Wednesday, September 23, 2015

When Did God Know?

There is knowledge that did not and could not exist apart from God actually creating. Creation is an act of God's mind, and what he created is sustained by his mind (will), nonetheless, only as God created did that knowledge which had to do with creation and time come into being. Apart from that action, there was nothing to know in regard to it, and if he would never have created, there would be nothing to know. It is not a breach of aseity to realize this.

We have no reason to believe that God amuses himself with fantasy. Does he daydream or ponder, "What if I were to..." trying to figure out what he might do before he did it? I don't think so. God either does or does not, and if he does, he understands what he does thoroughly. When God created, he would have known all conceptual things at once, and seen all historical things as he created. If he had not created, he would have seen and known nothing about creation.

Therefore, when there was no creation, God knew nothing of the acts of free agents, for there was nothing to know. When God created, he instantly knew exhaustively what was not in flux by the brute fact of his omniscience, and what was in flux from omnitemporal observation. Of course, something has to be in existence to be observed, so there is a distinction within the knowledge of God. What exists because of conception God knew when he conceived it, but what exists as a result of freedom he knows by creating that which can act in time and timelessly observing it throughout its time.

When God created the universe, he instantly knew its entire history, including that of mankind, because he observed it from a timeless vantage. The foreknowledge gained through omnitemporal observation is therefore exhaustive while the choices and acts of agents are free. The conception of children in Christ is the only template mentioned in scriptures which guided God in creating. We are never told in the scriptures that a conception of the damned burning throughout eternity, nor the precise acts of mankind, guided anything prior to creation.

There is an aspect of incrementalism in observational foreknowledge. For instance, when God said "let there be...",  he would instantly know the history of all that existed in response to that decree. When he said, "let there be..." again, then he would know the entire history of what that decree brought into existence in conjunction with all the former decree had actualized. It is likely the former history would have been changed in some way by the latter decree. When God finished his creative work, the fullness of all he foreknows observationally would have been perfected.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Antichrist's Penchant for Taking Heads

There are three biblical characteristics by which the Antichrist can be identified (other than his proclamation in the Temple that he is god above all that's called god, which removes all doubt). First, he arises in the place of the King of the North (Seleucid Monarch) which was centered in what is today Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq. Second, we are told in Daniel that he honors a martial god unknown to his fathers at the time of Daniel and gains his status due to his fealty to him. Third, his name (which could be his birth name, his titular name, or his popularized name) has the gematria value of 666. What can we conclude, if anything from these characteristics?

The 666 is so cryptic, I don't know that there's anything helpful to say about it in this time. Perhaps it suffices just to recognize that what it means won't matter until after the Rapture, when it's used as a mark of submission. Prior to that it's anyone's guess, and after that it will only be of usable consequence to the Jews. So much for gematria.

What more can I say about the King of the North? It really is self-explanatory.

The reference to a martial god, on the other hand, could use some unpacking. It aligns quite well with the god of Islam, and really, no other. Allah is a god of conquest and siege who was unknown in the days of Daniel. Since no other god before or since could really fit the entirety of this description, the Antichrist will be a nominal Muslim.

He will succeed politically through the auspices of Islam. It may be that he initially sees himself as the Mahdi (I think others will), but eventually, he will come to see himself as god. The Islamic world will gravitate toward him, and much of the rest of the world will be bowled over by him and his violent impulse. Resistance will be seen as futile, while spiritual delusion will seal the deal.

With all true Gentile believers removed from the scene through the Rapture, the only people that will withstand the delusion and offer any resistance (particularly to the mark) will be the Jews. For anyone not willing to go along with his rule, his religion, and his economy, their heads will be taken. That that is a a penchant seen readily amongst radicalized Muslims today is no mere coincidence, its seems to me, so the details converge and tell me the Antichrist is a Muslim who will rise to power in the area that's at war this very day.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Failure of Middle Knowledge

Molinism posits that God's omniscience is expressed in three moments which are logically sequential rather than chronologically sequential. The first moment is God's Natural Knowledge which encompasses everything that is necessarily true apart from God's will. The second moment is God's Middle Knowledge which is aware of all possibilities (particularly free actions of agents) given any circumstance. The third moment is God's Free Knowledge which entails all that he actualized.

What kind of knowledge is Middle Knowledge, actually? At best, it could only be analytical and theoretical, because it is never instantiated, never incarnated (apart from that which becomes Free Knowledge). What isn't actualized is merely hypothetical--a mental "trial run," if you will. Supposedly, Middle Knowledge answers with certainty, not mere conjecture, the question: "What would occur if another state were to obtain? Since those other states are nothing more than whimsy in the mind of God, who purposely selects what is actualized, how is the outcome resultant from using Middle Knowledge distinct from, or better than, compatibilism (soft determinism)?

A Bible passage that purportedly backs this premise is Christ's musings concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. I question whether or not interpreting the passage to teach Middle Knowledge catches the gist of what Jesus was using the illustration for.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day."    Matthew 11:21-23  NASB
Was Jesus divulging precise alternate history or just making a point about how awful was the rejection of Christ by Jews who heard what he said and saw what he did? I don't think there's really much of a question.

If God can forecast the free choices agents would make in any circumstance accurately, without fail, prior to anything created existing, then I submit that those actions are not truly the agents' at all, but are instead mere projections of the mind of God. How could they be proven to be otherwise? The only qualification that withstands scrutiny and averts blameworthiness when it comes to matters of choice is independence (in connection to this, see Genesis 2:19Judges 3:4Jeremiah 19:5; James 1:13-15). Choice has to be made by the chooser and seen by the seer at the moment of decision in order to be free.

If a decision of an agent is known with absolute certainty before anything else was even made, and if in making everything else God opts among various possibilities to instantiate that decision (the agent certainly has no access to those possibilities), God unavoidably becomes the author of that decision. There is no way that choice is free in the sense that it is instigated in freedom by the chooser. The biblical notion of freedom, as I see it, is that choice is derived independently of God. If that choice "happens" before it happens, the choice is illusory.

Middle Knowledge was formulated as a means of attributing meticulous sovereignty and foreknowledge to God without obliterating freewill or having God incur culpability for actions taken which he opposes (sin). It fails to do so. If God knew what every choice an agent would make was before he created the universe, and knowing, then actualized that "blueprint," then culpability for all choices (including sin) adheres unshakably to God, and none of those choices are actually free (independent).

Molinism, it seems to me, reduces to determinism, so why add the extra layer?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Omnipresence and Omniscience Entail Omnitemporality

If it is true that God is both omnipresent and omniscient, then he must also be omnitemporal.

Omnipresence requires that each point in creation (or space, if you'd like) is accessible to God with equal facility. More to the point, everywhere is actually always before God, though God himself is not circumscribed by creation or in any way actually "in" it. God, being God, is transcendent and immutable. In other words, God is what he is everywhere at once.

It is known that everywhere in space is in a state of fluctuation, nothing is static, everything is in motion and changing. To be omnipresent, God has to be the same everywhere despite everywhere's constant fluctuation. Change, in itself, is a time construct, but, thanks to Einstein, we know that time is experienced relative to motion. The result, I think, is that "this instant" is a much more fuzzy concept than I'd care to admit; nonetheless, it leads me to the conclusion that God must be omnitemporal if he is omnipresent.

Omniscience requires that everything that can be known is known by God. If, in any instant, God is unaware, or ignorant of some knowable thing, he would cease to be omniscient. Omniscience, it would seem, precludes discovery. If that is so, it follows that God knows all that he has known or will ever know at once, or at least at once upon any decision to act.

Knowledge grows with the passage of time. Not in the sense that new facts come to light as time goes on, but that new facts, correlated with time passing, come into being. There is constantly, in every instant, something new to know. The result, I think, is that God could not be perfect in knowledge if his knowledge was dependent upon time. Therefore (by definition alone), God must be omnitemporal if he is omniscient.

Omnitemporality is entailed in omnipresence and omniscience. We can't have one without without the others. To that end, God's omnitemporality could be understood to be that such that every instant in time is before God at once. God is not "in" time nor subject to it, but rather is transcendent to time and unfettered by it, and he knows its entirety from start to finish.