Why Possibilities = Actualities?
As mentioned in the last blog, Tim and I agreed that God knows all the possibilities. I then argued that if Tim agreed that God knows all the possibilities, then he will also know the actualities. My point? Tim’s belief makes a great argument for my side of the debate 😊! But, how does God discriminate between the actualities and the possibilities? This last question is why I assume Tim does not want to jump on the wagon of actualities (the actual free-will choices of creatures).
The mechanism of God’s ‘discriminating’ or ‘figuring out’ which are ‘just possibilities’ and those that ‘are actualities,’ has everything to do with God’s rational powers and choice. Let us assume that God is a bit like a scientist with lots of petri dishes that “could grow” a particular kind of fungus. Each fungus in each dish has a slightly different composition, which lies dormant until an activator is added to the petri dish.
The scientist knows every variation of fungus and what it will develop and how fast it will develop based on her prior knowledge of fungi. Therefore, of the 100 Petri dishes before her, she will know what will come about when she adds the activator to Petri Dish #42. The Scientist already had knowledge of what will happen in every petri dish (possibilities), but the scientist only added the activator to one dish. Because of this fact, the Scientist knows not just the possibilities (100 petri dishes), but the actuality as well (petri dish #42)
God is like this scientist. He has decided to create one of the possibilities (petri dishes). That petri dish has its own scenarios that God knew in advance. Since he picked this petri dish, he knows what will happen in it, like he does with every other petri dish. Since God did not activate the other 99 petri dishes, that means they are ‘just possibilities.’ Whereas this one (#42) is the actuality.
I presume Tim does not like this analogy, even though it proves true. What Tim wants to avoid is fatalism, that everything is just “fated” to happen. Logically however, Fatalism does not follow from what I have argued. Tim can agree with my position (and logically should) and avoid fatalism. How is fatalism avoided? Check out next week’s blog!