On Divine Omniscience and Human Freewill: An Analysis of Nelson Pike’s Argument of Incompatibilism

Abstract

Nelson Pike's article entitled, "Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action," proves that fatalism is unavoidable. Fatalism is the philosophical doctrine emphasizing the necessity of human acts rendering them unvoluntary. Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act necessary and hence unfree, that is, if there is a being who knows infallibly the entire future, then no human act is free (SEP 2008). This is the same thesis maintained by Pike and concluded that the Christian concept of divine omniscience, which includes the power to know everything and hold no false beliefs, removed all possibility of voluntary action.
If God has infallible knowledge about the future, then humans can never act in contrary to what God has already known and believed them to be doing. Therefore, according to Pike, based from the set of assumptions that he presented about God's omniscience, either we are not truly responsible for our moral actions since we have no power to do other than what God had already believed we will be doing in the future or God is not omniscient.
In this paper, I shall argue, considering the set of assumptions provided by Pike on divine omniscience, that Pike successfully proved the incompatibility of divine omniscience and human freewill. To show this, I shall analyze other attempts of reconciling divine foreknowledge and human freewill, excluding the ones that Pike had already analyzed in his paper, and prove that none of these attempts can successfully deny his argument of incompatibilism unless we try to redefine the concept of divine omniscience as Pike suggested.



Author Information
Rosallia Domingo, De La Salle University, Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2013
Stream: Ethics; Religion; Philosophy

This paper is part of the ACERP2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by amp21