Posts tagged ‘foreknowledge’

February 12th, 2014

Boethius, Foreknowledge, and Human Freedom

by Max Andrews

Boethius discusses the problem in reconciling genuine human freedom with God’s foreknowledge in “Divine Foreknowledge and Freedom of the Will” (proses III-VI).  He bases his whole discussion on whether or not something that is foreknown happens by necessity.  He offers the disjunctive option of the necessity of either thing, which are going to happen be foreseen by God or that what God foresees will in fact happen—either way, he argues, human will is removed.  When discussing the uncertainty of future events he concludes that, for God, there must be no uncertainty in these events because it’s then reduced to possible conditionals, or could-counterfactuals.  Hence, the law of excluded middle is true for knowledge of future tensed events.  He makes an interesting point when discussing aspects about Cicero’s contribution to the problem.  If foreknowledge is removed then the events of human will are no longer necessary. Considering all of the discussion so far he believes that everything that happens does so by necessity.

April 30th, 2012

What if God Doesn’t Have Middle Knowledge?

by Max Andrews

If God doesn’t have middle knowledge then he has only natural and free knowledge.  There are two options.  The first option is that God possess mere or simple foreknowledge.  If one turns to simple foreknowledge, there lies no good sense in God’s providential planning of a world of free creatures in the absence of middle knowledge. William Lane Craig insists that,

…On such a view of God [He has], logically prior to the divine decree, only natural knowledge of all possible scenarios but no knowledge of what would happen under any circumstances.  Thus, logically posterior to the divine decree, God must consider Himself extraordinarily lucky to find that this world happened to exist.  “What a break!” we can imagine God’s saying to Himself, “Herod and Pilate and all those people each reacted just perfectly!”  Actually, the situation is much worse than that, for God had no idea whether Herod or Pilate or the Israelite nation or the Roman Empire would even exist posterior to the divine decree.  Indeed, God must be astonished to find Himself existing in a world, out of all the possible worlds He could have created, in which mankind falls into sin and God Himself enters human history as a substitutionary sacrificial offering! [Anthropomorphically speaking][1]

April 26th, 2012

A Biblical Case for Divine Foreknowledge

by Max Andrews

Scripture explicitly teaches that God has foreknowledge of future events, employing a specialist vocabulary to refer to such knowledge.  The New Testament introduces a whole family of words associated with God’s knowledge of the future, such as “foreknow” (προγινώσκω), “foreknowledge” (πρόγνωσις), “foresee” (προοράω), “foreordain” (προορίζω), and “foretell” (προμαρτύρομαι).[1]  The first underlying affirmation is the witness behind biblical history.

I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, “My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isa. 46.9-10).[2]

God testifies to his control of history, which He brings about, not by unknown happenstance, but by His accomplishment.  God does not view the course of natural and human history and then make his plans accordingly.  Paul speaks of “the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,” “a plan for the fullness of time” according to “the eternal purpose which He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3.9; 1.10; 3.11; cf. 2 Tim. 1.9-10).[3] 

February 6th, 2012

Boethius on Reconciling Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will

by Max Andrews

Boethius discusses the problem in reconciling genuine human freedom with God’s foreknowledge in “Divine Foreknowledge and Freedom of the Will” (proses III-VI).  He bases his whole discussion on whether or not something that is foreknown happens by necessity.  He offers the disjunctive option of the necessity of either thing, which are going to happen be foreseen by God or that what God foresees will in fact happen—either way, he argues, human will is removed.  When discussing the uncertainty of future events he concludes that, for God, there must be no uncertainty in these events because it’s then reduced to possible conditionals, or could-counterfactuals.  Hence, the law of excluded middle is true for knowledge of future tensed events.  He makes an interesting point when discussing aspects about Cicero’s contribution to the problem.  If foreknowledge is removed then the events of human will are no longer necessary. Considering all of the discussion so far he believes that everything that happens does so by necessity.