Home > Apologetics, General, Questions and Answers, Theology > Does God really know the future? (intro)

Does God really know the future? (intro)

My wife and I were talking about this yesterday, and she asked a very thought-provoking question.

“Why would God need to know everything about the future to be considered omniscient?”

Hmm, good point. Omniscience could mean knowing all existing facts or everything that can be known, but it doesn’t speak to some kind of fortune-telling ability. Is it possible that God doesn’t know everything that will happen outside of his own plans? Is it possible that knowing the future and the existence of free will are in fact logically inconsistent?

Obviously, I started thinking about this more in depth as I addressed a list of supposed inconsistencies in Christianity a couple days ago. I’m going to need to go back and heavily revise my answers in light of my research…perhaps I was misguided.

Again, I have a weekend ahead of me to devote some serious time and study into this, but here are my preliminary conclusions:

– God knows certain plans he has for the future, such as judgment day. He knows these will happen because whatever God plans to do, he accomplishes. There is no chance of failure.

– God is omniscient, but this doesn’t necessarily entail that he knows every possible action and decision of free creatures. This is why “omniscience” (not to include knowing everything about the future) and free will are wholly compatible.

– God knows almost to a certainty what existing creatures will do in certain circumstances because he has seen their every past deed and heard their thoughts…but until it actually happens, there’s no logical way to know what a free-willed creature will do until that creature decides at that moment to do it.

Here’s a thought-provoking quote: “One is not ascribing ignorance to God by insisting that he doesn’t foreknow future free actions if indeed free actions do not exist to be known until free agents create them… Those who oppose the open view of God on the grounds that it compromises God’s omniscience are simply misguided.”

Wow, heavy stuff. I’m really starting to gain a deepened sense of awe and appreciation for this gift of free will. It’s not nearly as simple as we tend to think.

This would explain a whole lot if this pans out, but we’ll have to see. I’m definitely excited to see what happens! Hopefully, the scriptures can shed some light on this over the weekend.

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