Daily Archives: January 7, 2009

On God’s Foreknowledge

Urikalish, a contact of mine on Blog Catalog, asked the following question a while back:

“If God is all-knowing, he must know everything that’s about to happen in the future. How can I have free will in the present, if someone (God) already knows in advance what decisions I’ll make?”

The question generated quite a bit of discussion–44 replies–but most who entered in missed one little thing.

The only thing that follows from

1) God is all-knowing

2) God knows that I will do x at y time

is

3) Therefore, I will do x at y time

not

4) I must do x at y time

There’s a big difference between the two. 3) still leaves room for freedom of the will. 4) does not. Someone who thinks determinism follows from God’s foreknowledge must show how 4), not just 3) follows, but that is a very, very tall order.

How does 3) leave room for freedom of the will? The answer lies in the direction of causality (for lack of better terminology). My future actions determines God’s knowledge, not the other way around.
Say, for example, that I will choose to eat cornflakes tomorrow morning for breakfast. In that case, God’s foreknowledge will include knowledge of that event. However, if I choose to eat Basic 4 instead, God’s foreknowledge will include that, rather than the former event.

So, I put it to the determinist: how, exactly, does someone knowing X cause X to happen?

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