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

 

Question 3. 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 4. Which of the following did not have his/their heart(s) hardened by God?
 Pharaoh
 The Moabite king Sihon
 The army of Canaan
 Moses

 

Question 5. 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 6. Many kabbalists believe that God's providence does not extend to which of the following?
 Animals
 Tzaddikim
 Hasidic Jews
 People who do not study Kabbalah

 

Question 7. Which of these modern scientific advances challenge the Jewish idea of free will?
 Sigmund Freud's suggestion that our behaviors are guided by unconscious drives
 Genetic science about the extent to which our lives and inclinations are programmed into our biological constitution
 Discoveries about organic aspects of our personalities
 A & B only
 All of the above