God’s Knowledge of Future Contingents. John Duns Scotus’ Explanation
The article concerns John Duns Scotus’ views on the problem of God’s knowledge of future contingents, presented by Scotus in his Lectura in librum primum Sententiarum d. 39, n. 1-93. He begins his analysis of the notion of God’s knowledge concerning the future events by criticizing two theories: first, the claim that the content of the idea of a thing, possessed by God, can include contingency of this thing; second, the claim that eternity of God is simultaneous with the flowing time as a whole, and therefore
His knowledge of future contingents is the knowledge of present contingents. Duns Scotus presents his own conception in the form of the following claims: (1) there is contingency in the reality, however, we are not able to prove it; (2) the proximate second causes are not the causes of contingency in things; (3) the main cause of contingency in reality is God, precisely His will. Thus, contingency is not an imperfection because it is produced immediately by God. The article also presents Scotus’ theory of synchronic contingency. This conception explains the possibility of God’s contingent knowledge of contingent reality.
John Duns Scotus, future contingents, God’s knowledge, free will, necessity, contingency.