Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Greg Koukl was taken to task by a caller on his Christian apologetics radio broadcast (Stand to Reason— for a statement he often used at the end of his discussions on spiritual and moral things: “At least that’s the way I see it.”  Greg was asked if he truly believed that he could be wrong in his views, and about Christianity in general.  His answer was “yes,” and his reasoning was as follows:

There are two categories of truth: necessary truths, contingent truths.  Necessary truths are truths that cannot be otherwise.  For example I cannot be mistaken about my own existence.  Renee Descartes made this clear when he pointed out that we cannot doubt our own existence.  It requires the existence of a mind to doubt, so the presence of doubt proves that there is a personal mind doubting, and thus we must exist.  This led to his famous dictum: Cogito Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am).  Neither can we be mistaken that about the fact that there are no square circles because this is an inherently contradictory concept.  We know these things necessarily.


Many have wondered how, if God knows everything we will do in the future, can we be said to have free will?  After all, if we freely chose to do something other than what God foreknew, God would be wrong in what He foreknew; but since God cannot be mistaken we must do all that He foreknew we would do.  Doesn’t this reduce us to mere actors, playing out the parts written for us by God?  Are we puppets who have no control over our own actions?  Darwinist, Robert Eberle, encapsulates this supposedly intractable problem of free agency in light of an omniscient God nicely:

Aside from his simple declarations without any foundation that he believes certain biblical stories and miracles are true, he runs into major problems. One is the claim that God knows what was, is and will be. Collins asserts that there is still free will, but fails to explain his logic for arriving at this extraordinary conclusion. Either what will be is known and fixed or it is not. An infallible god that knows what is going to happen is in conflict with the idea that there is free choice and thus a responsibility for one’s actions.[1]

While it is true that the future is fixed because God perfectly knows all that will happen and cannot be mistaken, this does not mean He fixes the future.  It does not follow that God’s foreknowledge of our future acts causes us to choose those acts anymore than my knowledge of your past actions would make me the cause of your acts.  As William Lane (more…)