[Milton-L] Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Thu Aug 3 11:03:58 EDT 2006

One resolution of the problem of omniscience vs. free will described
from the Church fathers compares the relationship between God and time
to something like a line drawn on a chalkboard: the line represents
time, and God is the chalkboard.  God does not "forsee" the future,
but experiences every moment in time as a single present moment, a
great Now.  We do not say that someone who observes something
happening now is responsible for what they observe.

We can meaningfully speak of foreknowledge in relationship to God's
creating the universe, however--yes, God knew of the fall "before" the
act of creation, yet still created.  And Jeffrey was right, there has
to be a pretty good reason for it.  But I hope we see this is a value
judgment, and as such, the pretty good reason doesn't have to be
apparent to anyone but God.  If we don't think this good reason is
adequate, then that simply means we have values that differ from
God's.  My inclination is to think that this isn't God's problem.

I agree we're not theologians and shouldn't pretend to be, but Milton
was consciously writing within a very old theological tradition of
which he had read a great deal, and I don't think we can understand
him properly except within that tradition.

Jim R

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