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

 

Question 4. 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

 

Question 5. 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 6. 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 7. 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