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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Does god know the future?

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rojam
Member



Joined: 2005/5/12
Posts: 7
Denver, CO

 Re:

PreachParsly recently asked freecd the following question.

- How do you interpret the phrase I have underlined?

- Rev 10:6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven,
- and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are,
- and the sea, and the things whice are therein, that there should be time no longer:

I hope no one minds if I jump in to answer, as it does pertain to what I was about to post on this subject. I am not one for entering into a theological discussion lightly. My experience has shown that in most cases they tend to produce a lot more heat than light.

Starting with verse 5, the RSV renders this passage, “And the angel whom I saw standing on sea and land lifted up his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there should be no more delay.” NKJV - “there should be delay no longer,” ASV - “there shall be delay no longer.” BBE - “there would be no more waiting.” ESV - “there would be no more delay.”

Let me make a couple of points here. If there ever would be a occasion that time would be eliminated, it is unlikely that an angel would be the one to declare it. If the passage does mark the declaration where time would be done away, why does time continue after the declaration is made? We still have not seen the thousand year reign of Christ. From my reading on this passage, most scholars agree that this passage is the answer to the question posed in Re. 6:10, “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” That would be my interpretation, for what it’s worth.

I think it is fare for everyone to know that while I believe God is omniscient, I don’t believe that means that He must posses all absolute knowledge of future decisions made by moral beings. I believe that means He knows everything that is knowable, or can be known. That is not to say that God could not have created a universe where He did have absolute knowledge of all future events and choices. He simply does not appear to have done so.

We all approach this discussion with certain presuppositions. I have one that I think is critical. I believe that no one is better qualified to describe what God is like, than God Himself. Therefore, if God says something, I think we should think long and hard before we conclude that He didn’t mean what he said.

With that thought in mind, I would like to pose three questions.

1) Where does the bible say that God has absolute knowledge of the future?

2) Where does the bible say that God dwells outside of time?

3) Does the bible ever say that time was created, or does it ever state that time has an end or a beginning?

Just reading over my reply, it sounds a little terse. I don't mean to come across that way, my hope is that we can shed some light on a very hotly debated subject.

God Bless.


_________________
Jim Rogers

 2006/4/12 15:50Profile









 Re: Does God know the future?


Hi rojam,

Your caution is appreciated, and also, the desire to adhere to scripture.

In general, I think the apparent discrepancies between what may be going on in God's eternal realm, and our temporal realm, especially since we spend all of our time here.... make is easier for us to use human terminology and experience to try to describe God's terms of reference.

I'd like to pick your second question:

"2) Where does the bible say that God dwells outside of time?"

Please could you read another thread (very short - only five posts) in this forum, called "Is 'everlasting' meaningfully different from 'eternal'?" - where Logic has now posted some helpful thoughts on how we should understand the difference between 'infinity' and 'eternal', though he does not refer to the scripture quoted by philologos. He draws out a definition of time, which helps us to think clearly. (The thread is linked from my post on the previous screen page.)

Once one takes scripture references to 'eternity' and 'eternal' into account, and scripture I've already quoted in this discussion, it is difficult to explain the phenomenon of prophecy, without attributing to God considerably more foreknowledge than you suggest.

 2006/4/12 16:18









 Re: Does God know the future?


Hi rojam,

Your caution is appreciated, and also, the desire to adhere to scripture.

In general, I think the apparent discrepancies between what may be going on in God's eternal realm, and our temporal realm, especially since we spend all of our time here.... make is easier for us to use human terminology and experience to try to describe God's terms of reference.

I'd like to pick your second question:

"2) Where does the bible say that God dwells outside of time?"

Please could you read another thread (very short - only five posts) in this forum, called "Is 'everlasting' meaningfully different from 'eternal'?" - where Logic has now posted some helpful thoughts on how we should understand the difference between 'infinity' and 'eternal', though he does not refer to the scripture quoted by philologos. He draws out a definition of time, which helps us to think clearly. (The thread is linked from my post on the previous screen page.)

Once one takes scripture references to 'eternity' and 'eternal' into account, and scripture I've already quoted in this discussion, it is difficult to explain the phenomenon of prophecy, without attributing to God considerably more foreknowledge than you suggest.

 2006/4/12 16:23
rojam
Member



Joined: 2005/5/12
Posts: 7
Denver, CO

 Re:

Hi dorcas,

I appreciate your reply.

I'm not sure which verse or verses you were referring too, but I did not see a verse that referred to God dwelling outside of time. I understand the tendancy to interpret the word “eternal” as timeless eternity, but I don’t see the scripture describing that at all. If you look at all the words in both Greek and Hebrew that are translated eternity, or eternal, you will find that they all, for the most part, mean unending time.

I have to confess, Logics post was very well stated. I’m certain that I could never compete with him on that level of eloquence, but to date, every verse that I have seen that is used to support God dwelling outside of time assumes that eternity means outside of time. The Greek and Hebrew simply doesn’t support this. For example, philologos mentioned the Greek word “aionios” which means without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be, never to cease, everlasting. It is closely related to the word “aion” which means age (a span of time, like ice age, or iron age, etc.). The Hebrew word, “ad,” means unending time, or perpetuity. “Qedem” (Heb) means ancient, “olam” (Heb) or “alam” (Aramaic) means continuous existence or perpetual. All of these words assume time.

For example, Isa 57:15 read, “ For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” The word eternity is “ad,” so this is not saying that God is timeless and lives outside time, it is saying, “...thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits unending time.”

Oscar Cullmann did a great treatment on this subject in his book, Christ and Time. In it, he explains that the concept of a timeless eternity is a Greek or Platonic concept, rather than a Biblical one. This is not surprising when you the consider that the Greeks were almost Borg like when it came to assimilating other societies (an association that will only make since to Star Trek TNG fans I suppose). They took what was in the new society and mixed it together with what they had, and what they taken from other societies.

One of my favorite authors on this subject is Gordon Olson. He puts it this way, “God lives in a duration.” I think the word duration is a good definition of what we mean by time. With out duration, it is impossible to have succession, and succession is necessary for anything to happen, even for God. There has to be a “before the world was made,” and an “after the world was made.” If there isn’t, then just like God, the world has always been, and He never really created it.

I should probably leave it at this for now. My daughter has a friend over, and they are waiting for me to cook dinner. Why don’t you chew on this for a while, I look forward to your response.

God bless,

rojam


_________________
Jim Rogers

 2006/4/13 19:45Profile
BeYeDoers
Member



Joined: 2005/11/17
Posts: 370
Bloomington, IN

 Re:

I'm going to repeat this...and then probably not say any more on this subject, unless someone asks specifically. Time is a function of mass and velocity. It is relative. God is not relative. Time did not exist until Gen. 1:1. We could not have been chosen from the foundation of the world if God did not know the future. If God and time are running parallel, how do you explain prophecy? How do you explain the cross? The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. He entered time in order to relate to us. God is in total and complete control of time, and therefore MUST work outside of it. We are walking on very thin ice if we question God's knowing of the future or his dominion over time. I'm not trying to pass judgment on anyone. I'm sincerely watching out for my fellow sheep. It's dangerous. I think this thread has been good in many different aspects, but I think some of the implications out there have not been. To read more about this topic, check out http://www.carm.org/open.htm

blessings


_________________
Denver McDaniel

 2006/4/13 20:35Profile





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