My Jewish Learning

Free Will Quiz

The paradox of human free will and God's infinite knowledge and power has troubled Jewish thinkers at every point in Jewish history. How much do you know about this debate?

Question 1. What is the most significant problem that modern science has contributed to the free will question?
 Science has isolated a single "free will" gene
 Some contemporary scientific thinking attributes much of human behavior to biological and psychological factors
 Chaos theory has shown it is impossible to predict human behavior
 Both science and religion have agreed that free will is a basic factor in the human brain


Question 2. According to Isaac Luria, why is free will a difficult concept to accept?
 Because there is nothing separate from God
 Because chaos is impossible to predict
 Because God cannot have foreknowledge of human actions
 Because there is no difference between fatalism and determinism


Question 3. Which Jewish philosopher suggested that God knows the options from which we will choose, but doesn’t know the specific choice we will make?
 Saadiah Gaon
 Moses Mendelsohn


Question 4. Which Jewish philosopher comes closest to asserting that humans do not have free will?
 Hasdai Crescas
 Isaac Luria
 Joseph Soloveitchik
 Judah Halevi


Question 5. What does Abraham Joshua Heschel believe about free will?
 The self does not belong to the physical world, and it possesses and controls the will
 The laws of Judaism reflect a conviction that the human power to choose is weaker than is generally supposed
 Humans have come to look at life as completely predetermined, and they need to free themselves from this view, whether or not it is true
 All of these
 None of these


Question 6. Who believed that free will doesn't really exist, but human beings need to believe it does?
 Ludwig Wittgenstein
 Yeshayahu Leibowitz


Question 7. Which of the following thinkers posited that having free choice is not as good a state as doing right automatically?
 Hasdai Crescas
 Ibn Ezra