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The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge & Human Freedom Paperback – January 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub; Reprint edition (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579103162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579103163
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am the Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. With my wife Jan, we have two grown children.

At the age of sixteen as a junior in high school, I first heard the message of the Christian gospel and yielded my life to Christ. I pursued undergraduate studies at Wheaton College (B.A. 1971) and graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A. 1974; M.A. 1975), the University of Birmingham (England) (Ph.D. 1977), and the University of Munich (Germany) (D.Theol. 1984). From 1980-86 I taught Philosophy of Religion at Trinity, during which time we started our family. In 1987 we moved to Brussels, Belgium, where I pursued research at the University of Louvain until assuming my position at Talbot in 1994.

I have authored or edited over thirty books, including The Kalam Cosmological Argument; Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus; Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom; Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology; and God, Time and Eternity, as well as over a hundred articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including Philosophia Christi, The Journal of Philosophy, New Testament Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science.

My CV can be read here: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=curriculum_vitae

Publication list: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=publications_main

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend it, but only for those interested in seriously contemplating it.
John D. Lentz Jr.
"Divine Foreknowledge Four Views" is also a good read and some of Craig's detailed philosophical work regarding time is excellent as well.
Reader From Aurora
Therefore, God knows what any individual will freely choose in any set of circumstances.
Seth Aaron Lowry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Seth Aaron Lowry on December 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
William Lane Craig is one of Christianity's brightest philosopher and apologist. In The Only Wise God, Craig tackles the confounding and apprarent contradiction between freedom and God's foreknowledge. So, if God always knew that I was going to read The Only Wise God, then I could not do otherwise since God's foreknowledge necessitated my action. Yet, Craig argues that this isn't the case. Just because God knows I will do something, doesn't make that action inevitable. Craig argues that I could have exercised my ability to refrain from reading his book, and that if I had done such a thing God would have known this. Moreover, Craig deals with the three primary objections to the idea of God's foreknowledge and shows how all three of them are inadequate or deficient. For the serious student who wants to uphold the truths taught in the Bible, one must believe in God's infallible foreknowledge of the future.
In addition, Craig also refutes logical and theological fatalism. Craig demonstrates that logical and theological fatalism have many aspects in common and the only factor that differentiates the two is that theological fatalists have thrown God into the equation. Some previous reviewers have chided Mr. Craig for interacting with D.A Carson's book, Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility because they feel Craig's arguments are inadequate. First, the book is very short in length, only 151 pages, and second the purpose is not to conduct a point by point refutation of Carson's work. The point is simply to show that in the Bible God's causation of good actions and evil actions are described differently, and that God is not directly the cause of sin.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By T. B. Vick on August 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book pertaining to the philosophy called Molinism (the view of Divine foreknowledge and human freedom via Luis de Molina). While I disagree with this view for philosophical and theological reasons (I believe it is more detrimental than good), I nonetheless, enjoy studying the issues, and this is one of the best books still available written by an evangelical. Craig covers God's knowledge of the past, present, and future, the issue of fatalism, Innate knowledge and the increasing popular view "scientia media" (middle knowledge). While I firmly believe that this is a good book to read for the current issues, I disagree with the overall philosophy of Molinism since it has too many problems within its system (i.e. it breaks down the simplicity of God, it makes God an epistemological spectator, it is ultimately determinism of circumstances, it denies efficacious grace, and it lacks biblical support). Therefore, I would recommend this book since Craig does such a good job at defining Molinism and describing the philosophy. However, it should be read in light of other works (i.e. Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange's work titled "The One God," "Still Sovereign" by Thomas Schreiner and Bruce Ware - available here at Amazon at a good price, and others). Overall, this is an excellent book to research and I have an enormous amount of respect for Craig.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reader From Aurora on November 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
W.L. Craig's "The Only Wise God" examines the question of whether divine foreknowledge and human freedom are compatible. Craig is one of the leading contemporary philosophers of religion - this small book is one of his early popular works.

To get a sense of the question one could take an argument such as the following:

1. God knew that you were going to read this review today
2. God's foreknowledge is infallible
Hence
3. You will read this review today

An implication of this argument, if true, is that divine omniscience and freedom may not be compatible. This conclusion is not particularly appealing from either theological or commonsense perspectives. From a theological vantage point it seems unlikely that the sense of individual responsibility inherent in most religious traditions could exist independent of individual freedom. Whereas from a commonsense perspective freedom appears to be an all too obvious brute fact - you could have chosen not to read this review.

Some theistic commentators have attempted to get out of this box by advocating a type of open-theism wherein does not know all future facts. From the Christian perspective, however, the majority position is that God does possess infallible foreknowledge - hence the original dilemma remains. Further complicating this is the related question as to the nature of time itself (is it tensed or tenseless) and God's relationship to time (is he in time or outside of it).

Craig takes a view of time known as presentism (only the present exists) and argues that divine foreknowledge and freedom are compatible. In doing so, he uses an approach credited to Luis de Molina known as middle knowledge.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on November 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is awesome! W.L Craig does a great job at showing that divine foreknowledge is compatible with free will. He holds that there are two ways of looking at foreknowledge - Chronological and Logical.

Chronologically, God knows ahead of time whether or not Jones will cut the grass on Saturday.

But logically, Jones chooses of his own free will whether or not he will cut the grass on Saturday, and God's foreknowledge is based on Jones's free choice. In other words, God didnt force Jones to cut the grass on Saturday. But He knew what Jones would freely choose, and based on Jones's choice, God writes this day in His book (Psalm 139:15-16).

By the way, if Jones decides to go golfing on Saturday, then this would prove that God foreknew something different than what we thought He foreknew!

The bottom line is this: Just because God knows what we're going to do ahead of time doesnt mean we MUST do it. We choose to do it of our own free will, and God acts based on what He knows of our free choices ahead of time.

Craig also shows how fatalism and determinism are flawed in their denials of free will. He stresses that God knows about all possible worlds and all possible humna decisions and what they would or wouldn't do in certain circumstances. Craig calls this middle knowledge. He references 1 Samuel 23 and Matthew 11:20-24 as examples of this.

He also deals with the question of why would God create a world where some people would use their free will to reject Christ? Why not create a world where no one could reject Christ?

Craig replies by noting that there is apparently no possible world in which all persons would freely choose Christ.
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