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"Freedom Of Will": Comparing Chinua Achebe's "Civil Peace" And Ngugi Wa Thiong'o's "Meeting In The Dark".

1831 words - 7 pages

Freedom of WillQuestions and doubts are the basic factors that determine men's critical thinking about life. Throughout human history, different cultures and societies have yielded to varying approaches to explain such issues, as predictability of events involving natural forces and individual's fate. Religions developed as the common result of such dilemmas. In particular, Christianity provided people with the concept of a "Master Plan" (or fate) determining a continuous intervention and presence of God in human lives. Christianity perceives the issue of Freedom of Will as a dogma, explicated only through a theological statement: even though "Universal prescience" is an attribute of Deity, men can benefit of absolute freedom and both aspects coexist as a "superior concept," which is unperceivable through rational means.According to Christian belief every individual has a fate, which leads him/her through predetermined life events. Nevertheless, it is possible that a person has the ability to exercise freedom of his/her will. The doctrine that God has created man, has commanded him to obey the moral law, and has promised to reward or punish him for observance or violation of this law, made the reality of "moral liberty" an issue of transcendent importance. Unless man is really free, he cannot be justly held responsible for his actions, any more than for the date of his birth or the color of his eyes. All alike are inexorably predetermined for him. Moreover, the difficulty of the question was augmented still further by the Christian dogma of the "fall of man" and his redemption by grace, which many theologians postulated as the "Divine Answer" to such dilemma.Among the early Fathers of the Church, St. Augustine stands pre-eminent in his handling of this subject. He emphasizes very strongly the absolute rule of God over men's wills by His omnipotence and omniscience, "through the infinite store, as it were, of motives which He has had at His disposal from all eternity, and by the foreknowledge of those to which the Will of each human being would freely consent" (Garzanti, 835). Furthermore, the teaching of St. Augustine is developed by St. Thomas Aquinas both in theology and philosophy. "Will is rational appetite" (Garzanti, 1496). Man necessarily desires beatitude, but he can freely choose between different forms of it. Free will is simply this elective power. But God possesses an infallible knowledge of man's future actions. Therefore, how is this prevision possible, if man's future acts are not necessary? God does not exist in time. Furthermore, God's omnipotent providence exercises a complete and perfect control over all events that happen, or will happen, in the universe. How is this secured without infringement of man's freedom? This problem will find several contrasting answers in many philosophers and theologians posterior to Aquinas.The concept of Free Will, as aforementioned, belongs historically to its religious connotation, which has...

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