What is the interplay of Free Will, random chance, and root causes?

  1. When a person chooses rightly or wrongly is a there a root reason?

  2. If there is no root reason, then is it random?
    2a. Is our free will ultimately left to randomness, analogous to rolling dice? Please explain.

  3. If there is a root reason (cause) then how are we responsible for our choosing?

Thank You

Dear Greg,

When a person makes a choice, he does so as the result of a judgment he has made about whatever information his intellect has been fed. If he makes a judgment with a minimum of information, it will basically be an un-informed judgment and his choice will reflect that.

Our free will need not be left to chance. Ordinarily, we ought to make judgments that are as informed as possible so that our choices will be intelligent and reasonable.

The choice as to whether we will act with reason or not is ours. This is what we mean by “free” will. To choose to sin is not a reasonable choice (although it may seem so at the time) because it is ultimately self-destructive.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.