God’s Knowledge and Necessity

There is much to say about the foreknowledge of God and the will of the creature. This is a topic that has been and will be debated for a great while. One of the areas where conflict arises is in the area of necessity. Do the foreordained decrees of the Lord come about necessarily? This is the question we are going to ponder.

If God foreknows perfectly that “X” will “S,” then, “S” is certain to take place. This is true. However, that does not mean that event “S” will come about necessarily. But, it also does not mean that action “S” is contingent, because, since God foreknows it (“S”) perfectly, then “X” doing action “S” is certain in advance. In short, if God perfectly foreknows that “X” will “S,” then “S” is certain in advance, but it (“S”) does not come about necessarily. Nor is it a logical truth that “S” will take place; but it is still nonetheless, certain in advance. So, it IS a necessary truth that if God foreknows that action “S” will take place, then it is certain to take place. However, it does not follow that action “S” itself will take place necessarily and to deny that “S” will take place is not a violation of the Laws of Logic.

Here is a real life example to cut away all of the excess dross. Tonight, the Cleveland Indians are playing the Arizona Dimondbacks. It is true that 20 years ago, God perfectly foreknew who would win the game tonight (lets say, Cleveland). Hence, it is certain in advance that the Indians will win the baseball game tonight (assuming I’m correct) because God is omniscient and He does not, and, by definition, cannot know something that is erroneous. Hence, if God foreknows it (the winner of the game) perfectly, then, it will certainly come to pass. However, that fact that the Indians will win the baseball game tonight does not make the proposition “The Indians will win the baseball game tonight,” a truth of Logic. Meaning, it is not a contradiction or violation of any  known Law of Logic to proclaim that “The Indians will lose the baseball game tonight”; even though it is certain in advance that the Indians will win the baseball game tonight. In short, certainty in advance does not make something a truth of Logic.

Summery: It is a necessary truth that if God foreknows something perfectly then it is true and certain in advance. However, it does not follow that if God knows something in advance, then it will take place necessarily.

For more info on this subject, click here.

Advertisements