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Philosophy of Religion: The Nature of God

2. Omniscience

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In this module, we think about the attribute of omniscience – the idea that God is ‘all-knowing’. In the first half, we outline three objections to the claim that God is omniscient: (i) omniscience is logically impossible, since there are certain things that an omniscient cannot know; (ii) God cannot know everything because he does not have practical knowledge, and (iii) omniscience implies divine foreknowledge, which is incompatible with human free will. After that, we think about three responses to the third of these objections: (i) humans do not in fact have free will; (ii) future contingents do not have truth values; and (iii) God is ‘atemporally eternal’.


In this course, Professor Yujin Nagasawa (University of Birmingham) discusses the concept and nature of God, focusing in particular on God’s ‘omni-attributes’: omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence. In the first module, we outline the importance of defining who or what God actually is before we think about questions such as whether God exists, before touching on the Anselmian definition of God as “something than which no greater can be conceived” (Prologion, ch. 2). In the following three modules, we go through each of the omni-attributes in turn, outlining some arguments to why each attribute might be problematic, and some responses to these arguments. These include, for example, the paradox of stone (an argument against God’s omnipotence) and the Euthyphro dilemma (an argument against God’s omnibenevolence). In the fifth and final module, we show how arguments against God’s omni-attributes (either separately or in combination) can be categorised in to three broad types, before outlining how we might respond to these arguments while retaining the Anselmian definition of God.


Yujin Nagasawa is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, specialising in the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of mind and applied philosophy. He is the author of Maximal God: A New Defence of Perfect Being Theism (Oxford University Press, 2017), Miracles: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2017), The Existence of God: A Philosophical Introduction (Routledge, 2011) and God and Phenomenal Consciousness: A Novel Approach to Knowledge Arguments (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He is also President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion and Co-Director of the John Hick Centre for Philosophy of Religion.

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APA style

Nagasawa, Y. (2018, September 04). Philosophy of Religion: The Nature of God - Omniscience [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Nagasawa, Y. "Philosophy of Religion: The Nature of God – Omniscience." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Sep 2018,