Free Will and Divine Foreknowledge

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Since these things are true, I very much wonder how God can have foreknowledge of everything in the future, and yet we do not sin by necessity’. (Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, p. 73)

Free will is the ability to make our own choices in issues regarding all aspects of life. It is a power that enables us to make our own choices that are not affected by external factors such as divine will. Therefore, each one sins by his/her own will. While, divine foreknowledge is the fact that God has complete knowledge of what will happen in the future. In “On Free Choice of the Will”, St. Augustine discusses a critical issue which is the incompatibility of man’s free will and God’s foreknowledge. So the question is, do we really have free will in spite of the fact that God foreknows everything? If God knows what must necessarily happen next, then how do have the free will to make our own choices? Augustine comes up with a series of arguments to prove that we sin by our own will with no intervention of the divine foreknowledge.

Augustine first argued a characteristic of God that He has free will, and that He has foreknowledge of his own actions. Therefore, both God’s will and foreknowledge go along with each other. From this point he then assumes that man’s will and God’s foreknowledge are both compatible. But can we compare God with man? And is this argument convincing enough? More elaboration has to be given in order to make it more convincing. Augustine then proceeds to do so. He states that people who do not believe in the compatibility of free will and divine foreknowledge are those who “are more eager to excuse than confess their sins” (p.73). That means that people who always blame others for their own wrong doings rather than admitting it are those who claim that we have no free will and that everything is already known by God, and that nothing can be changed, which they also use as a justification for their wrong actions. These people live their life by...
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