- Love and Liberty
Your Future Choices Do Not Exist To Be Known
The questions pertaining to God’s knowledge of the future usually begin at a wrong starting point, therefore the answers are not satisfactory. The question is not, can God know all that is in existence, because all Christians agree that he can, though the Bible shows us that he chooses not to know certain things at certain times, such as when he said he was going down to see if what he had been hearing about Sodom and Gomorrah was true. The question is: are all parts of the future knowable? That is, do all future choices and actions of free will agents exist to be known? The answer seems to be an obvious no.
God is able to speak of some future events with certainty because he has ordained that specific events will occur (and he is able to make accurate predictions, of course). We are told that Christ will return to the earth. This is true, but not because it already exists as an event for God to see, but because God is almighty and is able to make plans and execute them. But God also speaks of events as maybe happening or maybe not. For a good source that provides face value interpretations of the scriptures and how they relate to Open Theism, go here.
Some will explain these instances as God speaking anthropomorphically, or in a way that condescends to man’s ability to understand, but this is nonsensical. If God had to do this, who are the self-proclaimed experts that think they know when God is speaking with condescension and when he is not? How would we know when to take the words of God at face value? We wouldn’t be able to without the help of God’s “experts”, who tailor their interpretations of biblical passages to their preconceived ideas about God. While it is true that we all approach the Bible with certain assumptions about God, we must be careful not to misrepresent biblical truth because it does not fit into our theology or tradition.
The point I wish to stress is that Open Theists do not claim there are truths in existence that God cannot know, but that there are future free will choices that don’t exist, therefore they are not objects of knowledge. It is no limitation in the knowledge or intelligence of God that he does not know something that does not exist, just as it is no limitation in his power that he cannot cause things that are logically impossible. God cannot make two plus two equal seven. God cannot know what it is like, experientially, to be Satan. Neither of these absurdities limit God. Just so, not knowing a logical absurdity like a nonentity does not limit God.
Some people have been taught to think of God as infinitely limitless in every way, but this idea has no meaning. If this were true, then people can ascribe to God whatever attributes they wish, and God being knowable in any meaningful way would be impossible.
This information is significant because people, perhaps unwittingly, depict God as being tyrannical at worst, and disingenuous at best, by claiming he causes all that happens, or he already knows all that will occur, including the free will choices of his human creatures. So when God calls all men to repentance, he intentionally chose to deprive them of the ability to do so, or he knows that many or most will not repent, but he toys with us by calling anyways. This is slander against God. To look into this further, go here to see how this relates to the time that God extended the life of Hezekiah.
God is holy, just, loving, and good. His ways are above our ways, and his thoughts are above our thoughts, but the nature of reality remains.
For other sources that provide information on the open view, go here, here, and here, though I do not necessarily agree with these people in every way, doctrinally speaking.
*The best book that I have read on the subject is "Does God Know the Future?" by Michael Saia.