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Friday, June 17, 2011

Aspects of the biblical god, being all powerful vs. being all knowing.

The Christian god is considered to be all powerful and all knowing. That is not possible. If god is all powerful, then he can make any change that he wants. However, if he is all knowing, then he already knows how everything will turn out. If he makes a change, then something new occurred that he was not previously aware of. He, therefore, would not be all knowing. However, if he does not know everything, then he can’t be all powerful, as there is something he does not have complete control over. And if he is incapable of making a change, then he is once again, not all powerful.  The two concepts are mutually exclusive. Just as a square circle cannot exist, the biblical god cannot exist either.

I occasionally have Christians tell me that god cannot do something that is contrary to his nature. He therefore cannot change his mind. However, the bible does not agree with that view. Jer. 18:7-10 "If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it."

In this verse, god says he plans to uproot, tear down and destroy a nation. That, therefore, would be his plan. But if he relents and does not do this, then he changed his mind. It does not say that if they change their ways, he will have accomplished his goal by making them see the error of his ways. It says he will relent. If he knew that they would change their ways, then he would not be relenting. Relenting is deciding not to do something one already planned on doing. It is not completing an original plan. 

This point becomes even more evident with the idea that god answers prayers. For prayer to work, that implies that god is willing to change events for a specific person. However, if god is willing to change events, then he cannot be all knowing. If he was all knowing, then he already knows how everything will turn out. Therefore, the prayer is pointless. It either coincides with what god always has planned or it does not. If it does coincide, then there was no need to pray because the outcome was already what you needed before you prayed for it. If it does not coincide, then praying is pointless because it never had a chance to change anything. 
If prayer actually does change events, then god cannot be all knowing. If god is not all knowing, then he is not all powerful. Since the standard model of god says that he is all knowing and all powerful, then he cannot be answering prayer and changing events to something he did not already plan for.

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