Since the universe / creation / human beings are continuing to evolve, do you believe God has an ultimate end purpose in mind or is he allowing human beings to go their own way using individual free will as the ultimate arbiter of individual outcomes?
Did God plan the end from the beginning in the big bang (ex. there is a peculiar verse in Revelations that says the Lamb was crucified before the foundation of the world)?
If God did not plan the end from the beginning, can He still be all knowing?
Does God have specific value, purpose and significance for every creature that will ever exist in the universe? (ex. Jesus indicated God even cared about a lone sparrow that falls)
First, welcome to the forum. As your question relates to the “end game” of evolution, it is interesting to consider. An old post of Scot McKight’s came up today on Facebook, and is relevant, perhaps expressing some of the thoughts that arise better than I can do:
I doubt we will settle the issue here, but my particular place on the issue at this time is that God knows all that can be known, but perhaps there are some things that are not knowable if free will exists, which I think it does. That allows for God to direct and accomplish his will in future events, so God can determine the future through his will, but in those things he allows us free will, the outcome is variable and unknowable. God’s will be done.
From a Biblical point of view, I personally think this runs into a problem of undermining the concept of grace and the whole point of Christianity. From a theological point of view, to be succinct, it seems terribly precarious to leave something as significant as eternal salvation in the hands of the individual. It also raises a whole host of other questions.
Did God know Adam and Eve would sin? (
If he did, on what basis does one distinguish that foreknowledge from foreknowledge of other believers and non-believers?
what about those who have never heard of Jesus? I know William Lane Craig is a fan of molinism where God foreknows, but does not predestine, and claims those who never heard of Jesus God foreknew would not have accepted him even if they had heard. This also is a huge problem for me because if we are all saved by grace and not based on innate qualities residing within ourselves, then I don’t see how this could be true.
Biblical issues to me are not really the focus of my question though (perhaps I selected the wrong subforum?). I have always leaned heavily towards a Calvinist viewpoint in this regard.
I was more interested in the ways in which science and modernism might provide some insight to these questions.
For example, if time is part of the created universe and does not exist outside the universe, then this would indicate that God exists outside time and sees everything that would ever be before it ever was, at least with respect to the universe we find ourselves in which has a timeline.
I would say it depends, but probably more so than not. I think most evangelical YECs are both fundamentalists and pragmatists so they interpret doctrine based on
The Bible being literally infallible providing a dependable baseline for life and conduct.
While accepting inerrancy, range widely on interpretation usually informed by experience, situational contexts and norms, highly localized culture / tradition and what they perceive works best and makes the most sense in their own lives.
I agree in a way, yet it sort of gets to the same point as the question “Could God create a rock too big for him to move?” Those sorts of question are at their core nonsense and thus not valid, and the question, “Can God know something that is inherently unknowable?” touches the same area. God can be all knowing, and know all that can be known, but if something is unknowable, he would still not know it. The question then becomes, Is anything unknowable? If you read the review I referenced, I think perhaps scripture leaves that open.
how does an omniscient time transcending being make a plan? he already knows what he has done and he already knows that it was good as our free will as well as random events, whilst having a consequence for the case have no impact on the outcome due to the constraint of the law that determines the overall outcome.
I think the large picture was decreed, and will happen, but I don’t think the details are decreed or known. God is very powerful, and can have great influence over things so that His will, will ultimately be done.
Like water, I can ‘control’ it, but not really, I can more accurately said, influence it. Gravity pulls it, and I can add barriers. If we follow a molecule of water, and it is heading straight, and I want it to head left, I put a barrier in place of it, it hits the barrier and goes left. Did I control it? Or did I influence it?
I think much the same, we have free will, and God cannot control us (or choses not to) but He can and does influence us. Some with a stronger hand than others.
I do think Jesus was crucified before the foundation of the world, Rev says it, Col says it, and so does Rom. It took quite a bit of time to play out what God needed/wanted to have happen. The Romans took over and had highways, rule/protection/order, ‘one world’ language. This was the perfect time to spread Christianity throughout the world, to reveal the truth of God and be able to spread it.
It is very unlikely that anyone would kill a 'nice, moral, healing servant like Jesus. The Jews had to have gone through their cycles of apostasy, been exiled, and returned to their land, now more gung ho than ever to uphold the law and not be exiled again. So legalistically passionate, that the sin and the powers of darkness could take a huge advantage of the law, and use greed and pride and hate to crucify such a meek Man.
There were narratives of a flood and mass punishment, and redemption, being enslaved, and being redeemed.
I don’t want to make this post too long, but the entire OT is an amazing narrative and orchestration of many different instruments to come to a crescendo at the cross, when the powers of darkness tried to do their worst and ended up being defeated on the cross.
I don’t know any verses where God says that says He is all knowing. He is very knowledgeable beyond our comprehension, He knows the past and the present and ultimate future (not the details), but I see no verses (rather man’s assumptions/declarations) that He is all knowing.
I do not believe so. The sparrow is living in the present, and has value in the present. I don’t think from the beginning of the universe God knew of that specific sparrow, nor are their any verses (that I am aware of) where God claims that.
I don’t think I understand this? Grace is something done for us/to us, it has no base on how we act. So free will or not, grace can be given, it is given out by the Creator as He wishes, we do nothing to deserve it, that is what grace is.
I believe so, I believe man sinned before he knew he did, and he was only made aware of, and charged for that sin when the law presented it to him. Rom 5:13 “To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.”
Man was made flawed, the potential to be an image bearer, but in order to fulfill that role, one needed to obey the spirit, not the flesh, chose God’s will, not mans. Jesus, who did this even unto His death, was the true image bearer, "Col 1:15 “The Son is the image of the invisible God”
I have some personal inclusivism/universalism theories on that, but in the end, it doesn’t matter nor should affect the way we live. We live our lives to obey and honor God, to love Him and others and put their needs above ours. God is in charge of who will and will not inherit eternal life, not us. Yes, we are to make disciples, but just how Jesus did, by showing the world the love of God through us and that’s it. Let God deal with the ends, we just control the means.
If I believed all go to heaven no matter what or only Baptist did (insert x conditions here), it should not change the way I live, we do all things for the glory of God. Job 1:21 "“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”"
The one truth I will boast in, is the love, justice, mercy, righteousness of God, it isn’t contingent on any outcome we may observe, it is a truth.
Time is a very ambiguous term which becomes more and more so with the more we learn about it. I try to break it into two categories, as time that is, and time that is measured. Measured time can slow or stop, but the past still happened, you can’t go into the past, and the future has yet to happen, you can’t go into it.
I believe God is outside the measured time, and can control that, but probably doesn’t, nor does He need to. I don’t think God is ever 'knocked on His heels" and reacting of detriment and fear of falling (like falling is going to happen, but how can one minimize the pain), though I do believe more like a goal keeper, on ‘His toes’, reacting with anticipation, and due to this, a ball never gets passed Him, there is no fear of it ever getting past Him, He is vigilant. But does not know the future, it hasn’t happened yet. If a goal keeper was to barricade the 99% of the goal with a barrier, that would be one way to influence where the ball is probably going to end up, but still not controlling or knowing where the ball will get kicked.
I can’t control my child, but I can influence and train to make the decisions I believe are best for them. But the ultimate decision is up to them. I wait in anticipation, hoping they will do as I trained, but I never know until it is done. I do believe God can read our thoughts, knows our minds, but the known action isn’t known until it is actually done. He wouldn’t put us to a test unless He thought we were prepared to pass. But even prepared to pass, we still fail, which brings about more training. It brings me great joy to watch my child chose the right path. I am also ready to catch them if they fall, if they make the wrong decision, I am optimistically hoping for the right decision, but am vigilantly waiting for a wrong decision to be made so I can prevent real harm coming from that decision. Though sometimes I will allow ‘superficial harm’ harm to come to them, so they can learn a lesson and make a better decision next time.
I want my child to ask for help, I want them to learn me and know me, so they can also learn how to act.
And I am a terrible human father, how much more loving, good, knowledgeable, merciful is our Heavenly Father?
I’m not a philosopher. But just going on my own understanding of what the Bible says, I think God determines some destinies from the beginning. I believe in the concept of the missio dei, that God has a plan and is trying to accomplish something in our world and is bringing creation to a certain culmination that God foreordained from the beginning. But I don’t think God has predetermined the exact path to every destiny he will work out or that he has determined in advance what every possible destiny must be. In order for God to truly relate to humans he needs to be able to respond to us and our freely made choices. I think he is actively working within the limits of our space-time, and creating and shaping destinies. He is always responding to the freedom we have and the freedom nature has, in order to bring about those destinies he has predetermined as part of his plan. But did God know from the creation of the world that I would eat pork barbecue for dinner tonight? Maybe not. Did God know know from the creation of the world that there would be 300 species of hummingbirds in 2018? Maybe not. Does God see to the end of time and “remember” our present? Maybe not.
I am reading a very fascinating book about the intersection of cognitive psychology and theology, and one of the things that the first couple chapters have touched on is that all of our conceptual metaphors, our basic mental categories for understanding the world and our experience in it, they are all are “embodied.” That is, we can not conceive of things without reference to our own human embodiment and human experience on planet earth. The fact that we have eyes that face forward not to the side, and that we walk upright, and feel the effects of gravity, and we live in air, not suspended in water—these all determine fundamental ways of conceptualizing reality.
So I was thinking about God’s omniscience and it dawned on me that our only way of conceptualizing divine knowledge is in relationship to our own embodied human experience with human brains and human memory and human ways of learning. Since we can never understand God’s knowledge without reference to our own ways of knowing and experience of knowing, how can we ever hope to come close to figuring out how and what God knows?
That is an interesting food for thought, I started ‘munching’ on it recently. Like when we are in heaven, will the kid born with no arms still have no arms? Is he imperfect, and in heaven his glorified body will be perfect with arms? Or is he perfect as he is?
I don’t think that God is constrained by any laws though. Just like any judge is not constrained by any law, the judge generally follows the law, but what the judge says is what the outcome is, whether people like it or agree with it or not. I think God determines the overall outcome.
Yes, I thought that was what @marvin was getting at, but maybe I misunderstood his post too? Since he said “judge” I was assuming “moral” laws, or whatever it is called God is judge over.
I was saying I don’t think God is constrained by those laws, I don’t think that one must be punished for breaking it, I do not thin God has no control over that. Like He is there like, “aw man, I wish you didn’t do that, now you have to be punished, I can’t stop the law, I can’t hold it back, here it comes.” I don’t think that way.
Well, now I get what you mean, and I have to say, I’m even more flabbergasted. The Greeks believed even the Gods had to obey Universal Morality … that this was “above” the Olympians.
And now you are saying the same thing? Under the guise of saying he can’t break his moral law, you are maintaining that he didn’t create the moral law… and that the moral law slaps people around like we are blue collar children fighting over a top (a child’s toy)?
No, sorry, I edited my post for clarity. I am trying to say I do not think He is like that.
Maybe in place of “like” I typed “as if”.
I was saying I don’t think God is constrained by those laws, AS IF one must be punished for breaking it, AS IF God has no control over that.
Though I will admit to believing that in the past. I believe that many Christians believe in that and that leads to the doctrine of substitution, rather than the doctrine of Christus Victor, which I now align much more with.