[Milton-L] Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom

gilliaca at jmu.edu gilliaca at jmu.edu
Wed Aug 2 16:56:03 EDT 2006

>An analogy whose details I do not recall has been
>previously been made on the Milton List to illustrate
>divine foreknowledge and human freedom. In this sort
>of analogy, a person from an elevated position, say a
>hill, sees that two free agents driving automobiles,
>for example, are traveling from opposite directions
>around a blind curve and are certain to collide.
>Such a person foresees but bears no responsibility for
>the collision.

An analogy I've used - and it is far from perfect - is that 
God is like someone video-taping the last few seconds of the 
famous Duke/Ky men's basketball regional final, which records 
for posterity the improbable winning shot. To the chagrin of 
KY fans, every subsequent showing will be the same [unless 
someone fiddles the tape - but that will not change the 
outcome of the game].

I ask students to imagine a video camera that is not 
constrained by time. From God's POV, the winning shot 
is/was/will be - but it is still the result of agency by the 

I know there are flaws in this analogy, but have yet to find 
one that works completely.  I suppose this one does not have 
the complication of foreknowledge and connection with evil 
[unless you are a KY fan].

Apologies if this is too light weight for this fascinating 
discussion that I have followed with interest - blame it on 
the heat!
Cynthia A. Gilliatt
English Department, JMU
JMU Safe Zones participant
"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you hate." Fr. John Weston

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