Reply To: Omnisience of God Revisited

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Ashish Dalela

The soul is part of God in both material and spiritual worlds. But in the spiritual world, the position of the soul as part of God is fixed. The soul is like the hand or leg. Once you fix the position, then each part’s behavior is well-known. The hand will behave in this way, the leg in a different way, etc. So, if positions are fixed, then their behavior is predictable. In the material world, the position is not fixed; the soul keeps moving, and the behavior is not predictable.

These positions are relational. To be in a certain position means to have a fixed relation. In the spiritual world, the relations are fixed. The friend doesn’t unfriend. The lover doesn’t stop loving. Once these relations are fixed, then everybody’s behavior is predictable. In the material world, the relations are always changing. So, the behavior is not predictable. Material time means two things: (a) change in relation, and (b) acting in that relation. The latter exists in the spiritual world, but the former doesn’t. So, due to activity through a fixed relation, there is the experience of passing time. But because the relation is not changing, the future can be predicted.

To understand these things, a new notion of position is required, that is non-physical. I can move my hands and legs, without changing my relationship. When the soul serves God, he moves his hands and legs without changing the relationship. So, his position is considered fixed, even though he acts in that position. This movement of hands and legs is one type of change, and the change in relation is another kind of change. We don’t consider the activity to be a change in position. We say that each soul has a fixed ‘constitutional position’. This ‘position’ is a relation.

One of the important ways to advance science is this different idea of ‘position’, which is relational. It defines a role or function. There is activity due to role, but the role doesn’t change. Impersonalists don’t understand this difference; they think that if something is changing then it is material. We are saying that the relationship is eternal, but in that relationship there is activity.

This relation is called sambandha. The activity in that relation is abhidheya. In science, we think that all change is abhidheya because we don’t understand sambandha. But sambandha can be fixed even if there is abhidheya. In the material world, the sambandha is not fixed.