Is there a contradiction between God’s omniscience vs free will?
A subtheme this Feast of Tabernacles seems to be the omniscience of God. It appears to me that not many really believe that God knows all things, even when they are busy declaring how great He is. More disturbing is that they don’t see the contradiction.
The sermons have improved throughout the Feast, and we’ve had a good Bible study on why God deserves our praise. It was followed up by a sermon the following day about how to become sons and daughters of our great God.
Yet, even in the midst of this, the question keeps coming up: Does God know the future or not?
I sincerely don’t understand how anyone can reconcile God’s omniscience and omnipotence in one statement and then in the next statement declare emphatically that God does not know something. It is inherently illogical.
The cognitive dissonance involved in stating God tests you because He does not know what you are going to do and then say you can prove God’s existence by prophecy is completely amazing.
Now, I will engage in a bit of speculation here. I think it was Joel Meeker that said it best when he said, “We don’t know what God doesn’t know.” There will be much we will have to ask in the Kingdom and learn about. At the end of the day, then, it is incorrect to berate people based upon speculation.
Still, do we truly understand that God sees the future?
Not only is it contradictory to talk about the omniscience of God and then claim He does not know what we are going to do, but given that alternative and one where He knows everything in advance, I’ll choose the latter one every time as being more biblical.
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
~ Isa 46:9-10
We have literature that acknowledges that God reveals Himself in the Bible, and He declares prophecy to be one of the chief proofs of His existence:
19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:
20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.
21 Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.
23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.
~ Isa 41:19-24
Speaking of praising God, God Himself gives us a reason to praise Him:
8 I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
~ Isa 42:8-9
Fulfilled prophecy is a reason to praise God!
Who Created Time?
As creatures who are limited in particular by time (there is a time for our birth and a time for our death that demarcates our lives), it is hard for us to understand time. Having said that, how can a sci-fi fan not understand that time is just another “thing”?
God created everything that is seen and unseen (Col 1:16). That includes time! So, why is it so hard for us to consider that God can move forwards, backwards, into and out of time itself?
Have you ever considered how much will go on at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? Many things will have to occur: We will have to get used to new bodies, we will have to get used to new powers, we will have to have final training for whatever task we are assigned, which of course means we will have to receive our assignments for the Millennium, we will have to get to know and learn about our new partners who could have lived in a completely different time and place, and so on.
How much time will all of this take to occur?
Quite frankly, it might take little or no time at all. What is time to a spirit being, particularly a child of God? Will time slow down while we are feasting or even come to a standstill? I don’t know, but it is certainly a possibility.
Can God know something about us yesterday that He does not know today? Of course! If He is moving through time itself, or even in and out of time, then this is entirely possible.
How does God know what is the ultimate good for all people who have ever lived? Seems pretty simple to answer that question if He can see the ending and change something in the middle because the outcome was incorrect. In fact, God has chosen moments to step in and change the course of human affairs simply because they would not have had the ending He desired: The Flood, the Tower of Babel, the timing of and events leading up to Jesus’ birth, and so on.
So, if God can know all things down through time, then how do we have free will?
That is a perfectly silly question! It is the question of someone who has not thought it through and needs to develop their minds much, much more. The fact that people in the Church, who supposedly already have had their minds opened, tells me that it truly is possible to shut your mind once it has been opened.
Does a parent know a small child is about to do something? Most of the time, yes, it is! In fact, comparing ourselves to small children and God to a human adult understates the issue. Does a parent always intervene? Only parents interested in spoiling their children do so. The smart parent will use circumstances as much as possible to allow their children to learn the lessons they need to learn.
Likewise, God does not make us puppets on a string. In fact, we cannot work against His will in any effective way at all, so we might as well quit trying. The only ones we hurt are ourselves, and God will allow us to hurt from our own devices.
I have had some so-called Christians come onto this blog and attempt to convince me that God is such a tyrant that He controls everything we do at every second of every day. I pity such a person, because they simply do not know God. They will not be in the first resurrection because they do not believe the many Scriptures that prove human beings have free moral agency.
Simply put, God can know what He wants to know, and God can forget what He wants to forget.
Can God Forget?
“Forget?” some of you are asking, “How can God possibly forget?”
Let me correct your question, because it is utterly erroneous. You really meant to ask, “Forgive? How can God possibly forgive?”
25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
~ Isa 43:25
If God cannot forget our sins, there is no forgiveness either, and we are all just fooling ourselves.
More to the point, this shows that God is capable of altering His memory so that He forgets. He does not know what He wishes to not know!
And, is there anyone out there who does not like a pleasant surprise once in a while? Taking this one or two steps further, God not only can choose to forget, but God can choose to be surprised.
It is just not that hard, people! Use your brains! Does this not make a whole lot more sense than saying that a God who can look down through the corridors of time does not know everything that is going to occur?
More to the point, even our calling is from the foundations of the world:
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (from the beginning of space-time):
~ Mt 25:34
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
~ Ep 1:4
I have heard the long, boring and stupid explanations of these two plain and simple verses. You know a theological answer is almost certainly incorrect when it takes ten times the number of words to twist it to mean something other than what it says (Pr 10:19; cf Ecc 5:3).
Or, to quote an older white-haired gentleman: The main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things. So, how about we stop pointing our finger up God’s nostril and declaring to the universe just what He possibly can and cannot know?