God Knows Everything. —ish
April 14, 2013 16 Comments
We are behind in the ph/rs lesson sequence and today was our crack at the Lorenzo Snow manual, lesson 7. One man, a retired university professor, steered the discussion into evil and foreknowledge. The usual sorts of responses then showed up:
1. God Knows Everything.
2. We are here to justify to ourselves our already known ultimate fate.
3. Does God cause “evil” to teach us the “lesson” we need?
I had some questions to ask, but you could sense the room full of high priests was on the edge of their collective seats waiting to spout the usual bits about how agency exists despite foreknowledge.
I exercised my own bit of foreknowledge:
Question to myself: “WVS, what if you found a seam to insert your questions about the assumptions behind these claims? What happens then?”
Myself: “Let’s see, branded as someone who likes to make trouble? Make people question their faith? Confuse them?”
Questioner answers: “All yes.”
Another question to myself in contrafactual mode: “What would be gained by bringing the still-conscious to the brink of paradox?”
Myself: “Perhaps a bit of thought about what they really believe accountability is all about?”
Questioner: “I’m asking the questions here. Pay attention. Suppose you argued thusly:
1. God knows everything, past, present, future.
2. God knows whether you will choose chocolate or strawberry ice cream tonight at the birthday party, even though you haven’t yet decided that important issue yourself.
3. God knows you will choose chocolate.
4. The party rolls around, it’s ice cream time. The choice is placed before you. Chocolate, or strawberry.
5. Might you choose strawberry? No. At the moment of choice, you are not really free to choose strawberry. Your ice cream future is fixed forever and from the beginning of time, even though the party hasn’t happened yet. Otherwise, it could not be known with complete certainty that chocolate will be your pick.
6. It might be calculated that chocolate is more favorable, but if at the moment of choice, either selection is possible, then absolute certainty of the outcome is not possible. No matter how strenuously one argues that ‘just because God sees it, he doesn’t determine it’ it’s still impossible to choose strawberry. God’s vision of the future implies that the future is already here.
Myself: “It’s fast day in this part of the vineyard. I’m hungry, I’ll have some of both.”
Questioner: “Evader, answer the question.”
Myself: “Okay, someone will say I’m trivializing the discussion. And that God doesn’t force anyone to do anything. Yes the last thing is too broad, but then they would pile on with lots of silly tangential questions insinuating that you don’t believe the scriptures, and so on.”
Questioner: “What’s the upside?”
Myself: “Not clear now. Why do you spoil things?”
Questioner: “You’ll thank me later.”