Author Topic: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge  (Read 682 times)

TheChristCam

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Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« on: July 04, 2017, 02:51:58 PM »
I've just watched the interview on "Closer to Truth" with WLC about How Could God Know the Future.

I usually agree with WLC on almost everything, but this is one thing where I really oppose him.

I just find middle knowledge unnecessary, as someone who believes in free will. Under Simple Foreknowledge, God knows the future, but does not cause it; that seems as more than a simple enough answer. But when you add in MK, you put God in a situation where he has to place people in certain situations where he knows they'll be damned, which seems like unnecessary baggage. Moreover, MK doesn't seem to be any more metaphysically, or biblically true then simple foreknowledge, and seems to limit free will, even if oh so slightly. It places you only two steps away from determinism.

Moreover, under this view, God planned that Adam and Eve would sin (and in the case you take more of a metaphorical view of the story, he planned that we would fall from him), which raises serious problems.

Lastly, why can't God bring about a world where all men accept him. I ask this because in MK, God brings about the world where the maximum amount of people are saved; but isn't it conceivable that God can bring about a world where all are saved?

It just seems to bring up unnecessary questions that simple foreknowledge answers, and comes off as two sides of the same coin with predestination.


igr

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2017, 02:37:47 AM »
When you look at the concept of an omniscient God you come to an uncomfortable realisation if you are a theist.  If God has foreknowledge of everything that will ever occur, then He has always had this knowledge.  Included in this is full knowledge of all actions that He will perform.  Because of this, He is unable to change anything that will occur - it would be a logical contradiction if He could, and because He cannot do anything that is logically impossible, He cannot do anything that He does not already know that He will do.  Hence He does not have His own Free Will. 

So, because He cannot do anything that He does not already know about, He is constrained by the knowledge that He has always had.  Hence He is a pre-programmed machine that runs a pre-programmed script.  So if something happens and you think that God should have intervened, it is not His fault - He was always been that way and He cannot do anything about it - if He did, He would aready know that He was going to do something about it. 

It also follows that God has not prepared any plans - anything that you think is any part of any plan of God is just another thing that God was always wanting to do or was always going to do, because He always knew what He was going to do.  And because God has always had this knowledge, He has not pre-determined what will happen because that would mean that He made plans - He just had/has the knowledge.  Once you untangle the logic, you cannot avoid the conclusions I have described here.  If you don't, then you do not understand what I have said.

TheChristCam

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2017, 05:48:10 PM »
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If God has foreknowledge of everything that will ever occur, then He has always had this knowledge.  Included in this is full knowledge of all actions that He will perform.  Because of this, He is unable to change anything that will occur - it would be a logical contradiction if He could, and because He cannot do anything that is logically impossible, He cannot do anything that He does not already know that He will do.  Hence He does not have His own Free Will. 

This is just absurd.

First off, God has foreknowledge of what he will do, not do what he has foreknowledge of; his foreknowledge is derived from his future actions, much like a weather barometer reads the weather. It's not as if God is bonded by time or space. If God decided to do something different in the future, his future foreknowledge would change (however, because God is all-knowing, he knows the objectively best decision to choose, thus he would have no need to change his decision. This is a BIG distinction from can't.). God CHOOSES what he will see and SEES what he chooses.

Moreover, this is presupposing that God prior to the universe was eternal; that is, he existed within time, but had no beginning. This is false for two main reasons

  • Time only came into existence when the universe did
  • If God existed within time eternally than that means we would have an infinite regress of events, which is absurd

Also, God has knowledge of all potential future propositions. That is, if I find myself in situation A, with the ability to do option 1, 2, or 3, then I'll do option 3. And since he knows himself, he knows which proposition he will and will not choose from.

So your conclusion that God doesn't have his own free will is false, quite frankly.

Let me paint a picture in your head: If I have foreknowledge that I will find myself in situation A, where a women will walk in front of a bus, and I choose to save her from that bus, and when I actually find myself in that situation I actually save her, does this mean I don't have free will? Of course not, it simply means that I know what I will choose to do in any given situation.

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So, because He cannot do anything that He does not already know about, He is constrained by the knowledge that He has always had. Hence He is a pre-programmed machine that runs a pre-programmed script.  So if something happens and you think that God should have intervened, it is not His fault - He was always been that way and He cannot do anything about it - if He did, He would aready know that He was going to do something about it. 

Again, this is you having an absurd idea of how God's knowledge works, or how our knowledge works for that matter.

His knowledge of what he would do in any given situation determines what he will know, not the other way around.

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It also follows that God has not prepared any plans - anything that you think is any part of any plan of God is just another thing that God was always wanting to do or was always going to do, because He always knew what He was going to do.  And because God has always had this knowledge, He has not pre-determined what will happen because that would mean that He made plans - He just had/has the knowledge.  Once you untangle the logic, you cannot avoid the conclusions I have described here.  If you don't, then you do not understand what I have said.

Oh, I understand what you have said, it's just that what you have said is a) misguided and b) false. God's foreknowledge of his actions doesn't determine what he will do anymore than a weather man determines the weather, or my knowledge of if-then propositions actually determines those propositions.

Your view falls apart on the basis that time didn't come into being until the universe did, so "prior" to time, there was no events for God to know (NOT that he wasn't - or isn't - omniscient, but he can't know something that doesn't exist). This holds true for both the A and B theory of time. God can't foreknow what doesn't yet exist. God only knew future propositions of what he would do in any given situation (just like you would say to yourself 'if I had $100, I would buy some new shoes'. It's not that this knowledge determines that you will buy new shoes, but that your free will determines the outcome of these 'if...then' propositions, so that your 'foreknowledge', so to speak, is simultaneous with your decisions).

Foreknowledge is only a thing if time exist. You can't "foreknow" something that doesn't exists. And even if the B-Theory of time is true (that is, we live in a 4 dimensional world; 3 spacial dimensions and 1 time dimension), because God is not binded by time, he would necessarily have to exists outside of it, thus being timeless (and thus not having foreknowledge of anything).

It's not even necessarily that your view on the matter is wrong, it's just that your conclusion is preposterous.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 10:41:00 PM by TheChristCam »

TheChristCam

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2017, 06:13:17 PM »
Just need to clarify something I remarked

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This holds true for both the A and B theory of time. God can't foreknow what doesn't yet exist. God only knew future propositions of what he would do in any given situation

God knows all truth propositions, and since he knows the future, he knows beforehand what he will do; those two things go together (his free will and foreknowledge), not independently like you would claim.

He doesn't foreknow what he will do, and then act it out as if he's some actor following a script or he's machine.


igr

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 02:42:06 AM »
Hi TheChristCam #2,  I can only assume that logic is not one of your strengths.  If omniscience means knowledge of absolutely everything, this necessarily includes knowledge of what is actually going to happen for all of time.  My logic follows from this.  Based on the tone of your comments, I do not expect that you will work through my logic - that is your prerogative.  Until you point out any specific error in my logic (rather than non-specific comments) I have nothing to correct.   Barometers and buses are not relevant to this because neither relates to actual foreknowledge - both rely upon a known track record.

Your comments about time and the existence of God indicate that you do not understand how/why the KCA fails to avoid the infinite regress aka the beginningless change continuum.  With some Root Cause Analysis you will get there, with rhetoric you will not.  rgds, igr.

TheChristCam

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 11:56:05 AM »
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I can only assume that logic is not one of your strengths.


You're the one to talk?

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If omniscience means knowledge of absolutely everything, this necessarily includes knowledge of what is actually going to happen for all of time. My logic follows from this.

As I've already said, scientific evidence shows that time did not start until the universe did, so how can God have known what he would do in eternity's past if there was no time? He can't know something that doesn't exist. Moreover, if the A-Theory of time is correct - that is, if time is temporal -  you're "logic" crumbles even more so, because the future is not a real thing, so the same conclusion follows: God cannot know something that doesn't exist!

But the Biblical view is that he does know the future. How so then? He knows all truthful propositions (that is, I will be responding to you right now rather than I won't), including those which pertain to himself. However, the truthful propositions that pertain to himself come from him, ie HE DECIDES which proposition is true (Will he part the red sea or not, will the father send his son or not, whether he would reveal himself to Moses or not, and if he does whether he would do so as a burning bush or a miniature tornado). HE decides the truthfulness of these future propositions pertaining him, and thus he decides what he will know to be true about the future.

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Until you point out any specific error in my logic (rather than non-specific comments) I have nothing to correct.   Barometers and buses are not relevant to this because neither relates to actual foreknowledge - both rely upon a known track record.

There are several things wrong with your "logic", most of which I have already pointed out. Obviously, you're not interested in being corrected, so you just ignored them and made this vacuous reply. But since I'm being generous, I'll point out your errors again.

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Included in this is full knowledge of all actions that He will perform.  Because of this, He is unable to change anything that will occur - it would be a logical contradiction if He could, and because He cannot do anything that is logically impossible, He cannot do anything that He does not already know that He will do.

And why couldn't God change what would occur in the future? As I've pointed out already, if God wanted to change the future, he could; there's nothing stopping him, and this is in no way a logical contradiction.

  • the law of non-contradiction: A logical contradiction is the conjunction of a statement S and its denial not-S
  • Thus, it would be a contradiction if God could change the future, but at the same time he couldn't change the future. However, knowing the future and being able to change it is in no way a logical contradiction, since you would simply know that you would change it. Those statements do not refute each other, and thus are not contradictory.

The only way God could not change the future is if a) the B-Theory of time was true and b) he were bounded by it, just like humans. But a) isn't necessarily true (and is definitely not true under biblical teachings) and b) is definitely false.

Of course, this simply means his knowledge of all truthful propositions (that he would change the future, instead of not changing the future) would be different.

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Hence He does not have His own Free Will.

This is where you go off the rails.

Because God is omniscient, he is an infinitely intelligent and wise being. As a result, if he plans on doing something in the future, he would have no need to change it. But this is VASTLY different from being unable to change it.

This goes back the the bus example I pointed out that you so easily dismissed.

"Let me paint a picture in your head: If I have foreknowledge that I will find myself in situation A, where a women will walk in front of a bus, and I choose to save her from that bus, and when I actually find myself in that situation I actually save her, does this mean I don't have free will? Of course not, it simply means that I know what I will choose to do in any given situation."

Let me paint a picture that might be easier but more accurate for you to understand: If I have a million dollars, then I would buy 2 Lamborghinis; and when you do win a million dollars, you buy yourself a Lamborghini. You are in no sense determined to buy the Lambo, besides in the sense that you determine what you, yourself, are going to do.

God, because he is all knowing with infinite wisdom, would have no need to change his decisions, but if he wanted to, he could. God is not bounded by time.

So yes, God does have free will because in your words, "he always had this knowledge" that he would choose option A over option b, c, d, e, f, etc, so your conclusion that he "doesn't have his own free will" is completely fallacious.

God's actions to do things in the future causes & is simultaneous with his foreknowledge. His foreknowledge does not precede his actions, which makes this following statement absurd:

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So, because He cannot do anything that He does not already know about, He is constrained by the knowledge that He has always had

It's not as if God Omniscient first and chooses second, those are both properties of God that existed timelessly sans-universe with him.

It's not that he cannot do anything that he does not already know, it's that when he chooses to do something in the future, he simultaneously knows what he will do. His CHOICE simultaneously determines what God will see, for if God decided to just remain idle timelessly, he would have no "foreknowledge" because he would have no future actions. Which makes this next statement even more absurd:

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Hence He is a pre-programmed machine that runs a pre-programmed script.

Let me play by your game for a little while. How can God be "pre-programmed" if there is nothing before him? That is utterly preposterous, almost akin to the statement of "If God created the Universe, who created God?"

You imagine God as an actor who reads out lines given to him, which is wrong for several reasons, mainly that since God is the prime of all of all knowledge, nothing that he knows comes from a source outside of him.

Instead, God is a script writer who writes his own script. It's not that he can't go back and change the script if he so pleased, it's simply that he has no need to. It's also not the case that his script was "pre-programmed" for him, since nothing exists beyond him or "before" him (which is impossible, since he existed timelessly sans-universe)

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So if something happens and you think that God should have intervened, it is not His fault - He was always been that way and He cannot do anything about it - if He did, He would aready know that He was going to do something about it.

What? God is not a mindless animal that simply follows genetic code and his rabid instincts. He CHOOSES to do certain things and CHOOSES not to do certain things.

All that your implying is that God is bonded in time, and exists within a B-Theory of time; that is, that what he will do, he was always going to do, NOT because he planned on doing it, but rather because he was predestined to do it by some outside force.

There are so many things theologically & philosophically wrong with this I don't know where to begin. You're reducing God to his foreknowledge; that is, at his essence, God is simply knowledge, and all his other attributes - his love, power, grace, even his free will - are bounded and dictated by what he knows & are posterior to his knowledge (that is, come after what he knows), which is theologically false, since these attributes (and all his other) existed with him timelessly.

Think of it this way: my decision to get a drink of water in 10 minutes is simultaneous with my foreknowledge that I would get a drink of water in 10 minutes. If I chose to do nothing, I would have foreknowledge of nothing; if I had foreknowledge of nothing, that would be because I chose to do nothing.

What do you think the Bible teaches on this subject? "That the knowledge of God supersedes and precedes all his other attributes!"?

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It also follows that God has not prepared any plans - anything that you think is any part of any plan of God is just another thing that God was always wanting to do or was always going to do, because He always knew what He was going to do.

Knowledge cannot precede action. You can't know anything unless something exists; you cannot know what you plan on doing unless you plan it; you cannot know something unless you did it.

In fact, you point this out yourself. Anything that God knew he was going to do is because he wanted to do it. He doesn't know something in the future that he's going to do unless he wanted to do it himself.

You also do not understand the barometer analogy. Barometers predict the weather based off of former weather patterns that are 4.5 billion years in the making (the age of the Earth); but let's say that an infallible barometer was placed on Earth SINCE the beginning of it's creation. Here, the barometer isn't basing it off of former track records (since it was always on Earth, before there was even weather), and it's not determining the weather anymore than the plans I willingly make for myself determine what I'm going to do; it simply simultaneously reads the weather and all future weather events. In the same way, God's foreknowledge doesn't make him do anything, it just simply "reads" what he will do in the future from his choices.

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Your comments about time and the existence of God indicate that you do not understand how/why the KCA fails to avoid the infinite regress aka the beginningless change continuum.  With some Root Cause Analysis you will get there, with rhetoric you will not.

Explain, oh wise master, why your knowledge and wisdom supersedes that of Plantinga, Swinburne, Reichenbach and Craig. Why haven't these greats and intellectual heavy weights gotten the memo? If your argument - if I can even call it that - is so strong, why hasn't anyone taken note of it yet?

In fact, why is it so logically incoherent? Why are you reducing God to his foreknowledge, as if that is not a contingent property of God (that is, if he chose to do nothing at all, he would have no foreknowledge. He would still be all powerful, all loving, all knowing, etc, but he wouldn't have foreknowledge because there would be nothing to "foreknow"). It's like if I reduced you to your eyes.

Also, WLC doesn't purport that there is a beginningless change continuum, but that God was changeless sans-universe. This is textbook WLC 101, so you're the one who clearly doesn't understand the argument.

The fact is that you all but ignored my arguments, while I twice addressed yours. I'm not surprised, tbh.

Yes, your knowledge supersedes that of all the greats. (but you don't even know the law of contradiction)  ::)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 02:03:23 PM by TheChristCam »

igr

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2017, 03:10:34 AM »
Hi TheChristCam #5,  There are several issues here.

1.  You seem not to have noticed that I put "if" at the start.  I said "If God has foreknowledge of everything that will ever occur".  So it follows that if omniscience does not mean what I said (or if this is the definition of omniscience that you are using) and that God does not have knowledge of the future, my whole agrument fails.  I am well aware of this.

Your comment about the contradiction of knowing the future and being able to change the future does not quite work.  If you know the future and you are going to change the future, you also know that you are going to change the future, so if you do not know that you are going to change the future, you do not know the future (not that particular part).  So it is back to the definition of omniscient.  Please advise.


2.  wrt the WLC KCA solution, I am not by any means the first person to see this problem.  In simple terms, something that exists alone and is changeless cannot change.  So the way around this is to assert that the changeless/timeless Disembodied Mind exists in metaphysical time (whatever that is in actuality).  Then assert that there is a stream of consciousness that exists in this metaphysical time.  Somehow this gets around the problem of how something that is changeless can change (by self-interrupting so that the eternal intention to will the creation of the universe can be actioned).  But all this does in re-define changeless to exclude this stream of consciousness and the metaphysical time.  So if there is this stream of consciousness, either it had a beginning or it has infinite regress.  And if metaphysical time co-existed with the Disembodied Mind, then if that type of time relates to change (in the same way that the time we know of does), then it would seem that there would be an infinite regress.  What I do not have is a clear definition/description/explanation of exactly what metaphysical time is in the context of actuality.  Do you?  rgds, igr.

TheChristCam

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2017, 11:32:52 AM »
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You seem not to have noticed that I put "if" at the start.  I said "If God has foreknowledge of everything that will ever occur".  So it follows that if omniscience does not mean what I said (or if this is the definition of omniscience that you are using) and that God does not have knowledge of the future, my whole agrument fails.  I am well aware of this.

Your argument still fails regardless, as I've demonstrated. It's not that your reasoning is bad (I actually agree with it for the most part), it's that your conclusion is bad; you have everything reversed. But I digress.

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In simple terms, something that exists alone and is changeless cannot change.  So the way around this is to assert that the changeless/timeless Disembodied Mind exists in metaphysical time (whatever that is in actuality).

WLC has never asserted that he existed in "metaphysical time", ie why God was timeless sans universe.

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Somehow this gets around the problem of how something that is changeless can change (by self-interrupting so that the eternal intention to will the creation of the universe can be actioned).  But all this does in re-define changeless to exclude this stream of consciousness and the metaphysical time.  So if there is this stream of consciousness, either it had a beginning or it has infinite regress.  And if metaphysical time co-existed with the Disembodied Mind, then if that type of time relates to change (in the same way that the time we know of does), then it would seem that there would be an infinite regress.  What I do not have is a clear definition/description/explanation of exactly what metaphysical time is in the context of actuality.  Do you?

That's the thing, he didn't exist in "any" time, since time is LITERALLY as much a creation as matter and energy. What he did was just exist, like numbers. They didn't exist in "eternities past", sans-universe, they simply existed (unless you hold the belief that numbers are a useful fiction of the human mind [which would be quite ironic since they're so accurate at describing reality]) The difference is consciousness-less, or mindless, things like abstract objects have no causal power.

Now, a being with a conscious can be changeless. That means, he has always, and is always doing the same thing sans-time. His properties, being, and "actions" have never change.

For example, imagine that I am God sitting in a chair, and he doesn't exist in eternities past but rather he  is timeless, which means he hasn't changed. This entails that his properties and actions have always been the same (all powerful, all knowing, all loving, just, etc. God timelessly (ie, changelessly) knew he would get up eventually). But, because he's a free will agent, he can just spontaneously choose to get up if he wanted. 

God would only be temporal (changing) if before the universe he preformed sequential actions (create multiple universes before creating ours, for example). But even then, there was a time where God created the first universe, which wouldn't be an infinite regress.

The difference between a universe coming from a timeless existence and a timeless God creating the universe is that the universe cannot cause itself; as far as we know, it's not a mind, thus it cannot have intent to do anything. Moreover, since time came into being with the universe, the universe didn't exist before itself. Something beyond the universe that was an intelligent mind must have created it.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 07:39:35 PM by TheChristCam »

igr

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2017, 03:54:06 AM »
Hi TheChristCam #7,  I am unclear about your definition of omniscience - your definition seems to be that an omniscient entity has complete knowledge of everything about which it can/could have knowledge.  If so, that would seem to be less the Maximal Greatness that WLC refers to.  Whilst everything about God is mysterious, it just may be the case that by some mysterious (unfathomable to humans) means/capability, God does know the actual future.  After all, God does have another mysterious capability - the ability to "will" things into existence.  So maybe you are being a bit hasty to rule out what God actually knows.


I had thought that WLC had used the term "metaphysical time" in the context of the changeless/timeless existence of the Disembodied Mind - but this is not important.  So maybe I was mistaken.  Although there is reference to it here:
http://counterapologist.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/countering-kalam-5-responding-to.html


I am not concerned here about the creation of the universe - I am looking at how the Disembodied Mind escapes the changeless existence.

If the Disembodied Mind is changeless then it exists in a state - if the DM is "doing the same thing", it is not actually "doing" anything because that would be an event (by normal parlance).  Yes I know that this is "timeless" existence but it is also "changeless" existence.  So the changeless existence must be a state.

For the DM to do something other than exist in this changeless state, it needs interrupt its changeless existence.  That is an event.  To cause this event requires a type of causation.  If the DM exists in a state, this would have to be state causation, but WLC has rules this out.  So we are left with event causation or agent causation.  Because of the changeless/timeless existence, WLC also rules out event causation.  This leaves agent causation.  But the DM is all that exists, so there is no agent (that is, there is "nobody" other than the DM).  The DM cannot act as an agent to interrupt itself - an agent does something to something else, not itself.   So we are back with event causation, but this was ruled out by WLC.  Maybe you can identify the causation type.

If I infer correctly, you assert that the DM "spontaneously" self-interrupts to exit changeless existence.  But that is a change from changelessness.  So what caused the self-unterruption?  (and I mean what was the cause, not what was the causer - the DM was the causer, but what action/event caused the self interruption?)  rgds, igr.

TheChristCam

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2017, 01:51:31 PM »
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I am unclear about your definition of omniscience - your definition seems to be that an omniscient entity has complete knowledge of everything about which it can/could have knowledge.  If so, that would seem to be less the Maximal Greatness that WLC refers to.  Whilst everything about God is mysterious, it just may be the case that by some mysterious (unfathomable to humans) means/capability, God does know the actual future.  After all, God does have another mysterious capability - the ability to "will" things into existence.  So maybe you are being a bit hasty to rule out what God actually knows.

Maybe I was a little unclear about what I meant by God's omniscience.

What I meant is that since the future is not yet real, he can't "look" into it, or go in his "memory base" and find future events; rather, he knows all truth propositions, ie. OJ Simpson will get drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

This distinction might seem trivial, but it's important. In one, God - as you indicated - is bounded by the future, not necessarily against his free will, but because all time is concrete (that is, the future and past are just as real as the present). HOWEVER, in the other, past and future time isn't concrete, so God isn't bounded by anything. The point is that in both scenarios, God knows the "future", per say, but in one it's not because the future is an actual real thing, but simply because God knows all truth propositions.

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or the DM to do something other than exist in this changeless state, it needs interrupt its changeless existence.  That is an event. 

And I AGREE!

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To cause this event requires a type of causation.  If the DM exists in a state, this would have to be state causation, but WLC has rules this out.  So we are left with event causation or agent causation.  Because of the changeless/timeless existence, WLC also rules out event causation.  This leaves agent causation.  But the DM is all that exists, so there is no agent (that is, there is "nobody" other than the DM).

I was agreeing with you all the way up until this point. Because in it's very nature, it is a mind, it is it's own agent.

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The DM cannot act as an agent to interrupt itself - an agent does something to something else, not itself.

That's just not true. I can cause myself to think; I can cause myself to get up; when I'm walking, I'm causing that action upon myself. The act of you reading right now is you causing your eyeballs to stare at the screen. We cause ourselves to do stuff all the time.

And I think you're missing an important point. God is not in a changeless state because he must be in that state, or because he's bounded by that state, but simply because he chooses to be in that state. If he wanted to - as I've previously stated - he could create billions of universes before ours; he could create himself a physical body to jump around like a mad man. So, he's not necessarily "causing" himself to leave the changeless state (though as I've explained in the paragraph above, there's nothing logically impossible about such an action). Rather, out of his own will, he simply does something.

You're thinking of God leaving the changeless state as a man trapped in a box, and having to unlock himself inside the box (I hope I didn't get this characterization wrong). But it's not like that at all. Rather, it's simply like a man who decides to sit idle for billions of years, changeless in his thoughts and actions, but spontaneously decides to get up and do something.

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So what caused the self-unterruption?  (and I mean what was the cause, not what was the causer - the DM was the causer, but what action/event caused the self interruption?)

So it looks like we're nearly on the same page.

The key is to understand that God has free will. He can choose to do what he wants and what he doesn't.

Think of it as this. Human behavior is almost exclusively dictated by brain chemistry; how we talk, interact, breathe, behave, what we like, who we like, etc. But one thing that seems to perplex neurologist & neuroscience is causation. Studies have shown that we can make people do all types of things through brain signals, from simply jerking there arm to moving their entire body, but one thing scientist can't make you do is want. I can make you jump by hijacking your CNS, but I can't make you want to jump. Look at split brain patients. (Now you might be a materialist and say that we might find an explanation in the future, but bare with me)

The thing about agent causation and free will that you need to understand (which I suspect you already understand, but have a hard time seeing how that applies to God) is that it doesn't need a cause. That's hard to believe, I know, but because God is a free will agent, he can choose what he does and doesn't want to do, not because anything caused him to choose it, but because he decided he wanted to. Which is where the saying "God is the first cause" comes from.

So the answer is that God himself caused the self interruption. We do it all the time (we interrupt our biological mechanisms for sleep, for example).

I'm glad that the discussion is going smoother after that rough start. I can get a little condescending, lol.

igr

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2017, 04:12:00 AM »
Hi TheChristCam #9,  Don't be concerned about attitude - I never take anything here personally and have very thick skin.  And I never mean any offence or hurt, but sometimes slip-up.

So, omniscience.  It is possible to conceive of an omniscient entity that has a mysterious capability to know of the actual future.  This is part of what it means to be Maximally Great in the context of knowledge.  We humans do not have to understand it.  I think that this idea comes more from philosophy than from Christianity.  If so, the philosophical definition of omniscience may include full knowledge of all the future that will actually occur.

There is a commonly held view that God is outside time and knows everything from beginning to end (alpha and omega stuff).  So it seems that this view is incorrect.  And it may be that the Christian view of omniscience is as you say - God does not know the actual future.  The omniscience that you describe seems like this - The omniscient entity knows all possible future time-lines, but not which one will actually occur.  Does that sound right?

If the above is reasonable, then maybe we should refer to Philosophical Omniscience and Christian Onmiscience?


Agent causation cannot occur for a disembodied mind that exists timelessly/changelessly and alone.  Agent causation requires a time-line or change-line.  The agent chooses a point along the line.  But if there is no line, the "agent" is unable to exercise a choice, because that requires a line on which to choose a point, and there is no such line here.  But if we fabricate a plot device, anything is possible, so maybe that is the way to deal with this.

So if the interruption to the changelessness is an event, the event had a beginning of its existence, thus the event had a cause.  To say that the DM does not need a cause in this case is to fabricate a plot device.  I well understand the process of elimination used by WLC to arrive at his position on this.  And I well understand that a means of some sort is required to get from changelessness to the interruption.  But all I am seeing here is an exemption to P1 of the first KCA argument - The interruption (event) had a beginning of its existence but it did not have a cause.

What we do with our brain is not relevant - the DM does not have a brain.  In the changelessness - is it your view that the DM is "on pause" and that any "thought" the DM has co-exists with the changelessness?  And if the interruption did not co-exist with the changelessnes, do you agree that the changelessness must be prior to the interruption?  If yes, you have temporal succession.  If no, I do not understand how this is coherent, so I would appreciate an explanation (because changelessnes cannot concurrently co-exist with interruption and not co-exist with interruption).  (this might be a slow proces, but we are making progress..)  rgds, igr.

TheChristCam

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2017, 12:44:44 PM »
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The omniscience that you describe seems like this - The omniscient entity knows all possible future time-lines, but not which one will actually occur.  Does that sound right?

This is close, but not yet correct. God not only knows all propositions, but all truth propositions. This means he not only knows all possible futures, but the one true future. Now, of course this is assuming that the A-Theory of time is true.

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Agent causation cannot occur for a disembodied mind that exists timelessly/changelessly and alone.  Agent causation requires a time-line or change-line.  The agent chooses a point along the line.  But if there is no line, the "agent" is unable to exercise a choice, because that requires a line on which to choose a point, and there is no such line here.  But if we fabricate a plot device, anything is possible, so maybe that is the way to deal with this.

You seem to be mistaken that God's changelessness is a necessary property, that he has to remain changeless, or that he is somehow constrained by this changelessness. But that is not at all the case. Rather, it is a contingent property; it's contingent on the actions God takes, which is what I'm trying to tell you. He can choose to be changeless or temporal if he so pleases, depending on his actions.

Moreover, of course an agent can choose to no longer be timeless. It's no less of a choice than you choosing not to remain idle your entire life, or not to do the exact same thing day after day. God isn't changeless because he is constrained by it, or is "trapped in some changeless box". He is changeless because that is the state he chooses to remain in, his default state. That is, if he wanted to become temporal, he would become temporal and perform temporal actions.

God is only changeless sans-Universe, not because he must be, but because he "chooses" to be. At one "moment" he was changeless in his actions in properties, but at another moment, when he initiated action out of his own free will, he wasn't. This is the entire point of being a being with free will; you can do what you want as long as it isn't contradictory or logically incoherent. You can choose to remain changeless, or you can choose to be temporal.

There is nothing philosophically contradictory or wrong about a changeless mind initiating action, at least nothing that you've shown. The only thing is that ONCE that being has initiated action, he can no longer go back to being changeless - because he has already changed. He can be timeless - since time is a creation of the universe - but there will always be temporality (for example, before I destroyed the universe and re-entered a state of timelessness, the universe existed)

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So if the interruption to the changelessness is an event, the event had a beginning of its existence, thus the event had a cause.  To say that the DM does not need a cause in this case is to fabricate a plot device.

The whole point of God being a free will agent is that he can choose to do certain things, ie HE IS THE CAUSE of such an event.  I don't see what's so hard to understand about a being causing something to happen.

How is it to fabricate a plot device? When we humans behave like this all the time? Doing things spontaneously, with no cause at all? Since God has free will, he can do what he wants, so to speak. There's nothing incoherent about that.

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In the changelessness - is it your view that the DM is "on pause" and that any "thought" the DM has co-exists with the changelessness?

Yes. Changlessness doesn't necessarily mean (though it can mean) that he just does nothing; it simply means that any action that he takes or thought he has exists simultaneously with each other, so that he doesn't change. WLC put it perfectly in this interview. Now, he can have "new thoughts", but that would -as you've already suggested - would insinuate temporalness, which is completely logical with idea of previously being timeless.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbirUdSnZLU

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And if the interruption did not co-exist with the changelessnes, do you agree that the changelessness must be prior to the interruption?  If yes, you have temporal succession.

Yes. And I haven't said otherwise. All I'm trying to show you is that as a contingent property, his state of being is dependent on what he does; it does not dictate who he is.

God's choices determines his state of being; his state of being doesn't determine what he can and cannot choose to do.

This kind of goes back to the debate we had earlier, where you seem to have confused the causal relationship between God's choices and his foreknowledge. Just as he determines what he foreknows, he determines what state he exists in.

Lastly, God's choice to create the universe isn't a "thing"; it's an abstract idea. It didn't "begin" to exist. The UNIVERSE did, but not God's choice to create it. The ability to create is a necessary property of God. Answer this: does your ability to create "begin to exist"? No, and the same applies to God.

So to suggest that premise 1 applies to God's choice to create the universe is rather... weird. God's ability to create is a contingent property that he's always had, so a question like "what caused God to create the universe" is rather absurd. The cause of this idea is God himself. So it exempts itself from premise 1 of the KCA, since nothing is popping into existence from nothing nor is there an infinite regress.

« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 10:08:09 PM by TheChristCam »

igr

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2017, 04:01:38 AM »
Hi TheChristCam #11,  We still seem to be talking about different things.

On omniscience, I am talking about what I called Philosophical Omniscience.  For that omniscience, the omniscient entity knows the actual future and hence is as I described.  For what you are describing, it remains unclear.  When you say "he not only knows all possible futures, but the one true future", do you mean that He knows which actual future time-line will occur?  If yes, then it is as simple as I have suggested.  If no, I have no idea what you mean by "the one true future" - I would appreciate an explanation.

In any case, it seems that you are constraining your God in the Time-theory you have chosen.  God is mysterious and has capabilities that we humans cannot comprehend, so how can you impose your human understanding on this mysterious and unknowable God?


I'm sorry, but you have not understood my comments about the Disembodied Mind - I am confident that I have understood yours, and there seem to be problems with coherence and logic - or special pleading that logic and coherence are unnecessary.

I did not say how or why the DM came to be in the changeless/timeless state - I have no idea.  WLC states that the DM existed is this state beginninglessly.  And you say that the changelessness is a contingent property - but it must be the necessary first property, otherwise you have infinite regress.  That is why WLC says that.

Your (analogy) references to humans are not valid - because a human (being material) is in a change continuum that begins at fertilisation and ceases at death.  Humans cannot experience changelessness/timelessness during that change continuum.  So please, no more human analogies.  As an example - nothing in material existence is truly spontaneous - it may appear to be (to a human), but there is always an unseen/undetected cause.

Your comments about change and time suggest that you do not realise that change and time go together - time is change referenced to, and measured by, a clock.  Time is not something in and of itself - it is not a substance, an entity, a force or anything else.  Where there is chage, there is time.  When the DM begins the interruption, there is time - DM-Time began.  This idea of time beginning with the creation of the universe can mean only that Universe-Time begins then.  DM-Time began with the interruption - the creation/universe is not relevant to DM-Time.

You say that "Changlessness doesn't necessarily mean (though it can mean) that he just does nothing; it simply means that any action that he takes or thought he has exists simultaneously with each other, so that he doesn't change."  But the problem here is that this action or thought is "frozen" - it is a state.  A state is not an action or a thought.  So if this "action" is causing anything it is state causation.  This has been ruled out by WLC.

You seem to be confusing causer and cause.  The DM is the causer.  It is the doing of something (by the DM) that is the cause.  So in changelessness, the DM (the causer) has to do something (the cause) for the interruption (the caused) to begin.  So please, if you say that the DM is the cause of something, say what the DM does, because it is what the DM does that is the cause.

You have said that the DM can have "new thoughts".  That is a change.  A "new thought" has a beginning of its existence.  So there must be a cause of a "new thought".  I do not understand what the DM does to cause a "new thought".  If you want to exempt the DM from the KCA P1 so that you can include a causeless change in the conclusion, you are question-begging.

I have pointed out the problem - how to get from changelessnesse/timelessness to the interruption (or "new thought" if you prefer).  You have provided no explanation of what the DM does first to exit changelessness/timelessness.

stage1 - the DM exists changelessly/timelessly.
stage2 - the DM does something to exit changelessness/timelessness.

What is the first thing that the DM does in stage2?  This is the only question that I am interested in, but you have not answered it yet.  If you think that you have, please re-state just to make it easier for me.  thanks, rgds igr.

TheChristCam

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2017, 12:27:36 PM »
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On omniscience, I am talking about what I called Philosophical Omniscience.  For that omniscience, the omniscient entity knows the actual future and hence is as I described.  For what you are describing, it remains unclear.  When you say "he not only knows all possible futures, but the one true future", do you mean that He knows which actual future time-line will occur?  If yes, then it is as simple as I have suggested.  If no, I have no idea what you mean by "the one true future" - I would appreciate an explanation.

In short, he knows the future, but also all possible futures. Unlike the common view, where he only knows the one true future.

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In any case, it seems that you are constraining your God in the Time-theory you have chosen.  God is mysterious and has capabilities that we humans cannot comprehend, so how can you impose your human understanding on this mysterious and unknowable God?

I would say this view is more maximally great than your view, since he's not constrained by simply knowing this future, but all possible futures.

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but it must be the necessary first property, otherwise you have infinite regress.  That is why WLC says that.

And I haven't said otherwise. This is what I said in my previous post, that his changeless state is his "default" property. But it is NOT a necessary property, as WLC says in the video at 1:32.

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Humans cannot experience changelessness/timelessness during that change continuum.

My analogy wasn't made to show how one can exit timelessness, it was made to show how it's simply a choice of ones being, and doesn't require some "outside cause".

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Your comments about change and time suggest that you do not realise that change and time go together


When have I ever indicated such? Did you not read this?

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Now, he can have "new thoughts", but that would -as you've already suggested - would insinuate temporalness, which is completely logical with idea of previously being timeless.

or this?

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That is, if he wanted to become temporal, he would become temporal and perform temporal actions.

I openly recognize that change and temporality go together. When have I said otherwise?

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Time is not something in and of itself - it is not a substance, an entity, a force or anything else.  Where there is chage, there is time.  When the DM begins the interruption, there is time - DM-Time began.  This idea of time beginning with the creation of the universe can mean only that Universe-Time begins then.  DM-Time began with the interruption - the creation/universe is not relevant to DM-Time.

This "idea" of time beginning with creation is backed by science; you increase mass, you slow down time, and vice versa. You approach the speed of light, and time begins to slow down almost indefinitely (at the speed of light - though impossible - time literally freezes). For example, photons literally do not experience time. They are changeless. Time is going on AROUND THEM, but they do not experience it themselves. For a photon that came into existence at the end of the universe and will go out of existence at the end of the universe, LITERALLY no time will have elapsed. It exists, within time but does not experience time.

Of course time is not some physical entity, but to suggest that time exists outside the universe is preposterous. Which is why the entire point of God being timeless sans-Universe is stressed so heavily: because it literally cannot be any other way (Unless God is just constantly creating universes for him to inhabit time, or God "creates time" without a physical universe, and then inhabits that).

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You have said that the DM can have "new thoughts".  That is a change.  A "new thought" has a beginning of its existence.  So there must be a cause of a "new thought".  I do not understand what the DM does to cause a "new thought".

What do you mean what the DM does to cause a new thought? He simply thinks? Honestly, what's so hard to comprehend here? Every person I met, skeptic or theist, have perfectly understood how someone can cause their own thoughts. I don't know how to explain it any clearer than simply saying "he thought".

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If you want to exempt the DM from the KCA P1 so that you can include a causeless change in the conclusion, you are question-begging.

I'm not exempting him, because we know what caused the change; HIMSELF! How on Earth is this question begging? What further question could you ask? What caused him to think to change his state? I don't know, ask God when you meet him, but there's nothing wrong with someone simply thinking.

What began to exist? A new thought.
What caused this new thought? God.

That's it. You seem to be looking for some further question, or some error in the argument, that honestly just isn't there.

And God could have (and it's my view that he did) ALWAYS had the idea to create the universe in his timeless state; it's the action of creation that he initiated. So it's not even a "new" thought.

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I have pointed out the problem - how to get from changelessnesse/timelessness to the interruption (or "new thought" if you prefer).  You have provided no explanation of what the DM does first to exit changelessness/timelessness.

He simply initiates change, which in this case, is creating a universe with time and entering such a universe, therefore becoming temporally eternal. Since he has free will, he can choose to exit his changeless state if he wants to. It's his choice.

Have you seriously had no one explain this to you? This has been answered ad nauseam.

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What is the first thing that the DM does in stage2?

He exits his changeless state by creating a world with time and conscious beings, and in order to have a personal relationship with them, he enters time. Is that good enough?



« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 11:23:22 PM by TheChristCam »

igr

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Re: Middle Knowledge & Simple Foreknowledge
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2017, 04:20:49 AM »
Hi TheChristCam #13,  It seems that I continue to fail miserably to get my points across to you.  So I will try again.

On omniscience, you say "he knows the future, but also all possible futures".  I have three questions:

1.  is "all possible futures" the same as "all possible future timelines"?

2.  is "He knows the future" the same as "He knows which future timeline will actually occur"?

3.  is "the one true future" the same as "the future timeline that will actually occur"?

I have always said that He knows all possible future timelines as well as which future timeline will actually occur.  That sounds exactly the same as what you are saying with your words.  If you answered "yes" to my three questions, then my earlier comments stand.  If you answered "no" to any of them, I would be grateful if you could explain the difference in meaning as you see it.  Otherwise I have no idea what you are talking about.  The ways that you have responded to (but not answered) my previous comments about this have been of no assistance.


The construct of "the DM being timeless sans-Universe" is derived from the analysis by WLC.  I fully undetstand how he does that.  And I agree that it is correct and cannot be any other way, but only if the assumptions of the KCA are actually true and correct - and except for the bit about exiting C/T (changelessness/timelessness).

I watched that youtube video but gave up after five minutes - I was already familiar with all of it.  WLC said much the same as you have said, but did not explain how God was able to make the choice to exit C/T - WLC said He chose to exit but did not say how.  WLC pre-supposes the untested assumption that God has/had the capability to do so - presumably because he (WLC) requires this for his argument to be successful.  But without an explanation of how the DM was able to initiate the exit, the exiting is an untested assumption.  That is why I called it a plot device - something fabricated that is necessary for the story/plot to work.

To give an idea of why I have a problem with this - The DM existed changelessly/timelessly alone eternally and eternally intended to will the creation of the universe.  By exercising a choice, the DM exits changelessness/timelessness and wills the creation of the universe.  The creation occurs and the universe comes into existence with its instance of "time".  So with the exit, the eternal intention is now actioned to cause the willing which causes the creation which causes the coming into being of the universe.  From the exit onwards we can easily see the explanatory causal succession.

You say that the DM is the cause of the change that results in the exit from C/T, but the DM is the causer, not the cause (you seem not to have noticed the distinction).  If you say that the DM caused the exit, do you mean that the DM caused it by merely existing?  Or by doing something?  If the latter, then the identification/explanation of what the DM did is a nesessary part of the explanatory change succession.  If you say "by thinking", then that "thinking" did not co-exist with the existence in C/T, and so it necessarily was caused either by the state of the C/T existence or by some other event.  That part of the explanation is missing, but required.

The reason I said question begging is this.  The KCA P1 states that "whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence".  The exit from C/T began to exist.  The actioning of choice to exit began to exist.  The thought to action the choice to exit C/T began to exist.  Whatever caused the thought to action the choice to exit C/T began to exist.  Because of P1, this necessarily results in infinite regress.  To prevent this regress, there must be a causeless beginning to something on this causal succession.  That is part of the conclusion of the KCA.  But because that contradicts P1, it cannot be.  So the only way to allow this in the conclusion is to modify P1 to allow for that exemption.  Thus wrt the exit from C/T, P1 pre-supposes the conclusion.  That is question begging.  Is that not clear enough?  rgds, igr.

 

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