Part III: Omniscience and divine Learning

The Attributes of God
Part III: Omniscience and divine Learning

Related posts: Omniscience ; Immutable, Omnipresence ; Whence God? Talking about God ; Creation ex nihilo

Is the future open or closed? If the future is open to God then naturally God learns. Some might find it surprising but this belief was once common among Mormons. In 1857 Apostle Wilford Woodruff (who became 4th president of the church in 1889) said, “God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end” (JD 6:120). Brigham Young said, “The greatest intelligence in existence can continually ascend to greater heights of perfection” (JD 1:93).[1] George Q. Cannon (Apostle; d. 1901) said, “There is progress for our Father and for our Lord Jesus…It is endless progress, progressing from one degree of knowledge to another degree” (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, p. 92). General Authority B.H. Roberts (Seventy; d. 1933) wrote, “God is [not] Omniscient up to the point that further progress in knowledge is impossible to him; but that all knowledge that is, all that exists, God knows” (Seventy’s Course in Theology, vol. 4, p. 70-71).

Because the Mormon conception of the universe denies its creation ex nihilo (see Creation Ex Nihilo) there is a sense of obligation to grapple with scientific explanations of physical phenomena. We believe there is an underlying consistency between the universe and God. For example, James E. Talmage wrote in Jesus the Christ,

Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wrought through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized…The human sense of the miraculous wanes as comprehension of the operative process increases. (p. 139)

Though God’s knowledge is greater than ours, even he operates within the bounds of law—this is uncontroversial for most Mormons. Miracles might contradict known laws but ultimately they do not suspend the natural laws of the universe. But does God learn?

Can God’s knowledge change?
If God learns then what he knows is subject to change.

This brings me to an illustration of one way God might learn. Firstly, suppose truly random processes exist. Most scientists would concede this is predicted by quantum mechanics, but I will use the illustration of “random” dice. Consider the outcome of a role of a six-sided dice, and suppose I get six. If the dice is truly random I cannot say there was a reason I got six. It could easily have been one, two, three, four or five. The outcome is unrelated to all antecedent conditions. There was no cause. It is, after all, random. If true randomness exists in the larger universe it’s impossible for science to predict absolutely the future. If randomness is outside God’s foreknowledge then he can learn at such-and-such a time, at such-and-such a place, Troy rolled a six. Taking this idea further, what if I base some of my decisions on a random quantum device (RQD) — such a device could be designed utilizing electron spin. When I push a button my RQD randomly lights up a yellow or red light. So when I make the decision to either walk to school or to ride the bus I push the button. If I get yellow I take the bus; if I get red I walk. Because my choice is based on a random outcome it’s impossible to foreknow what it will be.[2] If this is impossible for God to foreknow then he would learn on that particular morning the RQD gave me a red light and that I shall walk to school.

There is another way God’s knowledge could change. If I am sitting, then surely at that moment God knows I am now sitting. God knows I am now sitting only while I am sitting, and not at any other time. God cannot know I am now sitting while I am standing, neither can he know I was sitting before I sit, neither can he know I will be sitting after I stand up. If God’s knowledge is subject to change then it is at least partially temporal.[3] But further, doesn’t God know that he knows what he knows?—I, for example, know that 1 + 0 = 1; I also know that I know 1 + 0 = 1. [4] If God’s knowledge has any temporality to it then what God knows about himself changes. God cannot know that he knows I am now sitting before I sit. If any of God’s knowledge is temporal then God also discovers himself.

But what if God sees all temporal events as an eternal “now”? At that “now,” then, I am both sitting and not sitting, which seems to be a denial of the law of non-contradiction—a proposition cannot be concurrently true and false.

If God knows me absolutely then I am a mechanism. If I am a mechanism then free will is an illusion. If free will is completely knowable it too is mechanistic. But if I am not a mechanism it follows that God cannot know me absolutely. If I adopt this belief I should also reject infallible foreknowledge because it seems inconsistent to believe God knows all my future actions and yet does not know me completely. If God can’t know me completely then obviously I don’t know myself completely—true. But can God know himself completely? Is God a mechanism? Should we worship a mechanism? It seems if any being is to be non-mechanistic then total and comprehensive knowledge of it must be impossible, both to itself and to others. This requires rejecting traditional omniscience and embracing the belief that God learns. It also means there is no positive description of free will—random “choices” are also un-foreknowable. So it provides merely grounds for believing free will exists.

But could there be any way for God to know exactly what I will do even if my intentions are hidden? Consider this example. Every morning I choose either to walk to school or to ride the bus. And on one particular morning the bus breaks down several blocks from my house, but I had already chosen to walk to school without knowing this. God knew the bus would break down—He is, after all, an ace mechanic. So he knew with certainty I would walk to school, and I freely chose to walk to school, and participated in bringing that about. Though only one choice was available, Fate didn’t find me. I encountered it. Also, my choice need not be mechanistic—it could have been based on the outcome of my RQD; the issue of mechanization needn’t arise. All God needs to know is that I intend to go to school (one way or another) and that nothing shall prevent me from going to school, and that the bus will break down. Simply put, God can foreknow I walk to school and I can choose freely to walk to school. But instead of basing my choice on the outcome of my RQD, it could be based on my un-foreknowable free will.

But what if I had waited for the bus? Eventually I would have been forced to walk to school. So this illustrates only that some choices can be made freely and also be compatible with foreknowledge.

Having said that, I find it hard to believe something like the above example applies to all my free choices. What if there are two pieces of a cake to choose from, and my choice is based on the outcome of my RQD? or my unknowable will? That choice would be truly un-foreknowable.

Why reject omniscience?
Are there more solid grounds for rejecting traditional omniscience? Patrick Grim has come up with an intriguing argument against omniscience. If omniscience is knowledge that constitutes the set of all truths then there can be no omniscient being. I will simplify his arguments. Suppose there exist only three truths in the universe and they constitute the set S = {T1, T2, T3}. One could argue an omniscient being will know all truths in the universe, all truths contained in S—S, after all, is the set of all truths. However, a power set can be formed from these truths. The power set of S consists of every possible combination of the three truths of S: {}, {T1}, {T2}, {T3}, {T1, T2}, {T1, T3}, {T2, T3}, {T1, T2, T3}. I can then ask, “Is T1 in the first element? No. Is T1 in the second element? Yes. Is T1 in the third? No,” etc. What I end up with is more truths than those contained in the so-named set of all truths. (This is an application of the diagonal argument.) Because there is no set of all truths there can be no omniscient being. If an omniscient being did know all truths, it is always possible to generate more truths from the power set; the power set is always larger than the original set. Moreover, the argument works equally well with an infinite set of truths and analogues to this argument can be made for other ways of explicating omniscience. Because there can be no set of all truths, there can be no omniscient being.

Maybe that is true. At the very least it proves there is no cogent description of omniscience. But does this necessitate abandoning the very idea of omniscience? Perhaps not. In an exchange with Patrick Grim, Alvin Plantinga responded:

Suppose you are right: what we have, then, is a difficulty, not for omniscience as such, but for one way of explicating omniscience…A person who agrees with you will then be obliged to explain this maximal perfection in some other way; but she won't be obliged, at any rate just by these considerations, to give up the notion of omniscience itself. (“Truth, Omniscience, and Cantorian Arguments: An Exchange,” Philosophical Studies, vol. 71, 1993)

Personally, I have no strong objections to omniscience or to soft fatalism; nor do I have any special attachment to them. Scripture can support either view.[5] A typical argument for traditional omniscience is, “Without the knowledge of all things, God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures” (Lectures on Faith, 4:11). But I don’t see how that holds up. Suppose God knows everything except, say, how many dust particles existed in some uninhabitable, unobservable part of the universe six billion years ago? Would it matter to my salvation? I can’t see how. It’s always possible to come up with some factoid that doesn’t matter. Though traditional omniscience is very important to the God of the philosophers—If you want to say God is a being “than which nothing greater can be imagined” you must have omniscience—I don’t like the theological baggage that comes with it: pessimism, the fated future, that being known completely means I am a mechanism. Moreover, I don’t believe omniscience has any serious soteriology. If omniscience were essential to salvation then every fact, no matter how seemingly trivial, has salvific value or is necessary to another fact that has salvific value. And I can’t see how that’s true. Though omniscience has tremendous comfort value it seems unnecessary to religion.

End Notes_____________________________
[1] The Apostle Orson Pratt taught that God could not progress in knowledge. This was denounced by Brigham Young who said on 13 January, 1867, “Some men seem as if they could learn so much and no more. They appear to be bounded in their capacity for acquiring knowledge, as Brother Orson Pratt, has in theory, bounded the capacity of God. According to his theory, God can progress no further in knowledge and power; but the God that I serve is progressing eternally, and so are his children: they will increase to all eternity, if they are faithful” (JD 11:286). Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal, “Prest Yound said I corrected O. Pratt to day I did not way that God knows all things comprehends all things had has a fullness of all that He will ever obtain that moment eternity seases you put bound to Eternity & space & matter and you make an end and stopping ploease to it.” (4 March, 1860; qtd. in “The Mormon Concept of God” by Blake Ostler. See footnote 38 on page 77).

[2] LDS scientist Henry Eyring made a similar observation:

More recently, we have been obliged to give up the old determinism of classical mechanics as well as the idea of indestructibility of matter. Mechanical determinism meant that if one were given the state of the universe at any instant of time, a sufficiently expert mathematician could calculate the state of things at all times to come. This left no place for the great religious principle of free will. Then quantum mechanics brought with it the uncertainty principle. This principle eliminates the possibility of predicting the future exactly and tends to confirm that fundamental Christian tenet that man enjoys free agency as a divine gift. (Improvement Era, vol. 51, no. 2, February 1948)

[3] See Wolterstorff, Nicholas, 1975, ‘God Everlasting’ in God and the Good: Essays in Honor of Henry Stob.'

[4] “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3).

[5] One from the Book of Mormon reads, “But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words” (1 Nephi 9:6). Preparations imply acting in time, and possibly accounting for contingences. Knowing all things “from the beginning” doesn’t necessarily imply knowing all things to their end. And Nephi didn’t say God has infinite power, but power to bring about his will. Also, “the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes” (Alma 37:7). And when the scriptures say “the Lord knoweth all things” (1 Nephi 9:6) and “the Lord knoweth all things which are to come” (WoM 1:7) it means that God knows the past, present, and all possible futures. Also, when God says, “my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil” (D&C 10:43; 3 Nephi 21:10), it sounds like God outsmarts the devil, which could imply temporality to God.

Scriptures supporting the traditional view of omniscience are: “all things are present with me, for I know them all” (Moses 1:6); “[I am Alpha and Omega,] The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes” (D&C 38:2); “But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning” (1 Nephi 9:6; I quoted this one in the above paragraph).

The Attributes of God: part II

The Attributes of God
Part II: Omniscience and Fate

Related Posts: Immutable, Omnipresence ; The Fall of Man Part II ; Election ; Creation ex nihilo ; Omniscience and divine Learning ; Whence God? Talking about God

Immutability leads to timelessness, and timelessness to ubiquity. God is omnipotent and free from all spatial and temporal limitations. God is also omniscient. In contrast, the LDS belief in spiritual omnipresence does not entail timelessness or immutability, and it still allows us to believe God knows all things.[1]

A typical definition of omniscience is that God knows all truths and holds no false beliefs. Traditional omniscience includes God’s certain knowledge of past, present, and future. Of knowing past, present, and future, absolute knowledge of the future is most controversial.

In this post I explore how omniscience affects beliefs about freedom, moral responsibility, and the nature of man. If one billion years ago God knows that today I have a veggie sandwich for lunch, and because God cannot be wrong, I have no choice but to realize my fate. If God knows me completely, does that mean I am a mechanism? If I am a mechanism and/or my future was determined without me, can I be held morally responsible for my actions?

Explicating Omniscience
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism mentions three ways of believing about the foreknowledge of God (“Foreknowledge of God,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism). (1) God knows all things past, present, and future, and yet humans are free. According to this belief God knows what will happen but doesn’t make it happen. God simply knows how each of us will freely choose; foreknowledge is simply knowledge and is distinct from causal and logical necessity. I should point out that in traditional Christianity “foreknowledge” is an anthropomorphism, a human concept used to refer to God’s knowledge of events we perceive as happening in time. However, in the Mormon conception God exists in time, so foreknowledge is truly fore-knowledge. (2) God has perfect knowledge of the past and present. He also knows every possible future along with the probability of each being actualized but does not know which will be actualized. The future is open. According to this way of believing God is omniscient because the unknowable does not qualify as knowledge: “Because the future is yet undecided—propositions about the future are neither true nor false” (Blake T. Ostler, “The Mormon Concept of God,” Dialogue, vol. 17, no. 2, 1984).[2] In this view God has absolute knowledge he will bring about his purposes because he is the so-called unbeatable chess player. And finally (3), God has perfect knowledge of past, present, and future, and free will is an illusion.

Mormons overwhelmingly reject (3). Most believe in (1), which puts them closer to traditional Christian philosophers such as Augustine and Anselm. Many believe in (2). In addition, there is another view which uses the language of (1) and the theology of (2); it’s a kind of synthesis between omniscience, perfection, and an open future, but I'll save that for a later post in this series.

For myself, I do reject (3), but am undecided between the others. While many Mormons believe God knows the future, they are uncomfortable with the idea it is fixed. Traditional omniscience implies a fixed future, and at the very least, that we are under God’s providential control—Few theists would accept that God knows all things and yet that history is beyond his control.

Non-traditional omniscience (2) involves an open future, and that we are under God’s providential guidance. In this view God knows the past, present, and all things that could yet happen, but not which will happen. Because the future has not yet happened, propositions about future events have no truth value. For example, in September 2008 it was not true that Barack Obama was to be inaugurated as 44th president of the United States. Back then it was possible John McCain will have won the race. The proposition, “The 2008 election results select Barack Obama to be President of the United States,” did not become true until election results made it true. The statement, “Today I will go to the public library,” is made true by my going to the public library today; before that it had no truth value. But, as with all philosophical propositions an open future has its difficulties. In particular, when exactly do propositions regarding the future acquire truth value? For example, which of the two following propositions is true: (i) admiral A wins tomorrow’s sea battle and admiral B looses; or, (ii) admiral B wins and admiral A looses. (Ignoring for now the possibility of a stalemate.) Do they acquire truth value when the battle is over? when one fleet is mortally wounded? or has retreated? Do they acquire truth value near the beginning, middle, or end of the battle? If a proposition acquires truth value at a given moment in time, it is not at all obvious how a nano-second before that moment the proposition was neither true or false, and a nano-second after it is true.

However, if God knows A wins then (i) is always true and (ii) is always false. But again, the future is fixed. On the other hand, if before the battle (i) and (ii) have no truth value then the future is genuinely open. Eventually, however, either (i) or (ii) happens. And if admiral A wins it could be argued that (i) is always true and (ii) is always false. If propositions about the future have no present truth value the future is open. If propositions about the future have fixed truth value the future is closed.

With a locked-in future one must deal with the issue of fatalism. This is the belief that no matter what you do, the future is foreordained. It cannot be other than what it is. Fatalism has a strong and weak sense. (I’m going to use these senses very loosely.) For example, if three witches tell me that tomorrow I shall fall into a pit and die, then no matter how I try to avoid it, I will stumble into a pit and die. In trying to avoid my fate I unavoidably, and accidently, encounter it. That is weak fatalism. Strong fatalism is somewhat different. Suppose the Angel of Death decides that tomorrow I shall die. Despite my efforts to evade him, he hunts me down and frees me from my mortal coil. But suppose I am unaware of Fate’s decision? Suppose the witches don’t tell me of their prophecy? With weak fatalism I encounter my fate, whether or not I am conscientiously trying to avoid it. With strong fatalism, Fate encounters me, regardless. Maybe both, one, or none of these is true. But the kind of fatalism I am most bothered by is strong fatalism—weak fatalism involves accidents and it’s easy to believe in accidents. With weak fatalism exactly how I shall encounter my fate is unknown. With hard fatalism Fate finds me and forces his choice on me. With weak fatalism there is a sense of “What’s going to happen is going to happen. I will encounter my fate. Que sera sera.” But with hard fatalism I am not an active participant in bringing about my fate, hence there is a sense of, “Life happens to you, so why try. Fate will find me.” With weak fatalism I am participatory in bringing about my fate. With strong fatalism I am its hapless victim.

So how could the hard Mr. Fate force me to encounter his chosen plan? Suppose during Tuesday’s lecture I inform my students that Thursday’s lecture is canceled and that they needn’t come to class on Thursday. Telling my students not to come to class is normally sufficient to bring it about that they don’t come to class. But if Fate says it is true that my students do come to class on Thursday then it’s impossible for me to bring it about that they don’t come. Without the effect of my students not coming to class I can’t cause that they don’t come. I cannot cause a future event if the event doesn’t exist. If Fate decided to deny the effect then it cannot be caused. This argument can be applied broadly. Suppose every event in the universe is based on cause and effect; without effects there are no causes. Because effects are yet future and causes live in the past the necessity is in the future. Consequently, it is a form of strong fatalism. Fate determines effects; fate chooses what I can cause; there are no accidents and my actions are constrained. If God knows the history of the universe before the universe existed then our actions are determined by God’s vision of the future. Before the universe came into being its entire history was an effect, and that is the only history than can be caused.

Fate and Mechanization
As I mentioned, Mormons (like most people I suspect) tend to dislike fatalism; but they are especially allergic to strong fatalism. They also tend to believe God knows with certainty all future events. One popular workaround to strong fatalism is the idea that God knows our future choices because he knows us so well. Divine foreknowledge is then analogous to predicting the weather or a parent knowing what their child will do. If the patterns of the past are the patterns of the future then foreknowledge of a person’s choices is drawn from knowing that person. James E. Talmage (Apostle; d. 1933) wrote in his very influential book Articles of Faith (still required reading for missionaries),

God’s foreknowledge concerning the natures and capacities of His children enables Him to see the end of their earthly career even from the first…God’s knowledge of spiritual and of human nature enables Him to conclude with certainty as to the actions of any of His children under given conditions; yet that knowledge is not of compelling force upon the creature. (p. 173)

He also said,

Can we be consistent in saying that because he [a father] has thus studied his son, learned his nature, and thus knows what is approaching, that his knowledge determines that that son shall sin?… If I examine the barometer, the hygrometer…[and] I am able to say, “there will be a rain within a few hours…can you say that I cause the rain…If this be true, ignorance is not only bliss, but much to be preferred, for practical reasons. God’s foreknowledge showed Him exactly what our first parents would do under given conditions, but He did not cause them to fall; He did not cause them to disobey; He gave them their freedom and their agency to do as they chose to do. (Conference Report, October 1914, Third Day Morning Session, p.104)

Elder Talmage has a good point: If foreknowledge determines our choices then ignorance is better; at least then we would be free (from that). And if foreknowledge is derived from knowing our natures then foreknowledge does not force our choices any more than knowing that a clock ticks makes it tick. With this kind of fatalism I am an active participant in bringing about my fate. If God knows that I put on blue socks today then putting on blue socks today is not forced on me because I participate in bringing it about. His foreknowledge is an extrapolation based on what he knows about me.

However, this soft approach seems to imply a different kind of fixed future just as disturbing as hard fatalism. If predicting human behavior is like predicting the weather we are dealing with causal necessity. The implication of which is that free will is illusory. If all events can be traced back through a chain of causality—A caused B, B caused C, C caused D, etc.—then all events are determined by causal laws and antecedent conditions. If God’s knowledge of our future actions is extrapolated with certainty from physical, spiritual, and behavioral laws then our actions are merely the latest event in a chain of causal necessity. “If God can know me absolutely—as I know my children partially,” argued Marden J. Clark, “then this must mean that I am a knowable creature: absolutely knowable…To be absolutely knowable, predictable, I must be an absolute mechanism” (“Some Implications of Human Freedom,” Dialogue, vol. 5, no. 2, 1970). Mechanisms do only what they can mechanistically do, consequently they are perfectly predictable. If Dr. Talmage is correct, I mechanistically participate in bringing about my foreknown choices.

Stronger fate
But doesn’t logic dictate some kind of stronger necessity to the foreknown future? If God foreknows my future intentions, how can they be free? If before the foundation of the world God knows that on a given day I shall intend to put on blue socks, how was I an active participant in making that true? And if God created me in toto the issue of mechanization can’t be avoided. Consider the following argument. Let E stand for putting on blue socks.

(i) I have no free will before I exist because what doesn’t exist can’t make choices or have intentions.
(ii) It is timelessly true that I intend to do E at time t.
(iii) Before I exist I do not participate in making it true that I intend to do E at time t.
(v) It was determined without my participation that I shall intend to do E at time t.

(vi) We are back to strong fatalism and/or mechanization.

I have no formal training in philosophy so I suspect the argument is simplistic. But it does have intuitive value. If my intentions are known timelessly then I am non-participant in those intentions. At least it seems that way. A typical out for the traditional theologian is that God foreknows my actions because he knows how I will freely act. God cannot know that I freely act without my acting freely. Suppose he knows, “While living I freely choose to do E at time t,” and consequently he foreknows, “I will do E at time t.” If knowing what I freely choose is somehow epistemically prior to foreknowing that choice then foreknowledge might not necessitate strong fatalism.

But this is unnecessary for Mormons. We believe that intelligence is not created. “Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence” (D&C 93:29-30); “[intelligences] have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are…eternal” (Abr. 3:18). If part of me is uncreated then, if God knows me completely, he foreknows my intentions, and I alone am the source of my intentions (Luke 16:15; Alma 18:32). God's foreknowing I intend to put on blue socks today can be compatible with my freely choosing to put on blue socks today. There is quite a lot more that could be written about this. Is intelligence mechanistic and/or completely knowable? If intelligence is at least partly unknowable to both God and man then whether or not it is mechanistic cannot be settled, nor could the question of fate. But I’ll leave it for now.

Moral Responsibility
What about moral responsibility? Suppose Mr. Dodds intends to murder his compassionate friend. If God knows Mr. Dodds intends to murder his friend, and will not be prevented from carrying out the diabolical crime, then Mr. Dodds shall murder his friend and that is that. The distressing thing is this. The day following the murder we are shocked and outraged that Mr. Dodds did such a terrible thing to a friend who was only trying to console him; his friend did not deserve this. But if the murder is foredoomed are our feelings of outrage superfluous? Can Mr. Dodds be justly punished? Perhaps. But only if he is the source of his intentions and he is not a mechanism. If he can be known completely then he is a mechanism: He killed because he is what he is. So why punish a mechanism?[3] Can he accidentally encounter his fate as in soft fatalism? No. How could he accidentally encounter a premeditated crime? or accidentally premeditate the crime? But if the murder is determined by hard fate then something besides Mr. Dodds foredoomed the crime. So Mr Dodds is merely the unfortunate puppet. Moral responsibility is easier if some part of Mr. Dodds is unknowable, even by God. And for some Mormon thinkers this fits easily within their belief about the nature of man.

What about foreknowledge and apathy? If God knows the future we must grapple with either soft or strong fate. Both can engender pessimism. What will be cannot be otherwise. LDS Apostle Neal A. Maxwell warned, “The combined doctrine of God’s foreknowledge and of foreordination is one of the doctrinal roads least traveled by…Isolated from other doctrines or mishandled, though, these truths can stoke the fires of fatalism, impact adversely upon our agency, cause us to focus on status rather than service, and carry us over into predestination” (Meeting the Challenges of Today, p. 151.) In the Calvinist view foreknowledge and predestination are intimately connected. Hence the Westminster Confession contains this caution, “The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care” (Westminster Confession 3:8).

End Notes_______________________
[1] Mormonism teaches that God has perfect knowledge (2 Ne. 2:24; 2 Nephi 19:20; Alma 7:13; D&C 38:2).

[2] Mormon General Authority B.H. Roberts (Seventy) wrote,

God is [not] Omniscient up to the point that further progress in knowledge is impossible to him; but that all knowledge that is, all that exists, God knows. He is Universal Consciousness, and Mind-he is the All-knowing One, because he knows all that is known. (Seventy’s Course in Theology, vol. 4, p. 70-71)

[3] One might say, “Why not punish a mechanism.” But if Mr. Dodds is pure mechanism then we are too. If people are like pocket watches then why should we fret over smashing a few pocket watches? Our sense of moral responsibility recoils at the thought.