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If God anticipates each possibility perfectly, how does he differ from the “frozen God” of classical theism?
Question: If God anticipates each and every possibility as if each were only possibility, how does God ever experience novelty and adventure? It seems that a God who perfectly anticipated (from all eternity) every single possibility as if it were the only possibility would not differ from the timeless “frozen God” of classical theism
Answer: My claim is not that God experiences every possibility as if it was the only possibility; its rather that God anticipates every possibility as if it were the only possibility. In my view, God’s actual experience of a possibility once it becomes actual always involves an element of newness and additional definiteness — which, I believe, is the main definitional difference between possibility and actuality (I defend this in my book Trinity and Process). This is also how I would account for God’s experience of novelty and adventure. Because an ontological (viz. not merely epistemological) possibility is always one among many, there is always something new in God’s experience when one possibility is actualized (viz. when it transitions from a possibility to an actuality). When an improbable possibility is actualized, God naturally experience something like “surprise” (without, however, any loss of preparedness). When things are at risk, there is an appropriate sense of adventure.
By the way, one problem for classical theists who argue (against open theists!) that God’s knowledge cannot be improved upon by the unfolding of time is that they have difficulty articulating how God’s experience of the actual now differs from God’s foreknowledge of now. Unless something is added by the actual experience, how does God that the “now” is happening? In other words, how does God know what time it is?
Tags: Foreknowledge, God, Open Theism, Q&A
Topics: Attributes and Character, Defending the Open View
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