Boyd on the Difference Between Past and Future

From The Future is Not Like the Past for God or Us:

If we possess authentic self-determining freedom, then our future must be fundamentally different from our past. The past is unalterable. There are no options for us, which is why we are not free in relation to it. There are not “ifs” or “maybes.” Everything about the past is definitely this way and definitely not any other way. If we are free, however, our future must be different from this. It must in part consist of realities that are possibly this way or possibly that way. Our future must be, at least in part, a realm of possibilities. And the God who knows all of reality just as it is and not otherwise must know it as such. He is not only the God of what will certainly be, he is also the God of possibility.


  1. A question I have is “Are the possible futures finite or infinite?” I think that anything material is finite. As many atoms as there might be in the universe, they are finite, and therefore can combine in some very very large number of finite ways.

    Therefore, even though God may not know which path we might choose, He does know every path we could possibly choose, I believe He has an answer or response for any possible future, and thus He is able to make certain statements with complete 100% accuracy.


    1. Here is a question. How many divisions can we make between the inch marks on a ruler. If that answer is “infinite” then there is no reason to assume that even in limitations that we have infinite possibilities. For example, if I jump less than an inch in height, just the distance I move alone can have infinite possibilities

      1. Maybe you are right, however, I believe have read before that some scientists theorize that time is not a constant flow. In other words, time “jumps” in very small increments. A measure of time cannot be less than some fraction of a nano second. Therefore, the time at which your example decides to jump less than an inch is limited. If increments of space are also limited, and again, I think some believe that is true, then the same applies to the distance one jumps – that too is limited.

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