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Thread: Believing or Not Believing Because of Evidence

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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    Well, yes God knows what you believe or don't believe in, but...No, as an Open Theist, I believe that God doesn't always know the free will decisions of people. There's lot of instances of that both in the Old Testament and New. It's certainly a tough concept for most people to embrace. (I don't expect you to find it convincing though.)
    I understand Open Theism, I read Greg Boyd years ago. But even there, God would certainly know that there would be people He created that would be lost. Second, what if Calvinists are correct, that God elects some and passes other by. Are we saying God is obligated to save rebels? With open theism, how would Christ know that before the rooster crowed Peter would deny him me three times?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    That doesn't make sense. If I am convinced by historical evidence that the Bible is true, that in no way diminishes the authority of the Bible.
    Welcome to presuppositional apologetics.

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    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I understand Open Theism, I read Greg Boyd years ago. But even there, God would certainly know that there would be people He created that would be lost.
    Does God know that there are people He created that will be lost? Sure, but it's a stretch to say that the Bible supports the notion that God knows before He created them that they would, indeed, refuse His free gift. If God is a God of His Word, (and we both believe He is) then God must give each person a chance to accept His Son as the payment for their sins, otherwise, it's a false promise. Limited Atonement is unsupportable from Scripture.
    Second, what if Calvinists are correct, that God elects some and passes other by. Are we saying God is obligated to save rebels?
    If by this do you mean do I believe in Universal Salvation? If so, then no I do not. Is God obligated to save those that stay in rebellion to him? No. It's a common saying among Calvinist that God is not obligated to save anyone...that's not true, God was not obligated to before Christ came, but afterward, His promise now reigns supreme. He promised He would save all who trust in His Son Jesus. God doesn't break His promise.
    With open theism, how would Christ know that before the rooster crowed Peter would deny him me three times?
    Before I give you an explanation, I would ask if you understand Open (View) Theism (OVT) then how do you think they would answer the question? Do you believe that while on earth, Christ was Omniscient? If so, then show why you believe that. If not, why do you credit this with proving absolute foreknowledge (Omniscience) and not his power, (Omnipotence)?
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    Does God know that there are people He created that will be lost? Sure, but it's a stretch to say that the Bible supports the notion that God knows before He created them that they would, indeed, refuse His free gift. If God is a God of His Word, (and we both believe He is) then God must give each person a chance to accept His Son as the payment for their sins, otherwise, it's a false promise. Limited Atonement is unsupportable from Scripture.
    I'm not sure what you mean Joe, most of humanity, for most of history never heard the Gospel. How did they have the opportunity to receive Christ?

    If by this do you mean do I believe in Universal Salvation? If so, then no I do not. Is God obligated to save those that stay in rebellion to him? No. It's a common saying among Calvinist that God is not obligated to save anyone...that's not true, God was not obligated to before Christ came, but afterward, His promise now reigns supreme. He promised He would save all who trust in His Son Jesus. God doesn't break His promise.
    Where does the Bible say that God PROMISED to save everyone?

    Before I give you an explanation, I would ask if you understand Open (View) Theism (OVT) then how do you think they would answer the question? Do you believe that while on earth, Christ was Omniscient? If so, then show why you believe that. If not, why do you credit this with proving absolute foreknowledge (Omniscience) and not his power, (Omnipotence)?
    I believe it was possible that Christ was not omniscient on earth, but God the Father always was, and Christ was in constant communication with the Father. BTW - I don't think Open Theists have a good explanation. Lucky guess?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean Joe, most of humanity, for most of history never heard the Gospel. How did they have the opportunity to receive Christ?
    With man it's impossible...but with God, ALL things are possible. Or do you not believe that?

    Where does the Bible say that God PROMISED to save everyone?
    Did you misread what I wrote or just misunderstand it? Because this is not what I said and I know you wouldn't deliberately misquote me so....?

    I said that God promised to save "everyone who trusts in His Son" . I never said He promised to save everyone.

    I believe it was possible that Christ was not omniscient on earth, but God the Father always was, and Christ was in constant communication with the Father. BTW - I don't think Open Theists have a good explanation. Lucky guess?
    Well, one theory would include, the "Doctor Who" type theory that there are fixed points in God's plan that MUST take place and cannot be changed, and, this would be an acceptable explanation since in OVT theology, the future is as open or as closed as God wants it to be, so, this is plausible. God can close certain things but maintain a VAST majority of Free will. ISTM that in Calvinism they seem to be an all or nothing type theology. But, Scripture is full of examples of God doing exceptional things but not making it a rule. For instance, how many talking donkeys have there been? How many parted sea's? How many prophets swallowed by a fish to be regurgitated later? How many people were healed by Jesus power by grabbing his clothes? Just because it's happens a certain way once doesn't make it a rule.

    There are several different ways this could have happened without Omniscience (absolute foreknowledge). Omnipotence would do it, i.e. God says this is going to happen and He just....makes it happen.

    Another more nuanced way would include Jesus knowing Peter better than Peter knew himself and the whole point of this "predictions" was to bring Peter to a point that he would recognize he was actually a coward at heart and was only brave when Jesus was around doing miracles etc. Jesus who knew the time was short, (Judas was already in the process betraying him) also, He knew Satan was going to attack Peter. "...Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to have you, (past tense) that he might sift you like wheat..." Notice that Bible Gateway footnotes that in vs. 31 "you" is plural...IOW, Jesus is talking to ALL of them (the disciples) but in vs. 32, Jesus shifts to a singular "you". Speaking only of Peter. So, Jesus knew all the disciples hearts and knew that Peters faith was so weak that he would deny him if push came to shove. Next, It would not have been anything to convince Peter to follow Jesus to the courtyard. Peter had been traveling with Jesus for over 3 years and was pretty well known. That a juicy piece of gossip would be in the works when Jesus is hauled into court in the middle of the night would have had anyone curious as to why. Seeing someone who had been his disciple for over 3 years there, it would be a natural question would it not? Hey! Your one of his disciples, what's going on? No, I don't know him. Are you sure? I know I've seen you with him. See, simple for God to see how this was going to go. To give you a simple example, if I offer my oldest son a choice between a bowl of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream OR a bowl of steamed broccoli, I can tell you without even asking him which one he will choose one million times out of one million. He loves Mint Chocolate chip ice cream and absolutely HATES broccoli. If I being a mere mortal can make a determination like that, how much more can God who is infinitely more intelligent than I am.
    Last edited by Littlejoe; 02-10-2019 at 10:11 PM.
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  6. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    With man it's impossible...but with God, ALL things are possible. Or do you not believe that?
    I have no idea what you mean by that, are you suggesting second chances after death?

    Did you misread what I wrote or just misunderstand it? Because this is not what I said and I know you wouldn't deliberately misquote me so....?

    I said that God promised to save "everyone who trusts in His Son" . I never said He promised to save everyone.
    Ok, perhaps I misunderstood, you said: then God must give each person a chance to accept His Son as the payment for their sins, otherwise, it's a false promise.

    Where does God say He promised to give every man a chance to repent?

    Well, one theory would include, the "Doctor Who" type theory that there are fixed points in God's plan that MUST take place and cannot be changed, and, this would be an acceptable explanation since in OVT theology, the future is as open or as closed as God wants it to be, so, this is plausible. God can close certain things but maintain a VAST majority of Free will. ISTM that in Calvinism they seem to be an all or nothing type theology. But, Scripture is full of examples of God doing exceptional things but not making it a rule. For instance, how many talking donkeys have there been? How many parted sea's? How many prophets swallowed by a fish to be regurgitated later? How many people were healed by Jesus power by grabbing his clothes? Just because it's happens a certain way once doesn't make it a rule.
    OK, so God could have absolute foreknowledge but at times chooses not to exercise that ability. I think that is possible.

    There are several different ways this could have happened without Omniscience (absolute foreknowledge). Omnipotence would do it, i.e. God says this is going to happen and He just....makes it happen.
    So God made Peter sin and deny Christ? I like your first explanation better.

    Another more nuanced way would include Jesus knowing Peter better than Peter knew himself and the whole point of this "predictions" was to bring Peter to a point that he would recognize he was actually a coward at heart and was only brave when Jesus was around doing miracles etc. Jesus who knew the time was short, (Judas was already in the process betraying him) also, He knew Satan was going to attack Peter. "...Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to have you, (past tense) that he might sift you like wheat..." Notice that Bible Gateway footnotes that in vs. 31 "you" is plural...IOW, Jesus is talking to ALL of them (the disciples) but in vs. 32, Jesus shifts to a singular "you". Speaking only of Peter. So, Jesus knew all the disciples hearts and knew that Peters faith was so weak that he would deny him if push came to shove. Next, It would not have been anything to convince Peter to follow Jesus to the courtyard. Peter had been traveling with Jesus for over 3 years and was pretty well known. That a juicy piece of gossip would be in the works when Jesus is hauled into court in the middle of the night would have had anyone curious as to why. Seeing someone who had been his disciple for over 3 years there, it would be a natural question would it not? Hey! Your one of his disciples, what's going on? No, I don't know him. Are you sure? I know I've seen you with him. See, simple for God to see how this was going to go. To give you a simple example, if I offer my oldest son a choice between a bowl of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream OR a bowl of steamed broccoli, I can tell you without even asking him which one he will choose one million times out of one million. He loves Mint Chocolate chip ice cream and absolutely HATES broccoli. If I being a mere mortal can make a determination like that, how much more can God who is infinitely more intelligent than I am.
    That is the weakest response. Too many variables. You couldn't be sure that any one would confront Peter, never mind three times, by different people, why not two or five? And why before the cock crowed? Why not after? Your first explanation makes more sense.
    Last edited by seer; 02-11-2019 at 06:55 AM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I have no idea what you mean by that, are you suggesting second chances after death?
    No, not suggesting anything, just that's it's possible. just because you and I don't know how, doesn't mean it's not possible is all I'm saying at this point.

    Ok, perhaps I misunderstood, you said: then God must give each person a chance to accept His Son as the payment for their sins, otherwise, it's a false promise.

    Where does God say He promised to give every man a chance to repent?
    John 3:16 - "For God so love the world... that whosoever believe in Him"
    John 12:32 - "32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
    Titus 2:11 - "11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,"
    Romans 10:14 - 18 - "14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
    “Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
    and their words to the ends of the world.”


    1 Timothy 2:3-6 - "3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."

    The Promise is for "everyone" "all people", "the world", "all men" "the ransom for all", etc., etc., Yet, you're saying that it's possible that the God of our Bible created the way out of bondage to sin and death for everyone in the world, but then, only tells a relatively few about it and therefore condemns those who have never had it offered to them?

    So, to answer your Question of "What if the Calvinists are right?" My answer is - I just don't see how they could be based on Scripture and what God has revealed of Himself to us. If they are, then IMHO, we are worshiping a God who at the very least, misleads us and over-inflates not only His abilities but His promises.

    OK, so God could have absolute foreknowledge but at times chooses not to exercise that ability. I think that is possible.
    Again, not what I said, but you are correct, God can do whatever He wishes, your explanation here is also plausible. However, to be fair, my first point is closely tied to the second point...i.e. God-did-it encompasses both explanations actually.

    So God made Peter sin and deny Christ? I like your first explanation better.
    Why would it be necessary for God to make Peter sin first and deny Christ? Why wouldn't he be able to react to the sin that Peter commits and decide to teach Peter about himself?

    That is the weakest response. Too many variables. You couldn't be sure that any one would confront Peter, never mind three times, by different people, why not two or five? And why before the cock crowed? Why not after? Your first explanation makes more sense.
    You think it's if not impossible, then improbable that God knew Peters heart, and when he uttered those fateful words and said that he "wouldn't deny Christ", that God couldn't already know where the Sanhedrin was going to bring Jesus, (it was probably already settled) could not have made sure there were people hanging around (that may have been normal, do you know?) Prompted someone to question Peter. Could not have made a rooster crow whenever He wanted it to happen???

    So, you place limits on what God is capable of? Are you sure that's a wise position to take?
    Last edited by Littlejoe; 02-11-2019 at 09:52 AM.
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    No, not suggesting anything, just that's it's possible. just because you and I don't know how, doesn't mean it's not possible is all I'm saying at this point.
    OK

    John 3:16 - "For God so love the world... that whosoever believe in Him"
    John 12:32 - "32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
    Titus 2:11 - "11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,"
    Romans 10:14 - 18 - "14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
    “Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
    and their words to the ends of the world.”


    1 Timothy 2:3-6 - "3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."

    The Promise is for "everyone" "all people", "the world", "all men" "the ransom for all", etc., etc., Yet, you're saying that it's possible that the God of our Bible created the way out of bondage to sin and death for everyone in the world, but then, only tells a relatively few about it and therefore condemns those who have never had it offered to them?
    Joe, I am very familiar with the texts. But we are back to the point above. Since most peoples have not heard the gospel, you would have to hold to second chances after death. And I see no Biblical justification for that. And you know how the Calvinist would look at the "all" texts - not all individuals, but all classes and groups. Not just Jews, but any or all ethnic groups.

    So, to answer your Question of "What if the Calvinists are right?" My answer is - I just don't see how they could be based on Scripture and what God has revealed of Himself to us. If they are, then IMHO, we are worshiping a God who at the very least, misleads us and over-inflates not only His abilities but His promises.
    If you limit the words world or all then there is no problem. I'm not saying that they are right.

    Again, not what I said, but you are correct, God can do whatever He wishes, your explanation here is also plausible. However, to be fair, my first point is closely tied to the second point...i.e. God-did-it encompasses both explanations actually.

    Why would it be necessary for God to make Peter sin first and deny Christ? Why wouldn't he be able to react to the sin that Peter commits and decide to teach Peter about himself?
    Then I'm not sure what your point was. If, as you say, it must take place. Did God ordain it, or just know it?



    You think it's if not impossible, then improbable that God knew Peters heart, and when he uttered those fateful words and said that he "wouldn't deny Christ", that God couldn't already know where the Sanhedrin was going to bring Jesus, (it was probably already settled) could not have made sure there were people hanging around (that may have been normal, do you know?) Prompted someone to question Peter. Could not have made a rooster crow whenever He wanted it to happen???

    So, you place limits on what God is capable of? Are you sure that's a wise position to take?
    Really? Having three people approach Peter? Asking him the same thing, before a certain hour? Sure, I see it with foreknowledge, not otherwise.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    OK

    Joe, I am very familiar with the texts. But we are back to the point above. Since most peoples have not heard the gospel, you would have to hold to second chances after death. And I see no Biblical justification for that. And you know how the Calvinist would look at the "all" texts - not all individuals, but all classes and groups. Not just Jews, but any or all ethnic groups.
    And how would you go about proving that "most peoples have not heard the Gospel"? How do you know that Jesus doesn't show up EVERY time someone is about to die? How do you know that some people don't received some sort of a vision or visit from Christ or....whatever? Again, it's interesting that if God doesn't do it the way you imagine, then you place limits on the Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God... and say it can't be done

    If you limit the words world or all then there is no problem. I'm not saying that they are right.
    why would you limit them? What Biblical justification do you have for the limit? How do you KNOW that God doesn't give every dying person a vision/choice just before the point of death? I agree there's no hard Biblical mandate for an after death conversion, but there are proponents of that view, the most notable one off the top of my head is C.S. Lewis. Again, I'm not sure why you can appeal to mystery for once theological beliefs but not another...

    (I'm certainly not advocating or convinced one way or another on the issue but...)Proponents of the view say that in John 10:16 the "other sheep" Jesus is speaking of is unevangilized people who accept Christ after death.
    And John 5:25 - “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
    1 Peter 3:18 - 19 - 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,"
    1Peter 4:6 - "6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does."

    Then I'm not sure what your point was. If, as you say, it must take place. Did God ordain it, or just know it?
    Well, I don't KNOW it had to take place...so, just spitballing. Again, OVT has the most explanations for all the verses that can be troublesome as OVT let's God do whatever He needs to do in order to accomplish what He plans to do.

    Really? Having three people approach Peter? Asking him the same thing, before a certain hour? Sure, I see it with foreknowledge, not otherwise.
    Then, ISTM, that you see God as a very small and weak God since He can only do things with Omniscience and not with His Omnipotence... The Bible is sufficiently muddy in regards to Omniscience (by that I mean the Classical definition of Omniscience and not how OVT would define it)...but it's not in regards to His Omnipotence.
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    And how would you go about proving that "most peoples have not heard the Gospel"? How do you know that Jesus doesn't show up EVERY time someone is about to die? How do you know that some people don't received some sort of a vision or visit from Christ or....whatever? Again, it's interesting that if God doesn't do it the way you imagine, then you place limits on the Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God... and say it can't be done
    But I see no evidence that that is so, and no Biblical justification for that view

    why would you limit them? What Biblical justification do you have for the limit? How do you KNOW that God doesn't give every dying person a vision/choice just before the point of death? I agree there's no hard Biblical mandate for an after death conversion, but there are proponents of that view, the most notable one off the top of my head is C.S. Lewis. Again, I'm not sure why you can appeal to mystery for once theological beliefs but not another...
    I'm a fan of Lewis, so I'm not sure what you are speaking about. Or I could have forgot...

    (I'm certainly not advocating or convinced one way or another on the issue but...)Proponents of the view say that in John 10:16 the "other sheep" Jesus is speaking of is unevangilized people who accept Christ after death.
    And John 5:25 - “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
    1 Peter 3:18 - 19 - 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,"
    1Peter 4:6 - "6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does."
    OK

    Well, I don't KNOW it had to take place...so, just spitballing. Again, OVT has the most explanations for all the verses that can be troublesome as OVT let's God do whatever He needs to do in order to accomplish what He plans to do.

    Then, ISTM, that you see God as a very small and weak God since He can only do things with Omniscience and not with His Omnipotence... The Bible is sufficiently muddy in regards to Omniscience (by that I mean the Classical definition of Omniscience and not how OVT would define it)...but it's not in regards to His Omnipotence.
    Except I believe God is both Omniscient and Omnipotent, it is not either or. You believe there is a lot of stuff He just doesn't know. Literally ignorant on many matters...
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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