Continuing with the theme of the previous post, I have a question, and I won't accept a self-refuting answer, least of all from God, who should be above such sophistry: if God knows what I am about to write, do I have a choice in writing it? It feels to me like I do, but if the author of Reality is correct, then that can't be the case.
Much as I like to think that God is the author of my omniscient posts, I have my doubts. Of course, I want to be in alignment with the great What Is, and indeed, this goes to the ineradicable tension between finite and infinite. I believe my philosophical approach respects this tension, while the traditional view -- perhaps unwittingly -- abolishes it by its overemphasis on the pole of infinitude and immutability. But it takes two Tongans to tango.
I have other questions: Jesus, of course, is two natures in one person. How is the sacrifice offered by the human person worthy of merit if it is bound to occur anyway? Another question: does the principle of Trinity have any bearing on our conception of monotheism? Which comes first, so to speak? Do we situate Trinity within a strict monotheism, or must we fundamentally reconceptualize the very meaning of monotheism?
For example, the author of Reality (the book, not the universe) claims that God "knows all future conditionals with absolute certainty by knowing himself." And "from all eternity" God decrees "the actions of free creatures."
I find this neither intelligible nor comforting, and more than a little narcissistic. On the next page the author assures us that "Foreknown does not mean necessitated." Oh. Okay. We "are still making the choice. God just knows what [we] will choose."
Just? No worries. It's just your real freedom.
Is there a better way -- a way to reconcile God's wisdom with our stupidity? And with it, a more sensible way to get God off the hook for human evil? I just don't buy the traditional explanations.
Hartshorne suggests that "there is a monopolar and a dipolar way of conceiving" of the problem before us. I would go further and suggest there is a tripolar solution, but we'll leave that for later. In fact, I have some other helpful suggestions of my own, but let's first lay a metacosmic foundation.
As we know from our Thomism, God is the being whose essence is to exist: he doesn't merely have existence, rather, he is existence. He is the only being who exists necessarily. Moreover, his existence is necessary to the existence of human persons and all this entails.
This is somewhat tangential to the point I'm trying to make, but if the human intellect isn't anchored in necessity, then knowledge of truth is impossible; you might say that in the absence of the Necessary Being, we are necessarily condemned to a closed world of appearances and our opinions about them. Fake News would be the law of the universe and not just of the university.
In short, the human person must have a sufficient principle, and this principle is God. No principle short of this is adequate -- certainly nothing as meager as materialism, scientism, or evolutionism. We'll come back around to this subject later.
There is and can be only one being whose essence it is to exist. God is not a species of a larger genus; he is not a class. By definition there is only one, so we are fully on board with monotheism.
But what sort of one? And what sort of existence? For example, we know of two divergent and even opposite forms of oneness: there is the oneness of a brick and there is the oneness of an organism. Is one of these "higher" or do we just flip a coin? More to the point, is God a frozen and unfeeling block of eternity?
If God is a FUBE, then, ironically, we humans have something he doesn't have. But if we are in the image of God, shouldn't things that are truly essential to us be a distant reflection of something in God? The question is, what is essential and what is accidental? If, for example, I am a liar and a thief, it doesn't mean God must be.
Hartshorne acknowledges that God is perfect. Yes, but what is perfection? Perfection means that God "has no possible rival (no equal or superior) among individuals. He could not be equalled or excelled by another. But could he be excelled by himself in another state?"
Maybe, but "how can one go beyond what is already the uttermost possible?" We don't want to suggest that God somehow "improves." That would make no sense.
Hmm. Let's consult the Trinity for some guidance. First of all, there is the Father and the Son. Does it make sense to think of this as another FUBE situation, in which the Father "determines" everything in and about the Son? If the Son is just a necessary extension of the Father, then what's the point?
Yes, there is a "oneness" between them, but in my view it must be analogous (not identical!) to the distinction alluded to above between the rock and the organism. Of course, a big difference is that the organism comes about in time, whereas the relation of Father and Son has nothing prior to it: the relation Is. Or better, Is is Relation.
Now, if Relation Is, then this changes approximately everything, but we'll have to wait until the next post to find out exactly how. We'll conclude with a conundrum: