Divine Foreknowledge

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    Borland, Tully

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    Omniscience and Divine Foreknowledge

    "Omniscience is an attribute having to do with knowledge; it is the attribute of 'having knowledge of everything.' Many philosophers consider omniscience to be an attribute possessed only by a divine being, such as the God of Western monotheism...[E]ven though this definition may be somewhat useful, there are a number of questions which the definition alone does not address. First, there is the general question of what exactly our human knowledge is and whether or not an understanding of human knowledge can be applied to God. For example, does God have beliefs? And what kind of evidence does God need for these beliefs to count as knowledge? There is also the question of what exactly this 'everything' in the definition is supposed to mean. Does God know everything which is actual but not all that is possible? Does God know the future, and if so, how exactly? This last question is a perennial difficulty and will require a thorough investigation."
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    Graham, Matthew

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    Divine Foreknowledge: Two Accounts

    "One of the more hotly debated topics in evangelical circles today is that of divine foreknowledge. Many Christians find it difficult to see why holding a particular view on this topic is all that important. However, those who have looked into this issue understand that the view one holds of God’s foreknowledge has implications that reach into almost every facet of theology. The most popular and heated discussion involving divine foreknowledge surrounds the issue of the relation between divine foreknowledge and human free will. This paper will outline two views of God’s foreknowledge. Special focus will be given to two issues in the debate. One issue deals with the supposed incompatibility of foreknowledge and free will. The other issue asks whether or not God has dependent knowledge."
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    Huss, Albin

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    God and Time: Entailments on the Freedom/Foreknowledge Issue for Determinists and Indeterminists

    "Two questions which have received considerable attention among classical writers as well as contemporary theologians and philosophers are: (1) Is God’s eternal existence atemporal (outside of time) or temporal (within time)? AND (2) In light of Scripture, logic, and/or philosophy, is the divine foreknowledge-human freedom dilemma best resolved by a determinist or an indeterminist position? As these two questions have been the subject of massive theological treatises over the centuries, this author will not attempt to offer any fresh solutions to resolving these issues. That is, this paper will not seek to specifically answer either question. Rather, we will endeavor to evaluate the positions held by leading scholars in an effort to delineate the key interrelations between the two questions and to determine whether, for example, one’s position on the atemporal/temporal eternity question logically necessitates one’s position on the freedomforeknowledge (FFK) issue, or vice versa."
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Dual Agency: A Thomistic Account of Providence and Human Freedom

    "There are three accounts of divine providence: the Thomistic-Augustinian account, the Molinist account, and the open theist account. Of the three, the Thomistic account has received relatively little attention in recent years, largely because it is been understood to be a form of theological compatibilism or soft determinism, and compatibilism has been subject to powerful objections, most notably those of van Inwagen. In fact, it is possible for a Thomistic account to be robustly incompatibilist and indeterministic, much more so than its Molinist rival. By combining recent developments in the metaphysics of causation with the fertile suggestions of Oxford theologian Austin Farrer, I develop a Thomistic account of providence and freedom that respects the reality of human freedom and provides an adequate foundation for a free will theodicy."
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    Kvanvig, Jonathan L.

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    Open Theism and the Future

    "Open Theists all deny that God has exhaustive foreknowledge of the future, but they differ in their accounts as to why this is so...These positions share a common theme, however, and it is this: the future is composed of two parts, one part open to omniscience and the other part not. The part of the future that is not open to omniscience is the undetermined part, with future free actions being the prime and motivating example of such. Here I will term this division aspect of Open Theism “the Asymmetry Thesis”, the thesis that the part of the future that is determined by present and past events is secure in truth value and falls within the scope of omniscience whereas the parts of the future that remain undetermined by the present and past do not fall within the scope of omniscience and perhaps are not secure in truth value. The Asymmetry Thesis faces serious troubles, and here I intend to cast doubt on its plausibility."
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    Otte, Richard

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    A Defense of Middle Knowledge

    "Recently Robert Adams has questioned some aspects of Plantinga's free will defense...Adams rejects the law of conditional excluded middle, and thus he thinks that Plantinga's free will defense is inadequate because it depends on God having middle knowledge...In the following we will take a closer look at Adams' rejection of the possibility of middle knowledge. After looking carefully at Adams' reasons for rejecting middle knowledge, we will inquire into the relationship between middle knowledge and divine foreknowledge. In particular, we will be interested in whether Adams' reasons for rejecting the possibility of middle knowledge also provide reasons for rejecting the possibility of foreknowledge."
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    Rhoda, Alan R.

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    Generic Open Theism and Some Varieties Thereof

    "The goal of this paper is to facilitate ongoing dialogue between open and non-open theists. First, I try to make precise what open theism is by distinguishing the core commitments of the position from other secondary and optional commitments. The result is a characterization of ‘generic open theism’, the minimal set of commitments that any open theist, qua open theist, must affirm. Second, within the framework of generic open theism I distinguish three important variants and discuss challenges distinctive to each. The significance of this approach is that it helps avoid conflating arguments bearing on specific versions of open theism with arguments pertaining to open theism simpliciter."
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    Rhoda, Alan R., Gregory A. Boyd, and Thomas G. Belt

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    Open Theism, Omniscience, and the Nature of the Future

    "If the future is settled in the sense that it is exhaustively and truly describable in terms of what either will or will not obtain, then divine omniscience (the thesis that God knows all and only truths) entails exhaustively definite foreknowledge. Conversely, if the future is open in the sense that a complete, true description of it must include reference to what might and might not obtain, then divine omniscience entails open theism and the denial of exhaustively definite foreknowledge. The nature of the future is, therefore, a key issue in the open theism debate. In this paper, we develop two arguments in support of a central claim of the open future view and critically respond to several arguments in favor of the settled future view."
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    Rissler, James

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    Open Theism

    "Open Theism is the thesis that, because God loves us and desires that we freely choose to reciprocate His love, He has made His knowledge of, and plans for, the future conditional upon our actions. Though omniscient, God does not know what we will freely do in the future. Though omnipotent, He has chosen to invite us to freely collaborate with Him in governing and developing His creation, thereby also allowing us the freedom to thwart His hopes for us. God desires that each of us freely enter into a loving and dynamic personal relationship with Him, and He has therefore left it open to us to choose for or against His will. While Open Theists affirm that God knows all the truths that can be known, they claim that there simply are not yet truths about what will occur in the “open,” undetermined future. Alternatively, there are such contingent truths, but these truths cannot be known by anyone, including God."
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    Rota, Michael

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    The Eternity Solution to the Problem of Human Freedom and Divine Foreknowledge

    “In this paper I defend the eternity solution to the problem of human freedom and divine ‘foreknowledge’. After motivating the problem, I sketch the basic contours of the eternity solution. I then consider several objections which contend that the eternity solution falsely implies that we have various powers (e.g. to change God’s beliefs, or to affect the past) which, according to the objector, we do not in fact have.”
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    Senor, Thomas D.

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    Omniscience and the Problem of Foreknowledge and Freedom

    "One of the traditional attributes that theism ascribes to God is omniscience. To be omniscient is to be all knowing...But as I'm sure you are beginning to suspect, philosophers are generally not content to leave well enough alone, and so they are not likely to rest easy with so straightforward a definition...We can make progress in thinking about omniscience by thinking about what sorts of knowledge there are. Probably the most common form of knowledge discussed, and the easiest to get a good grip on, is propositional knowledge."
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    Swartz, Norman

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    Foreknowledge and Free Will

    "Historically, the tension between foreknowledge and the exercise of free will was addressed in a religious context. According to orthodox views in the West, God was claimed to be omniscient (and hence in possession of perfect foreknowledge) and yet God was supposed to have given humankind free will. Attempts to solve the apparent contradiction often involved attributing to God special properties, for example, being 'outside' of time. However, the trouble with such solutions is that they are generally unsatisfactory on their own terms. Even more serious is the fact that they leave untouched the problem posed not by God's foreknowledge but that of any human being. Do human beings have foreknowledge?...Ultimately the alleged incompatibility of foreknowledge and free will is shown to rest on a subtle logical error. When the error, a modal fallacy, is recognized, and remedied, the problem evaporates."
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    Wyma, Keith D.

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    Divine Modeling, Counterfactuals of Freedom and the Grounding Objection

    "This paper attempts to construe counterfactuals of freedom as true, and as definite in their claims. The central question revolves around reconciling libertarian freedom with the notion that there are definite truths about what agents would freely do in various situations in which they might be placed. The argument grounds the truth of counterfactuals of freedom in actual states of affairs, namely, the activity of idea-models in God's mind. This view is then defended against objections, and advantageous implications are detailed, to yield the conclusion that this construal successfully provides a truth-ground for definite counterfactuals of freedom."
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    Zagzebski, Linda

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    Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom

    "[M]any people have thought it important to maintain both (1) there is a deity who infallibly knows the entire future, and (2) human beings have free will in the strong sense usually called libertarian. But the theological fatalist argument seems to show that (1) and (2) are incompatible; the only way consistently to accept (2) is to deny (1). Those philosophers who think there is a way to consistently maintain both (1) and (2) are called compatibilists about infallible foreknowledge and human free will. Compatibilists must either identity a false premise in the argument for theological fatalism or show that the conclusion does not follow from the premises. Incompatibilists accept the incompatibility of infallible foreknowledge and human free will and deny either infallible foreknowledge or free will in the sense targeted by the argument."