, but DETERMINISM. And God cannot cannot abdicate Himself in favor of another force. That is blasphemous.
Determinism is an absolute, period. It has no end to it. If man’s future is known then God’s must be, too. Both man and God exist at the mercy of actions that they both must inexorably must engage apart from any self volition. So, the problem with God knowing the future is that He condemns Himself to the same determined action man is condemned to. If God is said to have His own will, then He cannot know the future, cannot know what “will happen”, because what will happen must inexorably include His own actions.
So, no…God did not know the fall and yet create anyway. That is not rationally possible. The fall was NOT supposed to happen according to God’s purpose. It happened because individuals, act always in accordance with their own free and unfettered WILL.
Remember, if God knows the future, He is in no more control of His actions than man is of man’s actions. And this is why this concept is an insult to God’s very self. We MUST be more careful before ascribing what WE assume to be “perfection”. We are blaspheming God in doing this.
16 thoughts on “God Knowing the Future is God’s Abdicating Himself: The blasphemous notion of God’s absolute knowledge of the purely abstract notion of time”
Argo, this one is even hard for me to take. I have been thinking about this one and since I do not believe in determinism and think it blasphemes God I have to ask myself quite a few questions.
1. If God is deterministic how come this is not even hinted at in Gen 1-3 before and after the fall? He gives Adam and Eve a command they disobeyed. Dire Consequences came from ignoring that command. That does not communicate determinism to me.
Why would the garden need to be guarded? Could He not determine they would NOT go in? Or is only sin from free will? (I think they should call it bad will since they don’t really believe in it anyway) This calls God’s character into question. he has these humans who he did not give free will but yet he cannot keep them out of the garden without guards?
If He is deterministic then he placed the serpent in the garden on purpose. No free will for fallen angels, either.
The list from Gen 1-3 is long on examples of this sort. (Also, could we not see that giving Adam responsibility for naming animals and tending the garden a sort of example of free will. Free will carries responsibility)
Now we get to the consequences. God does not decree the consequences, they are the natural result of “knowledge” of good and evil. What do you think?
So I lean toward God knowing all the possibilities and consequences to us having knowledge of good and evil. He knew and knows more than we do without determining the future. There are tons of possibilities from consequences and we know He has the power to override them, too. We see him intervening throughout the OT dealing with what sinful man has done or not done. In fact, He is so awesome and wonderful, HE responds to cries even when humans did not deserve it because they willfully ignored Him for so long. He decided when it was time to come to earth as the lowly Godman.
Just some thoughts.
Brother Argo 🙂
It was great to see you comment there. You have a rightful place in this discussion. Hope you continue to contribute.
Did you see my comment back regarding one of your comments there?
“God cannot act FREELY in a future He already knows. This means that if He sees the future, and the future must include Him, then whatever actions He sees HIMSELF doing in the future are determined.”
Absolutely, which entirely demolishes the concept. Rather than making God “Sovereign” it makes him a slave.
The belief that God foreknows all is defended by that passage in Isaiah about declaring the end from the beginning, etc. and yet there he is only talking about how he warned the Israelites in Deut 27-28 that if they as a nation systematically disobeyed he Law he would send them into captivity. Its not a statement that God foreknows everything, nor is it a statement even about foreknowledge at all. Its just saying that God warned them about the possibility of these events a very long time ago. The problem, as it always is in Old Testament interpretation, is that Christians insist on taking everything out of context and making the Old Testament a collection of fortune cookies rather than books that actually have this little thing called context.
On Adam and Eve’s “sin”:
Is it even proper to call what Adam and Eve did a “sin”? Is that term even used anywhere in the Old Testament for what they did? Think about it.
The story goes like this: They don’t know the difference between good and evil. They are told not to eat a fruit that will give them this knowledge. Only after disobeying do they know the difference between good and evil.
So, they didn’t sin. They didn’t have the capacity to sin until after the disobeyed.
“So, no…God did not know the fall and yet create anyway.”
There was no fall. I mean, yes, Adam and Eve disobeyed, but the result was not a fall.
Did we lose freewill as a result of it like the Cals claim? Nope. God speaks to Cain AFTER the so-called “fall” and tells him that if he does well he will be accepted and that he has the power to conquer sin.
Did humanity lose its relationship with God as a result of it like the Cals claim? Nope. God is talking to Cain afterwards. Cain and Abel are both offering him gifts. Call speaks to Noah, to Abraham, etc. God makes a covenant with Noah that is universal in that it applies to all of us since we are descendants of Noah, meaning we are ALL born in covenant relationship with God, all of us.
Did we lose moral discernment as a result of it like the Cals claim? Nope. Quite the opposite — we gained moral discernment as a result of it. Adam and Eve didn’t have the knowledge of good and evil until AFTER they disobeyed, and then God says to the angels “Behold! the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil….” (I know he is talking to the angels, not himself, because of the throne scenes later in the Old Testament where God speaks to the angels “who will go for us”….)
So what did the “fall” do? Pain in childbirth and agriculture is harder. Oh no! So horrible. We need a godman sacrifice to undo that, and luckily we got one 2000 years ago, and yet women still have pain in childbirth and agriculture still ain’t any easier (aside from what modern science has done). Jesus’ sacrifice only tackled the made up consequences of the “fall” but not the ones actually listed in the text of Genesis.
I agree. Same goes for you. Your comments over there have been so comforting and edifying. Been wanting to tell you that.
Hi A Mom,
I have been really appreciating your contributions to this fight against tyranny lately. Your comments have truly been a blessing to the broader purpose…dismantling the evil doctrines of Calvinism.
Having said that, I’m not entirely sure which comment you are referring to, Do you mind posting it here? I would love to read it.
“The belief that God foreknows all is defended by that passage in Isaiah about declaring the end from the beginning, etc. and yet there he is only talking about how he warned the Israelites in Deut 27-28 that if they as a nation systematically disobeyed he Law he would send them into captivity.”
Yes…that is so funny that you should mention that passage. Someone over at SpiritualSoundingBoard proof texted that exact same one while attempting to rebut to my argument against determinism/foreknowledge.
No matter how many times we insist that context MATTERS, and no matter how many times their doctrines and interpretations are proven false by the very same books they pretend are INERRANT according to nothing other than THEIR irrational assumptions and subjective, capricious “orthodoxy”, they still won’t stop picking and choosing from the bible like its some kind of spiritual salad bar which comes with the feast (the main course being the flesh and souls of the laity they claim to have “authority” over…so gross).
Argo, here’ your comment that I responded to:
You are so kind. I appreciate that.
Yes, it is no secret that I go after ideas with a vengeance. Sometimes, I admit, people have a hard time separating their ideas from themselves, and so I get labeled a “personal attacker”.
Over at TWW, I always apologized when I overstepped. I never, ever accept that the HUMAN BEING is of no value. On the contrary, my philosophy is predicated on the fact that the ONLY thing of any objective moral value is the INDIVIDUAL self.
Disagreement is stern and harsh at times, and if I have a reasonable argument for why I think a person holds to an idea which places man in a position of cosmic scapegoat then yes, I will not be shy about saying so.
But I will never vilify a human for their existence. Everyone has a right to exist, and everyone is fundamentally GOOD as a product of our divine Creator. I utterly deny entirely the idea of Original Sin (not in the bible) and Total Depravity (not in the bible).
It is no secret that I cannot stand what Wade Burleson teaches or how he acts over there at TWW and what I think has happened to that site since he has arrived. This may seem like I do not LIKE Wade. Well…I’m not sure I do, to be frank. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t like me. We are not commanded to LIKE people…but to love (the difference is the affirmation of their moral value and GOODNESS before God; their categorical right to BE, and that their being is fundamentally GOOD).
But this doesn’t mean that I don’t value him as a HUMAN. For me, the line is drawn when the speech goes from attacking behavior and ideas to ABUSE by language: lying about some one, name calling, gossip, slander…speech used to DESTROY and devalue the human. That is evil. And when I have done this, I have said I am sorry. I have apologized profusely.
Argo, here’s my response:
Argo said, “Over at TWW, I always apologized when I overstepped. I never, ever accept that the HUMAN BEING is of no value. On the contrary, my philosophy is predicated on the fact that the ONLY thing of any objective moral value is the INDIVIDUAL self.”
Argo, Thank you! I just had a light-bulb moment about how to better express my thoughts. You say we, as humans, have volition. We can, are able to do right. God loves us, he gives us freedom of choice, but he encourages us to do right. We decide to love him or not. To commit loving actions towards each other or not.
Calvinism says humans are like puppets & God is like the puppeteer.
There is no real value in a puppet, you can buy a new one. Or throw it into the fire, no big deal.
The truth: There is immense value in a human being. There is immense value in just one human being. There is immense value in just one individual. We should believe it. We are not worthless puppets.
This truth, the immense value of a human being, is the opposite of totally depraved, broken, can’t please God valuation of human beings. Human beings are devalued by this belief within Calvinism: TOTAL DEPRAVITY
When human beings are devalued, abuse WILL happen. This fact CAN’T be argued with.
Argo, I saw your 5:51AM comment on JA’s 8/23/13 post. It resonated so much with me. Bravo! There are quite a few commenters there that see a deterministic God who ordains abuse as quite a horrific “God”. The abused end up being twice abused, once by the abuser & then by a God who approved of it. That’s sick.
Anyway, I think your comment was excellent & you should find a way to make it one of your posts!
“No matter how many times we insist that context MATTERS, and no matter how many times their doctrines and interpretations are proven false by the very same books they pretend are INERRANT according to nothing other than THEIR irrational assumptions and subjective, capricious “orthodoxy”, they still won’t stop picking and choosing from the bible like its some kind of spiritual salad bar which comes with the feast (the main course being the flesh and souls of the laity they claim to have “authority” over…so gross).”
Here is the problem the YRR plebes are running into. They are trying to indoctrinate on blogs and finding out that some folks have actually read the bible they are proof texting. They are not used to this. This is not how it goes in their bubble YRR world.
What they do not realize is that their gurus NEVER engage in a venue they do not control. That is rule #1. I know because even the mega seeker gurus knew better than to do that. Everything is staged. Every Q&A that looks informal or spontaneous is staged. Even when they are confronted at an open venue they have some idea and timing is always their friend.
The plebes, instead, get indoctrinated run out to blogs to indoctrinate the ignorant and find out it does not work. They resort to ad hominem like their idol Calvin, They run back to their blogs to pontificate and then moderate anything that might make them look ignorant. I have watched this game for about 9 years now.
And I am wondering something….is that movement waning in influence? I mean, are they going to be 50 and still look to Piper who will be long dead? Are they going to view Mahaney as a blip and not a real example of how spiritually dead their doctrine really is? (I am waiting for the explanation that Mahaney was never really Reformed to start coming out)
What is going to happen to all these 25-35 year olds who have been totally immersed in this doctrine many of which are in ministry? This would make a great psychological study. There have been tons of church plants by these guys but no real stats on what is going on with them. Millions have been sunk into them by the SBC, Acts 29, etc. What is going on with them? I do know that there are many problems but one only knows that if one has contacts because the leaders are not forthcoming. They need successes because people will stop giving.
Can Calvinists actually convert anyone to Calvinism but Christians? No. But half the Christians they try to convert to Calvinism, they end up running out of Christianity, thus weakening the non-Calvinist churches that they feed off of. So they are parasites who rely on non-Calvinist churches for all their converts. But at the same time they are destroying the non-Calvinist churches that they feed on for their converts. When they are finally successful in taking over a church and making it Calvinist, they can’t grow anymore because the non-Calvinist church they fed off of is now a Calvinist church and thus can’t convert non-Christians. So success for them ultimately leads to their own destruction. That’s not even mentioning how they spawned the New Atheist movement with their aggressive tactics, and how that movement is more effective against them than other forms of Christianity. What view of God is most susceptible to atheist attack? The Almighty Hitler of Calvinism who hates all of humanity and wants to broil us all in hell forever just for being born. What the New Atheists do is project the Calvinist God as if he’s the God of all Christianity, and use the Calvinist God as the bludgeon with which to destroy Christianity. And it works. It weakens the non-Calvinist churches that the Calvinists feed on for their converts, which in turn weakens the Calvinist movement, which in turn makes the Calvinists more rabid in preaching an evil God, which in turn makes the New Atheists more rabid in projecting the Evil God of Calvinism as the God of Christianity and attacking it, which weakens the non-Calvinist churches more, which weakens the Calvinists, which makes the Calvinists more shrill, which in turn makes the New Atheists more shrill…..and on and on the cycle goes.
There was a comment thread even larger than the 500+ posted on 8/19 on JA’s blog. The post is dated 8/11/13 & is currently at 871 comments
I just don’t know. Part of me wants to believe their influence is faltering, but I just don’t see it. If the dearth of any alternatives to neo-reformed mysticism around my area are any indication, not only is this evil doctrine/fiction still a categorical juggernaut, but it is still expanding.
Our church split a year ago over Calvinism…just to hire a pastor who is pulling a “quiet revolution” in the group as we speak.
It’s the old frog in boiling water example…and their are so few of us willing to challenge the root orthodox and platonist assumptions that I admit it discourages me. Even now, I cannot convince people who HATE Calvinism as to the implicit Platonism and fatalistic determinism inherent in the notion of TIME. I cannot get anyone it seems to concede time as an abstraction. And if this isn’t done, then I submit it is IMPOSSIBLE to undermine deterministic theologies ultimately.
So…waning. I think not. Plato is still the father of perpetual western thought. As such, destructive ideas like socialism, communism, atheism, and especially Calvinism will continue to be hugely popular.
A Mom…I cannot tell you how flat out excited I am to see the conclusions you have arrived at. Your insight….your reasoning is exceptional, and you now see clearly the inevitable and LOGICAL destruction which this theology MUST lead to eventually.
You give me hope in a sea of death-worshipping/God destroying despair!
What is the topic. Almost a thousand comments!!
I wanted you to know because the discussion was about Calvinism. It was the lead into her 8/19 post “It’s Calvinism Free for All” which is now at 875 comments.
There has been LOTS of discussion about Calvinism there lately.