The issue of divine amnesia should be discussed in the context of other anthropomorphic biblical teachings about God such as the many OT references to God “repenting,” expressing “regret” for what happens, and “changing His mind.” These texts raise the question of whether modern interpreters impose a nonbiblical nuance on biblical texts that vaguely allude to an all-powerful God. So I challenge readers to produce a biblical justification for claims that God can do anything that is logically possible and knows everything, including the outcome of all future events.
Berserk, do you consider yourself an Open Theist?
Well… I agree that God does not know the outcome of all future events. But the reason for that is NOT that He is not omniscient, but because knowing in advance what free-will agents will choose is logically inconsistent.
However, I don’t understand the belief that God cannot do certain things even if they are logically possible to do. If that were true, then God would not be omnipotent.
I’m simply asking for a biblical justification of the traditional understanding of omniscience and omnipotence that takes into account the vague allusions to God as all-powerful and all-knowing. Modern Christians unwittingly filter such biblical terminology through a more rigid and logical Greek philosophical filter that ignores biblical allusions to divine repentence, regret, and change of mind. And no, I have not even studied Open Theism carefully.
On a first reading that appears to be refuted by a single verse:
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, (Heb.6:18a)
Which would lead some to ask if, then, God even has libertarian free will. Likewise:
in the hope of aionion life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.
And regarding change of mind:
God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?
I don’t think God has LFW. LFW entails the ability to do evil. God’s scope of actions are restrained by his perfect character.
The verse cited on God’s unchangeability begs the question of how God’s nature is unchangeable and, as a generalization is refuted by the many text that imply a divine change of mind. The texts cited on God’s inability to lie are of course irrelevant to the issue in question.
How is God’s nature unchangeable? Isn’t that as elusive as asking, how does God exist? Answer: nobody knows. He just does.
As to God not changing His mind, which i distinguish from His nature (= love), the verses that say otherwise are usually harmonized with the understanding that they are figures of speech:
They are “are examples of anthropopathism (or anthropopatheia). Anthropopathism is a figure of speech in which the feelings or thought processes of finite humanity are ascribed to the infinite God. It’s a way to help us understand God’s work from a human perspective.”
If we have a God of no LFW who creates beings in His own image & likeness, do they have LFW? Is everything God does forced like the actions of a puppet? Was He compelled to create the universe at the exact moment it occurred? Or did He have a LFW choice in that?
Assume for the sake of argument the conventional scientific view that homo sapiens species has existed for 200,000 years on a 4 1/2 billion year old earth. What is the purpose of the 4 billion + years of an earth with no humanity? Could it be that God needed all this time for our species to evolve because He is incapable of performing a special act of creating humanity simply by His Word?
Why suppose figures of speech, when the text is clear?
God changes His mind about dealing with a particular person, when that person changes his mind. In other words, the man did not choose to do what God expected him to do. Human being are free-will agents. No one can know in advance what they will choose. So God doesn’t know in advance. This doesn’t imply incomplete knowledge on God’s part. God knows everything that is possible to know.
It is written that when God saw that the Ninevites had repented, He didn’t bring upon them the destruction that He had intended to bring upon them. This is not a figure of speech. This is God’s dealing with people according to their hearts and their ways.
God is capable, simply by His Word, of creating the heavens & the earth, angels & other creatures, but not man? But evolution is more powerful than God in that regard?
It seems the same Hebrew word is used saying God does not change His mind as in some texts that say He did change His mind: https://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_5162.htm
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Num.23:19)
Moreover, the Glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind, for He is not a man, that He should change His mind. (1 Sam.15:29)
Texts with the same word that speak of change of mind:
Exo 32:12,14; Jer 18: 8, 10; 26:13, 19; 42:10; Amos 7:3, 6; Jonah 3:9,10; 4:2
Part of the reason I don’t believe in angels (at least not the “traditional” view, that angels are conscious creatures with non-earthly origins) is that humanity came on the scene after millions of years of survival of the fittest adaptations. The idea that outside of our space-time universe for billions of years there have been these creatures (angels) who happen to be an awful lot like humans, but weren’t the result of evolution themselves, strikes me as highly implausible.
Here’s a free online source:
That may be the case. But I think the texts that say He did change his mind are basically saying that God is not fickle. He won’t “say one thing and do another” as the saying goes. However, He will change His mind about some “punishment” that He said He would administer to someone, if that someone, repents prior to the time God was intending to administer it.
Well qaz I understand your position, though I really believe that ‘float around beings that hang around but we can’t see’ do exist. And I tend to think they have some say in our everyday life. It is the perfect answer to how God deals with creatures he has given free will and somehow wants to shape the outcome of given situations. Sometimes the angels sit back and laugh their hind ends off at us and other times he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
I tend to think that for the most part Angels are messengers. Mostly folks that have been brought into our lives. But I do believe there are beings that appear from time to time. The biggest thing from my standpoint is to accept and believe that it is possible. Many many incredible things have happened to folks that there is no earthly explanation.
“Scripture says “God remembered Noah.” That does not mean the knowledge of Noah had escaped God’s omniscience, but that He took action on His intention for Noah at that point in time.”
“In the same way, to say that God “forgets” our sins does not mean that they have been removed from His omniscience, but that He will never take action on them.”