Background

This world was created by Natura, the goddess of space, creation, and life.

She felt alone, so she created Chronos, the god of time, destruction and death, to have a partner and also to maintain a perfect balance in the world.

Eventually, they had a child, Adam. Adam needed some company, so Natura remembered what she did to fix the same when she was alone. She took the good part of his soul to create a new being, Eve. She was sleeping. Now that he is just evil, he can rule the chaos. Adam cut the head of Natura. Chronos looked at his son, and Adam become into a huge beast. They fought, and before the final blow, Chronos opened a portal to the moon, and Adam was sealed forever. Chronos tried to undo what Adam had done with Natura's head, she was right now, but she was empty, no soul was there. He sent the girl to the Earth, and since cannot create life or bring her back, he committed suicide. Eve have not been awoken and her brother Adam still sealed on the moon.

The problem

Chronos is the god of time, so he is supposed to know the past, present and future, and he could prevent Natura's Death.

Question

How can I justify that Chronos did not know?

Note: this question has been edited by another user in order to try to clarify the question.

  • 3
    Physics, magic and gods in the same question? And moreover, what is exactly your question? – L.Dutch Mar 14 '17 at 9:10
  • 1
    Thanks for the link, I will try there. I thought I was in the correct place. Thanks for your suggestion also. I do really appreciate it. – Josie9ff Mar 14 '17 at 9:47
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    I was initially confused about who had done what until I realized it was evil Adam who killed Natura. While your question seems to be character based, it is basically a question about how a being who can see the past and future can or cannot prevent things from happening. If so, that is a legitimate question for WB SE. – a4android Mar 14 '17 at 11:12
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    If Chronos is the god of time, death and destruction who knows the past, present and future, then if this fictional universe is deterministic he will be unable to do anything. Perhaps as the god of death he is implied not to prevent any death from happening. Chronos knows, and has always known, when Natura would die, but can never stop it from happening. This is straight forward deterministic causality. – a4android Mar 14 '17 at 11:17
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    It's sort of two questions. One: is it possible that he didn't know? That's on-topic, as it is an aspect of the world. Two: why didn't he stop it? That's off-topic, as it depends on him and her. If you remove the second question, I'd vote to reopen. Also consider how he would have stopped Natura. Perhaps he tried to stop her and failed. His power is omniscience, while hers is omnipotence. And omnipotence without omniscience is dangerous. – Brythan Mar 14 '17 at 12:36

14 Answers 14

up vote 2 down vote accepted

How does omniscience work?

Imagine a movie. In that movie person A meets person B. They fall in love. But at the end of the movie, person A is killed on event X.

Now person B doesn't know that event X is going to happen until the end. Being a character from the movie, person B only "knows" what has been revealed up to that point. Person B can't predict event X. Person B is not omniscient.

However, consider now person C. Person C is a spectator of the movie. Person C is watching the movie on a DVD player and has a remote control that allows him to play, pause, rewind and fast forward.

This means that person C may skip the beggining of the movie and watch event X whenever he wants. He may then rewind the movie and watch it from the beginning, with perfect foreknowledge of what's going to happen.

Person C has the ability to be omniscient relative to the universe of the movie.

However, person C is still limited. Because he must watch the ending of the movie to know that event X is going to happen. If he decides to watch the movie from the beggining and stick to the natural progression of events, the person C's knowledge is similar to that of person B's. Person C may be as surprised by event X as person B.

In short, just because you can know something, that doesn't mean you will. As has been suggested before, there can be mental blockades for the search of foreknowledge. Perhaps Chronos decided not to see so much into the future because he was scared to do so, or because he wanted to be surprised by everyday life.


Now, if I may, your problems are not about omniscience. Your problems are: 1) you have a god of death unable to fetch the soul of a dead one 2) you have a god of death that kills himself 3) you have a god of time that kills himself and time continues to flow after his death

  • 1
    This is the answer that I was looking, and also, the other problems that you mention now are solved. Chronos undo what Adam had done in Natura's body, now her body is fine but no soul was there, since he cannot create life or bring her back, he has to wait until Natura's reincarnate. His job isn't to fetch souls, he just decide if it will reincarnate or disappear Well.. thank you so much for taking the time! :D – Josie9ff Mar 16 '17 at 20:08

It depends on what type of future your universe has.

  • The fact that you say Chronos should know suggests that it is predetermined.
  • The fact that you say Chronos should be able to change it suggests that it is not.

If it is predetermined, then it's simple - Chronos knows about it but he also knows that no matter what he does, it will not change the outcome.

If it is not predetermined, since Chronos was created by Natura you can have Natura set rules when she created Chronos. Maybe she forbids Chronos to see her future as she wants to remain to be the only mystery in the universe, the only one who can give the gift of surprise to Chronos.

There are a few options, here are some to get you started.

  1. Make the future always mutable and changing, he sees all the possibilities
  2. Put an exception on his power to say that he can't see his own future (or the future of other deities).
  3. Make his knowledge of the future vague or uncertain - self-fulfilling prophecies etc.

One of the big problems when adding human emotion onto powerful gods is that we cannot know truly how a human could cope with such things.

However we can draw an analogue with certain reactions. Consider the case where someone is in a relationship that those on the outside know is only going to end badly. The people in the relationship won't usually pick this up until later despite the fact that they probably experienced more of the warning signs.

The more personal a thing is the less you accept certain warning signs and predictions your brain is telling you. Your perspective gets warped by what you want.

If this were a human I imagine Chronos wouldn't be capable of processing all of the information - to conserve freewill we know he cannot only see one future.

Because of this I imagine Chronos to have some form of mental block against the worst predictions (else he lives in permanent fear of those around him because it is possible they choose to kill him).

He would also have some instinct for the probability of these events occuring - else they're useless predictions - however I imagine his personal involvement in matters like this would make him choose to weight it as less likely than it really is just because of his bias as to what he wants to happen.

Given Chronos is also the god of destruction and death, he could have known all along what was going to happen an just let it unfold. He is omniscient as your question says, but he is not omnipotent and is bound by the rules of his godhood, thus he knew that Natura would die, he would fight and then kill himself and could not prevent it because death and destruction are is his nature.

You defined yourself into a corner and are now looking for a way out. The easiest is to reframe your assumption.

Why does the god of time need to know the future? The solution is that the future is yet to be, and is thus unknown. The god of time is not the god of future, because the future does not (yet) exist.

Check if your story absolutely requires that Chronos is the god of the future. If not, imagine time coming into existence in the presence. This way, Chronos is still the god of all time, but not of the future because that simply doesn't exist (yet).

Being "scient" (aware) about the future is different than being able to change.

You can postulate the existance of a greater power who controls the destiny of every creature, gods included (similar to the greek Fates, to whom even Zeus had to yeald) and whose determinations cannot be changed.

In quantum mechanics, no true omniscience is possible, and all "practical approaches" to omniscience are inherently limited. Wavefunctions are fundamentally separated from observables, and only observables can be known by any observer, even by a god. There's an inherent behavior within the wavefunction that adds non-removable randomness to most observables. It cannot be suppressed or removed in any way without breaking the fundamentals of existence.

So the whole situation could be like the Schrödinger's cat to Chronos. He could literally not know the outcome until he observed the actual result. All his godly knowledge would be powerless to penetrate into the wavefunction, as it was not possible at all. He only could know probabilities of various outcomes, and had to take a bet, hoping for the best. Him being god of time would not help him in the slightest, as the passage of time can't remove indeterminism from quantum observations. Forcing a deterministic outcome would destroy all balance in the world, at the very least.

Chronos can see the future based on the current state of the universe, but is unable to predict the future arising due to a future state of the universe.

What I mean: imagine someone omnicient. They can see and can comprehend everything in a given moment, thus they are able to predict the outcome of events, but that prediction is only as good as what they can perceive in that moment. Let's give an example: they can look at a solar system, see every bit of rock and ice in it, and can predict with certainty that in 5,833 years there will be a collision between those two asteroids which will cause part of the debris to fall into another orbit which will impact the inhabited planet in 27,412 years. On March 3rd. At 8:34 AM local. And they can look around the solar system and space nearby and see that absolutely nothing will interfere with that. So, awesome prediction, foretelling the subsequent Extinction Level Event. Shame about those primitives who just figured out how to smack rocks together to make sharper rocks, but hey, whatcha goin' to do? Future, right? And it's not like they could do anything, anyway, however good they became at rock-smashing.

However, due to a completely random mutation, which could not be foreseen because it was random, said stone-age people gain the capacity for greater intelligence. In a few thousand years they've got civilization and a few hundred years before the Impact of Doom they're gently altering the potential impactor's course to prevent the collision with their planet.

Something Chronos didn't foresee the last time he looked because a random event changed the future. If he'd used his omniscience after the mutation, he could have foreseen the possibility of a technological civilization that could intervene with his prior prediction.

So that's how you can have omniscience and an unpredictable future: omniscience can predict what will happen if everything continues exactly the way it is currently happening.

Only logical explanation: there is no future. If you watch the movie Arrival, the idea (spoiler) is that actions in the future also modify the past. Therefore, I think the solution would be that he tried to change the future but for some reason he couldn't. Also, he decided that this was the best possible outcome among all others. Of course, you established that he is omniscient but not all powerful, he might just have made a mistake, probably drived by emotions.

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Database Too Large To Search

Human brains have fast-lookup memories and slow-lookup memories. Different bits of information take different amounts of time to retrieve. Drawing on that idea plus what we know about scalability of data, it is entirely possible that Chronos would have know if he had thought to ask. If it never occurred to him to look for Natura’s death (reasonable since she’s theoretically an immortal goddess), he may never have actually consciously realized it. You can have him be twitchy for reasons he can’t explain (“just not feeling happy these days”) as his subconscious is trying to escalate the info, but it never quite comes through.

He may not have been able to see her future because it ultimately lead to his own death. Most people would agree that seeing ones own future would be a horrible burden. When Natura created Chronos, she wouldn't have wanted him to be scared or depressed all the time. Hoping to avoid this, she may have blocked out his ability to see his own future. In doing so, she would've caused him to be unable to see her death, because it would lead to him killing himself, which is a major part of his own future.

Why not let Chronos see the future? Maybe he knew this would happen. Either he couldn't change it or this is exactly what he wants to happen. Maybe he acted angry because that will cause the outcome that he wants at some far future date.

If Chornos can see the future but he can't change it, he might have gotten frustrated and stopped looking.

Maybe human "free will" is the one thing that messes up Chronos' visions of the future.

How about, an exception.

When Natura created sentience, she created free-will. With free-will, comes a tiny bit of randomness. This tiny bit of randomness, is completely unpredictable. Adam was so chaotic and random, that guessing natura's death was impossible.

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