“Seeing things before they happen”

A: …but he wouldn’t be God unless he saw things before they happened.

B: Being God doesn’t consist in doing nonsense, and it is nonsense to see something before it happens. It’s as silly as seeing it after it happens. One can read records or watch recordings, but you can’t read them before you read them. The seer and the seen must be together in one act, and so must be together at once.

A: So God has no idea of the future?

B: I wouldn’t say that – he knows that we speak of something called the future and he knows our opinions about it have no truth value, since the only way we could know it would be to know it before it happened. And I’ve just explained why that makes no sense.

A: Let me re-phrase. Call this moment m1. and this moment m2. Did God know the second at the first?

B: I can give you a yes-no answer if you answer one question: does being at one of those moments preclude you from being at the other?

A: Of course.

B: then no.

A: So you admit God is ignorant.

B: How so?

A: Because he didn’t know m2 at m1.

B: No, I said if your idea of “being at” one of those precludes being at the other, then he was not at the first, but we can give the same reason for why he is not at the second either. God only exists where he acts, and he does not exist at times in the way you are describing.

A: Fine. He exists at all times.

B: Not if this is the same excluding “at” that you were working from before. Mathematical things somehow exist at all times too, but I wouldn’t say that they are as old as the universe, or that they are five minutes older than they were five minutes ago.

A: That’s interesting. If a mathematical theorem could know itself, and it knew time, it could know it would be true in the future. In this sense it would know the future, but not by being in time.

B: Maybe God is the self-knowing theorem of the universe then.

A: This sounds like pantheism.

B: I suppose it could be, but a self-knowing theorem is pretty obviously not anything that looks like a universe to me.

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