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BECHIRAH-----if hashem knows the future...?

beena Posted - 12 February 2001 19:31

If Hashem know what we will pick... how is it possible that we make our own choices if they are pre-known?

My teacher gave me an example that goes like this: A mother offers her toddler a red and green lolly pop and she knows that the little girl will take the red one. So too, Hashem knows which way we will choose, etc... But still there is a chance for the little girl to change her mind and for us to do something that is not so predictable of us. So how can that be explained?

MODERATOR Posted - 12 February 2001 21:21

It's simpler than that. Let's say you have a time machine and you go into the future and observe people's actions.

Would anybody say that because you peeked into the future actions of those people they no longer have free will?

No. Rather, you observed what they WILL do with their free will. So too Hashem looks into the future and sees what people will choose.

Or maybe you magically get a hold of next week's newspaper. You see what is going to happen in 7 days. This doesn't affect their Bechirah.

beena Posted - 13 February 2001 15:33

Wow thank you so much!

That really explained it. I understand completely! hatzlacha!

lambda Posted - 23 April 2001 15:37

You hold like the Ra'avad, who says that God's foreknowledge is not compulsion.

However, the Rambam, in the Mishneh Torah, says that God's knowledge is indeed compulsion, and that we can't really understand the issue.

I heard (via recording) Rabbi Akiva Tatz discuss this with the Rambam's attribution of the Mishnah in Avot without a name to Rebbe Akiva. He discusses it in tape 102 on It ties in many things in Rebbe Akiva's life with bechirah in an insightful way.

MODERATOR Posted - 23 April 2001 15:49

The disagreement between the Rambam and the Raavad gas nothing to do with this question, which was, if G-d knows something how can we choose.

The fact is, that knowing the future does not compel the future. Nobody disagrees with that.

The Rambam was asking a different question, based on the premise that the future - and past and present - only exist because G-d wills them to exist. In other words, the universe is created out of G-d's will - please see the "Basic Judaism" forum for an explanation of this.

So the Rambam was asking that since where G-d is concerned, past present and future and really one and the same, and since G-d's will is the only power that can make anything happen in this universe, and therefore id G-d knows someone is going to do something, the only way that can happen if G-d wills that he does it.

The Rambam says that even though G-d knows what a person does, and G-d's will is the only possible thing that can make him do it, still, G-d gave us Bechirah and allowed us to do things outside of His will.

This, the Rambam says, is what we cannot understand.

lambda Posted - 19 June 2001 1:43

Thanks, Moderator, that is essentially what I was trying to say.

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