The Instigator
D8er4life
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
stubs
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

The omniscience of God has been poorly defined by the Christian community.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
stubs
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/20/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,148 times Debate No: 24795
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

D8er4life

Pro

Resolved: God is not omniscient as the Christian church claims.
Defined: GOD: The Judeo-Christian God
OMNISCIENT: All knowing, having all knowledge
CHRISTIAN CHURCH: Any church that worships the Judeo-Christian God
Rules: The argument itself is lent towards the sole use of the Christian bible as evidence, though for the purpose of argument sources from the church fathers may also be used. This debate shall cover 3 rounds, round 1 acceptance and opening arguments, round 2 rebuttal, and round 3 closing arguments.
(*Note* I am a Christian but I do not believe in the omniscience of God as I was taught in Sunday School.)
May the best debater win ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Opening Arguments:
The Christian church claims that their God is all knowing (omniscient) and that as such he knows where your life is going. To claim that God is all knowing is to claim that A. He knowingly created Adam and Eve to fall to the wiles of the serpent and be kicked out of his perfect garden of Eden (Genesis 3). B. He knows whether we are going to heaven or hell, which leads to the argument of predestination meaning it doesn't matter how good or bad we are it will not change the destination (Romans 8). C. That God knew of the pain Joseph, Job, and any individual who has suffered and done nothing to change it making him a sociopath (Genesis 37, & the book of Job). All of these arguments point away from the loving, involved, caring God to a sociopathic God who delights in the suffering of the beings he created. Argument B. also gives justification for all sorts of immoral behavior because it in theory will not effect the after-life. If predestination is true just think of all the people who might be in heaven, Hitler, Pol Pot, murderers, rapists, pedophiles, etc.
stubs

Con

I accept this challenge. First I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as well as thank my opponent for starting this debate. I will show that the omniscience of God has been accurately defined by Christians. I wish that we were able to use more sources than just the bible and quotes from the church fathers, but I will respectfully honor my opponents request. I would like to remind the voters and readers that my opponent has the BOP to show that God is not omniscient as she stated as the resolution in the first round.

My opponent has also asked that the first round be used for acceptance and opening arguments. That being said, I will only make my case that God is all knowing and will wait until the second and third rounds to address my opponents claims.

Since our sources are narrowed down to essentially the bible, let's take a look at what it says about the omniscience of God.

"Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?" [1]

"Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." [2]

"This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." [3]

"Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely." [4]

We can see from these verses that the doctrine of Gods omniscience is fully supported by scripture. The next thing I want to look at is: does omniscience become logically contradictory when we look at the other attributes of God?

Now the fatalist would say that if God foreknows what we are going to do, when it comes to the time to make the decision, we are not free to do anything else because God cannot be wrong and since he has known for eternity that we were going to do it, we are faded to do it. However theological fatalism wrongly assumes this argument:

P1: That necessarily if God foreknows X then X will happen
P2: God foreknows X
C: Therefore, necessarily X will happen

And from this we get if X happens necessarily, it means it is not free. This is the result of a logical fallacy. From the two premises we do not logically get the conclusion. All that follows is that "X will happen, but not necessarily." It could fail to happen, but if it were to fail to happen than God would have foreknown something different. Essentially, by our actions, we have the ability to in a sense determine what God will have believed in the past. William Lane Craig often compares Gods knowledge to an infallible barometer. The barometer never fails, but clearly the barometer doesn't determine the weather. If the weather were different than the barometer would have been different. The essence of the argument is this: our actions are logically prior to what God foreknows, but his foreknowledge is chronologically prior to our actions.

The next thing I want to look at is: Is Gods omniscience logically contradictory to evil? I will keep this part short because I don't think it will take much justification. Just because God knows evil will happen, does not mean he is the cause of the evil. I think this is demonstrated in the above paragraph. Furthermore, it could be the case that God has morally justifiable reasons for permitting evil. It is actually impossible for us to know that there are unjustified evils due to our epistemological limitations.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing my opponents next round arguments.

[1] Job 37:16
[2] Psalm 147:5
[3] 1 John 3:19-20
[4] Psalm 139:4
Debate Round No. 1
D8er4life

Pro

I like that my opponent used Psalm 147:5 as one of his sources because this defines God as having all understanding. Comprehension is quite different than knowledge. I can comprehend what a person is doing or speaking about even if I have no previous knowledge. My opponent compared God to a infallible barometer simply reading the pressure, but to say that God has all knowledge he would need to do more than just read the pressure in the moment he would have to have knowledge of even my life from the very beginning of time.
As to my opponents argument that just because God knows evil will happen does not mean he is the cause of the evil is true, BUT that being said, if I had knowledge of a bomb being planted in a crowded building I would have a moral obligation to try and stop it. If God has knowledge of evil and does nothing to stop it that reiterates my point that he is by definition then a sociopath taking pleasure in the pain of the beings he has created. Looking to the New Testament we see the stoning of a young man (Stephen, Acts 7) for his faith in Christ as the messiah and son of God. If God had knowledge of this stoning would he not have saved this young man to preach the gospel? Now you may say that witnessing his death is what turned Saul to Paul later on but I would contest that it made him even more determined to wipe out the Christians until Jesus himself blinded and confronted Saul. In short my argument for this round is that knowledge does not equal understanding (comprehension).
stubs

Con

Thank you to my opponent for her argument. In this round I will address contentions that she raised in the first round and then point out a very vital mistake she made in her second round post. First, I will address what my opponent said in the first round.

"To claim that God is all knowing is to claim that A. He knowingly created Adam and Eve to fall to the wiles of the serpent and be kicked out of his perfect garden of Eden (Genesis 3)"

He did not create adam and eve "to fall." He did create them knowing they would fall. A Christian has no problem with this statement.

"B. He knows whether we are going to heaven or hell, which leads to the argument of predestination meaning it doesn't matter how good or bad we are it will not change the destination (Romans 8)."

Let's just assume what my opponent said was true. This would still have no bearing on the resolution because all it would do is call into question Gods character if anything. This does not prove he is not all knowing. Furthermore, some believe, mainly arminians, believe that the predestination is based on the decisions we make and that in turn determines who is predestined. This would be like what I brought up last round with Gods foreknowledge being based on actions he knows we will take.

"C. That God knew of the pain Joseph, Job, and any individual who has suffered and done nothing to change it making him a sociopath (Genesis 37, & the book of Job)."

This also does nothing to show that God is not omniscient. This goes back to the problem of evil that I addressed in my first round post. My opponent would have to show that God could not have morally justifiable reasons for allowing evil. However, in order to do that she would have be all knowing.

"All of these arguments point away from the loving, involved, caring God to a sociopathic God who delights in the suffering of the beings he created."

That simply calls into question God's character. It does not show he is not all knowing.

"Argument B. also gives justification for all sorts of immoral behavior because it in theory will not effect the after-life. If predestination is true just think of all the people who might be in heaven, Hitler, Pol Pot, murderers, rapists, pedophiles, etc."

Again, my opponent would have to prove the Calvinistic view on predestination is more likely than the Arminian view. A christian has no problem accepting the fact that there are murderers or people like that in heaven.

Now I will move to my opponents second round arguments.

"My opponent compared God to a infallible barometer simply reading the pressure, but to say that God has all knowledge he would need to do more than just read the pressure in the moment he would have to have knowledge of even my life from the very beginning of time."

Sure, I agree completely with that. However, it still does not show God is not omniscient.

"As to my opponents argument that just because God knows evil will happen does not mean he is the cause of the evil is true, BUT that being said, if I had knowledge of a bomb being planted in a crowded building I would have a moral obligation to try and stop it. If God has knowledge of evil and does nothing to stop it that reiterates my point that he is by definition then a sociopath taking pleasure in the pain of the beings he has created."

Again you would have to show God does not have morally justifiable reasons for allowing evil. He gave humans free will to do wrong things. Free will may be valuable enough for God to allow evil. My opponent must show it is not.

Conclusion:

My opponent only addressed one of the verses I posted so I am forced to believe she believes the others to be true. She also did not show that because God has knowledge of evil before it happens that he cannot be omniscient. My opponent spent much of her time calling into question Gods character, but did nothing to show that God is not omniscient or that he cannot be.

Thank you
Debate Round No. 2
D8er4life

Pro

This is the final round calling for final arguments, I will address my opponents two main arguments first that I am only addressing the character of God and second that I have not held the burden of proof that God is not omniscient.
Firstly that I am only addressing the character of God. Yes the character of God is being questioned by this argument because God is supposedly incapable of doing wrong and having prior knowledge of something catastrophic and doing nothing I think we can all agree would be immoral and at the very least cowardly. Are these things that we attribute to God? Of course not. My opponent stated that maybe God has a morally justifiable reason to allow evil, that is a contradiction of the incapable wrong doing of God. My opponent also brought up the topic of free will, another reason the all knowing of God is unlikely because free will and all knowing cannot go hand in hand. This echo's back to the argument in the first round referencing the theory of pre-destination.
Secondly my opponent said that I have not held the burden of proof. However, both through scriptural and logical examples I have proved that while the church says that God is omniscient this is highly unlikely if not impossible due to Gods inability to do wrong, and the incompatibility of free will and Gods incapability to do wrong.
This is my final argument and the beginning of the end of this debate, please read carefully and look not just at the quantity of evidence and arguments but also the quality. Also to my opponent thank you for accepting this debate and giving me the opportunity to see another perspective.
stubs

Con

My opponent has made little to no attempt to refute the scriptures I presented that show God is omniscient.

"Yes the character of God is being questioned by this argument because God is supposedly incapable of doing wrong and having prior knowledge of something catastrophic and doing nothing I think we can all agree would be immoral and at the very least cowardly. Are these things that we attribute to God? Of course not. My opponent stated that maybe God has a morally justifiable reason to allow evil, that is a contradiction of the incapable wrong doing of God. My opponent also brought up the topic of free will, another reason the all knowing of God is unlikely because free will and all knowing cannot go hand in hand. This echo's back to the argument in the first round referencing the theory of pre-destination."

Lots to address in here. Alvin Plantiga has said, "It is possible that God could not have created a universe containing moral good (or as much moral good as this world contains) without creating one that also contained moral evil. And if so, then it is possible that God has a good reason for creating a world containing evil." [1] Atheist philosipher William Rowe has also said, "Some philosophers have contended that the existence of evil is logically inconsistent with the existence of the theistic God. No one, I think, has succeeded in establishing such an extravagant claim." [2] We also must distinguish between logically-possible worlds and feasible worlds for God to create. While a sin-free human world is logically/theoretically possible, it may not be feasible for God to create it since it is up to humans to respond to God's grace and love. If God has a morally justifiable reason for permitting the evils that he does, then this rebuts the logical problem of evil. My opponent also said that free will and omniscience cannot go hand in hand. Of course they can. God could be omniscient in knowing what humans will freely choose.

"Secondly my opponent said that I have not held the burden of proof. However, both through scriptural and logical examples I have proved that while the church says that God is omniscient this is highly unlikely if not impossible due to Gods inability to do wrong, and the incompatibility of free will and Gods incapability to do wrong."

First off, there is no scripture that points to God not being omniscient. Or if there is, my opponent has not presented it. I also showed that free will is not incompatible with omniscience.

In this debate I have showed that scripture is in full support of Gods omniscience, that Gods omniscience and evil are not incompatible, and that Gods omniscience and free will are not incompatible as those were the three arguments my opponent tried to bring up. Thank you to my opponent and the readers and voters.

[1] Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 31
[2] William L. Rowe, "The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,"American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (October 1979)
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by stubs 4 years ago
stubs
I would take this but I'm not sure what you want to debate.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
It seems your beef is not with the definition of omniscience, but as to whether God is, in fact, omniscient.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Omniscience is not "defined" by the Chrsitian church. Omni- means "all," and "science" means "knowledge." Omniscience literally means "all knowledge." God, being omniscient, is all-knowing.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Sojourner 4 years ago
Sojourner
D8er4lifestubsTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Spelling and grammar to Con becuase Pro freely chose to write her arguments in single paragraph format making it difficult to read. Sources to Con because Pro had none. Arguments to Con because Pro did not provide sufficient evidence that either God is not omniscient or that the Christian community has poorly defined God's omniscience.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 4 years ago
KRFournier
D8er4lifestubsTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were repetitive and strayed from the resolution. She never showed that omniscience has been poorly defined. Instead, she argued about it's implications. Argument to Con.