Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 82, 2008


John J. Fitzgerald
Pages 203-215

Timeless Troubles
The Challenge of Prophecy to the Eternity Solution to the Foreknowledge/Freedom Dilemma

One answer to the perennial question of how to reconcile divine foreknowledge with human freedom is the “Eternity Solution” (espoused by Thomas Aquinas): God is outside of time, and therefore it is incorrect to say he has foreknowledge. However, in the case of prophecy, God’s knowledge seems to be inserted into the temporal order and thereby transformed into foreknowledge. The eternalist might address this problem in a few ways, but the best answer appears to be that inevitable actions can be free in some sense. At the same time, this answer seems to either (a) ironically lead to the abandonment of the Eternity Solution in favor of other solutions to the foreknowledge/ freedom problem or (b) call for a coherent explanation of the idea that freedom is relatively limited in instances of prophecy and for a revision (or at least clarification) of Aquinas’s views on human freedom and divine non-passivity.