Conflict between omniscience and omnipotence

I read an argument that if a being is omniscient then it cannot be omnipotent because if it knows what it will do in the future, then it does not have the power to control what it does. Thoughts? Rebuttal?

God does not experience time as we do so there is no use talking about “the future” with respect to Him. So the question is simply incoherent.

There is no argument, no conflict at all between the two.

God KNOWS all things.
God has POWER over all things.

Just because HE knows what HE’s going to do in the future.
Just because HE KNOWS ahead of time (and like SW85 said there is no time for HIM) just how HE is GOING to use this power doesn’t mean He doesn’t have the power.

So HE DOES have the power to control what He does, and He also has the knowledge ahead of time on HOW He will use this power.

The argument given is from the perspective of human knowledge and human power, but not from the perspective of an Omniscient and Omnipotent Being (GOD)

God is also omnipresent, meaning all present, or pretty much he exists in his fullness every single place in the world, and also every single moment in time.

God doesn’t exist in time like we do so for God past present and future exist at time same time.

So God isn’t really travailing through time so there is no future that he hasn’t experience yet

so God can be omniscient and omnipotent

Makes sense. Thanks for the insights!

He knows all things, which is omniscience. This may include options.

For example he can see my future, and knows that at a certain point I will be faced with a choice. Yet no matter what choice I make, he sees the outcome. Of course as I actually get to that point, and make a concrete choice, the number of possible permutations is greatly reduced. And my future path is also set more towards Heaven or Hell, when it’s all said and done, depending on the choice I actually make.

His omnipotence includes the ability to restrain Himself from acting if He so chooses, in the interests of my freedom. He would have known long in advance that Adolf Hitler would do what he did, and could have stopped him with a fatal illness when he was a child for instance, had he decided to.

But He didn’t, but let Hitler, and everybody else, make their own choices.

Hence He often appears weak in our world, because He holds Himself back.

Omnipotent means capable of doing anything. Knowing that one is going to do something simply insures that it will be done.

However, there is a mental limitation inherent in omniscience, in that an omniscient entity cannot have a creative thought. Therefore if God indeed knows everything, including the future, then God is incapable of the simplest forms of creative thought, thereby absent a property which even some humans enjoy.

The problem with omnipotence is strictly physical. If God actually exercised this property, he would destroy the universe. For example, suppose that God or another omnipotent entity applied infinite force to a single pea. That force would cause infinite acceleration, instantly causing the pea to move at the speed of light. At that speed it will acquire infinite mass.

Infinite mass will create an infinitely large gravitational field, which will instantly attract all matter in the universe to it, creating an infinitely massive black hole that has sucked in everything in the universe, and anything in any universes lurking nearby that might happen to contain the property of mass.

Your implicit definition of creative thought seems to have “capability of having a new idea that one did not previously know” as one of its conditions. If this is a fair assessment of what you are trying to get across, then I don’t see what the big deal is. In that case God would not be creative, but it would hardly be a knock against his omnipotence. Having the fullness of knowledge and being the fullness of knowledge is not a limitation, but not having that fullness and being that fullness is.

In short, you are trying to anthropomorphize God.

If omniscience and omnipotence are the same thing in an undivided God; as such that each quality of God is in Unity then there is no affect on either omniscience or omnipotence.

You see God is one. He cannot be divided into parts or qualities. He is in Unity in Spirit. In otherwords, his omnipotence is his omniscience and his omniscience is his omnipotence–He is in Union as One Undivided God. Every single quality of God is in Union.

Quite the contrary. Christianity has already managed that quite nicely. I propose the opposite, which is to attribute to mankind (a few of us anyway) a property which God does not and cannot have-- the ability to generate a creative thought.

Greylorn:

Not quite; but, I’ll get to that shortly.

However, there is a mental limitation inherent in omniscience, in that an omniscient entity cannot have a creative thought. Therefore if God indeed knows everything, including the future, then God is incapable of the simplest forms of creative thought, thereby absent a property which even some humans enjoy.

Don’t you think that, in our forms of “creative thought,” Time is presupposed? Human “creative thought” is a process. It is a process of going from disorganized and indistinct thoughts to organized and, in most cases, complex thoughts. If God’s creativity is defined as is suggested by your presumptions, then, No, God cannot have those kinds of creative thoughts.

The problem with omnipotence is strictly physical. If God actually exercised this property, he would destroy the universe. For example, suppose that God or another omnipotent entity applied infinite force to a single pea. That force would cause infinite acceleration, instantly causing the pea to move at the speed of light. At that speed it will acquire infinite mass.

Couldn’t God exercise His Omnipotence in a non-physical way? For example, could He not merely think the non-existence of a universe? Now, if God does contain all of the knowledge of the meta-verse and the universe, since He Created them, then, of course, He would have no need to “apply infinite force to a pea.” He would already know the outcome of willing that. In Catholicism it is said that Infinite Reality has two essential activities: Thought and Will. He thinks whatever He wants to Think, then, Wills whatever He wishes to become Real. (Sort of like humans do!)

God bless,
jd

Fusiontron:

Welcome to CAF.

If the argument you heard is precisely depicted in what you have stated, then the argument is not well thought out, unless the arguer is depicting a thing that merely has those two attributes. If, on the other hand, the argument is anti-God, then the arguer is making a strawman. God is first and foremost, infinite. This means that He has no limitations of any kind. Obviously, if God were as the argument depicts, God would be limited to existing in Time, and limited to not having a will, among other things.

But, God, as we learn from Scripture and the Church has no limitations. Therefore, God can not only “think,” but also, He can separately “will.” These two concomitant attributes are presupposed by the definitions of conjoined “omnipotence” and “omniscience.”

Like others have said, your definition of creative thought is creation-centric if not anthropomorphic.

You might as well say, “Could God make a burrito so hot that He himself could not eat it?” Can you spot the contradiction? Notice that contradictions are not things and therefore do not fall under the scope of omnipotence.

Not only that, but we learn that from metaphysics and Aquinas’ Five Ways.

You seem to be badly confused. God is a spirit and does not eat burritos, or anything else— at least according to theory.

I believe that my “definition” of creative thought is not a definition of my own, but rather refers to common linguistic understanding.
I can generate a definition for you easily enough. Creative thought is the creation of information. Most human thought is simply brain-level information processing, in which correlations are made between existing items of information, exactly what a computer does but with a different style of doing it.

To declare that a God who knows everything cannot create information is, to someone who actually makes a living creating information, obvious.

Moreover, questions about information processing vs. creative thought involve the issue of omniscience, which is a different thing than omnipotence. You might consider spending a few bucks on a nice dictionary.

The connecting dots are that it would be a contradiction in both cases.

I believe that my “definition” of creative thought is not a definition of my own, but rather refers to common linguistic understanding.

That is not under dispute. What is under dispute is if one cannot do it, is it then a limitation. Answer: in the case of God, no. Why? Because an unlimited being has/is the perfection of creative thought. Really, the conclusion of the existence of an Actus Purus entails that any possibility is only a possibility precisely because of the Actus Purus.

Most human thought is simply brain-level information processing, in which correlations are made between existing items of information, exactly what a computer does but with a different style of doing it.

I have a friend for you to meet who is exactly like you but isn’t.

Moreover, questions about information processing vs. creative thought involve the issue of omniscience, which is a different thing than omnipotence.

They are very closely related for an immaterial being.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.