Saturday, July 16, 2011

FacePalm of the Day #108 - Debunking Christianity: God Cannot be Contrary to his own Predictions.

I found this post rather important. It is based on an argument against God's omnipotence. My comments are in red. 

Here is a criticism about God’s omniscience and omnipotence based upon a point made by John D. Barrow in Impossibility, drawing on the work of cognitive scientist Donald Mackay. To put it into simple terms, it might be easier to state it as follows:

It has long been understood that with God’s omniscience, he cannot be contrary to his own predictions.

Why would anyone who has the power to make a universe and to make  a  prediction of the future want to change it? A better question is does such a thing make any sense? God doesn't predict the future. He isn't subject to the future. God doesn't just foretell the future. The future happens because God is in control of it. Given that, why would God need to change what He has already decreed.

For example, if you were claimed as being omniscient and omnipotent and you predicted beforehand that you would make yourself spaghetti bolognaise for supper on Friday, then when it came to making Friday’s supper, you would have no choice but to make the spaghetti bolognaise. This is because if you decided to be contrary to your own prediction and cook, say, pizza, then your prediction would have been incorrect. This would render your omniscience faulty, and would leave you with the characteristic of fallibility.

Again the analogy doesn't make sense. If God decided to make a spaghetti bolognaise he decided to make it at that time brought the universe into existence and knew where and when the spaghetti bolognaise would appear and how. No way does his omniscience ever fail. No success to be found in the line of argument but definitely fail and a facepalm comes.

Likewise, God does not have omnipotence, because he cannot do something that would invalidate his infallible predictions.

God's Word only contains things that are predictions from our point of view because we haven't experienced them yet. But to God they aren't predictions. They are just what He is going to do.God created space and time. He is subject to neither.

So, logically, God can never be contrary to his own predictions. This constrains his free will quite significantly. However, it is far more serious than this. If he is creating the universe and knowing every particular outcome (even if one argues that he is somehow still allowing free will), then he has made predictions about every event that will come to pass. His foreknowledge is effectively one long prediction.

If all things are a consequence of God's free will, then why would he be constrained by that will? He isn't. God doesn't just know every possible outcome. The outcome is determined by God's will. 

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.- Ephesians 1:7-12

Thus, from the beginning of time onwards, everything must come to pass exactly as God had predicted at the actualisation of the cosmos. This has far-reaching consequences: God does not have free will, intercessory prayer is pointless, God cannot change his mind, God's own future and interferences on earth are determined, and the passage in the bible where God changed his mind over the fate of Nineveh is patently false.

Not true. Prayer does not change God's plan. Does anyone think that God waits to hear us pray before he makes a decision about what to do with the universe? No proof of that. Did God change his mind about the fate of Nineveh?   

(Jonah 3: 10 "When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.")

What was the declaration God made? What did Jonah understand God to be saying the message to Nineveh was? 

1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”- Jonah 4:1-3

Jonah knew that there was a possibility that God would not destroy Nineveh. He didn't want to go to Nineveh because he did not want the city spared. What reason did God give for not destroying Nineveh? God loved them. 

10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Jonah 4:10-11

Jonah understood that God may be merciful if there is true repentance. It's not a matter of changing his mind. It's a matter of God doing what He already said he would do. Of course God knew the Assyrians would repent. He issued the call of repentance but did not tell them they would repent. Again God not only knows the future but He runs this thing. None of us do. Not even Beyonce'

Written by Johnny P

I mean does anyone read their Bible anymore?

Debunking Christianity: God Cannot be Contrary to his own Predictions.
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1 comment:

  1. This is great; I was just discussing with a friend a couple weeks ago about whether or not God has free will. I actually took the position that He does not, but you make a very compelling counter-argument.