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Brian (8)

How to reconcile God's omniscience with human free-will?


Christianity claims that God is omniscient (knows all that can be known) - including future events. But christianity claims that God has given humans the ability to make genuinely free choices. So how can God forsee what we will do in the future?
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Brent (9)

Is Prescience The Same as Preordination


The idea of preordination is that an event can be determined or controlled before it happens. We are not speaking about predicting a probable outcome. Preordination is to make something happen regardless of whether it is probable or desired by those involved. There are many movies that toy with this theme. A character, while aware of a prophecy about their doom, fail to avoid it or they even cause it to happen because of their attempts to avoid it.

As you said Brian, freedom is nowhere to be found in this concept. Freedom must be some kind of cognative trick that we play on ourselves if our actions are preordained.

However, prescience or foreknowledge is a different concept. It requires that a being exist outside the constraints of time. This being does not experience reality as a linear sequence of moments but can exist and be aware now of an event in 1990 as simply as in 2020. 

If such a being exists it can know what happened tomorrow as easily as what happened yesterday. This does not require any control of what happened at either time. To him/her what will happen is never a surprise or a disappointment because it is already known.

Now if this being was able and willing to modify events in the past or the future by interacting with free beings in our reality, then freedom once again is jeopardised.

This adds some information to the question of why God seems to be silent/absent/inactive. For an omniscient being to have any interaction with us, when they know what the result of our choices will be, will always be dangerously close to manipulation, preordination, control. 

I guess most of us wouldn't mind our freedom being kerbed a little by a benevolent being if it worked out better for everyone. But where is the line? Many readers will say but God does act on occasions to change what happens in our reality, and I would only add that I, for one am glad that it is not more often. (The next time I have a loved one on their death bed, I may be less glad.)

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Brian (8)

Preordination, Prescience or "middle knowledge"?


Brent
Great points. So in summary it would be incoherent for God to have preordained the events of this world - unless he wished to have a universe full of robots.
Prescience (or omniscience) seems a much more viable option. I have heard someone describe a prescient god as being similar to the reader of a novel. The characters in the novel are constrained by time - events follow one another. But the author can move backward and forwards within the novel - observing the events (without having any control of those events in the case of the reader). Of course the novel's author is more like this god - after he has drafted the novel he can go back in to any part of the novel's timeline and adjust events to suit his desires. It makes sense if God sits "outside time" so to speak. 
An alternative possibility is known as God's "middle knowledge" or Molinism. It was first proposed by 16th century jesuit Luis de Molina. The claim (very briefly) is that God knows what free decisions all creatures would freely make under all sets of possible circumstances they might experience. Thus God has full prescience (omniscience) without constraining free will. One advantage this idea has over simple prescience is that under Molinism God can act "within time" whereas under prescience God must act within time at the same time as being outside time (which may be incoherent?). It seems necessary for God be "within time" in order to interact with humanity.  
Hmmmm. What do you think?
It is very hard to get one's head around the idea of existence outside time. "Outside" time the idea of one event following (or causing) another event makes no sense.