Almighty God, Responsible People: Can We Believe in Both?

If God is the creator of all things and unlimited in power and knowledge, how can humankind be considered responsible for its actions? How can we think about our freedom with such a God, or do we need to deny either that God or our freedom? These are questions that many people inside and outside the Christian faith ask, and too often the answers are unsatisfactory or simplistic. 

This course will look at how the church has wrestled with this conundrum through the Bible and through its history, seeking to uphold both its ideas about God and about humankind, while occasionally falling into error by denying either one or the other. We will be combining studies and discussions of themes with explorations of some of the key debates in the history of church – Augustine and Pelagius, Calvin and Arminius – to gain as rich an understanding as we can of these issues.

This course will not seek to resolve all things to a neat simplicity, but will recognize important thinkers and themes that need to be borne in mind. Come with all your questions, with current ideas or with no idea at all. Above all, come to be challenged by views of the church that will change how you approach the concepts of God, the world and yourself.

Course Schedule

Program Date: February 25 - April 1, 2023

Students will meet online on Saturdays, time 3:30pm - 5:00pm (Eastern Standard Time). Class time will be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.


Academic Director

Matthew Knell

Matthew Knell

Dr. Matthew Knell has been teaching the history of Christian thought at the University of Notre Dame’s London campus for eight years, alongside teaching at the London School of Theology where he has been based for thirteen years. While a specialist in the medieval period, Matthew teaches on all the centuries of the church and seeks to draw strength from each Christian denomination. He has written the first two volumes of a series on Sin, Grace and Free Will, inspired by a course he has taught at Notre Dame, and also teaches and writes at a popular Christian level with books such as Defenders of the Faith.