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This article is biblical theology vos pdf the theological questions of free will. Free will in theology is an important part of the debate...

This article is biblical theology vos pdf the theological questions of free will. Free will in theology is an important part of the debate on free will in general. Religions vary greatly in their response to the standard argument against free will and thus might appeal to any number of responses to the paradox of free will, the claim that omniscience and free will are incompatible.


This problem is related to the Aristotelian problem of the sea battle: tomorrow either there will or will not be a sea battle. According to the Law of excluded middle, there seems to be two options. If there will be sea battle, then it seems that it was true even yesterday that there would be one. Thus it is necessary that the sea battle will occur.

If there will not be one, then, by similar reasoning, it is necessary that it will not occur. Some philosophers follow Philo in holding that free will is a feature of a human’s soul, and thus that non-human animals lack free will. In Islam, the theological issue is not usually how to reconcile free will with God’s foreknowledge but with God’s jabr or divine commanding power. Ash’ari developed an “acquisition” or “dual-agency” form of compatibilism, in which human free will and divine jabr were both asserted, and which became a cornerstone of the dominant Ash’ari position.

In Shia Islam, Ash’aris understanding of a higher balance toward predestination is challenged by most theologists. The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard claimed that divine omnipotence cannot be separated from divine goodness. As a truly omnipotent and good being, God could create beings with true freedom over God. Furthermore, God would voluntarily do so because “the greatest good which can be done for a being, greater than anything else that one can do for it, is to be truly free.

Alvin Plantinga’s “free will defense” is a contemporary expansion of this theme, adding how God, free will, and evil are consistent. However, there are widespread disagreements in definitions of the two terms.

Circumstantial freedom is “freedom from coercion or restraint” that prevents acting as one wills. In the Bible, circumstantial freedom was given to the Israelites’ in The Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Bible assumes that all people, unregenerate and regenerate, possess it.

Matthew 23:37 and Revelation 22:17. Jesus’ commandments to love God and love neighbor.

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