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Boethius and Omniscience
In The Consolidation of Philosophy, Boethius presents the difficulty of eternity and
foreknowledge as a dialogue between himself and the Lady Philosophy.
He says that what the omniscient God foresees in the future must happen.
Whether it happens because he sees it or whether because it will happen is irrelevant. God
might not directly cause our actions, but in seeing them, it is necessary that they must
Boethius sees that this presents us with a number of problems:
- It's unjust to punish or reward anyone because all actions are predestined to happen
- If these actions are seen by God, but they were not prevented, does this not make God
- Prayer seems to be pointless as the outcome will not change
God surveys the whole of time in an eternal presence and so his knowledge is not the cause
of future events happening. The freewill of human beings causes these things.
So all that we call time is NOW to God.
For Boethius the word eternal means timeless rather than everlasting
He argued that if God is eternal, then he is not subject to time, but he is outside of past,
present and future.
ANTHONY KENNY argued that the idea that all of time is equally present to God is
How can a God who is outside time have knowledge of what is happening in time? This
knowledge compromises the immutability of God.
In order for God to interact with the world, God would require middle knowledge to know
what the outcomes would be if human choices had been different