God knows everything because He is God.
This translates logically to: God = the knowledge of everything.
Said another way: He is God because He knows everything. Only one agent can know everything, and it is by virtue of BEING that agent that all is known. God’s knowledge is not acquired…it is a function of his nature. Omniscience cannot be separated from the very essence of God…His God-ness. Therefore it follows, again, that not only does He know everything because He is God, He is God, because He knows everything. This is a fundamental truth–an axiomatic statement regarding the very foundational natural essence of God–held by all of Christian orthodoxy, and even most non-orthodox factions.
Conversely, man does not know everything. And why does he not know everything? Because he hasn’t yet acquired all knowledge? No. It is proclaimed by orthodoxy that, just as omniscience is a function of God’s nature–that is, a function of being what He is–ABSOLUTE INCOMPLETE knowledge is a function of being man. What man knows will always be incomplete no matter how much he learns because his incomplete knowledge is a function not of what he knows or doesn’t know by virtue of what he has sought to learn or information to which he has been exposed, but of what he IS. Man does not and cannot know everything because he is man. Thus, we have the following maxim:
Man = the incomplete knowledge of everything.
Man does not know everything because he is man. One agent (or one collection of agents of the same nature–humanity) does not know everything. That agent is man. So, in the same way we declare that man does not know everything because he is Man, we can also declare that He is man because he does not know everything.
God = absolute knowledge. Or, God = the possession of absolute knowledge.
Now, ostensibly that sounds pretty reasonable. No red flags are necessarily immediately raised. But look at what happens when we state the logical existential/epistemological corollary of this maxim:
Man = incompleteness of knowledge. Or, Man = the possession of absolute incomplete knowledge.
See the contradiction? You cannot possess an absolute amount of what is absolutely not absolute. Or said another way, you cannot completely possess that which is incomplete. Or even more concisely, there is no such thing as a complete incomplete.
And yet this is the very pointed logical error the vast majority of Christians and other religious people commit constantly. It is a false assertion that is not supported by the Bible, nor reason. And even worse, it leads to the perpetual undervaluing of human beings which in turn has led, and will surely continue to lead, to the to manipulation and abuse, even outright slavery and murder, of millions, even billions, of innocent people.
Since man is the possessor of absolute incomplete knowledge (which makes his knowledge fundamentally “insufficient” when we apply this epistemology to morality and ethics), it is impossible for him to claim that God knows everything. But here is where it gets even more interesting. In the same way, it is impossible for God to claim that man does NOT know everything. This is because the metaphysical/epistemological frames of reference of God and man are mutually exclusive. Absolute complete knowledge is utterly and infinitely exclusive of absolutely incomplete knowledge, and vice versa. God wouldn’t and couldn’t know–by definition–what a state of incomplete knowledge looks like in order to claim that it exists and is true. And man wouldn’t and couldn’t know–by definition–what a state of complete knowledge looks like in order to claim it exists and is true. The reason for both of these axioms is that according to the presumptions undergirding the concept of omniscience, knowledge is not a function of learning–it is not a function of possessing an ABILITY to know–but a function of BEING; the static axiom of the root existence of the agent IS the full sum and substance of the KNOWLEDGE of that agent. You see, the folly is in the fusion of metaphysics and epistemology…what man is BECOMES what man knows, and the same is true for God. Knowledge is inexorably fused to that which does the knowing. This is a shocking bastardization of philosophy; not to mention a strangling of reason.
What it does, ultimately, is eradicat the relevancy of knowledge by destroying the agent which does the knowing. By fusing metaphysics with epistemology both are eliminated. Knowledge has no meaning nor purpose–it is ossified in pointlessness–because what man and God are as agents who are ABLE to know but in essence fully distinct from that knowledge, is erased.
In other words, the moral and volitional agent–God, man–is removed, and thus we make the concept of “knowing” irrelevant, since there can thus be no agent to know anything.
One final nail in the coffin of the perfectly absurd notion of divine omniscience:
If we claim that God knows everything, then this must of course include the fact that man does not know everything. Or rather, God knows the incomplete knowledge of man.
Hmm…that doesn’t sound quite right, does it?
What man knows becomes by definition a part of the “everything” that God knows. So then man’s categorical incomplete knowledge–his absolute LACK of knowledge–becomes a part of God’s complete knowledge.
Ummmm…no. This has ceased to make any sense whatsoever. It’s not even ostensibly rational. We aren’t within a hundred miles of even convincing sophism at this point.
If we say that God has an absolutely complete knowledge which includes the knowledge of man’s absolutely incomplete knowledge (his “completely incomplete” knowledge), we have attempted to integrate an absolute negative–NOT knowing–with an absolute positive–knowing. Which is a contradiction.
But wait. It gets even better. And by “better”, I mean “more egregious”.
If God’s absolutely complete knowledge is a part of the absolutely incomplete knowledge of man, to the point where man can say with confidence that “God knows everything”, then God’s absolutely complete knowledge becomes part of man’s absolutely incomplete knowledge. We have attempted to integrate an absolute positive–knowing–with an absolute negative–NOT knowing. So we’ve committed the same logical blunder, only this time with a level arrogance that only the rationally challenged, “humble”, orthodoxy-devoted, “doctrinally sound” followers of God, seem to possess. The idea that a lowly, totally depraved, wholly unrighteousness and violence-worshipping human worm can make some sort of claim as to what GOD knows is the very hypocrisy, presumption, and rebellion of which these people regularly accuse everyone else.
It is a staggeringly offensive doctrine, is my point.
At any rate, the entire idea of omniscience is stillborn. It cannot survive its birth because its mother is contradiction.
The conclusion then of the claim of divine omniscience is clear: it is a rational failure. It cannot be true. There is no way that man can know that God knows everything and thus claim that God knows everything. I hope that I have sufficiently explained why doing this is a lie.
6 thoughts on “God’s Categorical Knowledge is Both Irrelevant and Impossible for Humanity to Know and Claim”
“God knows everything because He is God.”
I’d have to disagree with this statement from the get-go, because I am me.
Said another way: My denial that God possesses absolute omniscience is not something acquired…it is a function of my nature.
I don’t believe in the wonky theory of time that Augustine or whoever it was came up with, so any nonsense of “existing outside of time” (as if time were a place) is anathema to me. Time happens. Things don’t exist in it. Time is experiences, not existed in. And God experiences time just like anyone else. Therefore, he can only know the present and past, just like anyone else. He can only know the future in the say way as anyone else: I know those things I intend to cause, and I know those things I can predict based on what I know of the present and past. Since God obviously knows way more of the present and past than me, and has more ability to get what he intends to do done than I have, therefore he has more knowledge of the future, but it is certainly not absolute….because the future hasn’t happened yet and cannot be exhaustively known.
Furthermore, Scripture provides a woefully bad view of God when it comes to knowledge. Far from coming away from Scripture with the impression of an all-knowing God, I am aware from some passages wondering how the author can believe God is so thick. For instance (sorry, Google can’t find the passage at the moment) there is a passage in the prophets, I think in Isaiah that’s all like: “Why is it when I smite them, they don’t return to me?” Here we have an image of a God who not only doesn’t get it, but who is too stupid to learn. He keeps smiting people, the smiting does not bring repentance, but he keeps trying it. You know how they say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting different results? Well, here we have a vision of an insane God. He can’t figure out that sending hoards of violent nations against people doesn’t make them repent because we human beings can’t be sure its from God for our sins, since stuff does just kind of happen in the world. If God smites my car, how do I know some part didn’t just wear out? How do I know its a message from God? How about a little communication with your mouth, if you want to get someone to repent? But no, he can’t learn. He’s too stupid. (For all the absurdity Joseph Smith made up in the Book of Mormon, at least he made his God capable of learning: when he made the people put an air-hole in the bottom of the boat and the boat started to sink, he corrected his ridiculous mistake, a mistake probably no human would even have made to begin with, but the God depicted here is eternally stuck on stupid.) The only fix for a passage like this one in Isaiah is to reject inerrancy, infallibility, in-whatver, and declare that Isaiah is writing from his own imagination, and that all the stuff in the prophets about God sending war on the people for their disobedience is the imagination of unenlightened peoples of the past, since war is a thing that just kind of happens. But try convincing the fundies who believe “God exists outside of time” on that one. They will wholeheartedly embrace a passage that derogates from the sanity and intelligence of God while at the same teach preaching the absolute omniscience of God, which quite frankly calls their own intelligence into question.
“There is no way that man can know that God knows everything and thus claim that God knows everything.”
Exactly. I think its clear that declarations of omniscience in Scripture are relative. “Lord, you know everything” means “Lord, you know way way way more than me.” It’s not literally a declaration that he knows everything. It couldn’t be. How could Peter, for instance, know that Jesus literally knows everything, without Peter himself being omniscient?
“By fusing metaphysics with epistemology both are eliminated. Knowledge has no meaning nor purpose–it is ossified in pointlessness–because what man and God are as agents who are ABLE to know but in essence fully distinct from that knowledge, is erased.”
That is a very interesting statement. I’ve been reading quite a bit about Buddhism lately, and in fact have been going slowly through Sir Monier Monier William’s book “Buddhism” from 1880, which I got off of google books. And one interesting thing is that Buddhism of course developed out of Hinduism which has a ton of gods, but Buddha asserted that the gods themselves cannot help you achieve enlightenment but everyone must do it for himself, and the gods must do it for themselves too. So I’m thinking he understood your point that agents are ABLE to know, they aren’t knowledge itself.
I think in the end, this is what separates me from the fundamentalist lunatic: I don’t assume the Bible is the word of God and then ignore all other religions or other positions even within Christianity make fun of them without first analyzing them. I analyze everything, because the truth isn’t the truth because its what I inherited. I don’t think they get that point. And thus, they never engage in any type of honesty comparative religion. And so their brains rot. Assuming that your tradition is true just because you were born into it, or because when you came out of atheism it was the first thing you found, is like taking a vial of the plague and injecting yourself with it. You have to do some comparative religion to have any sense, and it has to be HONEST comparative religion.
Maybe the way to reach some of the mental midgets in the modern “church” is to engage them not on Christianity, but on their knowledge of some other religion, an call them out when they misrepresent it, in order to force them to engage in some HONEST comparative religion. Because maybe then they’ll snap out of being stuck on stupid.
Found the passage I was referring to from Isaiah. Isaiah 9:13 “For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts. 14 Therefore the Lord will” bring way way more smiting. Because constantly doubling down on the smiting sure works great. That’s why Israel is such an obedient people today! Oh wait…this just in…they killed Jesus and they don’t believe in him at all, nor do they even keep the Law of Moses either, nor really pretend to. Hmmmm. I guess more smiting is in order. And the pastor-gurus are going to tell me this passage teaches omniscience???
Well said. “Truth isn’t true because I inherited it.” Excellent.
Yes…and one argument I like to make is the simple one of the incompatibility of mutual exclusive contexts (by definition). If we exist wholly within time, and God exists wholly outside of time, then the frames of reference aren’t compatible. In which case, neither God nor man can make ANY claim regarding the existence, actions, knowledge, or essence of the other. This is a huge logical problem for Christians, and why I pretty much eschew the church and the totality of “Christian” philosophy, past and present. The idea that you can have completely different metaphysical primaries for man and God and yet still speak of some kind of “relationship”…its just nonsense. I’m sorry, but there is no other word for it. It’s just childish, neophyte, remedial thinking. And it’s utterly inexcusable for people who are so boorish and shameless in their claims to possess the “truth”.
It’s an outrage when “truth” intersects contradiction so fundamentally. Outsourcing thinking to the priesthood is the worst trait of Christians.