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: The Bible has examples of God announcing predetermined events and interfering with individual choices.


Question 3. According to Maimonides, God’s "special providence" is limited to
 Human beings
 Torah scholars


Question 4. Which Christian thinker's view on free will parallels Maimonides' view?
 Thomas Aquinas
 Robert Audi
 Immanuel Kant
 Søren Kierkegaard


Question 5. 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 6. What did the Hasidic Izbicer Rebbe teach about free will?
 Humans do not have the ability to choose their actions
 God is the source of all human actions
 Humans can control their thoughts and intentions
 All of these
 None of these


Question 7. 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