Board index Noah's Ark & the Flood

If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby Abernathy » Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:43 pm

If, according to the Bible, Noah’s Ark really happened does that mean God is not all knowing and makes mistakes?

Genesis 6-8. The descendants of Adam and Eve had become evil and wicked, and God was sorry He had ever created mankind. He decided the only thing to do was destroy them all and start over. But there was one man, Noah, who was obedient to God and found God's favor.

Noah was to find one male and one female of every kind of animal and bird and take them into the ark. He also had to take food for all those animals. It took Noah 120 years to build the ark and find all the animals to put in it, but Noah obeyed God and did just as he was told. Noah was 600 years old by the time everything was ready.

A Gallup poll showed that over 30% of Americans believe that the Bible is the word of God and its teachings should be taken literally. Northern Kentucky's Noah's Ark replica attracted one million visitors during its second year of operation, officials said. Answers in Genesis (AIG), which owns the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, reported a 20 percent jump in attendance year over year for the ark.

Apparently a large number of Americans do believe the Bible is true. Does this then mean God is not omniscient and does make mistakes and does not know the future and is unable to correct his (God’s) mistakes and needs human to help? Or is the Bible just stories not to be taken seriously? If the Bible is just a bunch of stories and not real, then why believe anything in the Bible?
Abernathy
 

Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:08 pm

Wow, I'm not following your logic: "If the flood happened, God isn't omniscient." Hmm. That's a non sequitur. But let's trace through your question.

The ancient mindset (completely foreign to our own) is that of order, disorder, and non-order (stuff we don't think about and don't care about, but we have to understand ancient texts as they were intended). God brought order to the cosmos (Gn. 1) so that it would function in the way He intended it to function. Sin brought disorder, an imbalance that needed to be righted. Adam & Eve choose to make themselves the center of order rather than recognize God as such. God set out to redeem humanity and regain order. The Cain and Abel story show the pervasive nature of disorder. Cain doesn't have God's order in mind when he rejects God's offer of a way to gain favor (Gn. 4.7), and chooses instead to seek order for himself by killing his brother. In this way he pursues disorder as he seeks his own benefit.

By the time we get to Genesis 6, vv. 1-4 seems to be an example of disorder that also needs to be addressed. All of humanity seems to have pursued disorder and rejected God. The consequences have been corruption and violence (Gn. 6.5). Sin is all-pervasive.

"And the Lord was grieved." It doesn't mean God realizes he made a mistake. It meant the "books," so to speak, the ledger of creation, were "out of balance." Sin had cause so much disorder that God needed a plan of action to bring creation back to functionality and order (like Genesis 1). So here (Gn. 6.6) God is auditing the accounts, and finds that he needs to redress the situation ("is grieved"). The books are out of balance and need to be adjusted. So it's certainly no commentary on God's lack of omniscience.

Noah was to build an ark and take animals on board (7 each of clean animals, 2 of unclean), and food for them, yes.

> It took Noah 120 years to build the ark and find all the animals to put in it

We have no clue how long it took Noah to build the flood, but the text doesn't say it took him 120 years. Nor did he have to find the animals; God brought them (Gn. 7.8)

But I also do not believe that the flood was universal, but instead a massively large regional (continental?) flood. The "all" language is rhetorical (Gn. 41.57: we're not to think the Australians came to buy food, for instance).

So I still hold that:

1. God didn't make a mistake. God therefore doesn't need human help to correct his mistakes, since he doesn't make mistakes.
2. God is omniscient.
3. God knows the future.
4. The Bible is the Word of God
5. Its teachings should be taken as they were intended, some literally, some as parable, simile, allegory, metaphor, synecdoche, poetry, figurative—whatever the author intended.
6. The Bible stories are to be taken seriously.
7. The Bible can be believed.

Neither I nor you need to decide between these items. I can believe all 7 and the Flood story also, understood properly.
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Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby Drew 2 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:40 pm

> understood properly.

You can apply that phrase to literally anything to twist the meaning into literally anything. It is absolutely useless as a means of finding or describing what is true.
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Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:40 pm

That's true, but it also has a legitimate application, so take my intent in using it. We need to understand the flood story from the intent of the author, not from our modern western viewpoint and from our worldview. We are obligated to discern the language and vantage point of the ancient world if we are to understand the flood story properly, not just take the English words at a simple meaning.
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Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby Abernathy » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:51 pm

Did God know that God would need to flood the earth to kill everyone that was not on the Ark including animals God created ?

If 99.99% of God's creations (millions of humans) were defective and needed to be destroyed, I think it is safe to say God made a terrible mistake
Abernathy
 

Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:52 pm

> Did God know that God would need to flood the earth to kill everyone that was not on the Ark including animals God created ?

Since God is omniscient, and since God is not bound by time (He sees everything as the present), we have to go with the fact that God knew this was coming.

But since the flood wasn't global, God was just killing the perpetrators of evil and not the entire population, and only the animals in the region would have died, not all animals God created.

> If 99.99% of God's creations (millions of humans) were defective and needed to be destroyed, I think it is safe to say God made a terrible mistake

First of all, there probably weren't millions of humans on the earth at the time of the flood. Since we don't know when it happened, we can't really say. Estimates range anywhere from 5,000 to 10 million people on the planet in 10,000 BC—not a reliable figure for an assumption. In 20,000 BC, the estimates are between 1,000 and 10,000. Who knows, but no one can responsibly just assume your figure.

Secondly, since the flood wasn't global but only massively regional, it only included the offending population, not millions of humans.

Third, according to the Bible it was the humans who made the terrible mistake—turned evil, violent, and hopelessly corrupt—not God.
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Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby Humphrey » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:59 pm

What a cop out!

If God was omniscient than he knew, even before he said "Let there be light", that at some point humans would become evil, and he would have to drown them all. even the innocent ones.

If he was omnipotent, he could have stopped at that point and made them so they wouldn't become so evil, and he would have done it is such a way as to be compatible with 'free will' if he desired that.

You just repeat your catechism, asserting impossibilities.

So, if your god exists he is either not omniscient or not omnipotent or neither.

Of course the more likely probability is that he doesn't exist, and that flood never happened, and we can forget arguing about stupid old myths, and devote ourselves to improving the lives of humans.
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Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:59 pm

> If God was omniscient than he knew, even before he said "Let there be light", that at some point humans would become evil, and he would have to drown them all. even the innocent ones.

Since God is omniscient, and since God is not bound by time (He sees everything as the present), we have to go with the fact that God knew this was coming.

But since the flood wasn't global, God was just killing the perpetrators of evil and not the entire population ("them all"). And according to the Bible there were no "innocent" ones.

> If he was omnipotent, he could have stopped at that point and made them so they wouldn't become so evil, and he would have done it is such a way as to be compatible with 'free will' if he desired that.

Your perspective seems to be that if God were truly omnipotent he would have made all of us robots who would do his will even if it were against our own will. At that point no one is human anymore, so your point doesn't carry. Omnipotence doesn't require that God force all of us to do His will. For free will to be free, it has to be free.

> You just repeat your catechism, asserting impossibilities.

This is actually rather humorous. I don't have a catechism, I'm a conservative evangelical. But if you want to talk about the "impossibilities" I've asserted, you need to identify them.

> So, if your god exists he is either not omniscient or not omnipotent or neither.

This doesn't make sense. Please explain it in a series of propositions so that it does. So far we have:

1. It is unknown whether or not God exists.
2. Therefore God cannot be either omniscient or omnipotent.

That doesn't follow. Try again.
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Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby Monticello » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:04 pm

So humans were essentially broken, yes? So he made a mistake in making them? Even if seeing to the future that they will break?
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Re: If the Flood happened, God is not omniscient

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:04 pm

Suppose I am a glass maker, and I make exquisite works of art out of glass. I sell them in my store. Some people come in and buy some of them and take them home. One night they get angry at each other and throw my pieces of glass against the wall in their anger and break them. Did I make a mistake in making them? No, the breakage was not my fault. That glass is breakable is the nature of glass, but their brokenness is not my fault, even if I can foresee that some of these pieces will possibly get broken some time in the future.

God made exquisite works of art: humanity. But since humans are not divine, we are capable of being broken. God instructed us how to stay whole, but one day in an act of rebellion the humans decided to break themselves. God didn't make a mistake in making them. He made them beautiful. He knew breakage was possible, and that's why he set them in an environment of love and safety and warned them about what exactly would break them. God made no mistake. It is because of the humans themselves that they were essentially broken. It was the humans who made the mistakes.
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