Home > foreknowledge, freewill, logic > >A father's foreknowledge

>A father's foreknowledge

>During a discussion on Jamsco’s blog, Bnonn was suggesting that if God’s knowledge is contingent on our actions then God cannot know about what we will never do.

  • P1. If human beings have libertarian free will, and God has definite knowledge of human actions, then it is necessary that God’s knowledge of those actions is logically contingent upon them.
  • P2. If God’s definite knowledge of human actions is logically contingent upon them, then God cannot have definite knowledge of human actions which will never occur.
  • P3. But God does have definite knowledge of human actions which will never occur.
  • C4. Therefore, human beings do not have libertarian free will.

I have previously said that while reasoning is good it is also fallen, so if our logic contradicts Scripture then we must check our premises or reasoning. I think the error is logic is related to the first premise. While reviewing the premises is useful, illustrations are also useful because if the illustration is feasible, then the argument probably needs modifying. This is an example from my daughters.

  • Bethyada: D1, for your snack you can have blue cheese on crackers or avocado on crackers.
  • D1: I’ll have x.

I offered her this (a factual) and I knew her response would be x. I knew her response prior to the answer. My knowledge is not so much contingent on her actual choice, rather it is contingent on me knowing what her choice will be. But her choice is clearly hers and not mine.

  • Bethyada: D2, for your snack you can have blue cheese on crackers or avocado on crackers.
  • D2: I’ll have y.

Now this is a hypothetical (counterfactual), I don’t really do this, it is just a mind experiment. But I am still certain of her response. Clearly my knowledge here is not contingent on her choosing.

Note the answer is different for each of them given the same choice. It is not that I am forcing the answer I wish to have (do you want to eat a chocolate bar or a slug).

The reason I know the answers is because I know my daughters.

I would rephrase premise 1

  • P1. If human beings have (libertarian) freewill, and God has definite (fore)knowledge of human actions, then it is necessary that God’s knowledge of those actions is logically dependent on God knowing what humans will do.

God knows us better than I know my children so God always knows what our choice will or would be.

Categories: foreknowledge, freewill, logic
  1. 2008 January 18 at 20:04

    This is crazy. I had just been thinking about it in those terms: as if I offered Baby Wildflower a choice between apple-blueberry puree or pureed peas.
    I’m quite convinced that she’d take apple-blueberry every time, but it doesn’t negate that she had a choice.
    I’m glad to see that I hit on something another believer already hit.

  2. 2008 January 23 at 09:32

    I think it is a useful analogy. I used a similar one on my daughter when she was 7 and asked if God knew everything how can we make our own choices. In her own words of course but that was the essence of the question. I was very impressed for a 7 year old. And this was the form of the answer I gave her.
    Now to get more adults asking this sort of question!

  3. 2008 January 23 at 09:34

    And by the way Mrs. Pilgrim, if I picked up correctly on a recent comment of yours over at Popoli, congratulations on the awaited sibling.

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