Attributes of God - God's Omniscience and Freewill - solutions according to Boethius and Aquinas

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 11-05-17 20:28
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  • God's Omniscience and Freewill - solutions according to Boethius and Aquinas
    • Problem of Omniscience and freewill
      • God's knowledge reflects his eternal nature
      • God knows what will happen, eternally - but does not control what takes place; his knowledge is not causal
      • So, if God timelessly knows I will have beans on toast for tea this means I will have beans. Sounds like determinism?
    • Boethius's solution
      • Boethius makes a distinction
        • God knows some things are due to simple necessity - the sun shines, the moon goes round earth
        • He knows others due to conditional necessity - in this case the man deciding
        • God's knowledge of things doesn't impose necessity on things - he doesn't make them happen
        • A future may be thought of as 'necessary' because God 'sees' it, but voluntary and undetermined in regard of its own nature because it is decided  upon by us.
        • Gerard Hughes argues that humans' decision cause God to know what happens.
      • Problems with timeless omnisicent God
        • Boethius may not be successful since if God knows I will do X - it does seem I cannot do other (the definition of freewill) - involuntariness questionable.
    • Aquinas
      • Aquinas see difficulties in squaring human freewill and God's omniscience
        • He argues that God's knowledge of human choice is dictated by the causal link between Creator and creature
        • He does, however see a potential compromise of freewill - so he attempts to make a distinction between saying:
          • "If God knows I will eat beans on toast for tea it will, necessarily happen' and 'I will necessarily eat beans on toast for tea'
            • Former leaves room for freewill, the latter doesn't - God knows I choose to have beans on toast for tea and it is therefore necessary - God's knowledge doesn't cause necessity.
    • William Lane Craig's barometer
      • A barometer is used for determining the weather
      • God's knowledge is infallible - represented by the barometer
        • But knowledge dependant on humans - the weather
      • 'like a barometer'
        • Never fails
        • Free to do anything except fool God in what you choose to do.
    • Molina's Middle Knowledge
      • God knows timelessly what ALL beings possibly will choose so he creates only those beings that ultimately bring about his will. Therefore he knows your choices but doesn't control them.
        • Some philosophers will question what the purpose is? What sort of purpose involves Hitler?
          • But could individuals like Hitler be linked to Irenaeus's theodicy and involve soul-making.


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