Thursday, September 27, 2007

Predictability and Determinism

"Radio talk show host Larry King was taking calls about God yesterday. He could not accept the notion that God knows the future, yet does not control us. That is, if God knows what I am going to do, how can I do otherwise? Like most people, Mr. King stumbles where Reason fails. The idea of Mystery is lost to modern man. Everything, supposedly, should make sense, should be explainable."
May 6, 1993

It's interesting to stumble upon this journal note this a.m. because last Friday evening in our philosophy club we gave attention to this very discussion. We have been listening to a series of lectures called The Great Ideas of Philosophy, and this month's lecture was on Augustine. Augustine injected an intellectual vigor back into the early church. Noting that although God cannot be perceived or achieved via Reason, the notion of God is not inconsistent with Reason or unreasonable.

At one point, the matter which Larry King struggled with was addressed. Dr. Robinson, the lecturerer, illustrated how it is possible for predictability to not be determinism. In other words, God can know the future without making it happen.

The reality is, that if the will were not free, we'd have a new dilemma: how can I be accountable for what I do?

It is fascinating to wrestle with these issues. Occassionally they result in some spirited debates. The quest for truth and meaning are worthy pursuits. Ultimately, we are seeking a basis for hope, a hope that is real and does not disappoint us.

"Squeezing life to wring out from it all I can take from each day."
May 18, 1993

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