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New Nice try.
At least you proved my central argument: that "Christian" thought is diverse.

One: I don't accept your "definition". Saying "I define X to mean..." is not a proof; it's an axiom/presupposition, one which I don't share, as I mentioned. My "definition" of God is "the being described in the Old and New Testaments as the creator of the world." Pre-existence does not prove/require omnipotence. Being very, very powerful is not the same thing as omnipotence. And, to cap it all off, an omnipotent being who limits the exercise of its power is no longer an omnipotent being in the classic sense. So you have to decide whether "omnipotent" in any given sentence means:

1. All-powerful, no restraint,
2. All-powerful, some restraint, or
3. Less than all-powerful because of the restraint.

I usually choose 3, but that's just because most Westerners believe that Power isn't Power unless it's exercised; i.e. - they don't admit option 2.

Two: What was two again? Oh, yes. You're right, under option 2 above. But I read Grygus as invoking option 1, and reacted with 3.

And it's not lack of omnipotence that prevents knowing what to do; it's lack of omniscience. I should have made that distinction in my last post. In the OT and NT, I see a God who has limited himself by:

a) Creating a reasonably ordered universe.
b) Working in Time.
c) Giving Man Free Will. (love the all caps; gotta keep this Platonic ;)
d) Making covenants which He keeps.

Items (b) and (c) together have suggested to me for a while now that God has chosen to not see the future. One of these days I'm going to attempt to prove that, Biblically. You'll notice as a starting point that God's pronouncements about the future in the OT rarely (never? still looking) involve what shall come to pass passively; they are always pronouncements about what God will actively do in the future. Big difference. Yes, I know, the Book of Revelations is problematic--but it was a vision. Film at 11.

Many fears are born of stupidity and ignorance -
Which you should be feeding with rumour and generalisation.
BOfH, 2002 "Episode" 10
New Hmm. A couple of passages.
In the OT and NT, I see a God who has limited himself by:

a) Creating a reasonably ordered universe.
b) Working in Time.
c) Giving Man Free Will. (love the all caps; gotta keep this Platonic ;)
d) Making covenants which He keeps.

Items (b) and (c) together have suggested to me for a while now that God has chosen to not see the future. One of these days I'm going to attempt to prove that, Biblically.


I agree that an all-powerful being wouldn't have to exert its power. But there are some logical conundrums that can arise (like the 'big rock' thing). But I think evidence can be found that God is supposed to be all-powerful as we understand the term in our gut.

Consider, e.g., [link|http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?passage=JOB+37&language=english&version=NIV&showfn=on&showxref=on|Job 37]:

14 "Listen to this, Job;
stop and consider God's wonders.
15 Do you know how God controls the clouds
and makes his lightning flash?
16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?
17 You who swelter in your clothes
when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
18 can you join him in spreading out the skies,
hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

19 "Tell us what we should say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
20 Should he be told that I want to speak?
Would any man ask to be swallowed up?
21 Now no one can look at the sun,
bright as it is in the skies
after the wind has swept them clean.
22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
God comes in awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 Therefore, men revere him,
for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?"


Emphasis added.

Translations are always problematic, but this passage from Job seems to clearly indicate that God is supposed to be all-powerful.

I don't think you'll succeed in proving God has chosen not to see the future.

E.g. [link|http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?passage=ISA+34&language=english&version=NIV&showfn=on&showxref=on|Isaiah 34]

1 Come near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
the world, and all that comes out of it!
2 The LORD is angry with all nations;
his wrath is upon all their armies.
He will totally destroy [1] them,
he will give them over to slaughter.
3 Their slain will be thrown out,
their dead bodies will send up a stench;
the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
4 All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved
and the sky rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.

5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
see, it descends in judgment on Edom,
the people I have totally destroyed.
6 The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood,
it is covered with fat-
the blood of lambs and goats,
fat from the kidneys of rams.
For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah
and a great slaughter in Edom.
7 And the wild oxen will fall with them,
the bull calves and the great bulls.
Their land will be drenched with blood,
and the dust will be soaked with fat.

8 For the LORD has a day of vengeance,
a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause.
9 Edom's streams will be turned into pitch,
her dust into burning sulfur;
her land will become blazing pitch!
10 It will not be quenched night and day;
its smoke will rise forever.

From generation to generation it will lie desolate;
no one will ever pass through it again.

[...]


Emphasis added.

There are other passages like this, like Luke 21:25-32, that has Jesus telling what's going to happen.

I'm no Bible scholar, but I think you'll have to stretch a bit to say that there isn't evidence that the God of the Bible choses not to know the future. And of course there's the other side of the problem - Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with God not knowing what's up, etc.

No disrespect intended. :-)

Cheers,
Scott.
New Always a "yes, but" :)
Thanks for the research! My answers:

The Job passage are the words of a man, Elihu, who isn't even called a "prophet". Same issue I have with using the Psalms as a theological reference: there's no authority given to the speaker. Lots of people say lots of things in the Bible; there's really no reason to trust Elihu's word over Ross', from that perspective. Believe me, there are some actors in the Bible who, although favored by God, are not good models in all their speech and actions (take Jacob, for example).

The Isaiah passage illustrates perfectly my earlier point: the future being discussed is future acts to be committed by the Lord. Read the passage again (esp the bold bits) with that tenor in mind and it becomes perfectly readable: the "smoke will rise forever" because of the actions of the Lord, not some third party.

The current problematic passages for me are more along the lines of, "Babylon will do such and such," or more specifically, "Israel will be taken into captivity." For example:
Genesis 15:13
Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. (14) But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. (15) You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. (16) In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."

The "enslaved...four hundred years" bit requires either 1) true omniscient foreknowledge, 2) a decision on God's part to take over human activity (i.e. God is the one willing the slavery), or 3) omniscient "present" knowledge, i.e. that God knew what should probably happen based on present events and the hearts and minds of the Egyptians. It's an epistemological quandary, but from my point-of-view no more "risky" than saying God "just knew". I feel my theory both supports topics already resolved under the omniscient view, AND opens up explanation for some of the "unresolved issues" with omniscience. One of my favorites of which is Jeremiah 3:6,7
"Then the LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king, "Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. (7) I thought, 'After she has done all these things she will return to Me'; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it."

This is God speaking for Himself, and He says "I thought one thing, but something else happened." How can an omniscient God say this with a straight face?

Still pondering...

Many fears are born of stupidity and ignorance -
Which you should be feeding with rumour and generalisation.
BOfH, 2002 "Episode" 10
     Must we...? - (tseliot) - (33)
         Re: Must we...? - (deSitter) - (5)
             Nice try. - (tseliot) - (2)
                 Hmm. A couple of passages. - (Another Scott) - (1)
                     Always a "yes, but" :) - (tseliot)
             Sorry, I've got to. - (mmoffitt) - (1)
                 Well said; hadn't thought about that before. -NT - (tseliot)
         here's a take from about 45 years ago - (rcareaga)
         Omnipotent with a twisted sense of humor -NT - (boxley)
         An interesting synchronicity with your sig. - (Ashton) - (1)
             Meh. Narrow is the way. -NT - (tseliot)
         Yank chain . . . big noise! - (Andrew Grygus) - (22)
             Did Tommy really write that? And you're quoting Pete. - (Another Scott) - (1)
                 Re: Did Tommy really write that? And you're quoting Pete. - (Andrew Grygus)
             Synchronicity... - (admin) - (1)
                 Betcha - (Ashton)
             Question: - (tseliot) - (12)
                 Evidence? I thought we were discussing religion. - (Andrew Grygus) - (11)
                     Not necessarily - (tseliot) - (7)
                         From the viewpoint of "God is Without Limit" . . - (Andrew Grygus) - (1)
                             I think I made it clear earlier in this thread... - (tseliot)
                         To speak of Reality! - (Ashton) - (4)
                             G_d exists, we see or dont see in different ways - (boxley) - (1)
                                 If you Could 'describe' - (Ashton)
                             And once again, you're doing the very thing you rail against -NT - (tseliot) - (1)
                                 Heh.. only if you imagine - (Ashton)
                     I may notice, or I may notice something different - (ben_tilly) - (2)
                         Unless you look at the smallest viable unit. - (Andrew Grygus) - (1)
                             The smallest viable unit is smaller than that... - (ben_tilly)
             'No-Thing-ness' - (Ashton) - (1)
                 Exactly - (deSitter)
             God is hard to define - (orion) - (2)
                 Re: God is hard to define - umm Really ?? - (Ashton) - (1)
                     Shine the light of truth, brother! :) -NT - (a6l6e6x)

If you're going to have your life destroyed by a brutal economic recession, at least you shouldn't also have to use Windows XP.
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