Friday, October 25, 2013

Incompatibilities and Contradictions in Disembodied Experiences: A Possible Implication for the Law of Karma

From guest blogger, Annalee.

It is important to make the following notes before proceeding. I will employ the term disembodied mind to avoid the theological or colloquial meaning of the word souls. In doing so, I am not committed to the concept of consciousness after bodily death as presented by Judeo-Christian perspectives. I acknowledge that Prasnnatma Das used the word soul in the context of the law of karma. When employing the term disembodied minds, I intend to use it within the same context; that is in terms of the law of karma as Das did. I will not seek to prove that disembodied minds actually exist. Rather I will work under the assumption that if consciousness after bodily death, under the law of karma, does exist, then disembodied minds necessarily exist. I will assume, without providing statistical back up, that the number of beings who have lived on Earth and who are no longer alive in a biological sense outweighs the current number of beings on Earth who are said to be alive in a biological sense. Additionally, I acknowledge that upon a disembodied mind entering into a living being on Earth, the term disembodied experience no longer applies as the experience of the disembodied mind is the experience of the living being it is inhabiting. However, in entertaining an important assumption of the law of karma, I will assume that, upon a disembodied mind entering a living being, the term disembodied experience does apply to the disembodied mind.

One perspective that provides a process for consciousness after bodily death is presented by Prasnnatma Das in A Hindu View of Life and Death. According to Das, death is the process whereby the soul is subjected to the law of karma after bodily death. Through the law of karma, the soul is implanted into another being and the soul experiences another life on Earth. The souls ability to experience pleasure while implanted in this other being is defined by the complexity of the being in which the soul is implanted; the factor of the beings’ complexity is contingent on the soul’s prior performance on earth. For those souls who performed past wrongs, they will be implanted into a being with a lessened capacity for pleasure. For those souls who perform great deeds, they will be implanted into a being with a greater capacity to experience pleasure.

At first glance, Das’ argument for consciousness after bodily death seems appealing because it does not seem to be subjected to the same type of criticism imposed on Judeo-Christian claims; it does not involve an omnipresent God and it does not necessarily promise anything to humans. However, the conception of consciousness after death as proposed by Das does present a logical problem. If there are currently less beings on Earth for souls to inhabit than there are souls needing a being to inhabit, then is it a requirement that a single being be inhabited by more than one disembodied mind? And can more than one disembodied mind inhabit a being?

As stated by Alan and Jesse Steinberg in Disembodied Minds and the Problem of Identification and Individuation, “One way in which the presence of more than one mind could be established …would be to provide some ground or principle for determining that disembodied experiences themselves are incompatible with one another in such a way that they cannot be had by only one mind.” Steinberg and Steinberg provide the following examples to illustrate a possibility where a disembodied state is incompatible or contradictory:
1)           Feeling a pain and not feeling a pain simultaneously
2)           Feeling a pain and feeling serene simultaneously
Steinberg and Steinberg argue (1) The state of being in pain does not equate to a mental state. The state of being in pain and not being in pain equates to the mental state of being in pain. The mental state of being in pain would only need to be had by a single disembodied mind. (2) The mental state of being in pain is a positive mental state. That is by being in pain one is feeling serene. Intuitively, it seems as though both states that would exclude the other. But as Steinberg and Steinberg point out there do occur times in which people experience pleasure and pain simultaneously and there doesn’t appear to be anything “intrinsic about the phenomenology of mental states” that rule out a simultaneous experience of both pain and pleasure; it doesn’t appear to rule out the possibility of more than one disembodied mind.

This is the point where you, the bloggers, come in. I feel that it is profound in terms of the philosophy of religion to demonstrate that some of the same incoherencies of Judeo-Christian doctrine can be demonstrated in eastern religion. With that said I am trying to capture this in my next paper. However, I am not committed to a specific thesis; it seems that the jury is still out. So, do you find Steinbergs’ claims about more than one disembodied mind inhabiting a single being to be compelling? Why or why not? And do you find that his argument has a serious implication for the law of karma if the number of beings who have lived on Earth and who no longer alive in biological sense outweighs the current number of beings on Earth who are said to be alive in a biological sense?

Personal Identity

From guest blogger, Talia.

Class on Tuesday got me thinking: why is it not enough for each individual to have his or her own opinion on the body/psychology theory debate? Why must we pursue an objective sense of what is the ”right” view? Also, I wanted to flesh out what I find to be the most plausible view of personal identity and get some feedback, good and bad.

Personally, I consider my philosophy to align with the body account; we can undergo a certain amount of physical or mental alteration and still maintain our “me”-ness. In the Badger/Everglade case, the two men switched bodies, thus losing their sense of self. Similarly, once the tissue box was burnt enough, it lost its identity as a tissue box; it was simply a pile of ashes. When we die, I believe, our bodies follow a similar decomposition and we are no longer in existence. As Isaac mentioned in class, I think it’s quite plausible to say that, if you are searching for a sense in which we continue to exist, our existence in the memories of others counts. Our mannerisms, likes/dislikes, and interactions with others continue to be remembered, which I think is enough to constitute existing after death.

On this account, it seems that while we’re alive, our bodies constitute our personal identity, and once we die, it is our psychology that becomes our essence. Does this seem plausible to you guys? I’m considering writing my second paper on something along these lines, so I’d love to hear what y’all think!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mental States, Compatibility, and Disembodied Minds

From guest blogger Michael Dean.

I want to take one more stab at identifying and individuating disembodied minds. There are a variety of experiences which one mind may experience simultaneously as Steinberg and Steinberg show. Even seemingly incompatible thoughts may be experienced in the same mind simultaneously, like a desire to eat and not eat ice cream. Minds are complex, and a simple self-examination may suffice to show this happens fairly often. So we cannot individuate minds when there are conscious experiences that are seemingly incompatible. To put this in somewhat technical terms, a variety of token experiences of seemingly incompatible types may be occurring simultaneously in the same mind. It may even be possible for two token experiences of the same experience to be occurring simultaneously. We can imagine two sets of eyes looking at green walls. There are two tokens of the ‘green visual experience’ type occurring simultaneously in the mind. However, as I pointed out in class, if we conceive of experiencing the ‘aha! I think, therefore I am’ moment of understanding Descartes’ cogito as a type of experience, then it seems to me like this might be a type of experience for which any mind can only have one token experience occurring at one time. What would it be for a mind to be having two token experiences of ‘Aha! I exist because I think!’ simultaneously? Perhaps this is possible, but unlike the other seemingly incompatible experiences the Steinbergs consider, I cannot imagine myself having this experience twice simultaneously in my mind. If it is true that a mind can only experience one token of this type at a time, then if at time t1 there are multiple token conscious experiences of this type, then we may have grounds for individuating disembodied minds. I hate creating arguments against conclusions I like, so please help show me what is wrong with my argument.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Response to Steinberg

From guest blogger, Dyllan.

Steinberg’s thesis, that we either live in the best of all possible worlds or God is not our creator, seems the logical conclusion to his premises regarding the impossibility of God’s creating a surpassable world and the difficulty we have in believing he did not create any world. The difficulty in reconciling his not creating any world lies with his perfect nature and the idea that creation is better than non-creation. It seems to me, then, that we must throw out the second part of this conclusion if we are to give any weight to the traditional conception of a perfect God. Thus, it must follow that God did create our world and that it is the best of all possible worlds.

In defense of our world being the best of all possible worlds by necessity of its creation at God’s hands, I would like to take a look at the Howard-Snyders’ example of Jove and Thor and provide an alternative theory of what would take place if Thor was truly omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. The main flaw I find in the Howard-Snyders’ example is that they attribute the quality of infinity to the number of possible worlds but not to the power of selection or knowledge of their would-be Gods (Thor and Jove). Why does it not follow that Thor can take a non-random minimum value, then randomly select a higher value, and continue that method an infinite amount of times to create a world as infinitely positive as he is powerful? This is the problem that I have with deeming a morally insurpassable being a chimera, because it basically rejects the Anselmian view of God on the basis of a thought experiment wherein infinite power was denied to the agent in the first place.

Other possibilities for our world being the best of all possible worlds could include either that it is constantly improving or that our human world is not the best of all possible worlds, but part of the best possible universe. In the first case, we could conceive of a world in which God was constantly improving our world by an exponentially increasing degree (wherein the exponent is infinite). If we wanted to get real freaky with it we could even say that at each point t there corresponds a point l is later than point t. And at every l, we view t as being equally good to l because our world has improved so much that our view of the past is always positive and we have no reference of a worse world to mitigate the improvements made by point l. Thus we have no negative feelings toward the past corresponding to our improved state at l. This is an extreme example, and we can still conceive of a constantly improving world wherein we are unaware of the improvement simply due to our relative positioning inside of the improving world. A final possibility is that our world is not the best possible world, but a piece inside of the best possible universe including a salvation occurring after death. It is possible, consistent with Gods nature, and fairly unoriginal, to suppose that we live in a flawed world full of challenges that ultimately lead to appropriated salvation wherein everyone meets the final end they deserve. 

What is Knowledge?

From guest blogger, Natalie.

On my first guest blog post someone responded with this comment:

"I like your verve. It is generally understood in epistemology that what is required for having knowledge of x is:

a. You must believe that x is true.
b. You must have reason to believe that x is true.
c. x must be true.

You deny a nor b yet you opine on the possibility of c? Jesse teaches you this?"

Professor Steinberg responded with this:
Most philosophers these days don't think that knowledge amounts to (a)-(c). Ed Gettier has a famous paper in which he provides some counterexamples to this analysis of knowledge. 
I don't follow your last remark. Do you mean to deny that there can be instances of justified false beliefs?"

This is in part a response to the anonymous comment, but I have also extended the post to include an introduction of an idea I have about the importance/role of the religious canon.  I chose to make it a blog post rather than a comment on the previous post because I would like feedback to help me develop the idea since I am considering it as a topic for my next paper. 

In the case of your requirements, I would say, is it not possible for something to be true although you don’t have knowledge of it in this sense?  X could be true (c) even though you don’t believe it is true (a) or reasonably/justifiably believe it is true (b). 

I think these accepted requirements for knowledge make more sense if put forth in this order/worded slightly differently, specifically taking out the word must because I believe it has implications that are not intended (at least if this is the knowledge as a justified true belief argument that I believe it is):
(a2) x is true(b2) You believe x is true.(c2) You reasonably and rationally believe x is true/You justifiably believe X is true.
The claim made is that these requirements must be met to have knowledge.  I would disagree and say that this is what is necessary to have a justifiably true belief.  A part of the argument to which I am responding is that justifiably false beliefs are not knowledge.  A justifiably false belief would be one that only meets requirements (a2) and (b2).  I don’t think (c2) is a necessary component of knowledge.  Ed Gettier, as Professor Steinberg mentioned, puts forth an argument that supports my belief called “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”

Jesse’s mention of justifiably false beliefs prompted me to explore an idea I have regarding the potential importance of the canon as a tool.  I don’t believe that all people have correct knowledge or proper ration, and since some things may be viewed as what “you must believe” is true, such as morality, they provide a different pathway towards reaching the truth with their portrayal of revelation.  In this way, what you have called (b) and what I have called (c2), do not hold to be true.  I do not broach the topic and begin a debate with this comment as to whether or not a given x, identified as anything put forth in the canon, is true.  However, I think I can show my argument with a very simple example from the canon (viewed in isolation from the rest of the canon).  In the Torah, in the telling of the travels of Abraham, it describes a city called Tel Gezer’s geographical location and population.  Its remnants have been the subject of an archeological excavation and study, and any person can visit the site today.  I concluded through study and by going there myself, which show that my beliefs about the city are reasonable and justifiable, that what the Torah said about this city is true.  However, prior to this study and travel I still believed that what the Torah said about it was true, and in reality, what the Torah said about the Torah was factual.  Therefore, prior to study and experience, my beliefs did not meet the (a)-(c) or (a2)-(c2) requirements for knowledge.  Since people don’t always have reason or ration, it may be necessary for things like the canon to provide another kind of justification for belief, and what could be more convincing to a person of faith than the word of God?  A justifiably false belief may not be based on the reason as required in your (b), what I call (c2), but does that mean that it isn’t knowledge?  I don’t think it’s absurd to call it knowledge if your (b), what I call (c2), requirement is not met.  I considered that when people talk about having faith, I understand them as saying that only the (a2) and (b2) requirements are met and that faith is what they put in place for the missing (c2) requirement.  Accepting justifiably false beliefs as knowledge seems to be a necessary component of faith-based conclusions.

I’m trying to work on the idea of what you’re justified in calling it and what it actually is.  I have considered making the concession that (a2)-(c2) might be necessary for a person to call their belief knowledge.  The next question should be posed in light of the concession that someone cannot call a belief knowledge if they don’t fulfill (c2), whether this concession is accepted as true or not.  It helps to simplify the question: If you believe something and it’s true, then what is, if not knowledge?  I’d love to hear some opinions on this question, whether the concession seems is true or false, and you think it’s necessary to make the concession.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What topics shall we cover?

Students enrolled in my Philosophy of Religion course:

Which topics would you most prefer to cover in class in November/December?  Suggesting a reading or two will be very helpful.  I plan to conduct a poll in class on Tuesday next week and I'll to finalize the syllabus by Thursday.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Necessity of Evil

From guest blogger, Caitlin C.

I’m a big believer in needing to experience something before truly understanding it. Little 5 year old me had to try broccoli before I knew it tastes amazing with some cheddar cheese on it, 14 year old me had to try plain broccoli in order for me to realize I love broccoli no matter how it’s cooked. Thinking along those same lines you need to experience the good and the bad in order to understand the difference and work towards what you want/ what will make you happy.
Little 9 year old me had to attend a private religious school and believe in God in order for 10 year old me to decide that religion wasn't for me. With that said, if I had never attended another private school when I was in high school and found it incredibly difficult to make new friends, I never would have realized how much I loved the public high school I attended and how lucky I was to find friends like the ones I had there. If only good existed then the reasons I am the person I am today would never of happened, I don’t think any of us would be the same if we never experienced hard times. I think many people would agree that after we go through difficult times we usually think we learned something from it. Maybe evil is needed for the human race to evolve.

Bare with me since I’m not a theist or a philosophy major.
1.      An all loving, omnipotent God exists2.      An all loving God would create the best world for us
3.      What’s best for us isn't only experiencing good
4.      Therefore, God has to allow evil to exist
This is a response to the general idea that God would never allow a world (like ours) with so much evil to exist (which I previously held prior to this class). Another thought that I have regarding this is that if we were all happy all the time then there wouldn't be a strong meaning to life. If we were all happy there would be nothing for us to look forward to or to work towards. If there was no evil then everyone’s lives would be the same amount of good, and with that I could claim they would be the same amount of happy. Life would be one boring dry flatland.

If I change my perspective and look at this through the eyes of psychology I can come up with a few reasons why the absence of good must exist. I think about what I know about how people bond with one another. I’ve learned that people tend to create stronger bonds while sharing common dislikes or complaints than they do while sharing common likes. I know that when I go through hard times I turn towards my friends more than I do when I go through good times. Maybe the existence of evil has to do with forming strong relationships with our community.

I’m having a hard time figuring out what direction to actually take this paper in.

Plantinga on Evil

From guest blogger, Chase T.

This blog post is a discussion and response to Alvin Plantinga’s Evil Forces, in which Plantinga discusses the presence of evil in the world and its compatibility with the existence of an omnibenevolent being. Plantinga’s main thesis is that the existence of evil can be explained by the existence of evil forces, or Satan to be exact, that act in contrast with God, who is indeed omnibenevolent. Plantinga asserts that natural evil and moral evil are not truly distinct, but rather that natural evils are actually moral evils on the part of Satan and his cohorts. The reasoning behind Satan’s evil actions, and therefore the existence of evil in general, being permitted by an omnibenevolent God can be attributed to freedom. God allows Satan to act in the way that he does because it is worse to curtail a being’s freedom than it is to allow his freedom and permit some evil actions. In Plantinga’s mind, freedom with the existence of evil is better than a complete lack of evil, but rational beings that are not entirely free.

I believe the main argument can be broken down as follows:

1.  God is an omnibenevolent being who created the universe and all the rational beings that inhabit it, including Satan.
2.  God created rational beings to the most perfect degree that he could.
3.  Beings that are rational and totally free are more perfect than beings that lack some or all freedom.
4.  Therefore, God created us with the most freedom possible in order to make us as perfect as possible.
5.  If Satan is free to act as he desires, he will do evil deeds to contrast God’s goodness.
6.  Satan is free because he is one of the rational beings that God created.

7.  Therefore Satan will do evil deeds to contrast God’s goodness and evil will exist.

This argument seems valid to me but I see a number of problems with it. The first problem that I have with this argument lies in premise 2. I take it that Plantinga would argue that God made us as perfect as he could, otherwise why would he give us unlimited freedom in the first place? If he was not seeking to maximize our perfection he would have made us less free and eliminated evil. However, it seems to me that the rational beings that inhabit God’s universe are far from perfect. If God really intends for us to be as perfect as possible, how is it that we can make so many blatant errors in judgment, action, and moral responsibility? I take it that Plantinga would respond by saying that, as stated in his argument, our freedom entails the possibility for error and evil. But why then would God not give rational beings total free will, but also the necessary knowledge required to avoid evil? Evil actions on the part of beings seems to arise from a notion on their part that what they need or desire can only be attained by the injury of another being. However, if given the knowledge of how to achieve one’s desires without injuring another, would rational beings not seek their desires in such a way as to avoid evil? I suggest that they would.

Now, this idea of people with perfect knowledge of how to act in accordance with their desires, but still avoid evil does not explain a few things. Firstly, what do we say about the being who desires to be evil. It seems that Satan is such a being and in Plantinga’s eyes the source of all evil. It seems that even if a being such as Satan was given perfect knowledge of how to act to avoid evil, he would still seek out as part of his free will as it is in fact what he desires. My response to this is multifaceted. A being such as this is inherently evil. He is not good but simply misdirected, otherwise perfect knowledge would lead him to avoid evil. And the earlier counter argument to Plantinga would apply here as well. If this is in fact the case, then it follows that God made the being as such, for Satan could not have existed if he was not created by God. However, it seems that if God did in fact make an inherently bad being, than he made a being that is clearly less perfect than he could have otherwise been. Either Satan is misguided, and therefore God could have given him and the rest of the rational beings in the universe free will and perfect knowledge to go with it, or God created Satan as inherently bad. How could an omnibenevolent being create a being that is inherently evil? God’s omnipotence dictates that he could have done otherwise in making Satan inherently evil. He could have made Satan free and just a normally rational being as perfect as possible like the rest of the rational beings, but he did not, and herein lies the problem.

If we break down Plantinga’s assertions, it becomes clear that in order for this notion of Satan explaining evil to be valid, it entails two ideas that are totally incompatible with the Anselmian notion of God. These ideas are:

1. God did not make all beings as perfectly as he could have.
2. God is in fact the source of evil in the universe as he created Satan and made him inherently evil.

Clearly Plantinga does not want to make either of these two claims. But they are unfortunately a part of his argument that cannot, and should not, be avoided. For this argument to be complete it needs to be fleshed out and freedom and perfect knowledge need to be discussed further, but this is my blog post, and that is what the paper is for!

The Anselmian Conception of God

From guest blogger, Natalie N.

In the philosophy of religion, the discussion of God is often centered on the omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence of God and the compatibility of those attributes with each other and the laws of nature and reason.  These are the widely accepted attributes of God by both philosophers and theologians alike.

An attempt to find the source can be made by citing religious Canon.  Here are some often cited examples from the Torah:
(Isaiah 44:6)
"Thus says the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."

(Job 42:2)
"I know that you can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from you."

(Jeremiah 32:17)
"Ah Lord God! behold, you have made the heaven and the earth by your great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for you:"

(Jeremiah 32:27)
"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?"
I don’t think this approach is valid for many reasons.  It reinforces these attributes in part, but our current conception of them is far from a direct quote from the Torah.  Modern religious study has convincing evidence, and it is the widely accepted view in the professional field of Jewish studies, that the Torah as it exists today is not the revelation of God to Moses on Mount Sinai.  The Documentary Hypothesis exposes that the Torah is a compilation of works by four different groups of authors: the Yahwists (J), the Elohist (E), the Deutoronomist (D), and the Priestly source (P).  The earliest estimates of the time period in which the first source, the Yahwists, were writing are around 950 B.C.E.  This was one thousand years after the supposed authorship of the Torah by Moses.  It seems that in our philosophical study, we should be bounded by these rational and logical historical findings.  Therefore, we cannot accept these attributes without first proving them.  The New Testament is an even more recent human conscription, the theological developments in the later books of Jewish canon and interpretation by rabbis are all based on the Torah, which has been undermined by the Documentary Hypothesis.  It seems that there aren’t any sources of valid authority behind the claims that God is necessarily omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. 

My opinion is that these are human ideas that have developed and become entrenched in the discussion that need to be uprooted.  One explanation as to how these attributes became the norm is that they were an attempt to explain in understandable or general terms the unfathomable power and perfection of God.  These attributes are what I consider to be infinite attributes, meaning that it would be impossible to go any further than these in regards to what they pertain to.  This is the same concept as infinity, in that there is no such thing as infinity plus one.  There is no greater power, conscience, or benevolence that is greater than these attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence.  It seems that a human conception of perfection would be tied to these infinite attributes.  In reality, we can prove that these attributes are contrary to each other and the world as we experience it, so they are not in reality the components of perfection.  The incapability of people to conceptualize the attributes of God does not necessarily mean that those attributes must be boundless or infinite. 

I think that beginning philosophical discussion with these attributes of God as assumptions bears the risk that the entire discussion may be based on a false claim.  However, I’m not sure where the discussion should begin.  A possibility is to begin with the attempt to logically prove that these attributes must belong to God to show that the assumptions on which further discussions are based are correct.  Any discussion or conclusions based on invalid assumptions are fruit from a poisonous tree. 

Can an Omniscient God Compensate for Evil?

 From guest blogger, Allie G.  

Assuming evil and proof of compensation for such acts exist in this world, a necessarily moral and omniscient God would have to be the source for such compensation. In establishing whether or not God can make wrongs right, it is important to understand the limitations of an omniscient God. It can be said that God only allows human action but does not directly cause them, is capable of anything logically, morally, and physically possible, possesses the most relative power, morally justifies evil acts, and compensates for such evil acts. In the first and second case, God has been reduced to the power level of a human and can no longer be regarded as omniscient. In the third case, God has allowed/actualized evil and can no longer be regarded as omnibenevolent. By the definition of omniscience, God must be capable of actualizing all that he wills, all acts performed, all acts to be performed, all acts being conducted, morally justify all acts, provide compensation for evil acts, and be incapable of performing evil acts in the first place.

Such limitations on God’s power do not weaken the argument for his existence. Clarifications are made as follows: an evildoer not God performs such evil acts, God is capable of compensating for evil because he does it all the time, and God does compensate for evil through his Divine Gratitude. However, these seeming clarifications incite prior responses. In case one, God is defying his omnipotent nature. In case two and three, God is defying his omniscient nature. This circular yields the following argument:

P1: Evil exists
P2: A necessarily omnipotent God would be responsible for actualizing all acts performed, all acts being conducted, and all acts that will be conducted.
P3: A necessarily morally perfect God could not actualize evil acts and must compensate for all evil acts.
P4: If God exists, then he must possess the three Os.
P5: Any being lacking three Os cannot be God.
P6: God does not exist.

Conclusion: Therefore, God cannot compensate for evil.

Divine Omniscience and Human Freedom

From guest blogger, David H.

It seems there is a standstill in the discrepancy between God’s omniscience and human free will, one that is relentlessly exercised but finds little closure. My goal in this post is to put forth two points, one formal argument, as well as a second claim (more of a food for thought type of situation) that would secure an Anselmian God that is able to possess omniscient/potent/benevolent qualities, while still allowing for humans to have free will over their decision-making specifically.

My argument works as such: We will refer to the current perceived human time stream that can only move forward as "X".
p1) Humans are bound by time, space, and X and by nature associate all sense of reason and understanding through these determining bounds.
 p2) God has complete omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence.
 p3) If God is omniscient and if He is bound by time, space and X, human free will cannot coexist paradoxically because of His presence.
 p4) God is not bound by time, space, and X.
 C)  Therefore, God has complete omniscience while humans retain their free will.
The true distinction here comes in the state of which we perceive God. If He is bound to our human state, it seems the unvierse would be fully determinstic and His fully capacityy for predicting/seeing/knowing the future would directly inhibit any natural or free action for humans. They would be incapable of freely willing any decision on independently of God’s knowledge. By removing God from time and space, God would view all occurences in the universe simultaneously, thus not a lacking on His omniscience, but instead a broader persepctive of knowledge, opposed to the small scope of human perception. He would not only view/know things that are happening now in the current state of humanity, but He potentially would bare witness to all ‘past’ and ‘future’ states. From God’s perspective in His state of being, one that sees the entire existence of the universe at once, our paths might be determined, however from our human perspective in this state of being, there is no reason to assert that everything happens in a purely determinsitic fashion.

In coherence with my last argument, I would follow with another claim that help preserves God’s omniscience and omnipotence in the face of human free will. This may move forward a bit more, let’s say, “loosely theistic,” but let’s try it.

Let’s say God still exists outside of space and time. For the sake of the argument, let’s clarify that humans are stuck in a time stream of space that can only move forward, one that God is apart from, and in this time stream, any choice we make can only affect the future because of the nature of our moving forward.

Now, I would like to preserve God’s omniscience and omnipotence. If He has complete omnipotence, God does possess the power to affect our choices and pre-determine the world. However, He allows free will for humans, not because he can’t make decisions for us in His power, its that He chooses to not intervene and allow free will. Now, I forsee an objection to this being that why would God choose this course of action if He knows the best option and could avoid evils... I will return to this in a minute...

Now, God created humans, so He knows every human being so well that He knows what choices we will ultimately make... It then becomes the responsibility of the human to make their own decision, completely separate from God’s knowledge because of the separation in space and time. Because it falls on the human to make these decisions or not, it is no longer God’s responsibility because of his acceptance of human free will. We cannot hold God liable, for it is in His innate nature to not have influence in these decisions. It because of logical impossbility for God to actually interfere, thus making humans responsible for every course of action and evil that transpires. Because of His existence in a different state as well as his nature in general, humans cannot know what God wants, making them completely responsible. Theologically the trump here balances on the question of why doesn’t God interfere in the end if He sees it all. Why doesn’t He just help us avoid evil? The answer is simple. Love can only be given through free will; you can’t force anyone to love you... not even God can make this to be true. By allowing free will, God allows humans the CHOICE to love him as well. He must allow her necessary evil in order for free will to exist, because if he didn’t allow it to exist, His love would neither given nor received.

I am not even 100% sold on this philosophy, however it seems to work very flexibly and yet still preserve a rigorous perception of God and human capacity. I look forward to reading your feedback.