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Possibilities=Actualities


In the debate, Tim and I both agreed that God knows all the possibilities (everything that could ever happen in any given possible situation). I also argued that God knows every actuality (what will in fact happen in the future), but Tim disagreed.


As the debate progressed, I pointed out that if God knows all the possibilities, then by definition he also knows the actualities of the future. The reason for this is quite simple. I illustrated this by pointing out ‘all of the chairs’ in the room (sanctuary). There were 90 chairs in the sanctuary. Now let's assume that all 90 chairs represent all the future possibilities that could ever happen. Tim and I both agreed that God knows all 90 chairs (all possibilities).


Now, let’s mark five of those chairs by coloring them another color and calling them the “actual future free-will decisions.” Now, if we ask, “does God know all the chairs in the room”, what will be our answer? If we already answered that God knows all the chairs in the room, which included the marked off chairs, then our answer must be “yes.” This means that God’s knowledge of all the chairs (possibilities) also means that he knows the actual future free-will decision (marked off chairs) as well. The actualities are contained in the possibilities.

Conclusion: God’s knowledge of the possibilities means he holds the knowledge of the actualities too!


Although Tim did not reply to this point in the debate, I have tried to put words to why he might not agree with my position. The logic of the above is clear, but the mechanism for how God might discriminate between the actualities and the possibilities is not clear from the illustration above. Thus, I think Tim finds it difficult to understand how God can discriminate between something that is ‘just a possibility’ and then something that is an actuality. In my next blog post I will offer some thoughts on this.

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