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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Section - Question 12.12: What is the Jewish view on the question of "free will."

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                                  Answer:
   
   One traditional Jewish view of free will is that in this phase of
   history, G-d's omnipresence is hidden from our awareness specifically
   to allow us free will. If we were fully aware of G-d's presence at all
   times, we would be incapable of sinning willfully. As it stands we are
   freed to assume or reject the Torah and its prescriptions for Jewish
   life and to be rewarded or punished accordingly. This will change at
   some future point when G-d's omnipresence is fully revealed.
   
   In Devarim (Deuteronomy) 30:19 "I [G-d] have set before you life and
   death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life." From this we
   learn that we have free will. Furthermore, reward and punishment only
   make sense if we have knowledge and free will. Angels cannot be
   rewarded because they do not have free will, and animals are not
   rewarded because they do not have knowledge. There have been a few
   notable exceptions to this last statement, but that is the general
   rule.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Previous Document: Question 12.11: Who were the prophets? How many?
Next Document: Question 12.13: What about angels, demons, miracles, and the supernatural?

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