• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically assess the problems for believers who say that God is omniscient

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Critically assess the problems for believers who say that God is omniscient Omniscience refers to God?s unlimited knowledge, including all history, past, present and future. According to this view, God is outside of time and has knowledge of the whole of time from beginning to end. This view fits in with belief that God is eternal. Philosophers and theologians in the Christian tradition as awell as those in other traditions have wrestled with the problem of omniscience and free will for as long as people have believed that their scriptures teach both that God knows everything in the past, present and future and that human beings are free moral agents with the ability to make libertarian choices. Such belief, however, poses a well-known problem. If God has perfect knowledge of future events including human actions will turn out only one way. Christians have tried to resolve the conflict in many ways. Some have tried to resolve the supposed conflict by denying that God knows the future, although they believe the he is nevertheless omniscient. What they mean by this is that God knows everything that can be known, but since the future is not actual it does not count against his omniscience. ...read more.


Aquinas suggested that what God knows is 'self-knowledge'. God is the creator and God knows by self-knowledge what He creates and thus He knows about creation. God's knowledge on this view is not like human knowledge, as it is not gained by using the body's senses. If an everlasting view of God is taken then God can acquire new knowledge as time passes for Him. So, if the future has not yet happened, there is no future to be known; God's omniscience is not limited because it is impossible to have knowledge of what does not exist or has not yet existed. God is omniscient as He has perfect knowledge of what has occurred and is occurring. Boethius was worried about the problem of God's omniscience. He believed that if God knows the future, then He is wrong to reward and punish. However, he recognised that he was wrong to say this because God can see things in a different way from the way which we see them. Humans live in time; our pasts are fixed and unchanging, while out futures remain unknown and uncertain, this means we have genuine freedom. ...read more.


Therefore, his knowledge must change as propositions become truthful. So, God cannot be immutable. This point was argued by Kretzmann and Bretano in the 1970s.The issue that arises here is that omniscience and immutability are both essential characteristics of the classical God. It may be said that Boethius resolves this issue with his view of God as he sees God as knowing everything simultaneously- he would have always known what was going to become true, as he sees the past, present, and future simultaneously. This is supported by Aquinas' view of God's knowledge as not "discursive" Problems raised for our moral freedom are that if God creates each of us individually then does He know all of our decisions and actions before we even make them. If God knows the future and what we would choose at every point in our lives, then maybe God can be held responsible for all kinds of evil, including so-called moral evil. Furthermore, God might know who will have faith and people's religious choices; if this is the case, then maybe He already knows who will go to heaven and hell, so there is nothing we can do about it. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Discuss critically the use of symbol as a means of expressing ideas about God

    If someone has an experience of God they might use metaphorical terms to describe it. The only problem with metaphorical language. Is that if all religious language was purely metaphorical it may be thought it lacks substance. Braithwaite argues that religious language does not reveal or symbolise anything about God

  2. In what ways may suffering create philosophical problems for religious believers? Outline two solutions ...

    Finally, Augustine states that God has not relinquished any responsibility for the world though; if God was to be just at the end of the world, everyone would be suitable punished for what they had done; instead though, God's grace brought about the possibility of reconciliation for everyone by Jesus

  1. The Goodness of God

    At the time of Moses he rescues all the slaves from Egypt by sending the ten plagues and then parting the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape. "I (God) will completely destroy the Amekalites from the Earth." (Exodus 17:14).

  2. we do not possess any genuine freedom to act ethically

    Physical determinism lingers on the idea that our brain controls our actions and internal thinking and that, in turn, our brain is controlled by specific scientific and social laws to which it adjusts.

  1. 'God is omniscient so therefore we cannot have free will(TM) Discuss.

    Free will and determinism can be viewed in different ways. A hard determinist view is that we do not have free will. Every choice that is made can be explained by its prior causes. Hard determinism is incompatible with free will and moral responsibility.

  2. Discuss critically the differing notions of power and freedom explored in the 'Gorgias'.

    No good will come from this, there is no benefit here for society, nor is there any good for the individual. The orator does not further themselves by continuing on with such flattery, they are merely guessing at true knowledge.

  1. All of our Choices are Predetermined

    There is also a logical argument against Libertarianism. J.J.C Smart points out that there are two possible states of things, i.e. determinism or indeterminism. Either determinism is true, or indeterminism is true, these exhaust all possible philosophical options. Determinism would prevent a Libertarian view as our choices are predetermined, indeterminism

  2. If god knows what we are going to do, does he have the right ...

    So, if God can see into the future, then this questions God?s omnibenevolent. Boethius questions whether it is fair to reward or punish if God knows how we will react. The Bible often shows God as distributing rewards or punishments for human actions, such as in Genesis 3, where Adam and Eve are eternally punished for their disobedience.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work