Divine Foreknowledge and Providence: Trade–offs between Human Freedom and Government of the Universe

Theologica 1:1-21 (2020)

Ciro De Florio
Università Cattolica di Milano
In this paper, we aim to examine the relationships between four solutions to the dilemma of divine foreknowledge and human freedom—theological determinism, Molinism, simple foreknowledge and open theism—and divine providence and theodicy. Some of these solutions—theological determinism and Molinism, in particular—highlight God’s government of the world. Some others—simple foreknowledge and open theism—highlight human autonomy and freedom. In general, the more libertarian human freedom is highlighted, the less God’s government of the history of the world seems possible. However, the task of theodicy becomes easier because humans are fully responsible for the evil they do. Conversely, the more God’s government is highlighted, the more human freedom seems to be restricted. Moreover, God seems to be directly or indirectly responsible for evil in the world. Because of the trade–off between control and freedom, each solution finds itself at ease with some problems, while on other fronts, it must adopt a defensive position. As we will see, no solution can solve all problems; thus, the pros and cons of each solution should be weighed carefully.
Keywords providence  foreknowledge  open theism  ockhamism
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