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1493
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Topic
#4401

Foreknowledge does not describe Christian God's knowledge.

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Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Winner
0
0

After not so many votes...

It's a tie!
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Standard
Number of rounds
4
Time for argument
Three days
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20,000
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Two weeks
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Open
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0
1500
rating
2
debates
25.0%
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Description

Debate as to whether or not Christian God has or is characterized by foreknowledge.

Pro position is, no. God does not have foreknowledge or defined by it.
Con position is yes. God has foreknowledge or defined by it.

Round 1
Pro
#1
Foreknowledge does not describe the Christian God. 

1. What is foreknowledge?

to have previous knowledge of know beforehand especially by paranormal means or by revelation 

There are more ways to say the same thing. My focus is that foreknowledge itself requires our knowledge to be of a future. To have a future, one must experience a future. 

1b what is time? 
There are many concepts or definitions to the word time as it can describe many things. I will use time to refer to a linear progression of events. I am open to other uses. 

2. Who is Christian God? 

This is only neutral description I found online. In summary, I would say Christian God is a deity described by Christian scripture & traditions. When I say "Scripture & traditions" I am including the bible along with other documents that depict who or what god is. So I am not looking at scripture alone.

3A. In whole we can see diverse opinions among christians as to what Christian God does. One common statement is that god created all things. This includes time. 

Here are links that demonstrate the common statement. 

3B. Does creating everything include time? 
 Passages that say that God made everything [demonstrate God made time](e.g. Genesis 1:1Exodus 20:8–11Ecclesiastes 11:5John 1:3Colossians 1:16–17). But there is more to the story. For instance, the Bible also teaches that God needs nothing outside of himself (see e.g. 1 Chronicles 29:14–16Acts 17:24–28, and Romans 11:33–36), that God is eternal (Psalm 90:21 Timothy 6:16Hebrews 1:10–129:14), and that God is unique in these ways (Deuteronomy 4:32–40Isaiah 43:101 Chronicles 16:26). These verses are of course only a small selection; these ideas are found all throughout the Bible. When we put all this together, .... the Bible [does not] makes God a creation of time; He is supreme over all things, which includes time. 

4. God does not experience time in the same way humans do because God created time. 

An analogy for this is as follows. 
If we draw a single line, that line can represent time. That line can represent any event in time. The line, like time, has a start and finish. We, like all things created with or in "time" are subject to it. We witness events and time as it unfolds. For us there is a future, present, and past. 

God is not on the line. Although he may influence the line and things on the line (i.e. humans), God would be represented as a mark off and away from the line. From here, God experiences the line (time) as a whole. All at once. 

This indicates God does not have a past or future. He only exists. This is shown by the very name god provides to humans,
"I am." A name that expresses existence. 

5. Christian God experiences all things at one because all of time is experienced at once; as the present. When we experience only the present, we do not have a past or future. Therefore knowledge is experienced only in the present tense. 

Foreknowledge relies on knowing what will happen. By definition alone we should see that foreknowledge does not describe the Christian God. God does not use foreknowledge. 
Con
#2
Greetings
Hello there, thank you for creating this debate, I hope to have a blast.  I'm sorry for how long it has taken me to finally post, I've been really busy.  Okay, let's see what we have here.

I agree with all of your definitions and many of your statements made from points 1-3 in your argument.  However, it is in point 4 that we begin to differ.

1.  First, time is relative, and therefore, is typically always described from a certain point of view.  If we were approaching this from the point of view of God, then perhaps, we can say that He doesn't have foreknowledge.  The problem is, if we desire to approach our view of God from His own perspective, then much of the Bible becomes irrelevant.  You see,  most of the Bible is written relative to man and the Biblical descriptions of God are all made relative to our point of view.  Therefore, it becomes logical to describe God entirely from our point of view.  So, it follows that God has foreknowledge because he knows what, relative to us, hasn't happened yet.

2."God is not on the line. Although he may influence the line and things on the line (i.e. humans), God would be represented as a mark off and away from the line. From here, God experiences the line (time) as a whole. All at once. "
Ah, but He can be, and from time to time He is.  It is a very Biblical principle that God is proactive in the history of mankind; how is that possible if He does not subject Himself to our timeline?  Though He isn't held into our timeline by nature, He clearly chooses to come interact with us on our timeline.  So, going back to the point of relativity, God knows all things because He has seen them already, but when He comes to us on a certain point of the timeline, then relative to us, He has foreknowledge.
Let's say that I travel back in time.  Do I have foreknowledge of what will happen?  I believe so, because, even though I know the future of the past through my experiences in my previous present, relative to the point in time I have subjected myself to, I would indeed have foreknowledge.

3.  Because the Bible is written relative to us, it describes clearly the ideal of foreknowledge:
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."(1)  Romans 8:29
Round 2
Pro
#3
Forfeited
Con
#4
I stand by my previous argument, nothing has changed.
Round 3
Pro
#5
Foreknowledge
Thanks for taking this challenge and debate. 


1. First, time is relative, and therefore, is typically always described from a certain point of view. A)  If we were approaching this from the point of view of God, then perhaps, we can say that He doesn't have foreknowledge.  

Let's say we have two people. Ted and Bill. Ted is color blind, seeing hues of grey. Ted's point of view includes the variable "blind" because that is his experience.  Bill is not color blind. Bill's viewpoint includes varied colors because that is his experience. 

Should we use Ted's point of view to describr how Bill experiences life?  

Bill has blonde hair. Ted has black hair. Ted's description for his own hair is relative to his experience and living. Ted's description for Bill's hair does not allow our full understanding as to what Bill's hair color is. Nor does it tell us how Bill experiences his hair. 

Ted's viewpoint is still relative to Ted and anyone who shares Ted's view point. Ted's viewpoint is not relative to us knowing Bill's viewpoint/experience. 

This debate is about the Christian God's viewpoint because we are asking, "does God experience/have foreknowledge?" Our viewpoint on time (i.e. past present future) is a limitation when trying to describe God's experience. 



2."God is not on the line. Although he may influence the line and things on the line (i.e. humans), God would be represented as a mark off and away from the line. From here, God experiences the line (time) as a whole. All at once." 

A) This analogy tries to highlight God's experience. How does God experience time, events through out time, etc.? 

"How is that possible if He does not subject Himself to our timeline?  "

A.) Why does God need to subject himself to time?  If God is eternal, His actions are eternal. Being eternal should imply God is not subject to time because being eternal shows one is not affected by time. No age or deteriation. 

B) So, going back to the point of relativity, God knows all things because He has seen them already, but when He comes to us on a certain point of the timeline, then relative to us, He has foreknowledge.

...Let's say I travel back in time.

B). This part looks at the human experience to explain God's experience. If you go back in time, are you still experiencing the time you had just left? 

Lets say we exist in 1985. We time travel to 1955. We now experience 1955. Do we still experience and 1985? 

I am saying God experiences both 1955 and 1985  together, at once. With all other years.   Forever. 

3.  Because the Bible is written relative to us, it describes clearly the ideal of foreknowledge: Romans 8:29 

Yes the bible is written relative to us and our experience. What is Romans 8:29 in the bible? Clearer question, what is the book of Romans in the bible? This part in the bible, titled "Romans," is a letter written by a human for human audience. 

If we are looking at this from a human viewpoint then we fall short in describing God's viewpoint and experience. How/why is described in part 1 above.  

But to reiterate, my experience in life does not dictate how you will experience life. We should not use human concepts for time to dictate how God would experience time or point of view for any event. 


Con
#6
Hello again, let's see what we have.

1.
"Bill has blonde hair. Ted has black hair. Ted's description for his own hair is relative to his experience and living. Ted's description for Bill's hair does not allow our full understanding as to what Bill's hair color is. Nor does it tell us how Bill experiences his hair. "

So, what decides the objective point of view?  You started by saying that Bill's hair is blond and Ted's hair is black, thereby setting the basis of relativity. Thus, relative to the truth that Bill's hair is blond, we know that Ted's point of view is not complete.  But, if we were Ted, how would we know that Bill's hair is blond?  We can be told, but even then, we would never know exactly what that is.  However, we at least can tell that it is not black and form a description based on that.  
My point is, the only valid point of relativity, especially in regards to how we describe things, is our own.  If we start to describe things based on our inexperienced knowledge of God's viewpoint, then our entire view, including much of the Bible, would crumble.  For example, relative to us, God is good; relative to God, He is normal while we are evil.  It is illogical to start describing things relative to other points of view.
 
"This debate is about the Christian God's viewpoint because we are asking, "does God experience/have foreknowledge?"
I must say, I did not yet see any question about whether God "experiences" foreknowledge.  Obviously, the word experience immediately places the point of relativity to the being who is experiencing, while whether a being "has" something can be relative to either side.  

2.
"Why does God need to subject himself to time?  If God is eternal, His actions are eternal. Being eternal should imply God is not subject to time because being eternal shows one is not affected by time. No age or deteriation."

I did not say that God "needs" to subject Himself to time, I merely said that God chooses to subject Himself in time so that He can appear to us and be with us on our timeline.

3.
"Lets say we exist in 1985. We time travel to 1955. We now experience 1955. Do we still experience and 1985? 
I am saying God experiences both 1955 and 1985  together, at once. With all other years.   Forever. "

Here is the issue with that.  If what you are saying is true, then God would not only experience 1955 and 1985 together, but he would also experience every second, even millisecond, of every year at once; He would experience it all in a point infinitely small.  The problem with that is, if He experiences it together, then He doesn't know what will happen at any given moment in the future.  In other words, God couldn't plan anything because He wouldn't know in 1955 what will happen in 1985 because He experiences them all simultaneously.  Of course the problem with that is that He couldn't plan anything as He wouldn't know what all happened until everything already has.  Since the Bible indicates that our timeline will stretch on for eternity, we must conclude that God experiences an infinite amount of moments in an infinitely small moment.  This all is extremely contradictory to God's actions as found in the Bible.
It is far more logical to conclude that while God does experience everything at once, He also chooses to subject Himself to the timeline as well, in order to use the knowledge He's learned in His experience of everything to influence our timeline.  This is not far fetched as it is clear in the Bible that God's nature is fluid and He can choose to be many places, both in space and, logically following, in time.

4.
"If we are looking at this from a human viewpoint then we fall short in describing God's viewpoint and experience. How/why is described in part 1 above."

I agree, as I've already mentioned, I do not believe that it is logical to describe things from God's point of view.

"But to reiterate, my experience in life does not dictate how you will experience life. We should not use human concepts for time to dictate how God would experience time or point of view for any event."

The problem is that our language and experience is all based on the viewpoint of mankind.  The moment that we try to step out of our viewpoint, everything falls apart because even our words, the definitions, and our understanding of them are based on our viewpoint.  What you are doing is basing God's viewpoint on our viewpoint based on how we view foreknowledge and then how we view that God must experience time relative to us.  It is far better to simply describe God based on our view.  God is good, God is patient, God is kind, etc...all relative to us.




Round 4
Pro
#7
Although I limited the possibility in this debate by missing a round, I hope everything that could be said was said.  This really helps the dabate. I want to thank my opponent and everyone who decided to read this debate. 

From start to finish in this debate we can see that foreknowledge does not describe the christian god because god does not experience a future. God's experience is outside of and unaffected by time. This eternal existence allows knowledge to be  all at once.  

With that said I will address the previous round. 

1

Thus, relative to the truth that Bill's hair is blond, we know that Ted's point of view is not complete.  But, if we were Ted, how would we know that Bill's hair is blond?  We can be told, but even then, we would never know exactly what that is.  However, we at least can tell that it is not black and form a description based on that.  

You are going into my point. In this analogy, we are Ted and God's knowledge is Bill's hair. We do not know exactly how God experiences knowledge, but can rule out foreknowledge the same way we would rule out Bill's hair is not black.

 We know what black hair is. But Bill's hair is not black. We know foreknowledge applies to a being that has a future. We know future and time in general does not apply to God because God is described as eternal. 

How does Ted know Bill's hair is blonde? He does not. The primary part for our discussion is that he know's the hair is not black. Otherwise there are two ways for Ted to know. 

A ) he is told direct and explicit. "Ted, Bill's hair is blonde." 

B) or Ted learns what other colors are, discovering there is blonde, and coming to his own conclusion, "hm. Bill's hair must be blonde." 

If there are other ways for Ted to know, these are the only one's I thought of. Where as our understanding to God not having foreknowledge is based on us knowing what knowledge is. Then eliminating foreknowledge. 

If we start to describe things based on our inexperienced knowledge of God's viewpoint, then our entire view, including much of the Bible, would crumble.  

Can you provide another example or explain how we would base things on an inexperience knowledge? 

I never seen someone get crucified. There are many parts in the bible I never seen or experienced. That is my inexperienced knowledge. At the same time I can understand what being crucified must have looked like. 

I do not know the pain involved but I can reason the agony. We have other historical data and experts to convey the agony.  

I do wish to better understand what you are saying here. Also I must ask. If we are not to use our inexperience to describe God's viewpoint, then why are we using foreknowledge? God's viewpoint is our inexperience, correct? 

For your example, there is a hitch. A wench in the gears. You say God is normal in His own eyes, but we learn about "God is good" from others or from the bible. Relative to us, some  say god is evil. This is known as  "problem of evil," and is used in debates that question god's existence. This takes us to the problem of relativity. Everything is subjective. 

We can talk about objectivity vs subjectivity for days without a conclusion, but we will circle back to how I experience knowledge is not the same way God experiences knowledge. I should not use my experience to define your experience.  I should not use my experience to define God's experience. 

Although I can use my experience to help understand what someone else's experience is like (or not like by ruling things out), that likeness will not  define that other person's experience.  

I must say, I did not yet see any question about whether God "experiences" foreknowledge.  

I do not understand how this relates. 

2 I did not say that God "needs" to subject Himself to time, I merely said that God chooses to subject Himself in time so that He can appear to us and be with us on our timeline. 

Ok. What does it mean to subject one self to a thing? This means we are affected by the thing we subject ourselves to, yes? 

Why do we come to the conclusion that God subjects himself to time when He interacts with us? 

3.  He would experience it all in a point infinitely small

How is that small when we do not know how long timeline is? 

Now for the next part. Why should we consider these "problems" to being something that is a problem? 

He doesn't know what will happen at any given moment in the future

Lets consider the above sentence. Why is this a problem? My whole position is banking on God not having a future. Lol. 

I am ruling out "in the future" because we can rule out "god has a future." How? He is eternal/infinite. 

Would God then know in 1955 what happens in 1985? Yes because he is experiencing it at the same time. 

He always knows what is happening because God does not experience a future - he is always present. He always knows. 

Does this contradict "God is all knowing?" No, because it does not limit knowledge. Experiencing all knowledge at once does not limit knowledge.  

Does this mean god can not plan? No because the word plan describes a desire and process to fullfil a desire. We include time with planing because we have to. That is our experience. 

This all is extremely contradictory to God's actions as found in the Bible. 

What contradiction exists if God experiences all things at once for eternity? He would still be all knowing and still have plans. 

4.  What you are doing is basing God's viewpoint on our viewpoint ....

I really think this should be flipped around because I agree. We should not use our viewpoint to describe God's viewpoint. Foreknowledge is our viewpoint. We should not use it to describe God's knowledge. 

What you are doing is basing God's viewpoint on our viewpoint based on how we view foreknowledge and then how we view that God must experience time relative to us.  It is far better to simply describe God based on our view.   

I have rewritten my response to this at least 20 times. I have no way to articulate this other than saying you are doing exactly what you claim not to do.  Im sorry I am unable to help explain it, but me trying to results in 7 more paragraphs that does not explain it well enough. 


Con
#8
First, I would like to say thank you to my opponent; this has been a very interesting debate!

1.
Let's go back to the beginning as I feel we have slightly strayed from the perimeters of this debate.  The question at hand is, "Debate as to whether or not Christian God has or is characterized by foreknowledge."  In the middle of this debate, my opponent began to ask the question, "does God experience foreknowledge".  One's experiences and one's definition is completely different.  The main question at hand begs subsequent question, "what is the basis of what something has or how something is described."
The first critical point is, description comes from observation--we describe things based on how we see them.  We see a color, and give it a name; we understand that other beings may observe it differently, but we choose to describe it based on how we see it because that is the only description that we can truly understand.
Second, description comes from comparative thinking--we describe words is comparison to others.  We have words like good, happy, and love; these words are truly meaningless without bad, sad, and hate.
Third, descriptions must be consistent--part of this is having a consistent point of observation for all of our descriptions, not just one.

So, should we describe God as having foreknowledge? 
First, how do we see it? it is clear that from our point of view, God has foreknowledge; even my opponent agrees with this.  However, my opponent believes that our definition of God and His character should come from God's point of view.  But if our definition of God should come entirely from God's point of view, then we should not stop at foreknowledge, we must then completely re-describe God's every attribute. 
Is this even possible?  Does the Bible give us what we need in order to completely fulfill this task?  
Is this good for our relationship with God?  Does it leave use praising and relating to God in the way that we truly should?
It is my conclusion that basing our definition of God and His character on God's point of view is not only truly impossible, but also a dangerous task to take on.  Thus, it is far better to base our description from our own point of view as it is the only way that we can derive an understandable and flawless view of who God is, especially in relation to us.  This idea is demonstrated in the Bible as even God is always defined in the Bible from our viewpoint.   Therefore, we should describe God as having foreknowledge.

2.
"In this analogy, we are Ted and God's knowledge is Bill's hair. We do not know exactly how God experiences knowledge, but can rule out foreknowledge the same way we would rule out Bill's hair is not black."
Yes, but the reason we can rule out that Bill's hair is not black is because of our own observation; not because we try to define Bill from Bill's point of view.

" We know what black hair is. But Bill's hair is not black. We know foreknowledge applies to a being that has a future. We know future and time in general does not apply to God because God is described as eternal."
     First off, people are defined as eternal as well, so the fact that God is eternal is not what indicates that He doesn't have a future. 
Second, relative to us, God does have a future, so He can have foreknowledge; once again circling back to my believe that our definitions should be relative to us.

"Can you provide another example or explain how we would base things on an inexperience knowledge? I never seen someone get crucified. There are many parts in the bible I never seen or experienced. That is my inexperienced knowledge. At the same time I can understand what being crucified must have looked like. "
     When I say "our", I'm talking about mankind, not specifically you and me; I should have made this more clear.  Mankind's definition are derived from experience or from ideas based on experience.  Our understanding of what something we haven't experienced may look or feel like, comes from previous experiences.  If one has never experienced pain at all, then the pain of crucifixion is something they cannot comprehend.  It is my belief that our experience does not provide us with enough understanding to completely define God from His own viewpoint.

"For your example, there is a hitch. A wench in the gears. You say God is normal in His own eyes, but we learn about "God is good" from others or from the bible. Relative to us, some  say god is evil. This is known as  "problem of evil," and is used in debates that question god's existence. This takes us to the problem of relativity. Everything is subjective. "
    This is entirely based on one's definition of good and evil, which is quite the separate debate.

"How is that small when we do not know how long timeline is?"
It doesn't matter how long the timeline is; if God experiences it all at once, then it would all be experienced in a moment infinitely small.

"Would God then know in 1955 what happens in 1985? Yes because he is experiencing it at the same time. 
He always knows what is happening because God does not experience a future - he is always present. He always knows."
     First, how does being infinite mean you don't have a future?  Just because your future doesn't end doesn't mean you don't have one.  Second, if He experiences it at the same time, then He doesn't know in 1955 what will happen in 1985 because it is at the same time.  But, if He knows as He experiences 1955 what will happen in 1985 then He must have already experienced 1985 and is know reexperiencing 1955.  My belief is that God is entirely disconnected from the timeline which means He has already experienced everything, and is still experiencing it at the same time.  

"What contradiction exists if God experiences all things at once for eternity?"
     The contradiction is that He experiences all things at ONCE for ETERNITY.  This either indicates repetition of every moment for eternity or it means that every moment lasts an eternity for God, in which case, He hasn't experienced anything.  Once again, it is far better to say that God has experienced every moment already and uses that experience in how He interacts with our timeline.

"We should not use our viewpoint to describe God's viewpoint. Foreknowledge is our viewpoint. We should not use it to describe God's knowledge. "
   Why should we describe God based on His own viewpoint?

In closing, it is my belief that we should describe God as having foreknowledge.  Although He may not personally experience it, through our definition and our experiences, which should shape our definitions, God does have foreknowledge.