WMTLC TEACHINGS

Step Towards Transformation

DOES GOD KNOW -WHAT WE WILL DECIDE NEXT?

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God chooses when he exercises his foreknowledge,

If you had a singing voice of unparalleled beauty, would you then have no choice but to sing all the time? Not at all. Likewise, Jehovah has the ability to foreknow the future, but he does not use it all the time. To do so might infringe upon our own free will, a precious gift that Jehovah will never revoke.

Deuteronomy 30:19, 20 – “I do take the heavens and the earth as witnesses against YOU today, that I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the malediction; and you must choose life in order that you may keep alive, you and your offspring, by loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice and by sticking to him; for he is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell upon the ground that Jehovah swore to your forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give to them”

  • Does God really Know Everything?
  • Does God Know The Future?

The future contains both certainties and possibilities. God knows all about both sets, so He does know the future completely.

There are a number of possible outcomes that depend on decisions by free-willed beings, whom God has elected to not control.

He does not have foreknowledge of those choices, but He does know all the possible outcomes once the choices are made.

Hence, God can know WHAT will be even if He does not know HOW it will be.

God could elect to know how it will be as well if all He wanted was robots, but since He wants free-willed beings as well, He must elect to not know which choices those being will make.

This is why in the Bible, God is portrayed as being surprised by choices, warning of outcomes for bad choices, and laying out consequences for the different options we have to decide among.{See in the next Article on DOES GOD REGRET }

Illustration : A Chess Computer program calculates the possible outcomes given all the possible moves together with every possible response, out to a certain number of moves. The more moves it is able to project from a given point, the more probable it is that the computer will win the game. Computers are becoming more capable of quickly* calculating in advance the geometrically increasing number of possibilities with each successive move.

Note: At first it was a matter of how much memory a computer had, that was limiting its ability to store all the information generated in identifying all these possible outcomes. Then the amount of time it took to do all the calculations was a limiting factor. You would set the “skill level” of the computer by limiting the time it was given to make the calculations. If it did not have enough time to get through many of the possible combinations, then its decision for its next move allowed for possibilities that it had not yet assessed. You then could find a way to beat the computer. If/when a computer can go through all the possibilities in a flash, it cannot lose.

They will eventually get to a point where there is no move I can make that has not been taken into account to the nth extreme. Then, the future is clear – I will not win the game – but it is not known from the beginning how the game will be played.

Surely God can do anything a super computer can do, and more. He can indeed know all the possible outcomes of our free-willed decisions, including all the CONSEQUENCES downstream.

This requires His incredible ability to know the variables and then to assess how they will interact. However, each of those trails may lead to different outcomes.

God can predict the future with certainty when all of the possible variables eventually lead to the same outcome.

For example, He knows where the Sin Drama playing out here on Earth will eventually end. He does not know which trail of events we will decide to take, because He has elected to not control those decisions. Yet, once we make our decisions, He knows to which set of possibilities each choice will lead. In this way, it is our choice even though God knows the ultimate outcome.

NOTE: God will intervene to the extent that He changes the situations around His created beings and allows them to have new information to deal with as they make their free-will choices. For example, He knocks the Apostle, Paul off his horse and asks him, “Why are you persecuting me?” Then Paul makes his own decision as to what he will do next.

God’s Foreknowledge 

Note: God knows ALL the possible choices we can make and ALL the possible outcomes of those choices. He is like the ultimate chess computer. However, He does not know which choices we will make, because He has elected to leave them up to us.

If He intervened against our free will, then we would not have any free will.

What God does do on occasion, is to intervene by creating a situation around us so that we will reconsider our choices, but the decisions are always up to us alone.

Why would God not be perfect if He decides to not control the decisions of His free-willed beings? If God is already certain of what we will decide, then why bother with this drama? If we can do nothing that God has not already known, why are we here?

  • Does God enjoy watching the inevitable happen over and over again?

The Bible indicates that God is often “surprised”, or “angered”, or “happy” about the free willed decisions of humans.

  • How could He be surprised if it was all known ahead of time?

I believe from the standpoint of perfection, that if all He did was program us to decide what He dictates, then He would be less of a God. It requires a greater capability to know all the possible outcomes and variations, than to only know one path.

Because of His vast knowledge of all the possibilities and outcomes, He knows where our intermediate decisions must eventually lead.

For me, this is a God Who has reasons to be relating to us, whereas the God of only one possibility does not.

What Does God Know and When Does God Know It?

Genesis 22 Verse 1 sets the test, suggesting God wants to know something. (Notice the intent of God to “know” in 18:21, which also leads to a crisis.) It is not a game with God.

God genuinely does not know. And that is settled in verse 12, “Now I know.” There is real development in the plot.

The flow of the narrative accomplishes something in the awareness of God. He did not know. Now he knows. The narrative will not be understood if it is taken as a flat event of “testing.” It can only be seen as a genuine movement in history between Yahweh and Abraham.

If we discount a genuine not knowing on the part of God in this story, we lose the significance of the narrative.

God wants to know that Abraham will trust him to keep his promise to make of him a great nation even though the one through whom the promise will come (Isaac) is taken away.

Abraham must trust God, but God must trust Abraham as well. Throughout the Abraham and Sarah narrative, the first Matriarch and Patriarch continually attempt to take control of the promise themselves (e.g. Hagar and Ishmael).

God genuinely is not sure he can trust Abraham to leave it to God to fulfill the promise.

What makes this reading so difficult is when the text confronts our preconceived notions of omniscience and sovereignty. We try to squeeze the text to fit our doctrine of God. When we do that, we fail to let the text speak on its own terms and we perform gymnastics in our reading of Scripture.

In addition, it makes God’s relationship and interaction with his people appear to be nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” where God calls and leads and speaks even though he already knows the outcome.

 Is it possible to imagine God going through this entire scenario with Abraham and Issac, putting Abraham through this test with the rationale that God wanted to see if he could trust Abraham, even though God already knew that he could?

None of this explains what God knows about the future, whether he limits his knowledge of the future in order to be in genuine relationship with his creation, and what exactly God limits and what he truly knows of what is to come in our time and space which God is beyond.

But in order to maintain the integrity of this biblical text from Genesis, we must take it at face value, and the text says that God does not know the outcome of his command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac

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Witness Ministries

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This entry was posted on April 29, 2020 by in ASK QUESTIONS and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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