I don’t think so. Let me explain.
To say that God freely creates is to say that he could have refrained from creating and that he could have created a different sort of world, one with different initial and boundary conditions.
To say that God is timeless is to say that he undergoes no change in any respects whatsoever. In other words, it is to say that God is absolutely immutable.
Given these two assumptions (and assuming, of course, that there is a God who has in fact freely created), we can, I think, derive a contradiction:
Is it possible for there to be an omniscient being? Patrick Grim doesn’t think so. Instead of engaging directly with his arguments, however (which I hope to do in a later post), I think it would be helpful to take a step back and reflect a bit on what omniscience could be.
First, omniscience is supposed to be a kind of upper limit case of knowledge and understanding. The implication is that knowledge is something that can come in varying degrees. Off the top of my head, there seem to be at least five dimensions along which knowledge can vary:
Open theism has been much-discussed in philosophy of religion and theology circles since the 1995 publication of Pinnock, et al.’s The Openness of God. But in many ways I find that the view is still poorly understood. Critics frequently fail to appreciate that there are several importantly different versions of open theism.
First, we need a working definition of open theism. The core thesis of open theism is that the future is now, in some respects, epistemically open for God. Let’s call this the epistemic thesis (ET). In general, a proposition P is ‘epistemically open’ for subject S at time T iff nothing that S knows at T suffices to guarantee either that P or that not-P. Thus, the future is epistemically open for God at T with respect to possible future state of affairs X iff for some future time T* neither “X will obtain at T*” nor “X will not obtain at T*” is known by God at T. Whatever is not epistemically open for God is epistemically settled.
I’m honored to be able to join the blog team here at Prosblogion. Allow me briefly to introduce myself:
My name is Alan Rhoda. I have a Ph.D. in philosophy (2004) from Fordham University. While there, I studied with both Brian Leftow and Brian Davies, names I presume are familiar to many of you. I wrote my dissertation on the problem of induction under the direction of John Greco. Right now I’m a Visiting Assistant Professor at UNLV, where I expect to be for at least the next year. Still looking for that elusive tenure-track job.
My areas of specialization are, broadly speaking, epistemology and metaphysics, with areas of concentration in philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and philosophical logic. Particular interests of mine include the philosophy of time, the problem of divine foreknowledge/providence and free will, skepticism, conditionals, and the work of Charles Peirce.
Theologically speaking, I’m a Christian of a broadly Protestant, broadly Arminian stripe. No close denominational affiliations, but my wife Heather and I do regularly attend a Foursquare church here in Las Vegas.
Feel free to visit my website or my personal blog. I look forward to interacting with all of you. Thanks for the invitation to join your team.