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


Question 2. Which Jewish philosopher comes closest to asserting that humans do not have free will?
 Hasdai Crescas
 Isaac Luria
 Joseph Soloveitchik
 Judah Halevi


Question 3. What does Abraham Joshua Heschel believe about free will?
 The self does not belong to the physical world, and it possesses and controls the will
 The laws of Judaism reflect a conviction that the human power to choose is weaker than is generally supposed
 Humans have come to look at life as completely predetermined, and they need to free themselves from this view, whether or not it is true
 All of these
 None of these


Question 4. 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


Question 5. 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 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. True or false: Jewish tradition assumes that humans’ actions are significant in the greater scheme of things.