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The problem of Freedom and Foreknowledge

Aug 11, 2020    Zach McAlack

This objections wrestles with the implications of God's Omniscience.

The problem of freedom and foreknowledge is stated this way:
1. Metaphysical Libertarianism: S can perform A freely only if S could have done otherwise.
2. The past is necessary and cannot be cancelled or altered
3. God is knowing of all things past, present and future and is infallible (unable to err).

Therefore: If God knows all things they are already predetermined and S is not truly free for S cannot do otherwise.

See: Isaiah 42:8-9, 46:8-11, 55:8-9; Psalm 139, Romans 11:33-36,

There are several possible responses:

The first two are NON-CHRISTIAN

1. Open Theism—God simply does not know everything

2. Naturalist Determinism—the laws of nature cause the world to exist in the way it does and it cannot be altered. At the quantum level is pure randomness and our choice is the exercise of randomness therefore creaturely freedom is nothing more than an illusion.

Possible CHRISTIAN responses

1. Theological Determinism—God has determined all things, God allows us to have the appearance of free will but free will does not actually exist. In this understanding all creatures act according to their character and desire but time is set and the future is set, we are incapable of altering it.

2. Divine Timelessness—God sees the future is the way that we experience the present. By existing outside of time God is able to know the future and we are still making the choices in our present though God already sees them as we experience them for God is present in every moment.

3. Ockhamism—I’m fuzzy on this one, it’s basically the idea that the past is “soft” and alterable through petition with God, the facts of the past are alterable until we make a choice in the present.

4. Middle Knowledge—God was able to know all potential outcomes in all potential worlds, by seeing all that would potentially be decided he willed this universe to come into existence. By nature of the other “potential” worlds existing there exists a possibility that S could have chosen B instead of A, however in this world S always chooses A.