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Author Topic: Omniscience of deities?  (Read 11125 times)
Lusiphelia
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« Topic Start: July 29, 2008, 09:11:05 pm »

This is a question mostly for 'hard' and variously medium-cooked polytheists  Wink , though of course all viewpoints are welcome.

I know generally deities are understood to be NOT omnipotent, but do you consider them to be omniscient, and if not, why?  To what degree are they aware of most things, etc?

Additionally, do you believe Jehovah/Yahweh is truly omnipotent/omniscient?  And perhaps any other deities that are considered to be so? (altho I'm not aware of any that are, there may be)  Why or why not?

Just something I've been musing over in recent months.
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« Reply #1: July 29, 2008, 09:15:06 pm »

I know generally deities are understood to be NOT omnipotent, but do you consider them to be omniscient, and if not, why?  To what degree are they aware of most things, etc?

No, but some are closer to omniscient than any are to omnipotent.

Quote
Additionally, do you believe Jehovah/Yahweh is truly omnipotent/omniscient?

No, I don't really see any evidence than any deity is truly omnipotent, omniscient, or probably onmi-/all- anything. Reality does not act like it would have to even even one active omni-being was around.
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« Reply #2: July 29, 2008, 09:20:29 pm »

I know generally deities are understood to be NOT omnipotent, but do you consider them to be omniscient, and if not, why?  To what degree are they aware of most things, etc?

I don't think they're omniscient but I do think they have a higher understanding than we do.  In various mythologies, gods seem to have their own agendas that are kept hidden from each other.  This doesn't seem to imply omniscience to me.

Quote
Additionally, do you believe Jehovah/Yahweh is truly omnipotent/omniscient?  And perhaps any other deities that are considered to be so? (altho I'm not aware of any that are, there may be)  Why or why not?

If other gods aren't omnipotent/omniscient, then why would Jehovah/Yahweh be an exception Wink
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« Reply #3: July 29, 2008, 09:43:08 pm »

Additionally, do you believe Jehovah/Yahweh is truly omnipotent/omniscient?  And perhaps any other deities that are considered to be so? (altho I'm not aware of any that are, there may be)  Why or why not?

I'm not sure.  I think that God is so much closer to it than me, that He/She/It might as well be even if God isn't truly omni-everything.  Sort of like the universe might have an end somewhere, but the vastness is so beyond my comprehension that from my perspective it might as well be endless.

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Lusiphelia
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« Reply #4: July 29, 2008, 11:00:46 pm »


No, I don't really see any evidence than any deity is truly omnipotent, omniscient, or probably onmi-/all- anything. Reality does not act like it would have to even even one active omni-being was around.

How do you think reality would be different if there was an omni-something entity?
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Lusiphelia
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« Reply #5: July 29, 2008, 11:02:34 pm »

I don't think they're omniscient but I do think they have a higher understanding than we do.  In various mythologies, gods seem to have their own agendas that are kept hidden from each other.  This doesn't seem to imply omniscience to me.

Would you say they are omniscient as far as humanity is concerned though?  (I don't know if there is a word or anything for such a concept?)
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Lusiphelia
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« Reply #6: July 29, 2008, 11:06:56 pm »

I'm not sure.  I think that God is so much closer to it than me, that He/She/It might as well be even if God isn't truly omni-everything.  Sort of like the universe might have an end somewhere, but the vastness is so beyond my comprehension that from my perspective it might as well be endless.

Sperran

That makes sense.  Such a thing is incomprehensible to us so whatever degree they/he/she/it are aware of things is also something we are incapable of understanding ...

if that makes any sense.  I've been up most of the day and am not sure of my own comprehensiveness. Or something. lol Wink
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« Reply #7: July 29, 2008, 11:23:07 pm »

Would you say they are omniscient as far as humanity is concerned though?  (I don't know if there is a word or anything for such a concept?)

To a human, they may SEEM omniscient given they're greater understanding of the universe.  However, to each other their level of omniscience is probably the same as what you and I see in each other.
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« Reply #8: July 30, 2008, 02:33:43 am »

This is a question mostly for 'hard' and variously medium-cooked polytheists  Wink , though of course all viewpoints are welcome.

I know generally deities are understood to be NOT omnipotent, but do you consider them to be omniscient, and if not, why?  To what degree are they aware of most things, etc?

Additionally, do you believe Jehovah/Yahweh is truly omnipotent/omniscient?  And perhaps any other deities that are considered to be so? (altho I'm not aware of any that are, there may be)  Why or why not?

Just something I've been musing over in recent months.

Well, as a few have pointed out, yes as far as comparing to ourselves they may as well be.  However, I think, too, that they are each completely aware regarding their spheres of influence.  They may not respond to it all the time, but they do know what is going on with whatever they control.  Sort of like the admins in here.  We may not know that they know, but they know.
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« Reply #9: July 30, 2008, 03:03:56 am »

This is a question mostly for 'hard' and variously medium-cooked polytheists  Wink , though of course all viewpoints are welcome.

I know generally deities are understood to be NOT omnipotent, but do you consider them to be omniscient, and if not, why?  To what degree are they aware of most things, etc?

Additionally, do you believe Jehovah/Yahweh is truly omnipotent/omniscient?  And perhaps any other deities that are considered to be so? (altho I'm not aware of any that are, there may be)  Why or why not?

Just something I've been musing over in recent months.

Nota bene: Everything you will see in this post is speculation and/or UPG. If you want Orthodox Christian Doctrine, there are plenty of other sources to choose from. With that said...

I believe that the differing levels of divine knowledge are due primarily to two factors: The entity's position in relation to the time stream and the barriers erected by other individuals.

We live right down in the time stream. We have awareness of right now, knowledge of the past, and expectations for the future. I think that angels, for example, have a higher perspective. They can "see" events taking form in the future, including the alternate possibilities, and have some limited ability to "steer" them in the direction they desire. The farther "up" a being is, the more knowledge they have.

I think that there are also barriers to knowledge; some spiritual, some physical. As an example, we can't see what's on the other side of a wall until someone opens the door. I think that there may be analogues to this in the spiritual realm. It could be that a large portion of the spiritual world was truly unaware of what was happening in Hitler's Germany ca. 1944 until those barriers were breached by the Normandy invasion and subsequent Allied advances. The details of events currently going on in, for example, North Korea might be similarly sketchy.

There are also the barriers we erect within ourselves. Speaking personally, there were certain thoughts and ideas I had that I used to be ashamed to share with God. But about twelve years ago I had an epiphany in which I realized how truly and how deeply God loved me. Since that time, there has been no thought or action that I have ever felt was too base or too personal to share with my God.

So, to answer Lusiphelia's question as to whether Jehovah is truly omniscient/omnipotent: I am convinced that the answer is both yes and no. "No" in the short run; "Yes" in the long run. I know that sounds contradictory, but it's actually the best of both worlds. You could play a game of poker with him and know he wouldn't cheat, yet at the same time you can trust him utterly to shape the future direction of your life.

Ultimately, in the long run, I believe Jehovah God is looking back at the stream of events from a perspective which is far, far in the future, and he is completely satisfied with the final outcome. Not with every twist and turn along the way, mind you, but with the ultimate resolution. I also believe that, from that perspective, every individual has come to trust him enough to drop their internal barriers, and he sees that they are content as well.

Finally, please note that I'm not trying to be orthodox here. Orthodox position involves hellfire and damnation, forever and ever, The End. I think that we're in the process of writing The Sequel, in which the fire gets well and truly put out. As to why we don't see more direct evidence of this omni-omni-omni God in the here and now, well, I think it ties in to Napoleon's famous quotation: "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." God sees that leaving events just as they are leads right to the conclusion that he wants to see. So, until the trap is sprung, expect this world to continue pretty much the way we've gotten used to. Eventually, we will reach the point where things can change. Radically, I expect.
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« Reply #10: July 30, 2008, 03:09:08 am »

Nota bene: Everything you will see in this post is speculation and/or UPG. If you want Orthodox Christian Doctrine, there are plenty of other sources to choose from. With that said...

I believe that the differing levels of divine knowledge are due primarily to two factors: The entity's position in relation to the time stream and the barriers erected by other individuals.

We live right down in the time stream. We have awareness of right now, knowledge of the past, and expectations for the future. I think that angels, for example, have a higher perspective. They can "see" events taking form in the future, including the alternate possibilities, and have some limited ability to "steer" them in the direction they desire. The farther "up" a being is, the more knowledge they have.

I think that there are also barriers to knowledge; some spiritual, some physical. As an example, we can't see what's on the other side of a wall until someone opens the door. I think that there may be analogues to this in the spiritual realm. It could be that a large portion of the spiritual world was truly unaware of what was happening in Hitler's Germany ca. 1944 until those barriers were breached by the Normandy invasion and subsequent Allied advances. The details of events currently going on in, for example, North Korea might be similarly sketchy.

There are also the barriers we erect within ourselves. Speaking personally, there were certain thoughts and ideas I had that I used to be ashamed to share with God. But about twelve years ago I had an epiphany in which I realized how truly and how deeply God loved me. Since that time, there has been no thought or action that I have ever felt was too base or too personal to share with my God.

So, to answer Lusiphelia's question as to whether Jehovah is truly omniscient/omnipotent: I am convinced that the answer is both yes and no. "No" in the short run; "Yes" in the long run. I know that sounds contradictory, but it's actually the best of both worlds. You could play a game of poker with him and know he wouldn't cheat, yet at the same time you can trust him utterly to shape the future direction of your life.

Ultimately, in the long run, I believe Jehovah God is looking back at the stream of events from a perspective which is far, far in the future, and he is completely satisfied with the final outcome. Not with every twist and turn along the way, mind you, but with the ultimate resolution. I also believe that, from that perspective, every individual has come to trust him enough to drop their internal barriers, and he sees that they are content as well.

Finally, please note that I'm not trying to be orthodox here. Orthodox position involves hellfire and damnation, forever and ever, The End. I think that we're in the process of writing The Sequel, in which the fire gets well and truly put out. As to why we don't see more direct evidence of this omni-omni-omni God in the here and now, well, I think it ties in to Napoleon's famous quotation: "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." God sees that leaving events just as they are leads right to the conclusion that he wants to see. So, until the trap is sprung, expect this world to continue pretty much the way we've gotten used to. Eventually, we will reach the point where things can change. Radically, I expect.


Wow.  That sounds almost heretical.  My preachers would have had you kicked out or at least publically humiliated.

But then again, me and my preachers never really saw eye to eye (esp. the one that was SB).  So, I applaud you on coming to your unique perspective of the situation.  And I think it makes complete sense, given the deity in question.  Kudos.
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« Reply #11: July 30, 2008, 08:29:08 am »

How do you think reality would be different if there was an omni-something entity?

The classic example of how reality would be different with omni-entities is the "Problem of Evil" from Christianity: If a deity is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, all-good, inerrant, perfect, etc., why is there evil in reality? One can try to excuse its existence, but no one has been able to do so yet in a way that is solidly and broadly convincing.  But even one "omni" would affect reality. For example, omniscience is really incapable incompatible with quantum mechanics.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 09:29:23 am by RandallS, Reason: Randallism Corrected. Thanks Star! » Logged

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« Reply #12: July 30, 2008, 08:39:11 am »

For example, omniscience is really incapable with quantum mechanics.

(Bold mine.)  Randallism alert--I think you mean "incompatible"?
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« Reply #13: July 30, 2008, 09:29:53 am »

(Bold mine.)  Randallism alert--I think you mean "incompatible"?

Corrected. Thanks for catching that!
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« Reply #14: July 30, 2008, 01:16:46 pm »


Finally, please note that I'm not trying to be orthodox here.

I'm not sure you had to tell us that. Wink
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