Reading Stoid’s thread on evil brought this to mind–is God (if you believe in such things) really omni-everything? The God I believe in isn’t. Here’s why:
Too many of the biblical stores we’re supposed to draw meaning from become meaningless if God is omni-all. Think: God’s test of Abraham becomes meaningless if God knew the outcome before hand. It merely becomes a cruel joke on Abe, making God into some masochist who likes watching us suffer. However, the test does have meaning if God honestly doesn’t know what Abe will do. God’s sweating it out there for a bit (granted the test itself is rather cruel), wondering if Abe will really follow through with the request and sacrifice Isaac. When it becomes clear that Abe will, honoring God’s wishes, God prevents Isaac’s death and all turns out well. But if God knew all along that Abraham would kill his son, why bother with the test? What’s the meaning?
This can also be applied to God’s own son. If God absolutely knew his son wouldn’t fail, would be sinless and would die by crucifixion, where’s the meaning? It’s a sure thing. I doubt Jesus would have had quite the soul searching if he’d have known it was all good. The key here is he didn’t–neither did. It seems to me there was some fear that it wouldn’t work, that the kid would fail, that this whole experiment would go down the drain. After all, what need experiment if you know the outcome? If God does know everything, then we’re all down here suffering for no reason other than God’s cruel. And that’s not my God.
Neither can God be all-powerful. God cannot make me believe a certain way. God can place all alternatives before me, can make one or the other particularly attractive or repulsive, but cannot make me choose one over the other. Cannot force. (Cannot, or will not–it’s moot. The key here is if it will not ever be done, then something cannot be accomplished; hence, not all-powerful.)
Omni-present–that one I’m working on. If God is, what need angels, but since I myself don’t particularly believe in angels, that argument carries little weight with me.
What do you think?