Austin FarrerAustin Farrer was a theologian, biblical scholar, and philosopher who gave the Gifford Lectures at Edinburgh in 1957. He adapted his lectures as an article in Arthur Lovejoy's Dictionary of the History of Ideas entitled "Free Will in Theology." Farrer was an Anglican but deeply indebted to the Roman Catholic Thomas Aquinas, whose style and methods of scholarship he followed. Like Aquinas, Farrer believed that an omnipotent and omniscient God knows in advance all human actions, yet both claim that this foreknowledge does not pre-destine nor pre-determine those actions.
The idea of God as an omniscient and omnipotent being has an internal logical contradiction that is rarely discussed by theologians like Farrer. If such a being had perfect knowledge of the future, like Laplace’s demon, who knows the positions, velocities, and forces for all the particles, such a God would be perfectly impotent, because the future is already completely determined. That is, if God had the power to change even one thing about the future, his presumed perfect knowledge would have been imperfect.
ReferencesThe Freedom of the Will: The Gifford Lectures delivered in the University of Edinburgh, 1957. "Free Will in Theology," Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Philip Wiener (ed), vol II, p.242. Normal | Teacher | Scholar