Author Topic: Time and free will?  (Read 2343 times)

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2018, 12:58:07 PM »
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If God's knowledge of you choosing X is ontologically prior (to be distinguished from mere temporal priority) to your choice of X, then your choice is not truly free, but predetermined.

There is a modal necessity to your choice.  There is not an ontological necessity.  That is what is meant by free will.  You are not God's puppet.  Restated, the efficient cause of your choice to cooperate or reject grace is you.

The same fallacy keeps coming up again and again.  As though there is no such thing as a conditional ontological necessity - it is either a mere modal necessity, or an absolute ontological necessity.  That is false.  This is the old Banezian sophism in a nutshell.

There is a conditional ontological necessity if God's knowledge of me choosing X is ontologically prior to my choice.  My choice could be otherwise, but only if God knew otherwise - which is prior to my choice.  It as though I pinned you to the ground with a crushing force - but then said it was only a mere modal, but not an ontological necessity, that you be on the ground and not standing up, and then blamed you for not standing up.  No, it's a conditional ontological necessity.

 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2018, 12:59:31 PM »
Correct. St. Thomas compares the divine vision of Omniscience to a man on the top of a hill being able to discern by observation the trajectory of persons and things moving below: God doesn't cause the things He sees from His omniscient view of all space-time, but He has perfect knowledge of them. And we Christians above and before all others know this fact for certain, because Christ Our Lord has demonstrated by fulfilled prophesies that He knows the future with absolute certainty - e..g some of His prophesies like the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem that came to pass exactly as He said it would, in 70 A.D. and the universal spread of the Gospel and of His Church etc. The mystics and Saints say that Christ had a kind of divine light before Him in which He saw all things. The Saints are sometimes given such similar visions of the future. It is certainly possible to know the future. As you said, God knows it in the "eternal now", in the "constant present" of the view from "outside time" - that fact is important to remember.

C. S. Lewis has a decent explanation, James, which I think you would agree with: "But suppose God is outside and above the Time-line. In that case, what we call "tomorrow" is visible to Him in just the same way as what we call "today". All the days are "Now" for Him. He does not remember you doing things yesterday, He simply sees you doing them: because, though you have lost yesterday, He has not. He does not "foresee" you doing things tomorrow, He simply sees you doing them: because, though tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for Him. You never supposed that your actions at this moment were any less free because God knows what you are doing. Well, He knows your tomorrow's actions in just the same way—because He is already in tomorrow and can simply watch you. In a sense, He does not know your action till you have done it: but then the moment at which you have done it is already "Now" for Him."

These explanations are fine regarding temporal priority (God is outside of time) - but they are of no use regarding the question of ontological priority.
 

Offline james03

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2018, 06:26:03 PM »
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There is a conditional ontological necessity if God's knowledge of me choosing X is ontologically prior to my choice.  My choice could be otherwise, but only if God knew otherwise - which is prior to my choice.  It as though I pinned you to the ground with a crushing force - but then said it was only a mere modal, but not an ontological necessity, that you be on the ground and not standing up, and then blamed you for not standing up.  No, it's a conditional ontological necessity.

Where have you established that God has us pinned to the ground?  As of now we have a modal necessity.  I will do X because God is already there (either from the future looking in the past, or in the past looking at the future) and knows what my choice is.  So how has God "pinned us to the ground"?

Again, your argument for God "pinning us to the ground" has to work for God "looking into the future" and "God looking in the past" because both are identical situations.  If you can't comprehend the significance of this, there is no need to continue.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Online Michael Wilson

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2018, 07:15:46 PM »
Q.
I don't understand your argument (what else is new); I know from all the past discussions that you uphold freedom of the will vs the Banezian "sufficient grace" argument. So is this also another argument for freedom of the will?
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2018, 07:59:39 PM »
Where have you established that God has us pinned to the ground?  As of now we have a modal necessity.  I will do X because God is already there (either from the future looking in the past, or in the past looking at the future) and knows what my choice is.  So how has God "pinned us to the ground"?

If I will do X because God knows what my choice is, God's knowledge is the cause of my choice, which therefore cannot be otherwise than it is; God has predetermined it.  This is not a mere modal necessity; it is a conditional ontological necessity, just like you being pinned to the ground.

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Again, your argument for God "pinning us to the ground" has to work for God "looking into the future" and "God looking in the past" because both are identical situations.  If you can't comprehend the significance of this, there is no need to continue.

Sure they are, but the issue is one of ontological, and not of temporal, priority.
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2018, 08:10:48 PM »
Q.
I don't understand your argument (what else is new); I know from all the past discussions that you uphold freedom of the will vs the Banezian "sufficient grace" argument. So is this also another argument for freedom of the will?

Not exactly.  It's showing that if Divine foreknowledge and free will are both true, one cannot be ontologically subordinate to the other, under penalty of either foreknowledge not being Divine or will not being free.

But again, the whole problem only arises in the Western framework which pretends it knows what it means for God to "know" - something pretty much exactly like our knowledge, except with knowledge of everything - although contemporary debates in epistemology show that in reality we don't even know what it means for us to know.

So God's "knowledge" is an anthropomorphism just like God "walking" in the Garden of Eden.

 

Offline james03

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2018, 09:17:26 PM »
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If I will do X because God knows what my choice is

The only people who claim this are the Banezians.  Even St. Thomas didn't believe this.  Gardner provided the quote: It is up to man to choose to cooperate or reject Grace.

But there's no way God doesn't know your choice.  He's already there.  He'd have to be blind.

edit:  Banez:  BECAUSE God withholds efficacious grace, you can't do good.  BECAUSE God gives efficacious Grace, you are compelled to do good.  I reject that also.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 09:19:00 PM by james03 »
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2018, 09:34:40 PM »
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If I will do X because God knows what my choice is

The only people who claim this are the Banezians. 

But that's just what you said.  Verbatim.  I'll accept that you didn't say what you meant.

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Even St. Thomas didn't believe this. 

The early St. Thomas in the SCG didn't.  The later St. Thomas in the ST did.

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Gardner provided the quote: It is up to man to choose to cooperate or reject Grace.

That only moves the problem one step backwards.  The same debate about foreknowledge and free will applies to this choice.

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But there's no way God doesn't know your choice.  He's already there.  He'd have to be blind.

But if God knows my choice because of what I choose, then He is ontologically dependent.
 

Offline james03

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2018, 10:04:01 PM »
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But that's just what you said.  Verbatim.  I'll accept that you didn't say what you meant.
Quote me and I'll reveal your flaw.

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But if God knows my choice because of what I choose, then He is ontologically dependent.

He is the First Cause that gives me Free Will.  He is also Truth.  If He has decreed Free Will then it is true that I have Free Will. 
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline TomD

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2018, 11:31:22 PM »


But again, the whole problem only arises in the Western framework which pretends it knows what it means for God to "know" - something pretty much exactly like our knowledge, except with knowledge of everything -

I disagree with this characterization of Western Theology. Aquinas would strongly deny that for God to know is "pretty much exactly like our knowledge." All Thomists follow in his lead. And there are many contemporary philosophers who have discussed this very topic. Brian Davies would be one such prominent example.
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2018, 08:35:15 AM »
Quote me and I'll reveal your flaw.

Ok, you said this:

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As of now we have a modal necessity.  I will do X because God is already there (either from the future looking in the past, or in the past looking at the future) and knows what my choice is.

That is you, verbatim, saying I will do X because God knows my choice.  That is more than a mere modal necessity (Me doing X entails God knowing I do X, and vice versa).  Again, I will accept that that is not what you meant and your sentence was phrased poorly.

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But if God knows my choice because of what I choose, then He is ontologically dependent.

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He is the First Cause that gives me Free Will.  He is also Truth.  If He has decreed Free Will then it is true that I have Free Will.

That is not an answer to the argument.
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2018, 09:01:38 AM »


But again, the whole problem only arises in the Western framework which pretends it knows what it means for God to "know" - something pretty much exactly like our knowledge, except with knowledge of everything -

I disagree with this characterization of Western Theology. Aquinas would strongly deny that for God to know is "pretty much exactly like our knowledge." All Thomists follow in his lead. And there are many contemporary philosophers who have discussed this very topic. Brian Davies would be one such prominent example.

Well, you might disagree with the characterization, but it is accurate.  Just because many philosophers, contemporary or ancient, have "discussed" a problem does not mean they have come up with anything resembling a satisfactory solution.

Western theology does claim (at least implicitly) to know what it means for God to know - it must, in order to even begin to talk about God's knowledge and its implications.  And the only reference point we have to begin to attempt to understand God's knowledge is our own knowledge - if God's knowledge is vastly different than ours, and not "pretty much like" ours, we simply cannot even begin to understand it.

In Thomism specifically, our knowledge or concept of knowledge is analogous to God's knowledge - the correspondence of the intellect with the thing known - you can argue that analogy is not "pretty much exactly like" - OK, fine, but the problem still remains.  To get around the problem of how God can know something that doesn't as yet exist, Aquinas uses the concept of "exemplars in the Divine mind", which is contrary to Divine simplicity - the exemplars must BE the Divine mind and can't be IN the Divine mind, otherwise God is composite.  And if they ARE the Divine mind, modal collapse follows.  Of course further band-aids are used to get around that problem (no, the appeal to suppositional vs. absolute necessity doesn't solve it), like for instance calling God's knowledge a Cambridge property and not a real one, which only creates further problems in its wake - God's knowledge is then not properly His.  Etc., etc.


 

Offline TomD

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2018, 10:50:54 AM »



Western theology does claim (at least implicitly) to know what it means for God to know - it must, in order to even begin to talk about God's knowledge and its implications.  And the only reference point we have to begin to attempt to understand God's knowledge is our own knowledge - if God's knowledge is vastly different than ours, and not "pretty much like" ours, we simply cannot even begin to understand it.

In Thomism specifically, our knowledge or concept of knowledge is analogous to God's knowledge - the correspondence of the intellect with the thing known - you can argue that analogy is not "pretty much exactly like" - OK, fine, but the problem still remains.  To get around the problem of how God can know something that doesn't as yet exist, Aquinas uses the concept of "exemplars in the Divine mind", which is contrary to Divine simplicity - the exemplars must BE the Divine mind and can't be IN the Divine mind, otherwise God is composite.  And if they ARE the Divine mind, modal collapse follows.  Of course further band-aids are used to get around that problem (no, the appeal to suppositional vs. absolute necessity doesn't solve it), like for instance calling God's knowledge a Cambridge property and not a real one, which only creates further problems in its wake - God's knowledge is then not properly His.  Etc., etc.

Different Thomists characterize the doctrine of analogy differently, some emphasizing the similarity between divine and creature knowledge and some emphasizing their difference. But if you chuck any form of the doctrine of analogy, and instead deny that God's knowledge has anything in common with ours, then what even justifies the use of the term "knowledge" in reference to God? Moreover, Scripture and religious doctrine requires that we affirm certain things about God's knowledge, for instance, that God hears our prayers; but if knowledge applies equivocally to God and creatures, we cannot affirm what Christianity requires regarding God's knowledge. (These are Aquinas's reasons for rejecting Maimonides's approach and they are applicable to the discussion here).

As for the second paragraph, you bring up exemplars in the divine mind. I think the way you have presented the issue is problematic however. First of all, exemplars exist necessarily. They include the essences of things, and if we want to put a contemporary spin on it, they include the array of possible worlds. But to say that they have the same modal status as the divine mind does not result in modal collapse. The essences of things, possible worlds, etc. exist necessarily, as does God. (N.B. the exemplars, etc. have the same modal status as God regardless of how we characterize them, e.g. as distinct but dependent on God, as parts of God's mind (contra simplicity), or as identical to God himself (as Thomists would have it, of course with qualification)).

The real problem that might result in modal collapse is God's knowledge of contingent truths, e.g. that he has created this particular world. This however is not the same question as the question regarding exemplars. And I admit that this is a tricky problem. But I think we would differ in two ways. First, the problem is not solved by disregarding Western theology. If denying the similarity between God and human knowledge does the trick, then the doctrine of analogy will do (at least a version which emphasizes the dissimilarity between God and humans). If this does not work, then unless we opt for a theology in which we can make no positive assertions about God whatsoever, the problem remains.

Second, I don't think you give the Cambridge property approach the credit it deserves. Matthews Grant's Faith and Philosophy article "Divine Simplicity, Contingent Truths, and Extrinsic Models of Divine Knowing" is well worth the read. Moreover, some have pointed out independent reasons for thinking of God's knowledge in this way. For example, Kenneth Pearce, dealing with a separate question altogether, has two articles "Counterpossible Dependence and the Efficacy of the Divine Will" and "Foundational Grounding and the Argument from Contingency" which are relevant here. I do not claim to speak for Pearce and I do not know if he would call God's knowledge a Cambridge property (it has also been a while since I have read his two papers), but the arguments contained are underappreciated and I believe lead to the same conclusion that Grant endorses in the Faith and Philosophy article. Examples of course could be multiplied, but I think these are worth the read (of course, I do not claim to represent their specific views on this issue or any other)
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2018, 12:17:48 PM »
Different Thomists characterize the doctrine of analogy differently, some emphasizing the similarity between divine and creature knowledge and some emphasizing their difference. But if you chuck any form of the doctrine of analogy, and instead deny that God's knowledge has anything in common with ours, then what even justifies the use of the term "knowledge" in reference to God?

It is an anthropomorphism, like God "walking" in the Garden of Eden, or "repenting" of having made man, or "changing His mind" about destroying Nineveh, or being "angry" at sin.  Put another way, it is describing God in the sense of how He, or His action, appears to us (in a way we can understand), but is not describing Him as He is in Himself, which we simply cannot understand,

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Moreover, Scripture and religious doctrine requires that we affirm certain things about God's knowledge, for instance, that God hears our prayers; but if knowledge applies equivocally to God and creatures, we cannot affirm what Christianity requires regarding God's knowledge. (These are Aquinas's reasons for rejecting Maimonides's approach and they are applicable to the discussion here).

But God "hearing our prayers" is yet another anthropomorphism.  Taken literally, it implies a cause-and-effect relationship between man's action and God's action.  But God can't be ontologically dependent on man.  The Thomist answer that God knows and answers our prayer "from eternity" and therefore doesn't change is insufficient.  It satisfies Divine immutability, but not Divine aseity.  Yet, if you deny a cause-and-effect relationship between prayer and its answer, then talking about the "efficacy" of prayer is merely a convenient fiction.

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As for the second paragraph, you bring up exemplars in the divine mind. I think the way you have presented the issue is problematic however. First of all, exemplars exist necessarily. They include the essences of things, and if we want to put a contemporary spin on it, they include the array of possible worlds. But to say that they have the same modal status as the divine mind does not result in modal collapse. The essences of things, possible worlds, etc. exist necessarily, as does God. (N.B. the exemplars, etc. have the same modal status as God regardless of how we characterize them, e.g. as distinct but dependent on God, as parts of God's mind (contra simplicity), or as identical to God himself (as Thomists would have it, of course with qualification)).

You are conflating "exemplar" with "type".  What you said is correct regarding "type" but not regarding "exemplar".  Type refers to possible worlds; exemplars to the actual world.

Quote from: ST PP 15:3
Article 3. Whether there are ideas of all things that God knows?
Objection 1. It seems that there are not ideas in God of all things that He knows. For the idea of evil is not in God; since it would follow that evil was in Him. But evil things are known by God. Therefore there are not ideas of all things that God knows.

Objection 2. Further, God knows things that neither are, nor will be, nor have been, as has been said above (Article 9). But of such things there are no ideas, since, as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. v): "Acts of the divine will are the determining and effective types of things." Therefore there are not in God ideas of all things known by Him.

Objection 3. Further, God knows primary matter, of which there can be no idea, since it has no form. Hence the same conclusion.

Objection 4. Further, it is certain that God knows not only species, but also genera, singulars, and accidents. But there are not ideas of these, according to Plato's teaching, who first taught ideas, as Augustine says (Octog. Tri. Quaest. qu. xlvi). Therefore there are not ideas in God of all things known by Him.

On the contrary, Ideas are types existing in the divine mind, as is clear from Augustine (Octog. Tri. Quaest. qu. xlvi). But God has the proper types of all things that He knows; and therefore He has ideas of all things known by Him.

I answer that, As ideas, according to Plato, are principles of the knowledge of things and of their generation, an idea has this twofold office, as it exists in the mind of God. So far as the idea is the principle of the making of things, it may be called an "exemplar," and belongs to practical knowledge. But so far as it is a principle of knowledge, it is properly called a "type," and may belong to speculative knowledge also. As an exemplar, therefore, it has respect to everything made by God in any period of time; whereas as a principle of knowledge it has respect to all things known by God, even though they never come to be in time; and to all things that He knows according to their proper type, in so far as they are known by Him in a speculative manner.

Reply to Objection 1. Evil is known by God not through its own type, but through the type of good. Evil, therefore, has no idea in God, neither in so far as an idea is an "exemplar" nor as a "type."

Reply to Objection 2. God has no practical knowledge, except virtually, of things which neither are, nor will be, nor have been. Hence, with respect to these there is no idea in God in so far as idea signifies an "exemplar" but only in so far as it denotes a "type."

Reply to Objection 3. Plato is said by some to have considered matter as not created; and therefore he postulated not an idea of matter but a concause with matter. Since, however, we hold matter to be created by God, though not apart from form, matter has its idea in God; but not apart from the idea of the composite; for matter in itself can neither exist, nor be known.

Reply to Objection 4. Genus can have no idea apart from the idea of species, in so far as idea denotes an "exemplar"; for genus cannot exist except in some species. The same is the case with those accidents that inseparably accompany their subject; for these come into being along with their subject. But accidents which supervene to the subject, have their special idea. For an architect produces through the form of the house all the accidents that originally accompany it; whereas those that are superadded to the house when completed, such as painting, or any other such thing, are produced through some other form. Now individual things, according to Plato, have no other idea than that of species; both because particular things are individualized by matter, which, as some say, he held to be uncreated and the concause with the idea; and because the intention of nature regards the species, and produces individuals only that in them the species may be preserved. However, divine providence extends not merely to species; but to individuals as will be shown later (I:22:3.)

So the objection remains.  The exemplars in God differ across possible worlds.

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The real problem that might result in modal collapse is God's knowledge of contingent truths, e.g. that he has created this particular world. This however is not the same question as the question regarding exemplars. And I admit that this is a tricky problem. But I think we would differ in two ways. First, the problem is not solved by disregarding Western theology. If denying the similarity between God and human knowledge does the trick, then the doctrine of analogy will do (at least a version which emphasizes the dissimilarity between God and humans).

That is a non sequitur.  If God's knowledge of contingent truths and non modal collapse entail complete dissimilarity between God and human knowledge, then a doctrine of analogy will not do, whereas a complete dissimilarity will.  Granted, you will say I haven't proven the antecedent, but neither have you proven its falsity.

God has no contingent properties (simplicity/aseity), so if God's knowledge of any contingent fact is a property, it is a necessary property.  Then, any "contingent" fact is in reality a necessary fact, since God knows it in all possible worlds.  Modal collapse follows.  (Of course "contingent" is meant here in the modal sense.)

The only answer is that God's knowledge is not really a property, and that, I would argue, makes Divine knowledge completely dissimilar to human knowledge.

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If this does not work, then unless we opt for a theology in which we can make no positive assertions about God whatsoever, the problem remains.

Well there is just that type of theology, isn't there, in the East.  So the problem can actually be solved by disregarding Western theology.

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Second, I don't think you give the Cambridge property approach the credit it deserves.

Not at all.  It's the only way to save Western theology from this conundrum.  But once you make God's knowledge (at least of contingent truths) a mere external but not internal (intrinsic) property of God, then you changed the meaning of "God is omniscient" - he would intrinsically be the same God if He knew only necessary truths but no contingent ones, and therefore, He does not know all contingent truths merely by virtue of His nature.

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Matthews Grant's Faith and Philosophy article "Divine Simplicity, Contingent Truths, and Extrinsic Models of Divine Knowing" is well worth the read.

Dissected in detail here:

https://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2015/05/divine-simplicity-and-gods-contingent-knowledge-an-aporetic-tetrad.html
 

Offline TomD

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Re: Time and free will?
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2018, 12:54:25 PM »

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It is an anthropomorphism, like God "walking" in the Garden of Eden, or "repenting" of having made man, or "changing His mind" about destroying Nineveh, or being "angry" at sin.  Put another way, it is describing God in the sense of how He, or His action, appears to us (in a way we can understand), but is not describing Him as He is in Himself, which we simply cannot understand,

There are three problems with this claim. First, those terms are metaphors which presuppose some truth. For instance, God "changing his mind" requires that God cause some effect in the world at t1 and another effect at t2. The "changing" of God's mind of course is a mere metaphor, but the reality that God brings about two different effects at two different times is still required in order for the metaphor to be true. So every metaphorical assertion presupposes some positive assertion regarding God.

Second, those terms specifically refer to effects of God as they appear to us. For instance, we say God is angry when the effect is punishment. However, I cannot see how a similar move can be made regarding divine knowledge since it is an attribute completely independent of creatures, it refers to God's life ad intra in addition to ad extra.

Third, if you are correct in saying that the word knowledge when applied to God is a mere metaphor, and not, as the Thomists claim, a literally true predication, albeit applied analogically, then why is it any more appropriate than any other adjective we might want to use to describe God? Or to push a similar problem, why would I be incorrect if I denied God had knowledge?


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Yet, if you deny a cause-and-effect relationship between prayer and its answer, then talking about the "efficacy" of prayer is merely a convenient fiction.

But Christians, East and West, hold that prayer has efficacy.


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You are conflating "exemplar" with "type".  What you said is correct regarding "type" but not regarding "exemplar".  Type refers to possible worlds; exemplars to the actual world.

I don't know. Since I think the future does exist and Aquinas does not, I think this may modify how we are using those terms. I don't know if Aquinas would use "exemplar" as applying to an actually existing, present state of affairs. But regardless, this is a semantics issue and I may just be wrong about how the tradition is using those terms.

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That is a non sequitur.  If God's knowledge of contingent truths and non modal collapse entail complete dissimilarity between God and human knowledge, then a doctrine of analogy will not do, whereas a complete dissimilarity will.  Granted, you will say I haven't proven the antecedent, but neither have you proven its falsity.

The only answer is that God's knowledge is not really a property, and that, I would argue, makes Divine knowledge completely dissimilar to human knowledge.

1. You haven't proven the antecedent, meaning you haven't shown that Western theology does not have the resources to handle the problem we are discussing. I am not arguing that Eastern theology doesn't have a separate, possibly useful or even potentially correct approach. What I am saying is that you haven't shown that Western theology fails. So I don't have to show that the antecedent is false, only that you haven't shown it to be true.

2. This could get lost in the terminology of "property." But what I am saying is that God's knowledge that contingent propositions are true is not entirely grounded intrinsic to God. Or at least it is not grounded in God in such a way that if God had known something else, i.e. in a different possible world, God would be intrinsically different.


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Well there is just that type of theology, isn't there, in the East.  So the problem can actually be solved by disregarding Western theology.

I am not as familiar with Eastern theology. But I am skeptical of your characterization that the Eastern approach is essentially the same as Maimonides and denies we can have any positive knowledge of God. To the extent that this is an accurate representation of Eastern thinking, I think it carries with it the problem of making any sense of any faith claims we Christians have to make about God.


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Not at all.  It's the only way to save Western theology from this conundrum.  But once you make God's knowledge (at least of contingent truths) a mere external but not internal (intrinsic) property of God, then you changed the meaning of "God is omniscient" - he would intrinsically be the same God if He knew only necessary truths but no contingent ones, and therefore, He does not know all contingent truths merely by virtue of His nature.


Dissected in detail here:

https://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2015/05/divine-simplicity-and-gods-contingent-knowledge-an-aporetic-tetrad.html


"He does not know all contingent truths merely by virtue of his nature." I do not know what you mean by this. If you mean that God's knowledge of contingent truths does not depend simply on God knowing himself, as Aquinas seems to think, then I agree but do not see this as problematic. On the other hand, if you are saying that God needs some sort of vehicle or lens by which to know contingent truths, then I deny this.

Regarding the blog post you link to, I agree with Vallicella that the approach is to deny (3). Matthews Grant's article I think does a good job at making this plausible. However, in order to deny (3), as Vallicella alludes to, we need not adopt belief externalism since we do not have to think of God's knowledge as a species of true belief.

In the comments, pertaining to the discussion of God and Schmod, I would point out two things briefly. First, I don't think Schmod is a possible being to begin with making the comparison hard as a thought experiment. Second, I agree with Vallicella's finally comment in the combox, it undermines the argument.