International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 145–155

Divine determinism, human freedom, and the consequence argument


DOI: 10.1007/s11153-011-9317-2

Cite this article as:
Vicens, L.C. Int J Philos Relig (2012) 71: 145. doi:10.1007/s11153-011-9317-2


In this paper I consider the view, held by some Thomistic thinkers, that divine determinism is compatible with human freedom, even though natural determinism is not. After examining the purported differences between divine and natural determinism, I discuss the Consequence Argument, which has been put forward to establish the incompatibility of natural determinism and human freedom. The Consequence Argument, I note, hinges on the premise that an action ultimately determined by factors outside of the actor’s control is not free. Since, I argue, divine determinism also entails that human actions are ultimately determined by factors outside of the actors’ control, I suggest that a parallel argument to the Consequence Argument can be constructed for the incompatibility of divine determinism and human freedom. I conclude that those who reject natural compatibilism on the basis of the Consequence Argument should also reject divine compatibilism.


Divine determinismHuman freedomConsequence argument

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA