China Rejects Omniscience

From China and the Christian Impact, by Jacques Gernet:

If it is said that at that time [after the Fall], the Master of Heaven [Yahweh] would have liked to destroy [Adam] and [Eve] but was afraid that then there would be no human race, why did he not start all over again and create a man who was truly good, since he possesses the inexhaustible power to create men? And if it is said that he had not the heart to cut the evil short, by eliminating the guilty, because the evil was not yet very serious, how is it that he could leave things as they were, knowing full well that little streams turn into big rivers and that great fires begin with tiny sparks?

Nor can it be held that the Master of Heaven wished to test the man he had created by leaving him free to act in order to see whether he would resist the temptation of doing evil. Omniscient as he was, he must have known in advance that Adam and Eve would transgress his prohibitions. Knowing for certain that they would fall into sin, he simply set a trap for them. The thesis of free will is incompatible with the creator’s omniscience:

If it is said that he knew in advance from the moment man was created that he would surely commit a fault but that he allowed him to act as man himself decided. either for good or for evil, so as to decide whether he should be rewarded or punished, that is what is called ‘trapping people with a net`. How does that show him to be the master [of all beings]? So what do these words ‘omniscient’ and ‘omnipotent’ mean?

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