Event Title

Fatalism and Anselm’s Argument for the Possibility of the Coexistence Between Divine Foreknowledge and Freedom of Choice

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Adam Glover

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 220

Start Date

22-4-2016 1:10 PM

End Date

22-4-2016 1:25 PM

Description

In The Harmony of the Foreknowledge, the Predestination, and the Grace of God with Free Choice, St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109 C.E.) does not attempt to prove the existence of free will, but that it is not impossible. The debate between free will and predestination stems from the human idea of God as omnipotent and omniscient. Anselm’s argument can be simplified to three premises. First, he claims that an event that is going to happen is going to happen. Second, he asserts that before an event occurs, it is possible that it never occurs. Third, he claims that an event is going to occur (simply because it is going to occur), and it is not compelled by any preceding necessity except for the preceding necessity of free will. I argue that Anselm’s first premise is valid, but his second premise fails to support his argument, because future events only exist as potentiality until they occur in actuality; therefore, we cannot prove the existence of an event that is not going to happen. After the second premise fails, the argument cannot sustain itself. Thus, Anselm fails to prove that future events coexist until one of them comes into existence by something other than God.

Course Assignment

God and the Middle Ages, PHIL 350, Dr. Adam Glover

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Apr 22nd, 1:10 PM Apr 22nd, 1:25 PM

Fatalism and Anselm’s Argument for the Possibility of the Coexistence Between Divine Foreknowledge and Freedom of Choice

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 220

In The Harmony of the Foreknowledge, the Predestination, and the Grace of God with Free Choice, St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109 C.E.) does not attempt to prove the existence of free will, but that it is not impossible. The debate between free will and predestination stems from the human idea of God as omnipotent and omniscient. Anselm’s argument can be simplified to three premises. First, he claims that an event that is going to happen is going to happen. Second, he asserts that before an event occurs, it is possible that it never occurs. Third, he claims that an event is going to occur (simply because it is going to occur), and it is not compelled by any preceding necessity except for the preceding necessity of free will. I argue that Anselm’s first premise is valid, but his second premise fails to support his argument, because future events only exist as potentiality until they occur in actuality; therefore, we cannot prove the existence of an event that is not going to happen. After the second premise fails, the argument cannot sustain itself. Thus, Anselm fails to prove that future events coexist until one of them comes into existence by something other than God.