The Omniscience of God and Man’s Freedom

The Presence of an Omniscient God and Man's Freedom

The argument advanced by Nelson Pike et al. on the presence of an omniscient God in relation to man's freedom maintains that man cannot be genuinely free when all of his activities are scrutinized by God. This argument essentially attempts to find parallels between God's knowledge and man's understanding. In this situation, man is assumed to rely on God for their knowledge or labor within God's intellectual bounds.

Restrictions on Freedom Based on God's Knowledge

Pike et al.'s reasoning appears to prove God as the inventor of all knowledge, with man merely a user of this information; thus, the restricted freedom. In this view, the knowledge is seen to explicitly relate to man's freedom and direct the actions of man. Indeed, knowledge and freedom have a mutually exclusive relationship where an increase of knowledge results in more freedom (Baker 94). As such, the argument brought forth here implies that man living in a world where God is the holder of all information is a direct subject of God. The existence of an all-knowing God also means that none of man's actions are unknown to God which is expected to result in some degree of responsibility or grant God some unrivaled control of man who is expected to be answerable to God.

The Autonomy of Man and Free Will

While an omniscient God would ideally inhibit the freedom of man, Pike et al. overlook the fact that man is also an autonomous being who functions through free will. The possession of free will allows man to act in accordance with his own volition; rationally consider the impact of God in their life and follow the route he deems most fit. Again, (Horosz and Clements 108) find the expectations God places on man to be arguably relative. The argument by Pike and others assumes there is absolute right or wrong where the omniscience of God would mean influencing the actions of man towards his desires. In the real sense, man operates on his own with utmost freedom notwithstanding the knowledge or power of God. Hence, the omniscience of God bears little or no effect on the freedom of man. Indeed, the consideration for his omniscience as a hindrance to the freedom of man would suffice if God imposed his will or forced man to act in particular ways for his pleasure.

The Freedom of Man in Relationship with God

Again, an argument by (Sandelands 51) holds that man is not a mere object under the complete control of a higher power. In its very nature, the relationship between man and God is free allowing either party to act an interact with the other as they see fit. In this sense, the freedom of man is taken in relation to having his own needs and the responsibility for his actions. While it is scientifically impossible for man to exist as a free being, his relationship with God asserts this freedom. God allows man to have his wants, and exponentially pursue such needs to his satisfaction. Notwithstanding the claims for the presence or knowledge of God, man achieves his needs and meets them exclusively through individual initiative. In equal measure, God is seen to demand responsibility from man for all his activities in the pursuit of the satisfaction of his needs.

The Separation of Mind and Body in Determining Man's Freedom

If man is taken to be made of mind and body and these two are further separated, the idea of a man who is not free would suffice. Here, the mind is taken to be responsible for the cognitive processes while the body is responsible for the actions; the body hence acts from the influence or direction of the mind (Sandelands 53). Through this separation, the ability of man to act freely and the influence of the omniscience of God would factor in by affecting the mental functioning of man. In the instance the omniscience of God does not directly affect the cognitive functioning of the mind, it becomes impossible to validate any claims that God limits man's ability to exist and function as a free being. Again, the ability by man to generate, accept, and reject new knowledge further disproves the relationship between man's freedom and the omniscience of God. The fact that man has in some instances rejected the presence and power of God sufficiently denotes the degree of freedom exercised by man in his relationship with the higher power.

The Invalidity of Parallelism Between God's Omniscience and Man's Freedom

While Pike et al. point out an important attribute of God's nature, their argument for his inhibition of man's freedom is derived from a faulty parallelism or assumption that the omniscience of God and the freedom of man are mutually exclusive. The fact that man holds freewill – which is not controlled by God or any Godly force implies that man acts exclusively out of his own volition. On the same note, any claims that one's actions were guided or influenced by the knowledge of God cannot be irrefutably substantiated from the determination of the exact degree of this external influence. Man remains an autonomous being whose freedom is not in any way whatsoever influenced by the existence of an omniscient God.

Works Cited

Baker, Kenneth. The Will of God: Finding and Fulfilling Your Purpose in Life. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012. Print.

Horosz, William and Tad S Clements. Religion and Human Purpose: A Cross Disciplinary Approach. Boston: Kluwer Academic, 2012. Print.

Sandelands, Lloyd E. An Anthropological Defense of God. London: Taylor and Francis, 2017. Print.

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