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Divine foreknowledge and human free will: Embracing the paradox

, Tyler Dalton McNabb
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-15; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09791-1

Abstract: A family of objections to theism aims to show that certain key theological doctrines, when held in conjunction, are incompatible. The longstanding problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom represents one such objection. In this essay, we provide the theist an epistemic approach to the problem that allows for the rational affirmation of both divine foreknowledge and human freedom (understood as the ability to do otherwise) despite their prima facie incompatibility. Specifically, we apply James Anderson’s Rational Affirmation of Paradox Theology model to the problem, arguing that the theist can stave off defeat that arises from a belief in the conjunction of both doctrines by appealing to paradox. In order to establish this thesis, we first define key terms as well as lay out the theological fatalist argument. Next, we explicate Anderson’s model and apply it to the foreknowledge and freedom problem. We conclude by addressing the objection that an appeal to paradox is simply special pleading for the theist, arguing that the naturalist can be found in a similar epistemic position.
Keywords: Foreknowledge / Free will / Paradox / Anderson / Fatalism

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