Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by BlackHeart, Sep 18, 2003.
The Bible says God is not omniscient, is not omnipotent, and is not omnipresent.
God as omnipresent
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.
God as omipotent
"When Abram was ninety-nine years old, Yahueh appeared to Abram, and said to him, 'I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.'" Gen. 17:1
"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2
"Ah Lord Yahueh! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you." Jer. 32:17
"But Jesus looked at them and said, 'For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.'" Matt. 19:26
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.'" Matt. 28:18
God as omniscient
"Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." Acts 15:18
"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for Yahueh searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." 1 Chr. 28:9
"For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things." I John 3:20
Seems pretty biblical to me...
Re: Omnipotent God?
First off, good argument Paul. I've always liked it, and you articulate it well.
This is too simplistic.
The concept of freedom is this: a free agent makes a 'free' choice if it is to some degree undetermined by a prior state, i.e. physically uncaused and unpredictable. If an omniscient diety creates, he immediately knows all events because he spans all events, not because he is the cause of all events. He is only the singular cause of events independent of free choices by free agents. The usual model of responsibility depends on undetermined choices.
If you consider what-ifs, things become complicated, maybe too complicated to have meaningful discussion. Does it make sense to ask 'Does God know creation before he creates?' Not obviously, since time is an element of creation. Even if He does, if creation is to any degree the consequence of free choices, the concept of responsibility remains intact.
The problem with freedom lies in the concept of freedom itself, not with omniscience. There is no model of freedom, as far as I know. One can imagine agents making freedom-less determined choices that succeed from previous mental and physical states, or one can imagine a random spiritual x-factor that moderates how agents choose. However, the latter concept does not accounts for responsibility, even if it satisfies the unpredictability requirement. This has always been a problem for me. Maybe, our concept of responsibility is totally off, and it does not depend on free choices. Maybe even if we're determine, doomed or blessed, we are culpable for our choices because we are spiritual beings with ownership of our choices.
Or, equally possible, maybe freedom is magic.
Not obviously true. People may be judged outside time, or equivalently eternally throughout time, beCAUSE of their free choices. Omniscience is reconcilable with freedom at first glance. At least, the concepts are sufficiently complicated for plenty of doubt of their mutual exclusivity.
God is limited only when we come from a very limited understanding and view of him. However that does not mean he is limited! He is omniscient, some just dont see that yet.
Perhaps someone has already said this so I am inclined to agree if they have
I have to admit I didn't read through all the responses to this issue, so if someone has already suggested this, feel free to skip this comment.
An assumption in this question is that God is a being — a supreme being yes, but nontheless a being. That basically means he's just like us, just more so.
The theologian Paul Tillich once suggested that God is not a being at all. but rather that God is the ground of all being. A being has characteristics. The ground of all being is beyond characteristics and makes the omni-omni question moot.
Of the responses I did read, I liked emong's the best. Does it really matter that much? How would the answer change you? In the end, Christian tradition holds that God transcends human understanding and reality. He is a mystery. Can you live with that? If not, read some Hume and Hobbes.
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (Yes that is true, if the speaker ascends into heaven, God is there, and if he makes his bed in the graveyard God is there. Does this make God omnipresent?
adj : being present everywhere at once
LET US READ:
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
See, the heavenly realm which God is extends to earth which touches His footstool. So, to describe him as omnipresent is illogical.
Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. (Yeah I just did give the verse explaining these verses).
Anyway, there is something of God that is omnipresent.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
And what are these eyes?
Revelations 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
2. Omnipotent - Able in every respect and for every work;
Just read this topic: There is something that God cannot do.
3. Omniscient - Having total knowledge.
You just gave a proof that God is not omniscient.
I Chronicles 28:9 - And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
search = the activity of looking thoroughly in order to find something or someone.
Dictionary meanings of omnipresent, omnipotent, omnicient and search gotten here dict.die.com and dictionary.com
I think the best question to ask here is "What is God?" To my knowledge there is no proven God, so the question on what God is will always be under speculation (until we really find It).
If we are talking about the Abrahamic deity Yahweh, then yes in many ways this god is limited. Yahweh seems to be nothing more than a very angry human with supernatural powers . He also tends to support genocide in some cases (which totally takes away his omnibenevolence). Also if all the energy of Yahweh can be concentrated in one man (Jesus), then he is very limited.
The Hindu supreme god Brahman on the other hand has no limits. Brahman is panentheistic meaning the sum total of reality and everything beyond is Its cosmic spirit.
Very subjective my friend. To you the question might be, "What is God?" What a mistake it is to impose your question on those who have a personal answer already to that question... In reality, many are on the "who is God" question, and some are on the "What does God want from me?" question. And a few are on the "How can I do what God wants me to?" question. And a couple are on the "Am I doing it right, God?" question.
Why would any concept of "God" be considered limited (as opposed to a god)? With the big "G" put before od, most understand we are talking about the Creator of all, yes? If so, why exclude a particular faith, from such a concept? And how can one claim to understand the anger, or discipline of one's God, without knowing that God? Yet you seem to have no problem judging a version of God, you apparently know little about...
If I were to give you 1000 pounds of dynamite, or 2 pounds of C4, or one single atom, for a choice of weapons to defend yourself from others, which one would give your the best "bang" for your "buck"?
You don't know, unless you understand the rules, and the chemistry, and what can be done with what you have (and the tools and knowledge to use them).
My point is, you don't know the Abrahamic God, well enough to make a qualified expression of opinion of, (let alone a judgement on), his/its capacity or capability as, a god. As far as genocide is concerned, it seems all "gods" are quite capable of allowing that...even the Hindi "god (s)"...
How do I know? I have seen the fighting, first hand...
Q, the wonderer
"Hindi" is the language that is spoken in India. Hindus are beings which practice the Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism as it is often known.
Sorry I goofed on that (I know better). But I thought the actual word Hindu was an insult? Is that incorrect?
I wouldn't bet the farm on that . I have read and studied the Abrahamic religions, almost religiously you might say . And if you think Yahweh portrayed in the Hebrew Bible cannot be considered as an enraged megalomaniac, then you can't see this in all angles . Yahweh is a Hebrew war God. Such gods are found in many cultures and religions (including the Hindu religion).
But the Brahman is more like a philosophical concept than a spiritual material construct to keep society in balance. It is based on rational thought, something Yahweh is not. Yahweh is a deity, like Zeus, Jupiter, Indra, ect. Such deities are found all over the world in every cultures as I said earlier.
Don't take what I said to offence. About an year ago I probably would have taken offence on what I said above too. But there is nothing extreme about them and once you find out where I am coming from then it would make perfect sense.
I'm not trying to impose the question on anyone. This thread is titled "Is God omniscient or limited?" not "Is Yahweh/Abrahamic god omniscient or limited?". So the question "What is God" is very relevant to this thread. Without clearing what god we are talking about then things will go no where. Obviously Zeus and Indra have the power of lightening and Yahweh can enter a physical body. Each deity has its limitations, much like comic book super heroes. Yahweh is no exception.
There are many definitions of "god". Until we specify what (type of) god then the discussion cannot go anywhere.
As I said before, I know far more about Yahweh than you think and can back my statements with scriptures.
Secondly, do you realize that to some God never created the universe and is the universe itself? Or perhaps imminent within it but never created it? Then there are the deities, and as I said before each deity has its own power. Zeus for example can throw cosmic thunder but he doesn't have the sun powers Ra has. Therefore Zeus is limited. From my observation, Yahweh can supposedly create a world but has a hard time controlling his anger. Therefore Yahweh is limited.
However if we are talking about the philosophical concept of the Brahman, it is obvious such a Supreme Being has no limitations. Understand what I'm saying? Brahman is nothing like Zeus, and Zeus is nothing like Yahweh. I know people that would kill for equating the three .
Question: Can God completely eliminate himself, and render his own existence utterly irretrievable?
If he can - does that make him limited?
If he can't - does that not also make him limited?
God knows best
Wait wait wait, isn't this like, "Can God make a rock so heavy, that even God cannot lift it?" I love springing that on people who say stuff like, "God can Annnnnnnnnnnnything God wants to!" yeah right
How about, "What happens when an unstoppable object meets an immovable force?" Okay, I got another:The following sentence is true.
The preceding sentence is false.
Ok G-d everyone knows a piece of toast always falls butter down....and a cat always lands on its feet... so what happens if you strap a peice of toast to the back of a cat?
The predecessor to the invention of ... velcro?
Remember with God all things are possible. God has no beginning and no end this makes no sense to us, since everything on this planet has both and our brains are not capact enough to truly understand God, therefore we can never (never say never) understand God and also says God is capable of everything. Does God have omnipotence?, omnipresence?, omnisapience?, and omniscience? God made those things. How do i know? Because God said so (no refference needed)
Just bumping a topic linked to from the main site.
Does the Modern Science (Physics/Biology/Neuroscience) fails to answer 5 questions?
1. Origin of space? 2. Origin of energy? 3. Origin of matter? 4. Origin of life? 5. Origin of mind?
Vedic Science review these questions as: 1. Who am i? 2. Where did i come from?
'Brahma' (CONSCIOUSNESS) + 'Vishnu'(SPACE) + 'Maheswara' (TIME) = Dravya (MATTER)
God is omnisciently limited.
Separate names with a comma.