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. 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 2. How does Maimonides deal with the problem of free choice?
 By embracing the idea that man has free will, but that God has foreknowledge with what each person will choose
 By rejecting the concept outright
 By saying that God rejects free will, but God wants human beings to believe that it exists
 All of these
 None of these


Question 3. Which Jewish philosopher comes closest to asserting that humans do not have free will?
 Hasdai Crescas
 Isaac Luria
 Joseph Soloveitchik
 Judah Halevi


Question 4. Many kabbalists believe that God's providence does not extend to which of the following?
 Hasidic Jews
 People who do not study Kabbalah


Question 5. What does the Apocryphal writer Ben Sira believe about predetermination?
 That God has predetermined human character from birth
 That humanity is divided into two antithetical groups, the godly and the sinners
 That human beings are free to choose their individual life paths and must not blame God for their transgressions
 All of these
 None of these


Question 6. Who said that "everything is foreseen [by God], yet man has the capacity to choose freely"?
 Rabbi Akiba
 Shimon bar Yohai
 Hanina ben Hama


Question 7. Which Christian thinker's view on free will parallels Maimonides' view?
 Thomas Aquinas
 Robert Audi
 Immanuel Kant
 Søren Kierkegaard