Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Question 1: God's Knowledge and Freewill continued

Yesterday I noted that I believed the best way to solve the problem of God’s knowledge and human freedom was to have a better understanding of what it means for God to know. I gave three options for doing this. The first was the Eternal Now, meaning that God is beyond or outside of time and views all of human history and the future as one event. Second, was to believe in middle knowledge, meaning that God created the world based on the knowledge of what every free person would do in any given circumstance. Finally, I presented the option of open knowledge which means that God knows everything that can possibly be known, including all the potential choices a person could make in all possible scenarios. However, God does not know with absolute certainty what a person with freewill will do until they make the choice. This would be impossible. God is still all-knowing because he knows everything that is possible to know. God is still completely sovereign because God uses our free choices to bring about his ultimate will.

In my own opinion, views one and two, namely the Eternal Now and middle knowledge do not completely solve the problem of God’s knowledge and freewill. I do think they are better solutions than accepting a compatabilist view of freedom, but they still do not solve the problem. For example, the Eternal Now view still holds that the things you do in the future are determined as far as God can see. The actions that you have not completed on earth are completed from God’s vantage point. Therefore, God still knows your futures choices with absolute certainty. If this is the case, then we are back to square one because God’s absolute knowledge cannot be wrong and we could not choose something other than what God already knows we will choose.

Middle Knowledge has the same problem. God creates a world based on what he knows we will do in any given situation. Therefore, after God’s decision to create the world, we do not have the power to change the world God has already created. God still knows with absolute certainty our future actions and we cannot change them. In fact, I think this view has another problem. If God knew from the beginning of time that there was no circumstances in which someone would accept Jesus and have salvation, would it not have been better for that person to not be created? If God is creating the best possible world and he knows the best way for us to accept Jesus, should we not all be able to accept him. If middle knowledge is true, God must have created some people knowing that they would never accept God’s offer of salvation. This does not seem like a God of love.

I do think open knowledge does the best job of accounting for God’s knowledge and human freedom. God knows everything that can be known, thus being able to remain sovereign over the world he created. Yet, God does not determine our actions, giving us the freedom to choose. You may say, “That means God is taking a big risk?” I agree. God is taking a huge risk, but I believe God thinks that the risk is worth the payoff. Freedom equals true love and that is what God wants from us.

One more note before I finish this question. God could have created a world in which all things were determined in advance. He could have created people that would always respond in a positive way to him. God had the power to create any type of world that he wanted. However, I believe he chose to create a world in which humanity can make free moral choices. God chose this world because it was the best possible one.

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