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. 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 2. True or false: At his famous show-down with Ahab on Mount Carmel, the prophet Elijah insinuates that God purposely led the hearts of the sinning Israelites astray.
 True
 False

 

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?
 Philo
 Saadiah Gaon
 Gersonides
 Moses Mendelsohn

 

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

 

Question 5. True or false: The Bible has examples of God announcing predetermined events and interfering with individual choices.
 True
 False

 

Question 6. Which of the following thinkers posited that having free choice is not as good a state as doing right automatically?
 Nahmanides
 Hasdai Crescas
 Kierkegaard
 Ibn Ezra

 

Question 7. Which talmudic sage said that "everything is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven"?
 Shimon bar Yohai
 Hanina ben Hama
 Shmuel
 Rava bar bar Hama