Adventures in God
If there is becoming, then there is change. But Buber doesn't like the sound of that, so he stops well short of pursuing his own common sense -- or common experience -- to its theo-logical deustiny.
But for Hartshorne, Buber's words are just plain logic, "neither less nor more," so theologians (including Buber!) who balk at their implications are being "wonderfully illogical."
Some say that to affirm change in God is to deny omniscience, because if God is omniscient then he can by no means be "surprised" by change. In this view, God is the last jaded word in Been There/Done That.
That is, what looks like change to us must be as one big spatiotemporal block to God, where everything -- past, present and future -- is taken in at once. Or in other words, for God, time is not temporal, but rather, spatial.
To which one can only respond with a shrug of the shoulders and the old "that's one way of looking at it."
But that way has never appealed to me, neither emotionally nor intellectually, not to mention spiritually. Rather, I like the idea of adventure, including Adventure in God. What if God is the quintessential adventurer and creation is the ultimate E-ticket adventure?
To which one may well respond with a shrug of the shoulders and the old "that's one way of looking at it."
I mean, far be it from me to start an argument if you prefer to be a religious couch potato resting in the comfort and safety of your own delusions.
I want to briefly skip ahead to the contribution by a Nahum Glatzer, professor of Judaic Studies at Brandeis. It seems to me that he absolutely Nails It in observing that the prophets teach "the freedom of choice."
Now, "Israel is in the hand of God like the clay to a potter's hand." However, this does not mean the future is settled and that our freedom is an illusion.
For on the one (potter's) hand, "God plans the destiny of nations and of men." Bueno. I think we can all agree on that.
However! "In choosing the good," it is as if man "causes" God to renounce his plan for what would have occurred had man turned away from the good. Or, in choosing evil, man "causes" God to adjust his plans accordingly.
Thus -- common sense again -- "Because there is a covenantal relationship between God and man, man has the power of turning to the good or the evil, and thus also the power of turning the tide of events."
Therefore, what happens to man is "the divine answer to his choice." This is no "mechanical relationship of cause and effect," but rather, "a dialogical correspondence between God and man."
This is because "God wants man to come to Him in perfect freedom"(emphasis mine and God's). This being the case, the future "cannot be a result of pre-determination," for "the spirit of God assumes the attitude of 'waiting' for man to fulfill the intention of Creation."
But predetermination always creeps back in like the worship of Ba'al, for any ideology that denies man's freedom and claims that the future is written is an iteration of the same old gnostic ba'algame, from Hegel and Marx on down to our own contemporary progressive clownocracy.
If Hollywood has taught us anything, it is that "Truly, for some men nothing is written unless THEY write it" (Lawrence of Arabia).
Of course, God is always the cowriter, and he has a contingency plan for every eventuality, but that does not equate to omniscience in the sense usually understood.
Rather, for Hartshorne -- common sense again -- omniscience is "limited" to what can be known. And what can be conceivably known is EVERYTHING that has happened and is happening. But unless we deny all distinctions between past, present and future, then "knowledge" of the future must be a different sort of thing.
For some reason, religious people are generally uncomfortable with this idea, but I am profoundly uncomfortable with its alternative, for there would be no reason to get up in the morning if it weren't for the opportunity to participate in a new adventure in and with God. I mean, is he just faking the interest?