Free Will and an All-Knowing God
In discussions, I’ve often heard people claim that free will cannot exist in the same world as an omniscient God. This argument generally poses the question, “How we can truly make our own choices if it’s already a given what choice we will make, as the presence of an omniscient God indicates?” If you have other thoughts about why an all-knowing God and free will cannot coexist, please comment below!
I don’t believe these two concepts are mutually exclusive. God may know what we will chose but he doesn’t do the choosing for us. It is love to give us the choice in spite of knowing what the end result will be. I believe God created us because he is the embodiment of love and true love must be shared with others. But he couldn’t just let us revel in that love; we wouldn’t understand what love is without something to measure it against. So God decided we should have free will and choose to follow him or choose to live apart from him. To follow God is to love God, love yourself, and love your neighbor. To live apart is to sin, to act in ways that disappoint God, hurt yourself, or hurt others. To follow God is to have an abundant, overflowing life with His companionship. To sin is to choose a life outside of the presence of God. However, I also believe that we cannot completely grasp what a life apart from God is until the afterlife because this whole sphere of existence is his creation, brought to life by his breath. Hell, to me, is the absence of God’s presence.
But how can God allow us to suffer if he loves us, as living apart from him for eternity will be? A choice would not really be a choice if the results of that choice were the same. No, free will gives us the option to decide our own futures, for good or for bad not for good or a little less good. The Christian belief, though, is that God, in His love, did devise a means for us to change our minds and choose Him after we’d already rejected Him. That’s the story of Jesus Christ.
So, that’s where I presently stand on the issue of how free will and an omniscient God can exist. What do you think? Am I offbase? What haven’t I taken into account? Believe you me, I welcome the opportunity to test my faith—if it cannot stand up, how can I truly believe it?