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6/10/2017 5:38 pm  #1


I play with this argument on occasion

Every so often, I think to myself:
1. God's knowing is the cause of being. (I first came across that claim here: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/mcm/ph/ph_01philosophyyouth21.html)
2. God knows the past.
3. So God's knowledge causes the past.
4. Whatever is caused exists.
5. So the past exists.
I always wonder to myself whether I'm equivocating or something here, I don't quite buy the argument I've made.
 

Last edited by Grace and Rust (6/10/2017 5:40 pm)


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6/11/2017 6:40 pm  #2


Re: I play with this argument on occasion

Rather than try to refute your argument, I'm just going to lay it out in slightly more controversial form, and make justifications for each premise a touch more explicit*:

1. God's knowing is the cause of being. (I first came across that claim here: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/mcm/ph/ph_01philosophyyouth21.html)
2'. God knows the past and future.
3'. So God's knowing causes the past and future.
4'. Whatever is caused by God exists.
5'. So the past and future exist.

1 seems to follow from God's simplicity; 2', from his omniscience; 4' from his omnipotence and omniscience.

*Since I already accept the conclusion on independent grounds, trying to refute it would be a (for the most part) empty academic exercise for me, and I have fish to fry (!).

 

6/12/2017 9:59 am  #3


Re: I play with this argument on occasion

I still have some nagging feeling that the tense is questionable. But that doesn't really make sense, considering that God is outside of time--His knowledge is tenseless, and so is His sustaining causality. We can't deny His tenseless omniscience, unless we're willing to believe God is mutable, and perhaps that God's knowledge doesn't cause things to exist. Nor can we reject His timeless sustaining causality, because that just is His omniscience.

That just leaves me wondering what on earth is behind this feeling...


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6/12/2017 2:00 pm  #4


Re: I play with this argument on occasion

Grace and Rust wrote:

That just leaves me wondering what on earth is behind this feeling...

You're right to follow your gut. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png

(It might only send you down a rabbit hole of reformulations, though.)

 

6/15/2017 11:51 am  #5


Re: I play with this argument on occasion

Thanks.
I'm starting to wonder if maybe we could suggest that God's knowledge causes things in different ways, perhaps according to how that thing relates to God.
In that case, if we can argue that the past, present, and future relate to God in different ways, then we can say that they have different kinds of existence. This apparently requires God entering into time with (say) the advent of the universe, and that seems unacceptable for other reasons.

Oh well, it would be interesting to explore, not that I have the least idea where to start.


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