Time’s Puzzle

Thomas Aquinas believed that God is outside of time, as it were looking down on the whole of time all at once. This view seems to be incompatible with a traditional view of God acting as an agent in history, as when He meets with Moses at a certain time delivering the Ten Commandments, or parting the Red Sea. One of the great philosophical problems of theism is the question of how to reconcile divine foreknowledge with human free will. How can the act of an agent at any given time be genuinely free if God has known from prior to the agent’s birth that the act would be performed? Allegedly, even Zeus knew in advance that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. The issue here is not what is most important –yesterday, today or tomorrow, but rather whether human actions are predetermined, or are genuinely free.

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