A epistemological variant of Homer's question about whether God could microwave a burito so hot He himself could not eat it, is about whether God could know what it is like not to know everything. Another variant concerns God's practical reason, and whether he can know what it is like to sin. I have another variant here...
In his essay, "Is God a Mathematician: The Meaning of Metabolism", Jonas presents a similar argument concerning the limitations of mathematical physics. His notion of the mathematician God seems to be not unlike a Laplacian Demon, and he uses this God to attack a position held by his contemporaries - essentially that the cosmos is material and the physicists ontology is complete.
Very roughly, he argues that the mathematician God would have no means to determine what is alive and what is not. There would be particles and forces, but no delineation of organisms as such.
On the strength of the immediate testimony of our bodies we are able to say what no disembodied onlooker would have cause for saying: that the mathematical God in his homogeneous analytical view misses the decisive point - the point of life itself: its being self-centred individuality, being for itself and in contraposition to all the rest of the world, with an essential boundary dividing "inside" and "outside" [emphasis his]
In other words, this God who looks at the entire cosmos from outside, does not know what it is like to be part of it.
My first question: I'm aware that Jonas was interested in Gnosticism, something I know nothing about, is this Jonas' argument part of the Gnostic tradition? Does it pre-date it? Does it have a more recent origin?
My second question: Gnosticism aside, there seems to be a whole category of arguments of which this is part. Is there a review of them anywhere?