philosophy

Freedom of Will/Divine Omniscience continued

On other sites (well, facebook anyway), the previous post generated a lot of interest, so I decided to continue with a very brief discussion raising a couple extra points.

The two main problems I have with any view other than divine omniscience AND human freedom (specifically, molinism) is that those who reject divine omniscience seem to reject Biblical teaching on this doctrine. There are plenty of verses that talk about God knowing all things. He even challenges those who would be gods to tell the future.

The most convincing case, however, in my opinion, is the fact that there is prophecy throughout scripture, given by God. Not only that, but Jesus himself prophesies. Also, the writers of the gospels continue to say things about Jesus that are prophecies fulfilled. Finally, Jesus predicting Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s denial can only be explained by his foreknowledge of such events. While some may assert that Jesus intuited such events, this derives them of all theological significance. Thus, those who do not want to deprive the gospel message and Jesus’ divinity, I believe, must adhere to omniscience.

Similarly, there is a vital (I think) flaw in those who assert that our free will doesn’t exist or that it is just an illusion. This flaw is the fall into sin. If God knows all things, and our free will is only an illusion to us, then we fell into sin by his knowledge AND will.

Theologically, God foreknowing man’s fall into sin is not an issue (another vast subject), but it would be for those who do not believe we have free will.

About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.

Discussion

12 thoughts on “Freedom of Will/Divine Omniscience continued

  1. An extra note about foreknowledge.

    Humans, I believe, can have foreknowledge. For example, I know with certainty that my car tomorrow still be the same kind of car. Whether or not it is stolen, it will remain that kind of car.

    I can know with certainty that I will be a man tomorrow.

    If those examples can be overthrown, then I can know with certainty that tomorrow, 2+2 will equal 4. This is a necessary truth, and I CAN make a true future statement about it. Thus, I can have foreknowledge.

    It then follows that if there is foreknowledge, it must either be reconciled with free will, or there is no free will.

    Posted by J.W. Wartick | July 22, 2009, 4:19 AM
  2. I believe molinism, or “middle knowledge.” That God knows any and all true statements. God’s foreknowledge does not determine something, rather His knowledge of an event just means it will happen. It’s not a causal link.

    Posted by J.W. Wartick | August 5, 2009, 7:05 PM
  3. And I do grant that God does indeed cause some events to happen. I’m just saying in general, not everything He foreknows is caused by Him.

    Posted by J.W. Wartick | August 5, 2009, 7:05 PM
  4. It is obvious that either god is perfectly omniscient (has foreknowledge of all events, past and present) … or we have free will.

    Posted by etioquaesitor | January 20, 2011, 4:18 PM
    • An interesting assertion, but without any argument, I find no reason to accept it.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 20, 2011, 4:24 PM
      • I erred a bit. What i meant was:
        It is obvious that not more than one of the two things exists: perfect omniscience of god or human free will.

        The argument comes from the second proof in my blog:
        http://etiologue.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/omniscience-and-free-will

        Posted by etioquaesitor | January 20, 2011, 7:24 PM
      • (Repeated and expanded a bit from my comment on your blog): I see no reason to accept Premise 1. or 2. of argument II. I don’t think God created men with free will because he wanted something interesting. Possibly, God created mankind with free will because it is good to do so. Second, premise 2 is nonsensical. I’m curious as to how this atheist purports to know the mind of God to the extent that he assumes that God went about creating just for His own amusement.

        Therefore, I think the entirety of Argument II is false in every possible way. Unless you have some substantive arguments to back up your claims, the argument fails.

        Really, it is one gigantic straw man. It’s easy to set up an argument so you can define what God wants and how God wants it and then say that it “proves” there is no free will or omniscience. But that argument is totally specious. I reject it utterly because there is no reason to think any premise is true.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 20, 2011, 11:34 PM
  5. I have addressed the “God’s motivation of being good” and “timelessness” constructs at my blog.

    Also, as said there, the “premise 2” is not a premise, it follows from the “statement 1” which is indeed a premise and the only point lacking in rigour in both the arguments.

    “… Therefore, I think the entirety of Argument II is false in every possible way …”

    Wishful thinking ?

    Posted by etioquaesitor | January 21, 2011, 2:05 PM
    • Declaring an argument rigorous does not make it so. It begs the question. I know of no theists who accept any of the premises of argument II, so it is specious. Constructing a valid argument made of premises which are false does not make a sound argument. You must demonstrate the truth of the premises. Of course, Premise 2 is indeed a premise, unless you’re taking it as an axiom, but that too would have to be demonstrated. So far your answers to my arguments have simply been to assume the truth of your arguments. While it may help you think that you are correct to assume that you are correct, it doesn’t do much for arguing your position. I’ve yet to see you offer any arguments in favor of argument II. So yes, it is unsound, and extraordinarily so.

      Regarding your other comment, you wrote “The first argument is logically iron tight if (and this is a big if ever since it first appeared), God’s choices can be shown to be subject to time constraints.”

      I deny this as well, because the argument is not logically iron tight. In fact, it is a bit non-sequitur. Let’s examine your argument:

      1. Having free-will means, at the least, having a choice at one point in time.
      2. A choice is always exercised in the present and if so desired, can always be changed at the last moment – at the moment of exercising it, no matter what the person with a choice had decided in the past.
      3. Choices have consequences … taking a different choice usually leads to different consequences in the future.

      Logically, I don’t see anything iron tight about this. Premise 1 simply states that “free will means…. having a choice at one point in time.” 2 argues that “A choice is always exercised in the present… no matter what the person with a choice had decided in the past”

      The conclusion is 3 “Choices have consequences…. taking a different choice usually leads to different consequences in the future.”

      It doesn’t take a logician to see that 3 does not follow from 1 and 2. You argue in an attempt to make 3 twist into “God has no freedom of the will” as follows:

      By #1 God has a choice to be exercised by him. But being omniscient God also knows the future as it is going to happen.
      By #3 we get that at any given moment God is bound by the known future to make choices that lead to it.
      This means that god knows what choice he will exercise at any “choice making moment” beforehand and for all such moments, violating #2 and hence giving a contradiction.

      Now 3 doesn’t actually show that God is bound by future choices. You’ve made an elementary logical error known as the de dicto/de refallacy. You’ve inferred a de re truth from a de dicto one, without any argument for why it should be de re.

      Therefore, I still have absolutely no reason to accept your argument, which is question begging in that it starts with premises the theist generally denies and modally fallacious in that you fail to distinguish between de re and de dicto necessity.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 21, 2011, 5:43 PM
  6. Actually, The first argument is logically iron tight if (and this is a big if ever since it first appeared), God’s choices can be shown to be subject to time constraints.

    Would you agree to this ?

    Posted by etioquaesitor | January 21, 2011, 2:25 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Molinism and Necessity « - November 14, 2009

  2. Pingback: Freedom of Will/Divine Omniscience continued by J.W. Wartick | Molinists Apologetics - August 3, 2014

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