Thinking About Religion
Volume 5 (2005)

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Appraising the Risks of Simple Foreknowledge

P. Eddy Wilson
Shaw University
wilson-paul@lycos.com

To the popular mind gambling connotes frivolity, carelessness, thoughtlessness, and irresponsibility. So, a good person may take risks, but a good person would not be a gambler. Philosophers like Thomas Flint and David Basinger suggest that if God’s cognitive experience did not include middle knowledge, then God would be a risk taker of unprecedented magnitude. Linda Zagzebski writes, “Middle knowledge is said to be knowledge of what any possible free creature would freely choose in any possible circumstance.”[1] In short, Flint and Basinger maintain that God without middle knowledge would become a “Cosmic Gambler”.[2] Thomas Flint says,

if God knows only probabilities, then he takes enormous risks in creating significantly free beings: he risks creating a world in which many or most, or even all of his free creatures consistently reject him, a world in which they use their freedom to degrade others and themselves. It seems to me that one can reasonably argue that a good and loving God would not take such a risk.[3]

This essay explores the nature of the risks involved when God’s cognitive experience does not include middle knowledge. In it I invite readers to appraise what is the weightier of several risks that God might confront. If it can be shown, as I shall try to do, that the “Cosmic Gambler” is a straw man, then we may be able to appraise more fairly how risk relates to God’s cognitive experience. What I shall argue in this paper is that God without middle knowledge does not take unreasonable risks. I offer two examples to enable us to think more concretely about the relationship between God’s knowledge and risk: one is international, and the other is domestic. Ask yourself what type of cognitive experience would best enable God to intervene in these examples to attain a desirable outcome?

First, consider an international controversy. Today Israel expresses its concern that Iraq may be moving toward nuclear armament.[4] Logically speaking Iraq will or will not develop weapons grade plutonium in the next few months. I suppose that any international conflict of arms would be at odds with God’s purposes for humanity. So, would the risk of political instability in the Middle East be reduced or eliminated if an essentially omniscient knower (EOK) has middle knowledge of Iraq’s nuclear capability?

Next, consider the domestic trouble of a woman writing to “Annie’s Mailbox.” After three years of marriage the unemployed husband, Lennie, has decided to return to school in a nearby city. When the woman makes a pass at a friend, she questions her commitment to marriage. She asks Annie if she should end the marriage. Annie advises her to decide whether she wants the marriage to work and to consider moving.[5] Suppose that the woman is “Willie”, she resides in Tacoma, and Lennie is attending school in Seattle. So, Willie will move to Seattle or she will not. Would there be less risk that the marriage would fail if God had middle knowledge of Willie’s decision to move.[6]

I. Describing Divine Cognitive Experience

To say that God has or lacks middle knowledge is to offer a description of God’s cognitive experience.[7] In Flint’s view unacceptable risk taking was associated with an absence of middle knowledge. This treats middle knowledge as a less risky type of divine cognitive experience. Before we can make that judgment we need to have a better understanding of the possible forms God’s cognitive experience may take, and we need to understand the type of risks that may be involved in this assessment. I offer the following chart to assist us in formulating a description of divine cognitive experience.[8]

God Eternal
(God Outside Time)
God Everlasting
(God Within Time)
Absolute Prescience (AP) Simple Foreknowledge (SFK)
Middle Knowledge (MK) Present Knowledge (PK) [9]

The view that God knows all future events is termed absolute prescience (AP) or Augustinianism. With AP God can foresee a single future perfectly, since God controls absolutely those events that unfold in time. William Hasker says, “[Augustinianism] holds, quite simply and straightforwardly, that God determines everything that happens. There are no constraints whatever, independent of the divine will, to which that will must adjust its plans.”[10] With AP God knows God’s will for all time, and there may be no will other than God’s will that would create a conflict of interest. For practical purposes AP reduces God’s knowledge to natural knowledge. Regarding middle knowledge Zagzebski says, “Molina called it ‘middle’ knowledge because it stands midway between God’s natural knowledge, or his knowledge of what is necessary and possible, and God’s free knowledge, or his knowledge of what is actual.”[11] In this essay I focus upon middle knowledge and not AP.

The view that God knows the counterfactuals of free acts is the view that God has middle knowledge (MK). To know a counterfactual of a free act is to know what an actor would do were he or she presented with different alternatives than those facing the actor. I suppose that St. Augustine did not find the ring of Gyges, a ring that would make its wearer invisible, but what would happen if he had? An answer would require middle knowledge. Though middle knowledge could be used to identify the acts you or I might now do if world events were different, God makes use of middle knowledge prior to God’s creative work. Flint says: “Prior to any act of will on his part, God knows which worlds are possible. Subsequent to his act of will, he knows which world is actual.”[12] The counterfactuals of MK are relative to the world God selects to actualize.

An analogy may be drawn between middle knowledge and game play. Players in a live chess tournament can only anticipate their opponent’s next moves. If the opponent is executing an identifiable series of moves, then the player may anticipate the outcome of that play, though other plays may remain indefinite. As an alternative players can engage in a simulated game. In the simulation the players would make previously identified moves such as chess masters made in well documented games. The moves are predictable and from them one can infer what moves were not executed, the counterfactual moves of that game. The choice of one game for simulation determines what unactualized opportunities would classify as counterfactuals.[13] William Hasker says,

In the light of his middle knowledge, God surveys the creative options available to him, and selects the one that is most pleasing and most in harmony with his ultimate purpose for his creation. Middle knowledge is intimately involved in the process by which the world comes to be as it is; it is causally relevant to the highest degree.[14]

Simple foreknowledge (SFK) is foreknowledge without middle knowledge. With SFK God may know the end of a series of events. Simple foreknowledge makes no reference to the counterfactuals that would be known before creation if God had middle knowledge. SFK reveals not only the outcome of a series of events but also the causal antecedents that lead to that singular effect. As I shall suggest below SFK eliminates the sense of calculated anticipation that accompanies present knowledge.

Finally, present knowledge (PK) is knowledge of events as they occur in time. For God PK would be cumulative and comprehensive, but the future would remain open, that is, contingent. Both Basinger and Flint associate risk taking with an absence of middle knowledge. Without MK what is at risk is the outcome of events, since the future is taken to be contingent. Hasker says, “the theory of divine risk-taking, in its consistent form, holds that since the contingent future is as such ontologically indeterminate it is not capable of being known with exactness even by a perfect Knower. (A perfect Knower knows all and only what exists to be known.)”[15]

Implicit in the argument for MK is a value judgment. It is suggested that some forms of divine cognitive experience are too risky for God given the nature and reputation of God. This discussion does not explore the notion that some of the four types of cognitive experience would not be open to God.[16] Rather it focuses upon the notion that God’s cognitive experience should include or exclude certain forms of knowledge.

II. Risks to God and Theists – The False Dichotomy

Defenders of MK argue that limiting God’s cognitive experience to SFK or PK is too risky. When Basinger contemplates what God would know without MK, he maintains that the uncertainty of future outcomes introduces an unacceptable level of risk for God and God’s creation. He says, “Assuming that [God] desired to create a universe containing significantly free individuals, he did not know ‘before’ creation exactly what would happen. . . . In short, for a God with PK, the creative act was a significant gamble.”[17] Where is the risk?

Basinger says, “let us grant for the sake of argument that a God with PK does have the power to ‘veto’ the actualization of any free choice. It does not follow that no human actions (as distinguished from a human choice) will ever occur which God does not desire to occur.”[18] Some thinkers believe that if God were to intervene after a decision was made but before it could be executed the outcome of the event could be controlled by God. Basinger thinks that even in a world where God retains a veto power to override human action God’s ends may still fail. Basinger says, “God chose to create us with incompatibilistic (libertarian) freedom – freedom over which he cannot exercise total control.”[19] I would agree with Basinger and others that the problem cannot be resolved by intervening in an alleged temporal gap between the decision of an actor and the execution of the decision.[20] That is a red herring, since this aims to override the attempt to execute the decision but not the free decision.[21] The risk Basinger foresees is that human actions will produce effects God does not desire. This risk of undesirable outcomes I shall term a first order risk.

I state at the outset some assumptions I shall make regarding risk taking as it relates to God. The liability of God for evil can be correlated with an increase or decrease of freedom in the world. Free agents may experience their freedom naturally or they may receive it through a delegation process. If freedom is something that God can delegate, then the more freedom that is delegated the less liability God would bear for the first order exercise of freedom.[22] Some traditions like Augustinanism maintain that God alone is free; hence God bears all liability for evil in the world. I assume that if there were an increase of freedom in the world, God would become less liable for evil in the world.[23]

Basinger’s description of risk lends support to a false dichotomy: either God’s cognitive experience includes MK or God allows the first order risk of human freedom to go unchecked. Implicit in the dichotomy is the assumption that if the risk of human freedom goes unchecked, it will result in some untoward events that God cannot veto. The first premise of the dichotomy forms a logical disjunction, and it is treated as a strong disjunction. The dichotomy entails the problem of evil. Either God is impotent to do otherwise or God is not good, if God cannot eliminate first order risk. However, the disjunction that introduces the dichotomy is neither well formed nor sound. As a strong disjunction it is not well formed, since first order risk could be checked by forms of divine cognitive experience other than MK such as AP. It is unsound, since the risk associated with God’s cognitive experience cannot be reduced to first order risk. Reducing the risk associated with God’s cognitive experience to first order risk ignores the possibility that God’s cognitive experience could include second order risks.

Below I shall discuss in greater detail how SFK entails second order risks. Here I want to suggest that the disjunction fails to account for the possibility that MK entails second order risks for God and humanity. First order risk was identified as the risk of having untoward consequences when free actors make choices contrary to the will of God. Basinger, Flint and others suppose that if God had MK humans would still exercise their freedom to make choices, but the outcome of these free choices would be no surprise to God. Why? God would have made use of MK to determine what world to actualize.

MK would allow God knowledge of all the counterfactuals that were not risked in the world that was chosen for actualization. The risk of allowing free agents to produce undesirable effects would not be eliminated, since the choice to actualize one world or another entails an identifiable degree of risk. With MK the risk would become a necessary but well-calculated risk. MK informs God about the (counterfactual) risks associated with individual worlds God may actualize, but God retains the discretionary power to choose one world to actualize rather than another. This discretionary power to act upon the basis of MK introduces a second order risk. By choosing to actualize this free world God determines that no other set of actual and counterfactual choices would pose a greater threat to God’s reputation. With MK God can actualize a world where the evil of first order risks are minimized, but has God chosen to minimize the evil of first order risks? An answer requires a value judgment, and it places God’s reputation at risk. How? God’s reputation is placed at risk, since the claim that God has minimized the evil of first order risks is a value judgment that not all qualified judges would be willing to assert.

III. Risks of Present Knowledge and Simple Foreknowledge

God with PK encounters an unacceptable degree of risk in Basinger’s view. He says, “to the extent to which human choice will play a part in any future sequence of events, God does not know exactly how things will turn out.”[24] Absolute prescience (AP) can be used to eliminate first order risk entirely, while middle knowledge can be used to reduce first order risk to an identifiable and calculated risk. The first order risk management made possible by AP and MK takes place before creation and they jeopardize genuine freedom. Now we must examine the risks of PK and SFK more precisely.

Are SFK and PK useless for God’s management of first order risk? To answer that question we need a better understanding of SFK. Elsewhere I distinguish two types of SFK: fine-grained simple foreknowledge (FG-SFK) and broadly comprehensive simple foreknowledge (BC-SFK). The first is foreknowledge of specific events, and it may entail knowledge of the causal antecedents. The second is a comprehensive and undifferentiated knowledge of the future.[25] One who knows in August, 2005, the winner of the 2005 World Series has FG-SFK, but one who has BC-SFK knows all the baseball statistics of the American and National Leagues for the entire 2005 Baseball season.

If SFK is broadly comprehensive, then it seems unlikely that God has any discretion over God’s exercise of SFK. In other words, BC-SFK does not lend itself to manipulation. If SFK is fine grained, then it is possible that God could make discretionary use of foreknowledge or forego using it. David P. Hunt suggests that God may employ a two tiered system for managing SFK. Using an analogy of computer information Hunt suggests God can access SFK that would otherwise remain unaccessed. Hunt says,

Adopting a computer model, we might say that knowledge can exist in either an accessed or (as in the examples just cited) an unaccessed form. But the Doxastic Principle almost certainly requires accessed knowledge if it is to be at all plausible; thus the Strong Thesis can evade this problem if unaccessed beliefs may be counted in determining the extent of an agent’s foreknowledge.[26]

Hunt’s example of the two tiers of computer information gives us the notion of discretionary foreknowledge. I shall assume that FG-SFK is normally in an unaccessed state and that unaccessed SFK does not intrude into God’s occurrent beliefs.[27] Some mechanism would allow SFK to be accessed on cue. An analog may be found in the difference between my memories and my occurrent beliefs. I may hold as an occurrent belief some memory, if I choose to recall it. By exercising my memory I may recall the non-occurrent belief. For me the recollection of memories may happen intentionally or non-intentionally.

Does discretionary power over SFK improve God’s ability to deal with first order risk? No and Yes. Hunt surmises that our account of foreknowledge must take into consideration a metaphysical principle: “(MP) It is impossible that a decision depend on a belief which depends on a future event which depends on the original decision.”[28] Unless we can make sense of the notion of backward causation, a subject who has or acquires foreknowledge of an event cannot change the outcome foreseen. For example, I mowed on Wednesday believing that I would be traveling out of town on Friday. I did not travel out of town on Friday. If I had foreknowledge on Wednesday that I would not be traveling on Friday, I would not have mowed on Wednesday. The decision to mow or not to mow on Wednesday was not caused by the decision on Friday to change Friday’s travel plans.

Hasker argues that SFK is not useful for the purpose of changing outcomes or the causal antecedents of those outcomes.[29] The ability to alter the outcome of a series of events would elude God or humans who possess SFK of the outcome. This generates the dilemma of incapacitation – either God has foreknowledge of an outcome or God can influence an event in a way that changes the outcome.[30] Speaking of SFK of a hypothetical marriage (M) Hasker says,

God’s knowledge of M involves the entirety of causally relevant past history of the universe leading up to M . . . . It follows from this that God cannot use his knowledge of M as a basis for any prior action occurring within the relevant past sector of space-time; the entire history of the sector is presupposed in God’s knowledge.[31]

If SFK is useless for the purpose of changing events, and if God may access it at will, then God may also refrain from accessing SFK. The likelihood that God could positively influence the outcomes of events would be increased if God were to refrain from accessing God’s SFK. So, the repression of SFK would enable God to act more effectively in achieving ends that would be desirable to God or free agents. Whether an EOK could turn a blind eye toward SFK would be contingent on the notion that FG-SFK can remain unaccessed. In contrast, when SFK is accessed it necessitates the outcome, and undesirable outcomes cannot be remedied. They are beyond redemption, since the outcomes are known as actual and not as possible outcomes.

Basinger notes that without SFK God has only PK and the ability to anticipate how things would turn out given the actions and circumstances involved.[32] This sense of anticipation is not to be confused with MK. The calculated probabilities gained with PK may be adequate to direct affairs toward desirable ends in most cases, but they offer no assurance that undesirable counterfactuals are eliminated. Without MK what cannot be chosen before creation is a select series of events that would identify those counterfactuals that shall never come to be actualized. With PK only the sense of divine anticipation can greatly minimize risk, though it cannot eliminate it.

In Hunt’s view God has discretionary access to SFK. I maintain that this constitutes a second order power, since God has the power to repress SFK or to raise SFK to the level of an occurent belief. So, God is liable for this second order power of having discretionary access to SFK.[33] God makes use of SFK only after God has already chosen what world shall be actualized. The discretionary use of SFK is a second order power, and its use entails the necessity of some first order risks as does the use of MK. In other words, invoking SFK can effectively eliminate the uncertainty associated with first order risk taking, since one who has SFK knows the precise risk that is involved. God’s use of SFK entails that God cannot alter the future risk. The risk is no longer unknown, but the risk is known as an actual risk. God becomes powerless to do anything other than bring about the end foreseen.

One of the difficulties confronting God is the decision to use or forego SFK. If Hasker is correct, then SFK is useless for the purpose of changing the outcome of an event. If Hunt is correct about God’s discretionary power, then SFK may be useful in those instances when God would bring closure to a matter. So, the second order decision to use or forego SFK creates an identifiable risk. If we suppose that SFK is fine grained, then the decision to use or repress SFK is one that must be made repeatedly. In other words, it is a decision that God must make for each instance that God would influence.

As we conduct our risk assessment we may compare the second order decision to use SFK with the use of MK. Descriptions of MK suppose that humans still act as free agents making first order decisions. God can still influence those first order decisions. Yet, the option that MK presents to God is to actualize or to refuse to actualize one world along with its counterfactuals. So, I would regard the exercise of MK as a second order decision. Once MK is exercised the outcome is as certain as the outcome of SFK, but the effect is systemic rather than local. When God makes use of MK the range of first order events is defined relative to the counterfactuals neither God nor humans may actualize. So, the loss of freedom becomes massive with the exercise of MK.

If God has PK only, the future remains open to God, and the possibility arises that some undesirable outcomes will occur. Those first order risks are eliminated or reduced to a necessarily calculated risk by the exercise of SFK or MK. However, the use of either SFK or MK involves second order risk. With the use of SFK God becomes fully responsible for the outcome of first order events. We may speak of free choices of persons only in a qualified sense. With the use of MK God becomes fully responsible for the choice to actualize one world and thereby insure that the counterfactuals to that world remain unactualized. By using PK only God mitigates responsibility by allowing free agents to make choices and to share responsibility for their free choices. God without MK may be a risk taker, but God without MK is no gambler. Though God with PK only may take grave risks, those remain first order risks. God with SFK or MK must take second order decisions that involve considerable risk, and God must assume full responsibility for those risks.

Conclusion

Our investigation exposed a false dichotomy – either God lacks middle knowledge and becomes a cosmic gambler or God uses middle knowledge to identify risk and eliminate it from the outset. I suggested that the risks associated with PK had to be understood as first order risks, and I suggested some guidelines for evaluating that risk. I also suggested that God’s decision to use SFK posed a second order risk, but it was a risk on a manageable scale. The magnitude of the second order risk associated with MK dwarfed any second order risk associated with the use of SFK, since MK is used to make a systemic choice that impacts all subsequent first order choices of God and humans.

Consider how God’s cognitive experience could impact the two cases I described in beginning. If God uses MK or SFK to eliminate the first order risk of uncertainty, there is no guarantee that God shall achieve the end God desires without a significant loss of human freedom. In other works, MK or SFK may only confirm that an international conflict shall or shall not occur in the Middle East depending on what God disallows. In the second example if God uses MK or SFK to salvage the marriage of Willie and Lennie, then God must assume full responsibility for the future of their marriage. Taking full responsibility for their marriage does not insure that it will succeed, since the very attempt to salvage their marriage may result in its dissolution. Since God with SFK may foresee its ruin, that insight would be useless for the purpose of salvaging the marriage. When God’s reputation is at stake, it seems the odds favor a God who makes use of PK only rather than SFK or MK.

Notes

[1] Linda Zagzebski, The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 125.

[2] See David Basinger, “Middle Knowledge and Classical Christian Thought,” Religious Studies 22 (Sept., 1986): 409-422.

[3] Thomas P. Flint, Divine Providence: The Molinist Account (Ithica, New York: Cornell University Press, 1998), p. 107.

[4] See “Iran’s Nuclear Advances Worry Israel”, News & Record, Greensboro, North Carolina, September 28, 2004, page A4.

[5] “With husband away, wife is tempted to play”, Annie’s Mailbox, News & Record, September 29, 2004.

[6] The case may become clearer if we state some of the variables in logical form:

  1. Lennie will remain in residence in Seattle. (Assumption)
  2. Either Willie decides to move to Seattle, or Willie decides to remain in Tacoma.
  3. If Willie decides to move to Seattle, then she will have to seek new employment.
  4. If Willie seeks new employment, then she will have to give up her tenure and benefits at her old job.
  5. If Willie remains in Tacoma, then she will meet Sam.
  6. Sam’s marriage failed, and he is searching for a new companion. (Assumption)
  7. If Willie finds Sam compatible, then Willie will end her marriage to Lenny.

What conclusion can we derive from these disjunctions and conclusions? If there is no assumption to logically close the first disjunction, we may arrive at no conclusion. Given what I now know, I have no warrant for the conclusion that Willie and Lenny lived happily ever after. If this were the conclusion to be drawn, then the premises might well be understood as a series of enthymemes, and we would ask the reasoner to supply the suppressed premises. For all practical purposes middle knowledge supplies the suppressed premises so that the foreseeable conclusion attains.

[7] For the purpose of this essay I shall focus on four forms of divine cognitive experience only. I suppose that God’s cognitive experience could assume other forms, but I shall not explore that here.

[8] For the moment I shall assume that the chart I introduce describes how our understanding of human freedom is to be related to descriptions of God’s cognitive experience. No doubt, there are exceptions to these generalizations.

[9] Additional details may be added to the chart to assist readers who wish to correlate divine and human cognitive experience.

God Eternal
(God Outside Time)
God Everlasting
(God Within Time)
Absolute Prescience (AP) Simple Foreknowledge (SFK)
Middle Knowledge (MK) Present Knowledge (PK)
Consistent with Compatibilism  Consistent with Libertarian Freedom
Entails Second Order Decisions Entails First Order Decisions

[10] William Hasker, “The Antinomies of Divine Providence”, Philosophia Christi 4 (2, 2002): 363.

[11] Zagzebski, Dilemma, p. 125.

[12] Flint, Divine Providence, p. 153. I would compare middle knowledge to the software some fiction writers now use that enables them to forecast how their protagonist would behave if he or she were placed in different circumstances. Both the fiction writer’s protagonist and the actor in a world where God has middle knowledge do not experience libertarian freedom. Their freedom is a freedom of constraint rather than a radical freedom to choose otherwise.

[13] Even if creatures act out free choices the prior choice of what world they shall act within is determined by God’s exercise of middle knowledge. Middle knowledge is systemic knowledge that provides complete a set of counterfactuals given the assumptions that certain facts shall obtain middle knowledge is not the cause of what follows. Instead middle knowledge is used to discern how world events will unfold in one world rather than another. The actual world is one more scenario that happens to be God’s preferred scenario of world history. In selecting what one world will be actualized God determines what sets of counterfactuals will be relevant and what sets will not. In this essay I shall not address the problem of how we are to regard the truth value of counterfactuals.

[14] Hasker, Antinomies, p. 368.

[15] Hasker, Antinomies, p. 364.

[16] Here we are discussing what form(s) of cognitive experience should be included in a description of God’s cognitive experience. To determine what forms can be included in God’s cognitive experience requires a thoroughgoing examination of variables like the permanency of the past and backward causation. Linda Zagzebski adopts this line of inquiry in her essay “Omniscience and the Arrow of Time”, Faith and Philosophy 19 (4, 2002): 503-519.

[17] Basinger, "Middle Knowledge," p. 413.

[18] Basinger, "Middle Knowledge," p. 412.

[19] David Basinger, “Practical Implications,” in The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God, edited by Clark Pinnock, et. al. (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1994), p. 156.

[20] Basinger, "Middle Knowledge," p. 412

[21] Ibid. See also Edward R. Wierenga, The Nature of God (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. 82-85.

[22] The notion that God delegates some freedom to free agents roughly approximates the position free will theists and open theists want to defend. Process theists would be comfortable defending a notion that freedom necessarily belongs to life forms other than God like free will agents.

[23] Those willing to argue for a free will defense must take the academic risk of having abandoned classical or Augustinian tradition. This academic risk is not a risk to God, but it is a risk associated with the discussion that must be considered by those who take up the gauntlet. Can they risk abandoning tradition, since this will mean endorsing “non-traditional theism”? That must be decided by each thinker.

[24] Basinger, "Middle Knowledge," p. 413.

[25] See my essay in progress “Simple Foreknowledge and the Dilemma of Incapacitation.” If we assume that time is a compilation of discrete events, then the broadly comprehensive form of SFK includes knowledge of all future times and all events associated with each of those discrete moments of time.

[26] David P. Hunt, “Divine Providence and Simple Foreknowledge,” Faith and Philosophy 10 (3, 1993): 409.

[27] The problem of SFK is complicated if we use the analogy of memories. Long term memories are formed from immediate experience. Recall is an active, cognitive exercise that brings within the realm of occurrent beliefs those memories stored in long term memory. This analogy becomes troublesome when it is observed that these memories were at one time immediate experiences. So, the problem confronting a defender of Hunt’s two tiered system of SFK is that of establishing the primitive state of SFK that is unaccessed.

[28] Hunt, "Divine Providence," p. 398.

[29] William Hasker, God, Time, and Knowledge (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989), p. 60. Here Hasker assumes that only one set of causal antecedents may issue in the effect. Only if the same effect could be produced by a different set of causal antecedents would God be able to influence the quality of the event.

[30] I discuss this problem at greater length in my essay, “Simple Foreknowledge and the Dilemma of Incapacitation.” I assume an essentially omniscient knower can have AP, MK, SFK, or PK. In my essay I introduce the following dilemma:

P 1. If an essentially omniscient knower (EOK) lacks foreknowledge of the outcome of an event, then the EOK can intentionally contribute to the outcome of that event.
P2. If an EOK has foreknowledge of an event, then the EOK is powerless to intentionally contribute to the outcome of the event.
P3. An EOK has foreknowledge of an event or lacks foreknowledge of an event. (Assump.)
P 4. So, an EOK cannot contribute to the outcome, or an EOK can intentionally contribute to the outcome of an event.

[31] William Hasker, God, Time, and Knowledge, p. 61f.

[32] Basinger, "Middle Knowledge," p. 413

[33] See note 27 above.


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