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Paper Topic:

Reconciling Human Free Will with God’s Omniscience

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15 May 2008

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Reconciling Human Free Will with God 's Omniscience

The concept of free will can be easily mistaken for a strike against the omniscience of God . Many who wish to discredit the qualities of God cite that the existence of free will excludes the possibility that God is omniscient , for if God is omniscient , then surely there can be no freedom in human action . If God already knows what we are going to do before we do it , then , the argument goes , we

do not have to think about our actions , for they are already determined . The other side states that the quality of God 's omniscience is compatible with human free will that his omniscience does not necessarily preclude free will . This will show that it is possible for God to be omniscient at the same time that humans can act freely

Aristotle states in the Nicomachean Ethics that voluntary and involuntary actions are to be used with reference to the moment of action (350 . He deems voluntary actions those in which the principle that moves the instrumental parts of the body in such actions is in ' the agent , and the things that the moving principle is in a man himself are in his power to do or not to do (350 . In other words voluntary or free action is committed when the acting agent is not moved to action by outside forces but rather those forces within the person that cause him or her to act or not to act . Involuntary action , then , is action caused by outside forces , for example the person moved to commit an action they would not otherwise do unless their own life or the life of someone they loved was in danger does not voluntarily act (350 Aristotle asks the question of what makes an act voluntary or involuntary , and distinguishes between the two that the former relates to the principle act as coming from within the agent and the former as acting upon the agent and forcing the action (350-51 . Here is where Aristotle comes to the concept of choice , and he distinguishes it from voluntary action in that it is not influenced by appetite or anger or wish or a kind of opinion ' but something that is what is chosen before other things (351 . Aristotle 's treatment of choice informs the opinion of the philosophers who follow

St . Thomas Aquinas responds to Aristotle 's definitions mentioned above however it is only the third objection Aquinas raises that bears the most weight for the purposes of this . Aquinas grants that there is some principle both within and without the agent that moves it . Human action differs from that of stones in that humans have a knowledge of the end .by which they not only act but also act for the end (366 For Aquinas , the term voluntary ' implies that the agent is knowingly acting toward some end , and it is in this...

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