Augustine Divine Foreknowledge Analysis

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The consistency that exists between the divine foreknowledge possessed by God and an individual’s ability to freely choose what they desire is an issue discussed by Augustine in his work Free choice of will bk. 3. Inherently, the ideals of divine foreknowledge and free choice of will are contradictory to one another as is it is impossible for an individual to possess free choice of will if the outcome that awaits the individual is known to God. Divine foreknowledge, which allows God the capacity to foresee the outcomes of an individual's choices prior to their actions, makes it impossible for an individual to act otherwise as God would also possess foreknowledge of their intent to do so. Therefore, an individual cannot be free. Another subject …show more content…
Evodius believes that the certainty of God’s foreknowledge makes it impossible for an individual to act otherwise, which conflicts with an individual’s ability to choose what they desire freely. Augustine explains that this is incorrect as “God himself has enabled [ individuals] reason to think” (38b), allowing individuals the ability to decide for themselves. “God’s foreknowledge, which is certain…, does not take away [from an individual’s] will” (57a), but instead makes it “all the more certain” (57b). This statement contradicts itself as it illustrates that no matter the choices made by the individual the final outcomes will be similar to the outcomes foreknown by God due to his possession of divine foreknowledge. Thus, for this reason, free choice of will and God’s divine foreknowledge are inconsistent as the divine knowledge possessed by God is what ultimately what determines the future of the individual as it is the tool that assures the occurrence of an individual’s …show more content…
This raises the question of evil and whether it originates from God because as individuals sin by free choice of will, this would mean that God is the origin of sin. As illustrated in the previous paragraph, free choice of will is often overshadowed by God’s divine foreknowledge, which allows God the ability to ultimately determine the outcomes of an individual’s choices. Thus, God would be aware of an individual’s intent to sin but does nothing to prevent the individual for committing the act; ultimately allowing the occurrence of evil to propagate. Augustine clarifies to Evodius that freewill itself is not evil as it simply allows individuals to strive towards the attainments of goods which God allows. For this reason, it is not God and his divine foreknowledge that causes the occurrence of sin but instead the act of “turning away from…God” (53a). Augustine explains that this occurs when individuals choose to value changeable material goods over God, who is an unchangeable good. The act of turning away from God is a voluntary action, according to Augustine, which does not originate from God. For this reason, the act of turning away from God is a “defective movement” (53b) and “every defect [originates] from nothing” (53b). Thus, Augustine argues that sin itself occurs from nothing as the act of turning away from God is a defective

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