Cosmic Freedom and Divine Presence
I feel as if I'm beating a dead horse, but the vast majority of believers would apparently disagree on this point. Rather, God by definition knows everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen. I can go along with the first two, but not the third, because the second -- the present -- includes a space of real freedom and therefore uncertainty. Woo hoo!
We used to have an irreligious reader who would come by and flog his theory that man has no free will, but is totally caused by antecedents. I could never make him realize that if his theory were universally true (and it was probably more or less true of him), then truth itself would be impossible because there would be no point of vantage outside the deterministic system. (I say true "of him," because the theory was likely an autobiography of his sense of being enclosed in and determined by his mind parasites.)
If everything is just an effect of antecedents, then there can be no exception for your little theory. So the theory falls by its own standard: eliminate freedom and you simultaneously abolish truth and creativity. D'oh!
There is existence and there is experience. Perhaps the central mystery of the cosmos is how the former becomes the latter -- how experience gets in here at all, and what is its meaning.
Now, one of the first principles of the ancient Raccoon teachings is that you can't derive experience from existence. There's not even a theory for a theory of how this would be possible on a purely scientific basis, i.e., how an objective universe can become subjective -- how the outside can become inside and then perceive and understand its own outside.
It's difficult enough to comprehend how a single cell can become a human being, but an even deeper issue is how a dead cosmos can come to life without presupposing Life.
Experience can only take place in the present, and indeed, in a certain way, is the present. If that is the case, then "presence" and "experience" co-arise, such that each moment is reality presencing itself.
But if there were no being to experience the presence, then the present wouldn't exist. It seems to me that there would just be a kind of perpetual "pasting," i.e., one damn objective thing after another, each determined by its immediate predecessors. But how can you even say "object" without implicitly positing the Subject?
Is the present a function of the experiencer, or vice versa? I think ultimately the whole existentialada falls apart unless we posit a Divine Experiencer. Remove him from the equation, and I don't see how you get to subjects, to human beings, and to the present (in which freedom and creativity are expressed).
Hartshorne: "To live is to decide, and decide anew, each moment." If each moment is already decided for us, then life is a kind of illusion. We are really dead, or at least there is no fundamental difference between being dead and being alive.
Here we go: "we shall never understand life and the world until we see that the zero of freedom can only be the zero of experiencing, and even of reality" (ibid.). And another Raccoon principle is that it is experiencing all the way down, because the manifested world is really a prolongation of the Divine Experiencer; or, to put it another way, God can create nothing that doesn't reflect his God-ness.
The cosmos is shot through with organicism, or internal relations, which is why every teeny weeny, right down to the last itsy bitsy, "is in some measure free; for experiencing is partly free act. Thus creativity, emergent novelty, is universal" (ibid.).
To see this, one must only look through the correct end of the cosmic telos-scope. Among other benefits, "with the admission of universal creativity, dualism loses its necessity."
Experiences are facts; the only question is, what else is fact? --Charles Hartshorne