In his essay [ 1 ] on the possibility of God’s holding in-between cognition of the actions of free agents and the relationship of that cognition. if it exists. to the job of immorality. [ 2 ] RM Adams discusses two inquiries: foremost. whether in-between cognition is possible. even for God. and secondly. whether God could hold made free animals who would ever freely make right. These inquiries highlight the importance of seeking to understand how much God knows about the hereafter and the relationship of the reply to that inquiry with the job of immorality.
In the present essay I review four major possible positions of God’s precognition and highlight their strengths and failings. paying peculiar attending to Adams’ statements on Middle Knowledge which lead to his decision that there is ground to doubt its possibility. I so reexamine Adams’ statements about its impact on the job of immorality and. holding concluded. as he does. that. middle cognition being available or non. allowing some immorality in order to let animals to hold free will may lend to a theodicy but non complete it. I consider how this state of affairs might be improved by accepting that the hereafter is at least partially unfastened.
The job The job of immorality has been the topic of theological difference for centuries. If God is. as the traditional Christian position would hold it. omniscient. omnipotent and absolutely good. how come there is evil in the universe? Such a God. the statement goes. would non merely wish to chase away immorality from the universe. but. since he can make anything. he would hold done so. Since he clearly has non. either he is non able to make so or he does non care. or possibly he doesn’t exist.
While statements such as the above call into uncertainty the possibility of God’s being at one time almighty and absolutely good. the job of immorality is besides closely related to the issue of his omniscience. in peculiar to his precognition. If God knows everything about the hereafter. including what picks between good and evil I will do. am I truly free to do those picks? But does God really know everything. peculiarly about contingent hereafter events? There are many positions of the God’s precognition ; I will see four principal 1s.
The Simple Foreknowledge View. This position holds that God knows all truths and believes no falsities. or as Hunt puts it ‘God has complete and infallible cognition of the future’ [ 3 ] . a simple statement and one which is capable to some serious expostulations. In the context of this essay the most of import expostulation is that it would look to contradict the possibility of human freedom. As Augustine’s middleman. Evodius. says. ‘since God foreknew that he [ Adam ] was traveling to transgress. his wickedness needfully had to go on.
How so is the will liberate when such ineluctable necessity is found in it? ’ [ 4 ] Augustine so argues that ‘God’s precognition does non coerce the hereafter to happen… . God foreknows everything that he causes but does non do everything that he foreknows… wickedness is committed by the will non coerced by God’s precognition. ’ [ 5 ] If God did do or hale Adam to transgress he would be exempt from incrimination but. Hunt maintains. following Augustine. the simple fact of God’s cognizing in progress what Adam ( and more by and large. we ) will make does non represent coercion.
It is true that God’s foreknowing… leaves Adam with no alternatives… But the mere absence of options is irrelevant… merely cognizing what the individual will make is non an intervention of any kind. and its deductions for free bureau are benign. ’ [ 6 ] Hunt’s position is that we should ‘trust our intuition’ that Adam is deprived of options but non free will. For me nevertheless. this is non my intuition. This and similar statements elsewhere appear to be making little more than repeating the job. and do non supply a satisfactory flight path.
The job is one of logic non theology. If it is inevitable. foreknown infallibly. that I will make A so it is non in world an option for me non to make A. I might believe that I am taking between A and not-A. but if God knows which I will take so in world I am deluded: there is no possibility of my taking not-A and if I don’t have any pick this besides seems to take any possibility of incrimination or duty for my actions. How can I be held responsible for an action which I could non avoid making?
Worse. since I do things which obviously are evil and could hold been avoided if I truly had free will. it is arguable that God himself is responsible for. or at least knows in progress and allows to go on. the immorality that I do. In add-on to the free-will job. advocates of the simple precognition position have to explicate what we are making when we pray. Are we inquiring God to alter the hereafter? And if he does gracefully hold to alter it. would that non intend that he was incorrectly when he before knew. purportedly infallibly. what the hereafter was to include before he changed it?
It is an of import portion of this position of God that he believes no falsities. but if our supplications have any consequence. that would look to imply the falsity of God’s before beliefs about that peculiar facet of the hereafter. It should be noted at this point that the simple precognition position is to the full compatible with the Christian apprehension of God’s being outside clip. I will return to this later. but giving or compromising this apprehension would be a heavy monetary value to pay for many Christian theologists.
These expostulations taken together seem to me to do simple precognition. without some considerable alteration. incompatible with an apprehension of worlds as responsible agents. The other positions I discuss below effort in different ways to do sufficient alterations to cover with this job while staying true to scripture. I should of class consider the possibility that. in coming to this decision about the troubles of the simple precognition position. I have non understood the inquiry.
Could it be that what I mean by either ‘free ill’ or ‘knowledge’ is someway different to what coevalss of theologists have meant? For myself. I maintain that my action is free if I could make otherwise than what I really make up one’s mind to make and. crucially. no-one else knows in progress what I will make up one’s mind to make. non even God. And cognition in this context can be taken as ‘justified true belief’ which is merely the kind of cognition that God is supposed to hold infallibly. It seems that simple precognition is non to be rescued by resort to a dictionary. The Augustinian-Calvinist Position
This position. as expounded by Helm. [ 7 ] does so depend on a careful compatibilist definition of ‘free will’ which enables him to reason that it is non necessary to accept either a modified. decreased history of omniscience. or that human agents are non responsible for their actions. Here ‘compatibilism’ is the position that free will is compatible with causal determinism. a position that Helm maintains was explicitly held by the ulterior Augustine ( likely as a consequence of farther idea compared with his earlier Hagiographas ) and implicitly by Calvin.
The latter is evidenced foremost by the differentiation he drew between necessity and irresistible impulse. and secondly by his successors’ taking a similar position of free will. naming it the autonomy of rational spontaneousness while denying the autonomy of indifference. [ 8 ] Helm distinguishes three constructs of God’s precognition. One is causal in the sense used by Aquinas: God’s cognition is the cause of things and on this position there is no differentiation between what God causes and permits since God foreknows all events and hence must do them all.
There is an illation from this that God causes future immoralities but Aquinas is said to hold allowed the construct of godly permission whereby God is said to cognize of it but non do it. More on that later. The 2nd sense has God’s precognition logically subsequent to his edict and is merely the cognition of that edict before it takes consequence in clip. and the 3rd is the contrary of this. with the precognition logically prior to his edict.
His statements entail one or other of the first two senses. but non the 3rd. Based on these get downing points Helm raises three statements in support of the Augustinian place. First there is the function of God’s grace. The statement between those who believe and those who do non believe that God’s precognition is compatible with human incompatibilism. Helm says. is non about the nature of God or of human freedom but about the relationship between God and world.
Divine grace and free. incompatibilist pick can merely be causally necessary for a person’s coming to faith. but non causally sufficient since. given our libertarian will. we could defy such grace and it would non therefore guarantee its intended consequence. However. Bible tells us that salvaging grace is resistless and. when received. liberating: it entirely. harmonizing to Augustine. ensures true human freedom. [ 9 ] and the illation is that such grace is hence sufficient.
The obvious expostulation here is that some people clearly do defy God’s salvaging grace. an expostulation that Helm does non cover with efficaciously. Second there is an statement based on godly flawlessness as reflected in his omnipotence and omniscience. Helm asks rhetorically how God knows of the causes of evil actions if he is non the cause of them. and quotes Augustine’s reply that God. for the highest grounds ( which are at present unknown to us ) wittingly permits peculiar evil actions. 10 ] In a instead vague transition. Helm appears to reason as follows: ( 1 ) it is theologically desirable that God’s precognition should be every bit complete as may moderately be assumed and we should therefore presume that he does anticipate his free animals freely willed actions ; ( 2 ) If compatibilism is true so God can anticipate these actions and hence ( 3 ) compatibilism is true. [ 11 ] However. as Hunt points out. this is unsound and Helm should hold argued for ( 2’ ) If compatibilism is non true so God can non foreknow… but he has non done so.
Finally Helm argues that God’s omniscience is logically inconsistent with human incompatibilist freedom. He supposes as an illustration that God foreknew yesterday the truth of the proposition ‘Jones will freely eat a tuna sandwich tomorrow. ’ That precognition is now in the past and is hence necessary. non logically but by chance or historically. and therefore it entails the necessity that Jones will eat the tuna sandwich ; that putatively free act can non hence be free. In that instance divine omniscience is inconsistent with incompatibilist freedom. 12 ] Helm admits that this statement truly merely works with the premise that God is in some manner inside clip for ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’ to hold any force. [ 13 ]
In drumhead. Helm believes his statements have made the loosely Augustinian instance that Godhead precognition and human freedom are consistent. but I am distressed to see that any of my expostulations to the simple precognition statement are any less forceful in response to Helm. My logical concern and the job of supplication remain. but these are supplemented by the acknowledged need for God to be temporal. at least for portion of the statement to be successful.
The Middle-Knowledge View This position is that espoused by Luis de Molina. a sixteenth century Spanish Jesuit theologist. who drew a differentiation between three sorts of cognition that. in his position. God possesses [ 14 ] . First. Molina said. God possesses ‘natural knowledge’ . that is a cognition of all needfully true propositions. such as ‘two plus two peers four’ . Since such truths are necessary. cipher. non even God. can do them false. Second. God possesses ‘free knowledge’ . that is cognition of all contingent truths that are within his control. but which could hold been false under different conditions. .
For illustration ‘I am interested in philosophy’ is a contingently true proposition but God could hold brought it about that it was false. Finally. Molina proposes that God possesses ‘middle knowledge’ ( so called because it is mediate God’s natural and free cognition ) . that is. cognition of contingent propositions which are true but beyond his control. The most of import points of in-between cognition for the intent of this treatment are the ‘counterfactuals of freedom’ which describe what people would freely make if placed in assorted possible state of affairss.
This is relevant to the job of immorality because ‘it might look that if God has middle cognition. He could hold secured animals sinless but free by merely making those that he knew would non transgress if allowed to move freely. ’ [ 15 ] In his treatment of in-between cognition [ 16 ] Craig indicates its power and why it is so attractive in the treatment of free will and the job of immorality. If it is true that God has middle cognition as described above. this non merely makes room for human freedom but it gives God range to take which free animals to make and convey about his ultimate intents through free creaturely determinations.
He adduces three lines of statement in support of it – scriptural. theological and philosophical. [ 17 ] Biblical statements: Craig uses the illustration of David and Saul: [ 18 ] David is in the Judaic metropolis of Keilah and asks God through an ephod [ 19 ] if Saul will assail him at that place and whether the work forces of Keilah would give him up to Saul to salvage their lives. God answers affirmatively to both inquiries. whereupon Saul caputs for the hills. with the consequence that Saul does non necessitate to beleaguer the metropolis and the work forces of Keilah do non necessitate to bewray him to Saul.
It is clear. says Craig. that the bible transition shows that God has contrary to fact cognition. although he admits that this does non demo once and for all that he has middle cognition. He goes on to accept that scriptural exegesis is non adequate to settle the affair. [ 20 ] Theological statements: Craig says that ‘the strongest statements in support of the Molinist position are theological’ [ 21 ] but gives no direct support for this other than to wax lyrical on the power of in-between cognition in theological statement on a scope of issues.
This may be right. given the being of in-between cognition. but that is what we wish to prove. Philosophic statements: Craig asserts that Godhead precognition and future contingents are compatible ‘for the simple ground that Scripture teaches both’ [ 23 ] ( a theological instead than philosophical statement of class ) and goes on to discourse the footing of such precognition. He builds an statement about freedom of action. reasoning that ‘from God’s cognition that I shall make x. it does non follow that I must make x. merely that I shall make tens.
That is in no manner incompatible with my making ten freely. ’ [ 24 ] This is truly merely a restatement of the job of free will and Craig does little more here than confirm its truth. Craig’s concluding decision is that ‘philosophically. omniscience… entails cognition of all truth and. since counterfactuals of creaturely freedom are true logically prior to god’s originative edict. they must hence be known by God at that logical minute. Therefore we should confirm that God has middle cognition. ’