Norman Swartz provides a thorough article refuting necessitarianism found at: https://iep.utm.edu/foreknow/. He concludes that the arguments for Logical Determinism and Epistemic Determinism both rest on a modal fallacy. He also demonstrates why those who argue that it is impossible to know the future find their view refuted by two facts (see his concluding remarks).
1 Peter 1:1-2--Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ: To the temporary residents dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Why is it significant to address necessitarianism? The reason is that it ties directly to the issue of God’s foreknowledge versus man’s free will—a subject that fascinates and baffles theologians. Maimonides was a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who was a prolific and influential Torah scholar. It is helpful to read his as well as the views of other deep thinkers:
G-d’s knowledge is not external to Him, as is man’s. And just as man cannot comprehend G-d’s essence, he cannot comprehend G-d’s knowledge. Therefore although it is beyond our understanding how G-d can be aware of an indeterminate future, His awareness is as removed from our universe as G-d Himself and thus in no way impacts on the reality of free will. Thus. Our futures truly are our own to decide. G-d’s knowledge of our eventual decisions is so to speak not yet a part of this world—and has not assumed a form which impinges on the independence of this world. And so, as far as our universe is concerned, the future is still wide open.
For those struggling with a perceived incompatibility between free will and determinism, compatibilism is a view worth studying. (See the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/). Peter understood that God foreknew those who were to serve Him. Is it wiser then to ask why does it matter what I do or don’t do when God already knows? or to ask, how can I do what will please the One who made me?
Man freely makes choices, but those choices are determined by the condition of his heart and mind (i.e. his moral nature).
©2021 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)