Nature of God: Eternal and Omniscient

Mind map examining the omniscience and eternity of God. Including the views of Boethius

  • Created by: JMitch
  • Created on: 01-06-13 10:59
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  • God's Eternity and Omniscience
    • Unlimited Omniscience
      • God has total knowledge of Past, present and future
      • 'Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to me' (Psalm 139:16
      • 'God has knowledge because knowledge is not physical' (Aquinas)
      • God is simple - therefore doesn't gain knowledge just has it - therefore has full knowledge
      • Does knowledge of the future compromise Free Will?
        • Our choices become necessary rather than contingent - limiting Free Will
      • Augustine argues that 'God knows our choices' and is not causal
      • Aquinas uses an analogy of a road to show that God can see the whole road and therefore the decisions which travelers will have to make - he has no causal impact
    • Limited Omniscience
      • God has knowledge of all what is logically possible to know
      • Has a perfect knowledge of the past and the present - this means that God's knowledge changes
      • This conflicts with the immutability of God
    • God as Timeless
      • God exists outside of time
      • 'Thy years neither come or go; yet ours both come and go' (Augustine)
      • Bible suggests God has always existed - God cannot change as the ultimate cause of change so cannot be in time. Also is creator so if he created time he cannot be subjected to it
      • This means that God can only be talked of analogically or negatively
      • Can't change, therefore couldn't think about creation - therefore eternal creator
      • Contradicts Biblical view of God's involvement in creation
    • God as Everlasting
      • God has always existed, will always exist but moves through time
      • 'There was no time at which he didn't exist ... he is backwardly eternal. He also exists at any other nameable time ... He is forwardly eternal' (Swinburne)
      • Supports limited omniscience
      • How does God remain unchanged if he is within time
      • What created time if God is within it
      • Does explain the immanence of God
    • Boethius' View
      • Wrote Consolations of Philosophy whilst in prison - a dialogue between him and Lady Philosophy
      • Recognised tension between Free will and omnisceince
        • Liberty of Indifference - ability to otherwise - Impossible with omniscience of God as you could not do 'other' of what God has seen
        • Liberty of  Spontaneity - to choose what to do (May have unknown causes)
      • Argued that God only had divine foreknowledge because he saw the whole of time as an 'eternal present'
        • Sees history like a line - this doesn't affect the causation of events or ability to do otherwise
      • But how can God, outside of time be involved within it?
      • Simultaneous History as incoherent: 'The great fire of Rome is simultaneous to all of history. As I type these words now, Nero fiddles heartlessly on' (Kenny)
      • Genuine Judgement can only be made if God has middle knowledge, knowing what the outcomes of other choices would have been
    • Process theology
      • Proposed by Whitehead and Hart Shorne
      • Argued God has two poles: Primordial (Eternal/ unchanging) and Consequent (Temporal and of this world)
      • Primordial Pole is God's potentiality and the consequent pole is where God is now
      • God needs our help to become perfect/ omnipotent - this explains the problem of evil and why God needs human help with creation
    • 'He who inhabits eternity' (Iashia 57:15a)


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