Monday, November 30, 2015

If I Were Omniscient, I'd Give it Up for a Moment of Creativity

I'm not sure how anyone, even God, could know the future in every detail. If the future were determined, why would grace need to exist as a kind of separate Godling (or Godding, i.e., a verb) who largely manifests by changing the course of one's life, AKA the future?

So, what is God's relation to this unknowable thing we call the future?

Hartshorne writes that knowledge and prediction of the future aren't merely limited by ignorance, "but by the very meaning of the future," what with our countless "decisions yet unmade, issues not yet settled even by the totality of causes already operating."

In other words, in order to know the future, one must not only know every cause before it becomes an effect, but an infinitude of variables that aren't yet even causes.

It's a big job.

Furthermore, if the world could be known in this way, it would eliminate creativity: "Reality is predictable just in so far as it is not creative, but rather mechanical, automatic, compulsive, habit-ridden" (ibid.).

So yes, much of our world is "uncreative and hence predictable." But who wants to live in such a world? And if we don't want to, why on earth would God? Indeed, if I were an omniscient God, I'd want to create a little realm of unpredictability just to relieve the tedium! Otherwise you reduce God to the last word in obsessive-compulsive disorder. You make him a control freak.

Speaking of having skin in the game, I think this must apply quintessentially to the Incarnation. I'm not one of those people who thinks the whole thing was orchestrated from beginning to end.

Rather, the entire arc of the Incarnation -- the theo-drama -- involves a confrontation between two freedoms, divine and human. This means it plays out creatively, with the only sure thing being that God will somehow find a way to redeem man, no matter how weird the details. And boy, did they turn out weird!

I might add that if the future is known, it makes it absolutely indistinguishable from past and present. In reality, although we call past, present, and future diverse modes of time, this tends to conceal how radically different they are.

What is the difference between "what happened" and "what will happen?" In a mechanical world there is no difference, because the future is in the past (and present) without remainder.

But there is a remainder. What do we call it? For starters, we call it freedom. Also creativity. And from the divine end, grace.

Grace must be accepted in freedom, but when we do, it means that the future is going to be different from what it might have been. If the Father is divine, I don't know, "law," and the Son is logos, then the Holy Spirit is divine surprise.

Boo!

Nicolás Gómez Dávila has some excellent aphorisms that go to this general subject, sometimes even plausibly. For example, "I distrust the system deliberately constructed by thought; I trust in the one that results from the pattern of footprints."

You could say that God is no Hegelian, superimposing some rational idea over the world. Rather, again, it is divine Freedom vs. (or with) human freedom, the result being an unpredictable path of footprints. That's the whole bloody fun of it!

One reason why tenure is the embalming fluid of the left is that, unlike God, they really do pretend to know it all. But "History shows that man's good ideas are accidental and his mistakes methodical." Ho!

At one end we have the subhumanity of scientism ("His serious university training shields the technician against any idea"), at the other end the anti-science proglodytes of the humanities. A machine at one end, an asylum at the other.

Thus, "maturity" for the wanker bee scientist is a kind of vulgar atheism, whereas the developmental telos of the humanities is a state of perpetual immaturity where, to paraphrase Nicolás Gómez, idiocies are not seen as obvious. For "A confused idea attracts a fool like a flame attracts an insect."

Which is why this is the case. And when you mix the two -- science and politics -- out pops the scientistic idiocy of global warming. Note that its adherents are like false Gods that can know the future in every detail, but are ignoramuses about the present and past.

Insufficient time this morning to wrap this all up in a neat package.

The believer is not a possessor of inherited property recorded in a land registry, but an admiral looking upon the shores of an unexplored continent.

And One must live for the moment and for eternity. Not for the disloyalty of time.... whoever celebrates future harmonies sells himself to the devil. --NGD

5 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Indeed, if I were an omniscient God, I'd want to create a little realm of unpredictability just to relieve the tedium! Otherwise you reduce God to the last word in obsessive-compulsive disorder. You make him a control freak.

It would be as though all of existence is just one ridiculously extravagant Rube Goldberg machine. Except with less purpose. Granted, they are fun to watch, but nobody would expect the parts of the mechanism to ponder their own existence and act as individuals.

11/30/2015 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

"And when you mix the two -- science and politics -- out pops the scientistic idiocy of global warming."
Indeed.
Reminds me of two other similar cases: HIV and vaccinations.

11/30/2015 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

with the only sure thing being that God will somehow find a way to redeem man, no matter how weird the details

This is, as I understand, for example, some verses in Romans 8, exactly the case. Redemption is written. How we get there is planning to improvise.

11/30/2015 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.

12/01/2015 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

12/01/2015 08:20:00 AM  

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