Does God Really Know Our Future?
Have you ever wondered how could God know our future, plan that future in His mind, and still give us a choice (free will) in the matter? I know I have. I one point, I even wondered what good it does to pray if God supposedly has everything pre-determined. And I believe that most people that truly read their Bible will have that question at some point as well. For example, how do we come to the truth when there are Scriptures supporting both views, like listed below?
29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29 (Supportive of Calvinism, or Predestination,... or Divine Foreknowledge,... or Fatalism,... or Determinism.)
Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass.2 Kings 19:25 (Ibid.)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad 2 Corinthians 5:10 (Supportive of Arminianism or Free-will)
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
Do we even dare to attempt to answer the "hard" questions we have about God and how He deals with us? Or is God simpler than what we make Him out to be? Do we really have to "wait to get to heaven" in order to find out the tough questions. Don't know.
At certain times in my life I have had some crazy questions about God-and I was never shy in asking them. I remember hearing a certain default phrase often from Christians when I was growing up: "Scott, now we just can't understand that facet of God. He is just too complicated to fathom."
But should we use that as our convenient answer any time something comes our way that we think is unanswerable?
I think that we need to learn to think again. No, not the way that professors and philosophers want us to think. Well, actually, it is philosophy, but on a "usable" scale.
Let me explain: I have learned so much just being a father-much more than I ever have studying the Bible in a structured format. My children have given me the biggest missing chunk to the God puzzle in my mind that I could ever hope for. They have given me more illustrations than I know what to do with. For example, when my twin boys were 3 years old I took them outside and allowed them to climb a tree as high as they could. They got pretty high. But when they looked down it was all over. They were crying and demanding to be picked up and rescued to safety. Well, that was the perfect time to try a little experiment. I wanted to see just how much they trusted me. I asked them to jump into my arms from about eight or nine feet off the ground. (Don't tell Child Protective Services that I did that.) But I didn't just stand there with my arms open. I took a step back, just far enough to where it would appear that if they did jump that they would hit the ground. I told them to jump, and after a minute or so they mustered up the courage. In a blink of an eye, my first son took off like an eagle in flight-and just when he thought he was on his own, I stepped in to break his fall. He was faced with what he believed to be an insurmountable obstacle. But ultimately he trusted my words that if he jumped he would be just fine. He trusted what I said. He took the great leap. He passed my test.
But isn't God that same way with us? Doesn't He want our total trust in this life? Isn't He just beyond where we can see Him-where we think He can't get to us if we're in danger? I would say so.
So, back to the opening question: How can God see and plan our future and still give us a choice? It is the great conundrum. But I have learned the answer quite easily, from again, just living out everyday life as a dad.
What if I were to tell my kids that they could have their choice between going to McDonald's Restaurant or staying at home and eating a very special vegetarian delight? There can be no doubt that they would choose Mickey D's. But yet, I still gave them a choice in the matter. I, in no way, infringed upon their freewill in the process. And because I knew they would choose this route, I preplanned the money and transportation necessary for them to get to their choice. Does this make sense?
Doesn't that clear up the puzzle that has perplexed even the "wisest" of biblical scholars? It's so simple that it begs a greater reprisal.
God is not out of reach...but He may be standing just under our perched ledge.
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been d elivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills (It's God's Choice) to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me (It's our choice), all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matt. 11:25-30 NKJV (Underlined and parenthetically italicized inserts mine).