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Open Theism vs Predestination


Sargon

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This thread is in keeping with the spirit of Consiglieri's many threads on similar topics.

Yesteray the EQ/RS lesson was about Free Will. The question was asked, "Why did God give us free will?"

One kind brother responded that it is so that we can learn about ourselves....because God already knows what we will choose and so we aren't actually proving anything to him.

I raised my hand and prefaced my comments by saying, "I'm going to be controversial." I then explained that it is my opinion that God doesn't know what choices we are going to make. I didn't feel it was appropriate to go into detail about why, because it was already awkward enough. But, I felt it was important to make sure people knew that there are different opinions about this. In retrospect I feel bad about the awkward feelings that may exist between that first brother and myself.

So...do you believe that God knows with a perfect knowledge what we will do in advance? I find it impossible given the LDS rejection of predestination. If God knows with a perfect certainty that in the future I will steal a candy bar, then it is impossible for me to not steal a candy bar in the future. I am bound by God's perfect foreknowledge. To me it may seem like I made the choice, but I had no other option because God knew perfectly that I would do it.

What is your opinion? And do you thing it was OK to bring this up in EQ?

Sargon

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I don't like the idea of God giving free-will to humans. From a Wittgensteinian perspective it doesn't make sense to talk of humans without free-will. The grammar of humans and free-will (or at least perceived free-will) are tied together.

Similarly, it doesn't make sense for Satan to present a plan that removes free-will. He's smarter than that. Rather what we see in the scriptures is a declaration of pride (I can do better than Jesus--I can save everyone!), and a later description of his attempt to 'destroy agency' after his plan was rejected (which could mean many things).

The problem with free-will (which I prefer) is the problem of prophecy. By maintaining a libertarian (and non causal) free-will, any type of robust and specific prophecy is negated, as the array of possibilities arising from human free-will are exponentially (and logically) too grande to be predicted in any manner. Furthermore, specific prophecies necessitate specific actions which would deny free-will.

Thus, by accepting libertarian free-will, one must abandon the belief in specific prophecy--something most latter-day saints don't want to get rid of.

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I think that God probably does know the choices we make, though I'm not sure. God is able to inspire his prophets of events thousands of years in the future. It seems ridiculous that he'd just be guessing. I have thought about it a lot, and I have determined that free will and knowledge of the future are not contradictory. But I may be wrong.

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So...do you believe that God knows with a perfect knowledge what we will do in advance? I find it impossible given the LDS rejection of predestination. If God knows with a perfect certainty that in the future I will steal a candy bar, then it is impossible for me to not steal a candy bar in the future. I am bound by God's perfect foreknowledge. To me it may seem like I made the choice, but I had no other option because God knew perfectly that I would do it.

What is your opinion? And do you thing it was OK to bring this up in EQ?

Well, now you have felt one reason (the other brother's opinion) why the Church shys away from controversial doctrines and teachings. I don't believe there are strong enough reasons, such as feeling bad about shooting down someone' opinion, to do that.

I personally accept a God who knows to a high degree of accuracy what we will do and where we will end up depending on the path taken, but for sure He does not know %100. Relative to us, that qualifies as "all-knowing". However, I do not believe that if God knew with %100 accuracy we would not have agency. A choice is still a choice whether God knows it or not.

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Yesteray the EQ/RS lesson was about Free Will. The question was asked, "Why did God give us free will?"

I think He knows all the possible choices we could make, and wouldn't be surprised if we made any of them. Our agency is a reflection and assurance of our continued existence: D&C 93: 30, 31 says, "All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light." God certainly sees what is plainly manifest, so He knows what we can do through His plan, and so He also knows everything less that can be chosen that we do not recieve.

Yes, I think it is OK to bring it up if done to edify, as the pattern on D&C 50 shows.

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I don't like the idea of God giving free-will to humans. From a Wittgensteinian perspective it doesn't make sense to talk of humans without free-will. The grammar of humans and free-will (or at least perceived free-will) are tied together.

As Lehi put it, you either act or you are acted upon. Without opposition (the ability to do otherwise) "all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."

As you suggested, a human by definition has free will.

Similarly, it doesn't make sense for Satan to present a plan that removes free-will. He's smarter than that. Rather what we see in the scriptures is a declaration of pride (I can do better than Jesus--I can save everyone!), and a later description of his attempt to 'destroy agency' after his plan was rejected (which could mean many things).

I've thought about this too. It seems to me that agency is an innate part of our eternal being. We always have an option. Sometimes we have very few options, and sometimes we have more options. I think the gospel is all about giving us more options. That is how I interpret the meaning of agency as a "gift." Thus, Satan's plan wouldn't have totally have removed our ability to choose between options, but would have severely limited our options, and thus suppressed our progression.

For example, even if you are forced to do something you have the option to approach that thing with different attitudes. That right can't be deprived, even by God.

The problem with free-will (which I prefer) is the problem of prophecy. By maintaining a libertarian (and non causal) free-will, any type of robust and specific prophecy is negated, as the array of possibilities arising from human free-will are exponentially (and logically) too grande to be predicted in any manner. Furthermore, specific prophecies necessitate specific actions which would deny free-will.

Thus, by accepting libertarian free-will, one must abandon the belief in specific prophecy--something most latter-day saints don't want to get rid of.

I'm comfortable with the idea that all prophecy is ultimately conditional. But in some cases the likelihood of a thing is so great that it is essentially guaranteed, if not absolutely.
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Well, now you have felt one reason (the other brother's opinion) why the Church shys away from controversial doctrines and teachings. I don't believe there are strong enough reasons, such as feeling bad about shooting down someone' opinion, to do that.

You'll have to rephrase this, because I can't make sense of it.

:P

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This thread is in keeping with the spirit of Consiglieri's many threads on similar topics.

Yesteray the EQ/RS lesson was about Free Will. The question was asked, "Why did God give us free will?"

One kind brother responded that it is so that we can learn about ourselves....because God already knows what we will choose and so we aren't actually proving anything to him.

I raised my hand and prefaced my comments by saying, "I'm going to be controversial." I then explained that it is my opinion that God doesn't know what choices we are going to make. I didn't feel it was appropriate to go into detail about why, because it was already awkward enough. But, I felt it was important to make sure people knew that there are different opinions about this. In retrospect I feel bad about the awkward feelings that may exist between that first brother and myself.

So...do you believe that God knows with a perfect knowledge what we will do in advance? I find it impossible given the LDS rejection of predestination. If God knows with a perfect certainty that in the future I will steal a candy bar, then it is impossible for me to not steal a candy bar in the future. I am bound by God's perfect foreknowledge. To me it may seem like I made the choice, but I had no other option because God knew perfectly that I would do it.

What is your opinion? And do you thing it was OK to bring this up in EQ?

Sargon

My opinion is that God's knowledge of what we will do arises *because* of what we will do. In other words, our future acts are what binds God's knowledge of what we will do (and not the other way around). Or, in other words, causality is not linear when you have a being who transcends time.

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My opinion is that God's knowledge of what we will do arises *because* of what we will do. In other words, our future acts are what binds God's knowledge of what we will do (and not the other way around). Or, in other words, causality is not linear when you have a being who transcends time.

I don't understand what non linear causality is. How do you demonstrate it? or do you just imagine it - like a unicorn?

Seems to me that Yahweh distinguishes himself as unique in that he is the only one who can foretell and determine the future:

"Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am god, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,' Is. 46:9-10

"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, . . . made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place," Acts 17:24-26.

"The kings heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will." Prov. 21:1

If we overheard Romeo and Tybalt in a conversation discussing Shakespeare and they said "Well, old William doesn't really have freedom - he's got to wait for us to act so that he can know what happens in the next scene" we'd find the discussion hilariously absurd. But then after reflection we'd probably be amazed at the genius of the playright to weave this type of discussion into one of his great works.

Yahweh is a much better "playwright" than old William. --ap

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What is your opinion? And do you thing it was OK to bring this up in EQ?

Sargon

I think as long as you brought it up in a non hostile way, it is fine.

I have for many years thought about this and have not come to a resolution I''m 100% comfortable with.

I am a very strong believer in the agency of man, I don't think it is God given I think it goes back farther than the physical creation of man, and it is such a fundamental principle of who and what we are that if God were to violate it He would no longer be God.

I am no scholar, but I have given this topic much thought, hope what I wrote makes some sense, like I said I haven't come to firm conclusion I still have much to learn.

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The future doesn't exist yet, so God can't know, with a surety, what's going to happen, simply because it's not possible. Of course he can certainly predict future events with near-exactness (say, 99.999999999% exactness).

I wrote a paper on open theism for my Philosophy 150 class during my freshman year. I got a B.

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The future doesn't exist yet, so God can't know, with a surety, what's going to happen, simply because it's not possible. Of course he can certainly predict future events with near-exactness (say, 99.999999999% exactness).

I wrote a paper on open theism for my Philosophy 150 class during my freshman year. I got a B.

Hmmmmmm . . . I see, another assertion without any support. Is that where I ought to set my expectations for this forum?

Here's a fine upstanding example of someone estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from objective truth; one who admits no ideas that do not confirm his own, hears no voices that do not echo his own, sifts out all information that does not validate what he wishes to believe. The instructor must have confused your paper with a good one. --ap

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Well, now you have felt one reason (the other brother's opinion) why the Church shys away from controversial doctrines and teachings. I don't believe there are strong enough reasons, such as feeling bad about shooting down someone' opinion, to do that.

You'll have to rephrase this, because I can't make sense of it.

Heh. Okay...

Despite the fact that someone's feelings were hurt because their opinion was opposed, this is not a strong enough reason for the Church to shy away from controversial subjects. In fact, I don't believe there are any reasons that are strong enough for that.

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I'll give the answer I gave in EQ on this very topic.

God as our Heavenly Father and we his Children, he Loves us and wants us to love him.. It's written that Jesus said the two greatest commandments was to Love God with all you heart might mind and strength, and the other is like unto it.. To love your neighbor... And upon these hangs ALL the laws of the prophets... As Beetles tune goes.. ALL you need LOVE, Love. love is all you need.. The interesting thing about Love is that it's an emotion that can't be compelled, it's something that must be freely given otherwise it's not actually love, it's something else.. So how can we truly Love our Father in Heaven if we are not FREE to do so. Without free will there is no love and there is no purpose in God's plan.

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I'll give the answer I gave in EQ on this very topic.

God as our Heavenly Father and we his Children, he Loves us and wants us to love him.. It's written that Jesus said the two greatest commandments was to Love God with all you heart might mind and strength, and the other is like unto it.. To love your neighbor... And upon these hangs ALL the laws of the prophets... As Beetles tune goes.. ALL you need LOVE, Love. love is all you need.. The interesting thing about Love is that it's an emotion that can't be compelled, it's something that must be freely given otherwise it's not actually love, it's something else.. So how can we truly Love our Father in Heaven if we are not FREE to do so. Without free will there is no love and there is no purpose in God's plan.

It's called equal agency. You choose to do exactly the thing you want to do and this is exactly the thing Yahweh has foreordained that you do. That's Joseph's theology in Ge 50:20 "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, . . ." Yes, both parties "meant" it, deliberately - the brothers because they chose it and Yahweh because he foreordained it. --ap

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I personally accept a God who knows to a high degree of accuracy what we will do and where we will end up depending on the path taken, but for sure He does not know %100. Relative to us, that qualifies as "all-knowing".

I like the notion of relative probabilities.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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Seems to me that Yahweh distinguishes himself as unique in that he is the only one who can foretell and determine the future:

I don't see that this demands a deterministic view of free-will (which you seem to be arguing for, if I'm not mistaken). As I and others have noted, God can predict that which is extremely likely, not that which is absolutely bound to occur.

If we overheard Romeo and Tybalt in a conversation discussing Shakespeare and they said "Well, old William doesn't really have freedom - he's got to wait for us to act so that he can know what happens in the next scene" we'd find the discussion hilariously absurd. But then after reflection we'd probably be amazed at the genius of the playright to weave this type of discussion into one of his great works.

Yahweh is a much better "playwright" than old William. --ap

But this highlights a major difference between LDS theology and, say, Calvinist theology. In Calvinism God is the only playwright, and we are actors on the stage. He has written our lines for us. In Mormonism the play is open ended, and the actors get to make their own lines.

Joseph Antley suggested that the future doesn't exist yet, and you responded:

Hmmmmmm . . . I see, another assertion without any support. Is that where I ought to set my expectations for this forum?

Here's a fine upstanding example of someone estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from objective truth; one who admits no ideas that do not confirm his own, hears no voices that do not echo his own, sifts out all information that does not validate what he wishes to believe. The instructor must have confused your paper with a good one. --ap

If you don't agree with his position lay out your reasons. This rant you've typed out instead isn't impressive. Such hostility isn't warranted, and it will especially be ignored in situations like this where you don't offer any substantive reasons for your disagreement.

You choose to do exactly the thing you want to do and this is exactly the thing Yahweh has foreordained that you do.

No, you don't choose to do anything if you are predestined to do it. It isn't a choice if there are not real alternatives. This is the odd argument put forth by compatiblists. It proposes a strange definition of agency, in that one isn't free to do other than he has done. You will find that most LDS take a libertarian view of free-will, in which we are able to do other than what we have done. Simply being free to do what our desire dictates isn't enough, and it has awful implications for soteriology.

That's Joseph's theology in Ge 50:20 "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, . . ." Yes, both parties "meant" it, deliberately - the brothers because they chose it and Yahweh because he foreordained it.

It is amazing how much we can read into the scriptures when we want to. As if Joseph of Egypt was even contemplating these philosophical issues. The brothers did what they wanted to do, but that doesn't suggest in the slightest that Yahweh predestined it.

Sargon

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It is amazing how much we can read into the scriptures when we want to. As if Joseph of Egypt was even contemplating these philosophical issues. The brothers did what they wanted to do, but that doesn't suggest in the slightest that Yahweh predestined it.

Is this an argument? Let me see if I understand what you are saying. You are amazed that "we" (translate - I) read into the scriptures when "we" (translate - I) want. This statement was probably prompted by my use of the phrase "equal-agency." But then you turn around and apparently have no problem using words like "Calvinism", "Compatibilists", "deterministic" to directly or indirectly read into what I'm saying. If you listened to your own lectures on "reading into things" I wonder if you'd have anything left to say.

I said nothing about determinism - which is a pagan concept. I quoted scripture indicating that God controls everything - this is not determinism. But no one has presented an argument in response. Just where do you and others come up with the idea of God predicting what is likely? If anything, this is an exercise in eisegesis - the very thing you despise.

I responded to Joseph Antley's comment appropriately. It's an assertion - that's all it is. This is a forum - I'd expect at least some reasons behind a statement like his. Earlier, I laid out scripture to back up what I said but this seems secondary to opinion in this discussion.

Is it even possible to argue the position of libertarian free-will - using exegesis? I'd like see it. Every choice has motive (yes, an assertion - but I won't waste time arguing it unless someone challenges it). The libertarian must prove that every inner decision must be free of any divine decree, natural cause, character, or motive. In short, the libertarian must prove that every decision has no cause. This is proving a negative - which is to say the least, difficult. --ap

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The future doesn't exist yet, so God can't know, with a surety, what's going to happen, simply because it's not possible. Of course he can certainly predict future events with near-exactness (say, 99.999999999% exactness).

I wrote a paper on open theism for my Philosophy 150 class during my freshman year. I got a B.

Joseph (and/or any who agree with this position),

Could you (or anyone) do me a bit of a favor here. Hopefully, I won't derail the topic.

I don't have dog in the "Open Theism vs. Predestination" thread, as neither concept makes a great deal of sense to me. But I am hoping for a little more information on what you said in the part I bolded. Specifically, about the "future doesn't exist".

Do you mean the future doesn't exist because it has not happened, even for God? I mean do you believe God is constrained "within" time so to speak?

If God is bound within time, then doesn't it make just as much sense to say the past doesn't exist because it already happened. I mean in that case, what happened yesterday is as equally irretrievable to divinity as what will happen tomorrow. What do you think?

................

I wanted to toss this out for a better explanation as it relates to the concept of an infinite atonement.

2Nephi 9

7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement

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Hmmmmmm . . . I see, another assertion without any support. Is that where I ought to set my expectations for this forum?

Here's a fine upstanding example of someone estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from objective truth; one who admits no ideas that do not confirm his own, hears no voices that do not echo his own, sifts out all information that does not validate what he wishes to believe. The instructor must have confused your paper with a good one. --ap

What are you going on about? Look, I'm all for argument, but your response just seems mean spirited and I just don't see any reason to respond to an assertion like Antley's in that way. Also, unless you're Leonard Pitts, you might consider giving him some credit for that response.

The libertarian must prove that every inner decision must be free of any divine decree, natural cause, character, or motive. In short, the libertarian must prove that every decision has no cause. This is proving a negative - which is to say the least, difficult. --ap

It appears that you misunderstand the standard libertarian position. Libertarians don't claim that "every inner decision must be free of any divine decree, natural cause, character, or motive". Since they don't make that claim, they certainly don't need to prove it. Libertarians claim that at least some of the acts we ordinarily call 'decisions' require that we could have done otherwise. And just to be clear, I'm not here attempting to argue that at least some of the acts we ordinarily call 'decisions' require that we could have done otherwise. I merely making the trivial claim, confirmed by surveying the philosophical literature on libertarianism, that libertarians do not claim that "every inner decision must" have the features that libertarians argue are necessary for freely made decisions.

Also, I agree that proving the negative that you incorrectly attribute to libertarians would be difficult. But, it's just plainly false that proving negatives generally is difficult. Certainly, proving some negative claims is difficult, but proving others is quite easy. Consider the claim that there is no elephant in my right pocket. I can prove that negative true by simple demonstration to anyone that asks for such a proof. I take it that there are all sorts of apparently non-negative claims which you believe are easily provable. But, consider that every non-negative claim is equivalent to a negative claim by the double negation axiom of replacement. Thus, the claim 'All cats are mammals' is negatively 'All cats are not not mammals'.

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Is this an argument? Let me see if I understand what you are saying. You are amazed that "we" (translate - I) read into the scriptures when "we" (translate - I) want. This statement was probably prompted by my use of the phrase "equal-agency." But then you turn around and apparently have no problem using words like "Calvinism", "Compatibilists", "deterministic" to directly or indirectly read into what I'm saying. If you listened to your own lectures on "reading into things" I wonder if you'd have anything left to say.

I said nothing about determinism - which is a pagan concept. I quoted scripture indicating that God controls everything - this is not determinism. But no one has presented an argument in response. Just where do you and others come up with the idea of God predicting what is likely? If anything, this is an exercise in eisegesis - the very thing you despise.

I responded to Joseph Antley's comment appropriately. It's an assertion - that's all it is. This is a forum - I'd expect at least some reasons behind a statement like his. Earlier, I laid out scripture to back up what I said but this seems secondary to opinion in this discussion.

Is it even possible to argue the position of libertarian free-will - using exegesis? I'd like see it. Every choice has motive (yes, an assertion - but I won't waste time arguing it unless someone challenges it). The libertarian must prove that every inner decision must be free of any divine decree, natural cause, character, or motive. In short, the libertarian must prove that every decision has no cause. This is proving a negative - which is to say the least, difficult. --ap

On second thought, I've no interest in debating you. I try to stay out of nasty debates, and this is already headed that way. Good day.

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This thread is in keeping with the spirit of Consiglieri's many threads on similar topics.

Yesteray the EQ/RS lesson was about Free Will. The question was asked, "Why did God give us free will?"

One kind brother responded that it is so that we can learn about ourselves....because God already knows what we will choose and so we aren't actually proving anything to him.

I raised my hand and prefaced my comments by saying, "I'm going to be controversial." I then explained that it is my opinion that God doesn't know what choices we are going to make. I didn't feel it was appropriate to go into detail about why, because it was already awkward enough. But, I felt it was important to make sure people knew that there are different opinions about this. In retrospect I feel bad about the awkward feelings that may exist between that first brother and myself.

So...do you believe that God knows with a perfect knowledge what we will do in advance? I find it impossible given the LDS rejection of predestination. If God knows with a perfect certainty that in the future I will steal a candy bar, then it is impossible for me to not steal a candy bar in the future. I am bound by God's perfect foreknowledge. To me it may seem like I made the choice, but I had no other option because God knew perfectly that I would do it.

What is your opinion? And do you thing it was OK to bring this up in EQ?

Sargon

This is an old question, one that I asked myself when I was on my Mission about 30 years ago. It bothered me for a long time that God would know what Kingdom I would end up in... it seemed like predestination, it seemed as if we had no free will. But I have made peace with the fact that God can know things that we cannot and should not know. It has to do with the nature of the veil over our minds and the need for it, in our mortal perspective we seem to think that if there is a "destiny" that we are assured of having then it somehow takes away our agency. But that is not the way we should view things, we should humbly accept the fact that there is certain knowledge that we cannot know while in the flesh, yet God who is not a mere mortal man, but is an infinite being can know and does know. That is what makes Him God. That I believe is the nature of Godhood which is unattainable by us in the flesh.

We somehow think that if God knows a thing will surely be, then that somehow removes the choice of that action. I submit that it does not and cannot, I think we often misunderstand the meaning of the foreknowledge of God and are so paranoid about the perverted false doctrine of predestination that we reject the true doctrine of omniscience. I could quote a multitude of scriptures that supports the idea that God knows all things (even if we will steal that candy bar) yet I will suffice to quote the following:

(1 Nephi 9:6) "But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen."
Now this of course has reference to the lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon that God knew would occur. Now the fact that He knew it, did that take away Martin Harris's agency? Or Joseph's? This question reaches into the very heart of what revelation is... Is it "history in reverse?" Is it Divine speculation? Or is it an infinite knowledge of all things which God knows from the beginning and thus He can make preparations as He did with Nephi hundreds of years before it actually occurred? I believe it is the latter, I do not believe it disrupts our agency in the least, I think God only reveals to us that which is for our good and in accord with our having the freedom to choose. I for one do not believe God lives with the vision of hine-sight only. In fact the following definition of a seer explains that rather plainly:
(Mosiah 8:13-17) "Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer. And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God. And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet. And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God. But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known."
Now how could they know of things to come unless God knew all things? I believe the key to agency is in this verse, where it warns that "lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish" I think this is the reason, it would destroy a man to know of a certainty his own future if he was not prepared and not commanded of God. Joseph Smith knew he would die if he went back to Carthage, and he was. Did God only guess it right? I cannot comprehend such a God. In Lecutures on Faith the prophet Joseph said that if God did not know all things, we could not have faith in Him unto life and salvation. Because if He were ignorant of anything then some law or principle could arise that may destroy eternal life or immortality and we would stand in jeopardy ever second. We would need to pray "for" God instead of to Him.
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Do you mean the future doesn't exist because it has not happened, even for God? I mean do you believe God is constrained "within" time so to speak?

Yes, I believe that time exists outside of God and that God exists within time. Perhaps not time in the same sense that we understand it, but some form of progressive time, to be sure.

If God is bound within time, then doesn't it make just as much sense to say the past doesn't exist because it already happened. I mean in that case, what happened yesterday is as equally irretrievable to divinity as what will happen tomorrow. What do you think?

I agree, but the difference is that God can know precisely what happened in the past because he was there for it, whereas he hasn't been there for what happens in the future yet (because, again, it hasn't yet happened).

Makes sense to me, at least.

Could anyone explain how an infinite atonement can actually exist if God is uncertain of future sin? If God is unaware of the future, then how can a term like "infinite" actually be utilized. The concept of a God who is simply just probabilistically almost always 100% certain of the future IMO puts infinity beyond God's grasp.

Perhaps Christ did not only suffer for the sins we actually commit but for every sin that it is possible for us to commit. That would truly make it infinite, wouldn't it?

I don't know. I'm not a philosopher, and my thoughts are probably full of holes.

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Yes, I believe that time exists outside of God and that God exists within time. Perhaps not time in the same sense that we understand it, but some form of progressive time, to be sure.

Thanks for the clarification Joseph.. and though I am disagreeable to the notion of God not being timeless, I am agreeable to the notion that if God was not timeless he wouldn't necessarily view time from a really, really good Rolex...or something like that (seconds, minutes, etc..) but rather some measure of change that is much different than our own.

I agree, but the difference is that God can know precisely what happened in the past because he was there for it, whereas he hasn't been there for what happens in the future yet (because, again, it hasn't yet happened).

Makes sense to me, at least.

I think I follow you here. God has a memory that is "omniscient" in the sense that he would be able to remember any quantity of a past series of events perfectly.

Out of curiosity, I have another question on this line, if you have the time or proclivity for it. Seems LDS believe in an infinite regression of events. Is this regression attributed to God's memory. I mean is their literally an infinite number of events that have occurred and God remembers them all?

Perhaps Christ did not only suffer for the sins we actually commit but for every sin that it is possible for us to commit. That would truly make it infinite, wouldn't it?

Well I share the concept of an "infinite" atonement, though I suppose in some respects that may be a bit of a misnomer as I contrast some things. I suppose you could say that I believe Christ's atonement is fully sufficient for every person regardless of their acceptance of it.

What I find difficult about "Open Theism" is the fact that it seems to have to maintain some margin for "the unknown" for God. To accept such a concept, you would have to embrace the notion that regardless of God's ability to know what we will do. It must also be possible for us to do something that God didn't know we would do. I don't know if there is much in the way of theological support for it, but your answer seems to square that up a bit though in regards to the atonement.

I don't know. I'm not a philosopher, and my thoughts are probably full of holes.

You don't give yourself enough credit Joseph. The philosopher's thoughts are just as full or holes as yours or mine. :P

Regards,

Mudcat

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