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Can God learn anything?

posted Jul 18, 2011 01:18:30 by Robert_Rowlett
Let's discuss something on here! What do you all think: Can God learn anything?

God bless,
Robert
Robert A. Rowlett
RT Administrator
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Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
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5 replies
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MicahWilliams said Aug 10, 2011 04:19:42
I don't have much to say beside this: "Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." (Isaiah 46:8-11). This is just one passage, but there are others. God is all-knowing; therefore, His knowledge can neither be expanded nor contracted.

--Micah
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Robert_Rowlett said Aug 12, 2011 20:38:10
I agree! I bring up the topic because I heard a logical proof about God once that was supposed to debunk Christianity.

It states:

"Since God knows everything, He can't learn anything. But if He doesn't know what it means to learn something, then God doesn't know something (namely, the experience of learning). Thus God doesn't know everything there is to know and thus isn't omniscient. Christianity is therefore incoherent."

William Lane Craig responded to this argument by saying that there are certain tensed truths that God comes to know. For example, it was once true that, "Christopher Columbus *will* discover the New World." God at the time would've known that. However, He would not have known that, "Christopher Columbus *has discovered* the New World." because that wasn't true yet. (Bare in mind the philosophical definition of "divine omniscience" is that God knows any and all truths. Since "Christopher Columbus *will* discover the New World." is TRUE at the time and "Christopher Columbus *has discovered* the New World." is FALSE, God does not "know" the latter statement.) Thus, when Christopher Columbus went on and found the New World, the previous statement ("Christopher Columbus *will* discover the New World.") became FALSE and the latter statement ("Christopher Columbus *has discovered* the New World.") became TRUE and thus God's knowledge changed.

While that response is plausible, I choose a different response. I would reject that God hasn't experienced learning in the sense that Jesus Christ was human and thus by definition had to have "learned" while He was on earth. For example, Luke 1:80 (KJV) states the following concerning Jesus: "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel." I think it is therefore plausible to assume that Jesus learned as He grew as a human child since that is an essential part of being human. Formally, I would state the argument something like this:

Premise 1. All human beings learn.
Premise 2. Jesus Christ was a human being while on Earth.
Conclusion: Therefore, Jesus Christ learned while He was on Earth.

That would then debunk the above assertion against God.

As a note, though, this argument can be quickly dismissed by saying that God is omniscient and thus does know what it means to learn since He possess all knowledge. So at worst this is a paradox, and at best it is a non-issue for Christianity. In addition, this argument merely argues something about the *personality of God*--namely His omniscience. It does not prove that God does not exist. If the above argument were true, it would only mean God is not all-knowing and not that He doesn't exist.

Thanks for the reply! I hope others comment as well.

God bless,
Robert A. Rowlett
[Last edited Mar 20, 2012 03:19:04]
Robert A. Rowlett
RT Administrator
---
Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
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AndyBaker said Dec 18, 2011 02:20:35
Those are good explainations. I would like to say that there is a breaking point in the explanation with Jesus. As a human, there were some things that Jesus probably never learned e.g. Calculus. Now combine that with the fact that God had not yet learned that Christopher Columbus had discovered the New World and you have a small problem.

All this to say that, when explaining this concept you cannot use Jesus as the only explanation. You can use Jesus as proof that God has had the experience of learning just not the experience of learning everything. The two explanations used together should suffice.
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Robert_Rowlett said Mar 20, 2012 03:15:06
Your point is well taken Andy. Though, I would argue Christ did possess knowledge of Calculus because in order to be fully God He must have possessed the attribute of omniscience. I believe Christ did possess all knowledge but chose not to express all of it during His time on Earth. And while God might not have *learned* of Christopher Columbus discovering America, never did He *not posses knowledge* of the event. The argument above states that God can "learn" and "forget" truth statements that contain a time dependency ("will happen" vs. "is happening" vs. "has happened"), but it does not conclude that God forgets about an event entirely at any point.
[Last edited Mar 20, 2012 03:19:47]
Robert A. Rowlett
RT Administrator
---
Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
avatar
Pieder_Beeli said Apr 22, 2012 13:49:41
The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, β€œI will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” Gen. 6:6, 7 (NASB)

The LORD changed His mind about this.
β€œIt shall not be,” said the LORD. (Amos 7:3, NASB)
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