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WordWolf

What Does God Know?

217 posts in this topic

Thanks, Another Spot! And thanks to Word Wolf for starting this thread as well as everyone else’s contributions….I’m going to take some time and review this thread, especially your latter posts – they’re chock full of goodies to think about, very practical, and I think they honor God [because I believe He designed us to USE our brains that way]!

In one sense, this type of decision-making process can be burdensome…in that we feel the awesome weight of responsibility…that it’s up to US to decide certain things. And we strain and work hard to do our best thinking, to weigh the options and consider the ramifications of each choice. But then there comes with that a sense of freedom, control, success, creativity, flexibility.

A goofy analogy but it’s the best I can come up with right now: The traditional way of making decisions by some is a paint-by-numbers approach; expect God to tell you what colors to use in certain areas of the canvas. The alternate way – is God handing you a canvas and says “you decide what colors to use and where to use them.”

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Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

This is one I thought of this morning. Lcm taught the word “direct” in the Greek Septuagint is the same as “rightly divided.” He expressed how precisely God will direct our paths in the sense of a blank check in all matters. No. That would entail revelation in all matters, else we’d never find the invisible yellow brick road. It would also entail ceasing thinking at all. Surefire formula for failure.

Context is wisdom. Paths are defined in context.

Pro 3:13 Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding.

Pro 3:14 For the merchandise of it [is] better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

Pro 3:15 She [is] more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

Pro 3:16 Length of days [is] in her right hand; [and] in her left hand riches and honour.

Pro 3:17 Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness, and all her paths [are] peace.

If the first two verses of this post are read and understood in context, then trusting in the Lord means trusting His ways of wisdom are best. We acknowledge Him in all our ways by endeavoring to make His ways our ways. The result is the wisdom we put in our minds will direct us in the paths of wisdom. It is very much along the lines of Jesus saying He didn’t seek to do His own will, but God’s. We are not to lean on our own understanding of what we think wisdom might be, but God’s. That involves a great deal of thinking.

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Computer programs are entirely logic based. A common string is “if then else.” It is a conditional statement. For example, if all variables are less then ten then add all variables under ten else subtract them. This is called a “boolean” string. I know this seems obscure to some, but makes perfect sense to me.

Computer programming is entirely logic based, and when a hole in logic occurs, the program crashes. A computer knows nothing except what it is told. There is nothing magic about it. Likewise:

Eph 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Eph 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Eph 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

Compare to:

Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Lasciviousness, uncleanness and greediness all pertain to sexual immorality. When a person does this with no remorse, they become darkened. The condition of no remorse is no conscience, they have reasoned out their error. Vp did this with regard to sexual sin. He justified it with the Bible, altering meanings of verses. Such as fornication doesn’t apply to sexual sin, but idolatry. He taught others to do so. Those who support him on the basis of everyone sins don’t understand the Bible. Error for which one has remorse, but doesn’t make a habitual practice is one thing, having no remorse is another. The consequences are being spiritually darkened. Those who support this error do not treat the moral will of God very seriously.

“Understanding darkened” is the opposite of “eyes of understanding enlightened.” No remorse involves a reasoned out decision. The reasoned out decision of vp resulted in “darkened” spiritually, if the Bible is correct. On that basis, I have no confidence in anything he taught. The moral will of God stands even if some want to disregard it or minimize it.

If one rejects God’s moral will and has no remorse, according to Ephesians that person is spiritually darkened. They are not qualified to teach because they have no spiritual understanding.

If you do not respect God's moral will as a reasoned out decision , then you are spiritually darkened. Then you cannot discern light. You have blocked off the possibility of eyes enlightened.

Edited by another spot
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...Lasciviousness, uncleanness and greediness all pertain to sexual immorality. When a person does this with no remorse, they become darkened. The condition of no remorse is no conscience, they have reasoned out their error. Vp did this with regard to sexual sin. He justified it with the Bible, altering meanings of verses. Such as fornication doesn't apply to sexual sin, but idolatry. He taught others to do so. Those who support him on the basis of everyone sins don't understand the Bible. Error for which one has remorse, but doesn't make a habitual practice is one thing, having no remorse is another. The consequences are being spiritually darkened. Those who support this error do not treat the moral will of God very seriously.

"Understanding darkened" is the opposite of "eyes of understanding enlightened." No remorse involves a reasoned out decision. The reasoned out decision of vp resulted in "darkened" spiritually, if the Bible is correct. On that basis, I have no confidence in anything he taught. The moral will of God stands even if some want to disregard it or minimize it.

If one rejects God's moral will and has no remorse, according to Ephesians that person is spiritually darkened. They are not qualified to teach because they have no spiritual understanding....

We've gone from "What does God know?" to "What does man know?" - - now a variation on the latter – "What did vp know?" Sometimes I refer to him as the New Knoxville Gnostic, because of a few similarities I've noticed in the philosophy of vp and Gnosticism.

In Gnosticism, knowledge is THE key to salvation [rather than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ] – a "superior knowledge" that only an elite class of folks could attain. This "superior knowledge" is revered as well as the folks who possess it. This "superior knowledge" is considered spiritual in nature and the adherents view the material world as inferior. The practical consequences of this Gnostic mindset is either asceticism or a tendency to act as if the flesh is of little or no consequence. Colossians 2 and I John may have been addressing some early form of Gnosticism.

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Lol. See your point. I do tend to go all over the map when I’m pondering something. Gnosticism, I’ve seen that. What did vp know? That was our starting point. For some that is not resolved. For me it is imminently clear God’s moral will can’t be ignored without consequences. Col. 2 deals with spiritual elitism and a desire to look into things not known, setting aside God’s moral will. But God’s moral will was really the point from the beginning. It is the point of the new birth. And the deeper I dig into it, the more vp’s idea that grace is freedom from moral will blows me away.

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Lol. See your point. I do tend to go all over the map when I'm pondering something. Gnosticism, I've seen that. What did vp know? That was our starting point. For some that is not resolved. For me it is imminently clear God's moral will can't be ignored without consequences. Col. 2 deals with spiritual elitism and a desire to look into things not known, setting aside God's moral will. But God's moral will was really the point from the beginning. It is the point of the new birth. And the deeper I dig into it, the more vp's idea that grace is freedom from moral will blows me away.

Hey, I'm the same way – love to go all over the map too – nothing wrong with that. I think it only becomes a real problem if you lose your moral compass :biglaugh: .

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T-bone: lol.

Sorry, Wordwolf for my meanderings....maybe I should start another thread. "Deb's meanderings." "Journey out of confusion." Something.

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Started skimming through this thread (trying to high step over all the repetitious banter cluttering up the place), figuring I'd make it to the end before posting... but this looks as good a place as any (besides, it will help me find it again without having to jump through so many hoops.)

On ‎9‎/‎15‎/‎2007 at 6:44 AM, Sunesis said:

I like the centrifuge concept.

Yeah, it's not bad. But if it was on "slow spin" 10 years ago, it's picked up a tad bit since then. (Give it another 10, and we might well be outa here and watching it get kicked into 2nd gear...)

On ‎9‎/‎15‎/‎2007 at 6:44 AM, Sunesis said:

Yes, I agree, the whole purpose of God's plan is to get the creation back to the perfection it had.

Well, I'll have to disagree with that, because I don't think the perfection that was is the same as the perfection that will be.  You might think I'm nuts, but I'm actually not of the opinion that life as Adam and Eve knew it prior to the fall was ever intended or meant to be eternal.

And, as far as an opinion on God knows... well, I'll read more of these posts before commenting on that.

Edited by TLC
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On ‎9‎/‎19‎/‎2007 at 4:56 PM, TheEvan said:

God commanded Abraham to go someplace else. Abraham obeyed, knowing almost nothing except the brief command.

God informed him he would have a son in his old age. Abraham was incredulous. But he did have a son.

It reminds me of the Shunamite. When the prophet informed her she'd have a son in the time of life (ie, normal time of gestation) she scoffed and said "don't lie to me!". But, in the time of life she had a son. Where was her free will? Where was her 'believing'? I say it happened according to God's will alone

Actually, I'm somewhat inclined to think in that direction, though perhaps not exactly. Frankly, I'm just not real sure of how best to put my finger on it. Maybe like Mary said, "be it unto me according to thy word."  The simplicity of it is in merely "allowing" it to happened, and giving 100% of the credit for it to God rather than trying to think selfishly and "do something" which can later be used to feel more important and boast about.  On the other hand, if that describes what "genuine believing" really is, then yeah... Abraham believed God. (And if there's a problem thinking that, then maybe the problem's in our perception of how or what it means to believe God.) 

Still, I don't think this is necessarily a result of God's needing to exerting some cause for it backwards in or through time. 

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Perhaps I missed it (skimming as quickly as I did), but I didn't find a post that adequately captured or expressed some of my thinking on what God knows.  Oddly enough, they might lay be somewhere in between Larry N More's and certain others.  In short, I probably think of "omniscient" as "all knowing."  In other words, there is nothing that is or can be known that is unknown. From our limited perspective, that might appear to be unlimited. If God is Almighty (I think so), and determines the limits of what is and can be known, then for all intents and purposes perhaps what He knows should be deemed "unlimited." (As there is nothing or no one greater than He that might somehow or in someway "limit" it.)  Furthermore, being fully able to lovingly and effectually "steer" the course of events along or in the way that it needs to go so as to arrive at the intended final destination (if you care to think and speak in terms of "finality" of "the end" of things... though I think that in itself is a myth in relationship to eternity)... why should or must we think that God is already there (or been there) in order to be able to do that?

Edited by TLC
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On 6/2/2017 at 9:17 PM, TLC said:

Well, I'll have to disagree with that, because I don't think the perfection that was is the same as the perfection that will be.  You might think I'm nuts, but I'm actually not of the opinion that life as Adam and Eve knew it prior to the fall was ever intended or meant to be eternal..

I don't think we're going BACK, either. I believe we're going forward.

I Corinthians 2:19 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

 

All of this history just to go back?  I consider that inconsistent. (Of course, I may be wrong.)

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On 6/2/2017 at 10:50 PM, TLC said:

(snip)

why should or must we think that God is already there (or been there) in order to be able to do that?

We're looking at this from an entirely different question-which means, to me, your question phrases like a trick question.

Isaiah 57:15a

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity

Isaiah 46:9-11

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

 

So, we start from there. God "inhabits eternity" and "declares the end from the beginning."    What does that mean, and what implications does that have on our concepts of God Almighty?  Is God even Almighty?

Psalm 147:5

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

I John 3:20b

God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

 

We have some parameters here concerning God's knowledge. He knows all things, and understands all things. He knows the end from the beginning and inhabits eternity. What does all of that mean together?

The conclusion we've been drawing is that God Almighty is more than 3-dimensional.  Rather than existing moment-to-moment as we do, He "inhabits eternity" by existing in each moment simultaneously, so to Him, there's a perpetual present (or past or future.)  Events that are in the future to us are ancient history to Him.  That is consistent with Him "inhabiting eternity", "knowing all things", having an "infinite understanding", and "declaring the end from the beginning."  Other models with a lesser god lack an explanation that covers the verses.

 

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While I may not have enough time to explain this sufficiently, I will very plainly say that there was no trick question involved in my prior post.  It was a straightforward and honest question asking why you (i.e., at least some that were posting here) appeared to think it was necessary for God to already be in the future in order to declare what it would be.  Furthermore, I even gave you the reason why I was questioning it.  So, I'm a bit perplexed why you might insinuate that it was somehow framed or posed as some kind of "trick question."

As for this:

On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 10:03 AM, WordWolf said:

Isaiah 57:15a

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity

It seems to me that there is no clear or certain meaning to what is meant by "inhabiteth eternity" that indicates anything more significant than the fact that there is no beginning nor end to God.  In other words, His presence is present throughout eternity. There is nothing that came before Him.  There is nothing that will come after Him.

To declare the end from the beginning, does not require the end to already be happening.
If God says that He will bring it to pass, then so be it.  It will come to pass, and that is sufficient enough information to know that it will come to pass (even though it hasn't happened yet.)

To "know all things," as I see it, means to know all things that are knowable.  As I see it, to think that this MUST include knowing all things which are yet undetermined puts God in a box that doesn't need to be there - saying ALL things (without exception) are determined beforehand.  While I do believe that certain things can be (and are) known and determined by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, I am not convinced that EVERYTHING absolutely needs to be and necessarily is.  Sure, some things (not just a mere few mere little things - but the essential and critical framework of this world and life as He intended it to be) are called out beforehand.  Many (if not most) things, however, do not appear to be.  But what reason or scriptural evidence do you have that indicates absolutely EVERYTHING (that has not yet happened or come to pass) is predetermined?

Perhaps I simply see a place for freewill (or free course) to exist within a predetermined framework that doesn't make sense from your perspective.  But I can assure you, from my perspective God is no smaller, nor less able, less knowledgeable, less merciful, less loving... nor less of anything else you care to throw out there on the table... as a result.  In fact, if anything, it appears to me that it would require God to be greater, more able, and most definitely more loving to be able to operate with such mercy and grace, knowing (moment by moment) that all things will (with HIs guiding hand) inevitably work out to be in absolute perfect alignment and harmony with what He had (previously) planned.

 

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On 14/2/2017 at 10:34 PM, TLC said:

 

 

 

On 14/2/2017 at 10:34 PM, TLC said:

While I may not have enough time to explain this sufficiently, I will very plainly say that there was no trick question involved in my prior post.  It was a straightforward and honest question asking why you (i.e., at least some that were posting here) appeared to think it was necessary for God to already be in the future in order to declare what it would be.  Furthermore, I even gave you the reason why I was questioning it.  So, I'm a bit perplexed why you might insinuate that it was somehow framed or posed as some kind of "trick question."[/quote]

That would be perplexing-if that's what I'd done.  Because we were coming from completely different directions, your question almost sounds irrelevant when grafted onto the previous discussion. Starting from where we left off, "it phrases like a trick question."   So, that's what I said.   I went out of my way to not suggest it WAS a trick question, or even an unsuccessful ATTEMPT at a trick question. (We had some of those earlier in the discussion, and your posts lacked the barbs and meanness that accompanied those, and were also on-topic, if from an angle that I thought was less than optimal at this point.  I feel as if you walked into the 2nd hour of a movie and I have to summarize everything that went before.

To "know all things," as I see it, means to know all things that are knowable.

Reminds me of one often-repeated phrase that kept going around LEADERSHIP when "a Pivot Point in History" was disseminated, but before it was abandoned by that selfsame leadership.  "What God knows, He knows. What God doesn't know, He doesn't know."   In case you don't recognize it, that's an EVASION, and different people said it to me like it actually provided information.

So, as you see it, that's what it means.  What does THAT mean, and why is God Almighty limited to your definition?

To "know all things," as I see it, means to know all things that are knowable.  As I see it, to think that this MUST include knowing all things which are yet undetermined puts God in a box that doesn't need to be there - saying

ALL things (without exception) are determined beforehand.  While I do believe that certain things can be (and are) known and determined by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, I am not convinced that EVERYTHING absolutely needs to be and necessarily is.  Sure, some things (not just a mere few mere little things - but the essential and critical framework of this world and life as He intended it to be) are called out beforehand.  Many (if not most) things, however, do not appear to be.  But what reason or scriptural evidence do you have that indicates absolutely EVERYTHING (that has not yet happened or come to pass) is predetermined?

Perhaps I simply see a place for freewill (or free course) to exist within a predetermined framework that doesn't make sense from your perspective.

So, all of this could have been a lot clearer.  You're taking a position that was already articulated. You reject "God is All-Knowing" because your framework won't allow that to fit in with "God is Loving" and "Evil Exists."  You went the long way around in saying that.  So, are you clear that it's your perspective that this is so, and my perspective that it is not so, and it is simply to be determined which perspective is in harmony with Scripture- if indeed EITHER of us is?

I see freewill existing alongside God's Omniscience.  I don't see freewill existing alongside WordWolf's omniscience.    We have a God who allows suffering and bad decisions every moment of every day, permitting us all free will despite how badly we squander it.  (That's Genesis to Revelation and looking out the window. I can give specific examples from both if they're actually necessary, but I think you're clever enough to stipulate to that, and we can move on.)   We have a God who put the stars in a specific order and placed signs in the Heavens, then went back and made a Man who wasn't fallen. That Man had a choice to fall or not-and they chose to fall. Long before that, the signs indicating specifics about the Messiah were placed in the Heavens, and set in their courses.   Ever see the sign the Hebrews used to look for the cutting-off of the Messiah?  If you've never passed below the Equator, you haven't seen it live.  After Jesus' crucifixion, Crux passed below the celestial equator. From Palestine, it looked as if it was done-away-with.   The Southern Hemisphere knows it as "the Southern Cross" and it's easily visible on clear nights outside cities.  Before Man was created, Crux was made, and the sign was set in its course-which was scheduled for it to pass away from Palestine's view after the Messiah's sacrifice. Some time after that was set into place, Man was created, and told not to fall. If Man had chosen not to fall, there would have been no need for a Redeemer.

God's plan detailed for millions of years?  Just when WERE those stars crafted?  Not 6000 years ago, by any appearances-they appear very old. A plan that compasses MILLIONS of years. A plan that includes Israel sinning, Nebuchadnezzar taking some of their kids away to "educate" them, and 4 of them being so wise in God (Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah), that, even after their "education" and renaming, they (Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego)  were able to stand up for God AND educate the royal smart people to the degree that their intellectual descendants were able to look into the sky and see that the King of the Jews had arrived.  Why?  So that they would bring expensive tribute-gold, etc- to him, and spill the beans to Herod.  Why?  So Herod had the choice of trying to kill hundreds of children to eliminate his successor, or being a normal human being about it.  Why? So that prophecy saying he would do it would be fulfilled, and Joseph would take his family to Egypt to escape to safety-and have the financial resources to do it.  Why? So that other prophecies speaking of where the Messiah came from would be fulfilled despite confusing people since they name different places (wait, is he from Egypt, or Bethlehem, or Nazareth...?)

Did Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego have free will?  Did Herod?  Did the traveling Magi? Did Joseph?  I'd say so in each case.  Did God know ahead of time what their choices would be, and have His plan set up incorporating all of that to move His plan forward even when some of them tried to block it? I'd say so. 

How does that work?  Very well-at least, it works for GOD ALMIGHTY very well.  Seems like it must contradict on our level? Yes-because we lack the understanding it takes to make sense of all of that at once.

 

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Lots of good stuff to think about, WordWolf – thanks ! I wanted to add some relevant points from one of my favorite books on systematic theology.

In Volume 2 of Norman Geisler’s Systematic Theology, chapter 8 on God’s Omniscience, Geisler talks about the theological basis for God’s omniscience – that it can be derived from a number of his other attributes: his infinity, his causality, his necessity, his knowledge of reality, his eternality, and his absolute perfection. (Page 181)

If God is infinite – that means without limits; and God’s knowledge is identical to his nature; God’s knowledge is appropriate to his being. So God must have infinite knowledge. His knowledge must even include all future events. If it did not God would be limited in his knowledge. (Page 181)

Geisler goes on to say that God’s knowledge of reality includes both the actual and the possible. The impossible is not real.  God’s knowledge extends to all that is real – if it did not, then God would not be all-knowing. If God knows the possible as well as the actual, then God must know the future – even if any number of scenarios are possible. If something was impossible to happen – then it would never happen. Thus God must know all that will be actualized in the future, including any and all future acts committed by free moral beings. (Page 182)

Geisler notes as one of the objections to God’s omniscience that some have is due to a failure to recognize the legitimate use of anthropomorphisms regarding God’s knowledge. Often cited is the interaction between God and Abraham in Genesis 18:20-33. One does get the impression from the text that God did not have adequate information as to whether there were a sufficient number of righteous men to spare Sodom.  Geisler suggests that some may fail to grasp that God may sound indefinite to us because he desires to speak in terms that solicit a response rather than to receive an answer to something; Geisler states the infinite God often uses language here and elsewhere of sequential thought and indecision for the purpose of communication, not because of a lack in his knowledge, but due to the lack in our ability to know. (Pages 194, 195)

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On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 8:06 PM, WordWolf said:

I feel as if you walked into the 2nd hour of a movie and I have to summarize everything that went before.

Well, I didn't merely walk in without previewing the first hour.  So, it feels to me like you blew off any possibility that I was seeing and speaking on it from a different perspective, and were content to pigeonhole it into the same old thing you've known or seen before.  In other words, you focused on and spoke only to whatever similarities you could find, and either completely missed or intentionally ignored any differences. Even after plainly telling you that I was unacquainted with the Geer teaching you now appear to be referring to as "a Pivot Point in History," you now imply - in a rather accusatory fashion - that my perspective (which you evidently haven't actually identified, much less given any real thought to) is the same as it, and is therefore "evasive."

Be content with your thinking and position as you have and know it, WW.  I have no interest or care to somehow change or alter it.

Edited by TLC
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