Is God Omniscient?

Use this forum to discuss the June 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Killing Abel by Michael Tieman
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Sushan
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Is God Omniscient?

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This topic is about the June 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Killing Abel by Michael Tieman


The widely accepted understanding of God is that He is omniscient, possessing knowledge of all things that have happened, are happening, and will happen. However, Tieman's "Killing Abel" offers a unique portrayal of God that might challenge this understanding.

In the novel, God appears seemingly unaware of certain consequences of the curses He places upon Adam and Eve. The narrative indicates that the outcomes of the curses are not precisely what God had anticipated. This portrayal raises intriguing questions: How could this be the case if God is omniscient? What does this tell us about the nature of God's knowledge and His relationship with creation?


(As a special consideration, please note that the novel's depiction of God is not intended to align with traditional theological views but provides a thought-provoking perspective for our philosophical exploration.)
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Akangbe Opeyemi
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

Post by Akangbe Opeyemi »

I believe strongly that God is omniscient. That's why there were some things in the novel that I didn't agree with. Everyone has a right to their beliefs and thoughts about things. Just because someone said something, doesn't mean it is true, and just because it is true doesn't mean everyone will believe it.

I don't believe that God is unaware of the outcomes. God knows the end right from the beginning. Some actions will always come with their consequence, so I have this perception that what we call “curses" in the case of Adam and Eve could actually be the repercussions of their actions.
God told them they will die if they eat them out of the tree and they were given the choice of obeying His instruction, but they failed and there were consequences. It doesn't make God less omniscient.
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

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Akangbe Opeyemi wrote: June 15th, 2023, 6:18 pm I believe strongly that God is omniscient. That's why there were some things in the novel that I didn't agree with. Everyone has a right to their beliefs and thoughts about things. Just because someone said something, doesn't mean it is true, and just because it is true doesn't mean everyone will believe it.

I don't believe that God is unaware of the outcomes. God knows the end right from the beginning. Some actions will always come with their consequence, so I have this perception that what we call “curses" in the case of Adam and Eve could actually be the repercussions of their actions.
God told them they will die if they eat them out of the tree and they were given the choice of obeying His instruction, but they failed and there were consequences. It doesn't make God less omniscient.
Thank you for your thoughtful response. Your strong belief in God's omniscience is quite clear, and it's a perspective shared by many across various religious traditions. However, I would like to point out that the objective of discussing "Killing Abel" isn't necessarily to refute the idea of God's omniscience. Rather, it's to explore and ponder different perspectives and interpretations of divine nature that might differ from traditional theological views.

The concept of God's omniscience is multifaceted, complex, and has been interpreted in various ways across different religions and philosophical schools of thought. For instance, some modern Christian theologians argue that God's omniscience is inherent rather than total, suggesting that God chooses to limit His omniscience to preserve the free will and dignity of His creatures. On the other hand, in Islam, God is attributed with absolute omniscience, knowing the past, present, and future. Jainism even views omniscience as an attribute that any individual can eventually attain.

In the philosophical realm, the concept of omniscience is typically defined as knowledge of all true propositions. Yet, several recent discussions of omniscience have suggested more restricted accounts. For example, it's been suggested that God is omniscient just in case He knows every true proposition, or else He does not, but His knowing that proposition is not precluded by any defect or limitation in His intrinsic cognitive capacities.

In "Killing Abel," it seems that the author is presenting an interpretation where God's omniscience is not compromised, but the outcomes of His actions unfold in a way that He did not specifically foresee. This doesn't necessarily make God less omniscient, but it may reflect a different understanding of omniscience, where God's knowledge is not strictly deterministic.

Please remember that literature, like philosophy, often presents us with hypothetical scenarios to explore complex ideas and provoke thought. The interpretation of God's omniscience in "Killing Abel" doesn't seek to establish a new religious doctrine, but rather to encourage philosophical discussion and contemplation. It invites us to question, reflect, and deepen our understanding. We may not always agree with the perspectives offered, but through engaging with them, we often gain new insights and deepen our thinking.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Nganyi Humphrey
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

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I think this is a question that concerns a person's religion and how strongly they believe in Christianity and God. As much as the author brought the concept out of God being unaware of certain consequences, I believe that is the view of the author regarding the particular situation. My answer is, yes, God is omniscient.
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

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Nganyi Humphrey wrote: June 28th, 2023, 12:23 am I think this is a question that concerns a person's religion and how strongly they believe in Christianity and God. As much as the author brought the concept out of God being unaware of certain consequences, I believe that is the view of the author regarding the particular situation. My answer is, yes, God is omniscient.
I appreciate your perspective on the omniscience of God as it stems from a personal belief and religious conviction. However, the question at hand isn't about what we believe personally or religiously. It is a philosophical exploration prompted by Tieman's "Killing Abel", in which God is portrayed in a unique and unconventional manner.

Tieman's depiction of God as being unaware of certain consequences raises significant philosophical questions about the nature of God's omniscience. If we consider God to be truly omniscient, then it logically follows that He should be aware of all outcomes, intended or otherwise. The disconnect between traditional theology and Tieman's portrayal is what makes this discussion fascinating.

Now, if we consider God's omniscience as not being absolute, then we could interpret this as God having the potential for knowledge of all things but not always actualizing this potential. This perspective might resolve the apparent contradiction presented in "Killing Abel". It could be that God intentionally limits His knowledge in some instances, perhaps to allow for genuine human freedom and spontaneity.

Of course, this is just one interpretation and it raises further questions. For instance, how might this influence our understanding of other divine attributes, such as omnipotence or benevolence? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Fola Moni
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

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I truly believe God is omniscient but trying to understand the way He reasons is impossible.

Personally, I think you cannot separate a personal belief or religious conviction from the way we see God. The only way I can answer the question is from a religious point of view. In Christianity, it is believed that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. So we cannot fully understand the way He does the things he does. We just have to accept it with faith.
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

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Fola Moni wrote: August 10th, 2023, 9:56 pm I truly believe God is omniscient but trying to understand the way He reasons is impossible.

Personally, I think you cannot separate a personal belief or religious conviction from the way we see God. The only way I can answer the question is from a religious point of view. In Christianity, it is believed that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. So we cannot fully understand the way He does the things he does. We just have to accept it with faith.
Thank you for sharing your personal belief, and I absolutely respect the perspective you're coming from. It's indeed a fundamental tenet in many religious traditions that God's ways are beyond human comprehension, and adherents are encouraged to approach such mysteries with faith.

However, approaching this from a purely philosophical standpoint, Tieman's "Killing Abel" provides us with an intriguing exploration of God's nature that deviates from traditional theologies. If God didn't anticipate the outcomes of the curses in the narrative, it presents a unique opportunity to discuss the boundaries and implications of omniscience.

Could it be possible that there exists a deity that, while possessing profound knowledge and power, also experiences surprises or unanticipated outcomes in its creations? And, if such a deity exists, what would this mean for our understanding of divinity and its relationship to the world?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Prince Oyedeji Oyeleke Jayeola
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

Post by Prince Oyedeji Oyeleke Jayeola »

God is Omiscient, knowing all that would happen even before it happens. He knows what would become of Adam and Eve but he gave them their own mind and power of choice to choose what would happen to them in the garden even after warning them. Placing them in the garden he knew what would happen, but he did still allowed them explore their right. I believe there are principles guiding our existence and the universe as a whole, which must always be followed. The author's narration still described God as Omniscient, also, as a loving father who would always draw his children close even after choosing their part different from His.
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

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Prince Oyedeji Oyeleke Jayeola wrote: August 24th, 2023, 6:33 pm God is Omiscient, knowing all that would happen even before it happens. He knows what would become of Adam and Eve but he gave them their own mind and power of choice to choose what would happen to them in the garden even after warning them. Placing them in the garden he knew what would happen, but he did still allowed them explore their right. I believe there are principles guiding our existence and the universe as a whole, which must always be followed. The author's narration still described God as Omniscient, also, as a loving father who would always draw his children close even after choosing their part different from His.
I appreciate your thoughtful response. Indeed, the concept of free will is central to many theological and philosophical discussions about God's omniscience. Your point about God knowing the potential outcomes but allowing Adam and Eve to exercise their free will aligns with many traditional interpretations of the story.

What Tieman does so effectively in "Killing Abel" is blurring the lines between divine foresight and the unpredictable nature of human choices. It serves as a reminder of the complexities of reconciling an omniscient deity with free-willed beings.

Building upon your insight about the principles guiding our existence, it's fascinating to think about how these principles might interact with human autonomy. If there are universal laws or principles, how flexible are they in the face of human agency? And to what extent does divine love play a role in allowing deviations from these principles?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Diane Godwill
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

Post by Diane Godwill »

As a Christian i would say a yes to this despite not even having a good reason. Or I would say my reason is faith
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

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Diane Godwill wrote: March 11th, 2024, 10:33 pm As a Christian i would say a yes to this despite not even having a good reason. Or I would say my reason is faith
Thank you for sharing your perspective on the omniscience of God, rooted in your Christian faith. It's thought-provoking to hear how faith serves as the foundation for your belief, even in the absence of what some might consider conventional reasoning.

I'm curious about the challenges you might encounter in today's world, where empirical evidence and logical reasoning are often emphasized over faith-based convictions. How do you navigate discussions or situations where your belief, based solely on faith, might be questioned? And, if I may respectfully ask, could you elaborate on why you mention not having a good reason for your belief, yet still hold it so firmly? What is it about faith that provides such a strong basis for your convictions, despite potential skepticism or challenges from others?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
KELVIN KAY 2
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

Post by KELVIN KAY 2 »

Yes God is. He is everything he says he is. I believe in the Lord God almighty. I believe he is who he say he is. And I belive he sent his only begotten son to die for us on the cross of calvary.
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Re: Is God Omniscient?

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KELVIN KAY 2 wrote: March 16th, 2024, 12:55 pm Yes God is. He is everything he says he is. I believe in the Lord God almighty. I believe he is who he say he is. And I belive he sent his only begotten son to die for us on the cross of calvary.
Thank you for sharing your faith and beliefs with such conviction. It's clear that your understanding of God as omniscient and omnipotent is deeply rooted in your religious experience and the teachings you uphold.

In the context of this book, the depiction of God presents a narrative that seems to challenge the conventional understanding of His omniscience. The book portrays scenarios where God's knowledge of events appears limited, sparking a philosophical inquiry into the nature of divine omniscience and the possibility of unpredicted consequences in the divine plan.

Given the traditional beliefs you hold, I'm curious about your thoughts on this alternative portrayal of God in the novel. How do you reconcile such a depiction with the omniscient God you believe in? Do you think exploring such narratives can contribute to our understanding of God, or do they conflict too sharply with established theological views?

Your insight could deepen our discussion on the nature of God and the way He is represented in literature and theology. What are your views on the God’s depiction in Killing Abel and its implications for the philosophical and theological exploration of His omniscience?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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