Full Text

foreknowledge


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Extract

P hilosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of action Knowledge about what will happen in the future before it actually happens. This knowledge is ascribed to God as a divine attribute and as a natural aspect of God's omniscience . God knows what is going to happen, and his knowledge admits no alternatives. God's fore-knowledge implies that there is a fixed or predestined future. If this is the case, then all future human actions and the course of history are predestined rather than free. Humans will have to act in the predetermined way. The resulting conflict between foreknowledge and free will is a perennial problem in both philosophy and theology. To accept the existence of foreknowledge involves the rejection of free will. If we admit free action, then God's foreknowledge must be modified in some way. Some philosophers argue, for example, that because an omniscient God is unembodied and outside time, he has knowledge of laws and universals, but lacks knowledge of particular things, such as human actions. “There exists in the history of thought a deterministic idea … that the course of world-history is determined … by the foreknowledge of a supreme being. This being, as it were, ‘sees’ the world states follow one upon another in a linear succession.” von Wright, Causality and Determinism ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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