The On Free Will And God 's Foreknowledge Essay

The On Free Will And God 's Foreknowledge Essay

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In Critical Reflection #4 Augustine’s contention on free-will and God’s foreknowledge was explored. Here it was established by Augustine that God’s foreknowledge and freewill are in fact compatible, and that to deny the foreknowledge of God and yet embrace his existence is madness (City of God, Book 5). Yet this is only one side of an ongoing debate, in City of God Book 5 another philosopher, Cicero, makes a very different argument. Cicero believes that if God in fact has foreknowledge of all that is to happen, everything is predestined, therefore free-will is nothing but an illusion and our existence as God’s creation is undermined. As such, it is Cicero’s contention that God’s foreknowledge and free will are incompatible and cannot exist together. This paper will seek to explore both sides of this argument and come to a final answer to the question of compatibly between foreknowledge and freewill.
First up, Augustine. When espousing his notion that God 's foreknowledge and free will are compatible. Augustine says, “we assert both that God knows all things before they come to pass, and that we do by our free will whatsoever we know and feel to be done by us only because we will it" (Steinberger 470). He further states, “for our wills themselves are included in that order of causes which is certain to God, and is embraced by His foreknowledge, for human wills are also causes of human actions; and He who foreknew all the causes of things would certainly among those causes not have been ignorant of our wills" (Steinberger 470). From these excerpts one can draw the following analysis: God knows all things without undermining free-will, because the free wills themselves are causes. God has foreknowledge of these causes. God 's knowle...


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...rtainty of our actions, and that having a choice depends on the presence of genuine options. This dilemma is present in Peter Kreeft’s analogy of the story, here the presence of an omniscient author (God) does not allow for true choice if our actions are actually determined by the outcome of the story and not by our own choice. The second factor derives from the idea that the truth and presence of predetermination means that we don’t cause our actions in a significant way and our actions are not ultimately controlled by us. In other words, we lack the ability for self-determination. This dilemma is present in Augustine’s later notion of massa damnata, here God because of our tendency to sin has already predetermined who will be sinners and who will be saved, a controversial notion that only further compounds the fact that foreknowledge and free-will are incompatible.

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