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

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Introduction

´╗┐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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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