# god's sight

I don’t know if I have made a bad assumption, but I think I have found a fairly large contadiction in most western religions

My friend tried to explain the concept to me when I realized he was fighting a lost cause.

1. according to christian teachings, god has bestowed hummanity with free will.

2. according to christian teachings, god has the inherent quality of being all-knowing.

personally, I do not agree with either teaching or religion for that matter, but I will try to show the contradiction for arguments sake.

If we have free will, and the outcome of an event is unknown at least to the person making the choice, then one can assume that each outcome has a given probability of occurance.

If time continues for infinity then the number of events of choice will also reach infinity. In this case the likeliness of all events occuring with the predicted becomes 0.

If time does have an end like in the bible, then surely, considering the vast number of people throughout time and the huge amount of choices a single person faces in their life, the likeliness would deviate so far from average, that it would be nearly impossible

so i have come to the conclusion that either a. we do not have free will

or b. god is not all-knowing

1. If you shuffle a deck of cards, the resulting sequence is one out of 52! (52 factorial, roughly 8 * 10^67) possible combinations. The chances of you getting this particular combination is therefore about 10^(-68), an extremely small number, very close to zero. Yet in most cases you shouldn’t be surprised at the sequence you get. Why is that?

2. If you were to add up all the choices you’ve made in your life up until now, and compared it to all the possible choices you could have made, you would come up with a much much smaller probability than that in the deck of cards example. But it still wouldn’t be surprising. Why?

If you answer (1) and (2) thoughtfully, you’ll understand the weakness of your argument.

Also, concerning the classic “all knowing God vs. free will” argument about how God’s knowing what we will do would take away our free will: I’ve heard that Augustine noted that God’s knowledge of our future actions no more “forces” them to happen than our knowledge of our own past actions. We know what we did in the past, but that doesn’t mean we were forced to do it. In the same way God can know what we will do but that doesn’t force us to do it.

It is not a matter of forcing things to happen. The problem is that for God to foresee future deeds, they must be predetermined. The foreknowledge of God does not cause determinism, but rests upon it. The statement that God foresees entails the statement that events must be predetermined.

But to my mind, it is not the real problem. One can just say that God has a way of knowing things which allows him to “guess” infallibly future events without “foreseeing” them, as we understand prediction.

God can work with nearly… he’s that good

How far ahead can God actually see? Can he forsee all ends and all the alternate ones too? …Who ever said God can be understood? Why should he follow our laws, thoughts or wisdom? …Could he be something greater then we could ever understand? Perhaps, perhaps not. We can only ever speculate I suppose.

As SÃ¢mkhya predicted; I would have to say that God can see into our hearts and minds - knowing exactly what each of us have done, are going to do, are thinking about doing, and the numerous outcomes of each. We would still have the free-will of doing or not doing them if that were the case; so there is no contradiction about free-will vs God’s forsight, in my mind at least.

W.C.

How big of a problem is this for “Most Western Religions?” For example, Calvinists (which include most Protestants) are determinists, and wouldn’t even bother trying to solve this problem- yes, God knew what you were going to do, and no, you couldn’t have done otherwise. Hence, by the grace of God and not your own will are you saved (or not). They read their Bible as much as anyone, from what I can tell. So, it seems that it is not crucial for Christianity to find a way for free-will and Omniscience to be compatible.
That said, there’s still two hurdles the incompatibalist has to jump. First, what’s so bad about saying God doesn’t know the future actions of free creatures like humans? That doesn’t injure his Omniscience, so long as such knowledge is logically impossible.
Second, doesn’t the idea of foreknowledge bind God to the idea of linear time in a way that most theologians wouldn’t accept?