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If God is omniscient is free will an illusion?

I'm agnostic but interested in the truth so I do a lot of thinking and research on philosophy and religious issues in order to keep an open mind. It occurred to me when I was thinking one day that if God exists and he already knows everything I'm ever going to do then every decision I'm ever going to make has effectively already been made. This would mean that there is no such thing as free will. Since free will is a necessary ingredient for sin to be meaningful this has some pretty astounding implications. Thoughts?

Topics: religion

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    Feb 2 2013: The view that God’s exercise of his foreknowledge is infinite and that he does foreordain the course and destiny of all individuals is known as predestinarianism.

    Its advocates reason that God’s divinity and perfection require that he be omniscient (all-knowing), not only respecting the past and present but also regarding the future.

    According to this concept, for him not to foreknow all matters in their minutest detail would evidence imperfection.

    This concept would mean that, prior to creating angels or earthling man, God exercised his powers of foreknowledge and foresaw and foreknew all that would result from such creation, including the rebellion of one of his spirit sons, the subsequent rebellion of the first human pair in Eden, and all the bad consequences of such rebellion down to and beyond this present day.

    So then, it follows that all the wickedness that history has recorded (the crime and immorality, oppression and resultant suffering, lying and hypocrisy, false worship and idolatry) once existed, before creation’s beginning, only in the mind of God, in the form of his foreknowledge of the future in all of its minutest details.

    If the Creator of mankind had indeed exercised his power to foreknow all that history has seen since man’s creation, then the full weight of all the wickedness thereafter resulting was deliberately set in motion by God when he spoke the words: “Let us make man.”

    The alternative to predestinarianism, would have to harmonize with God’s own righteous standards and be consistent with what he reveals of himself in his Word.

    If God already foreknew and foreordained millenniums in advance precisely which individuals would receive eternal salvation and which individuals would receive eternal destruction, then Bible verses speaking of God's ‘patience’ and of his genuine desire that ‘all attain to repentance’ are kind of meaningless.

    In summary, I personally have trouble believing that God is omniscient.
    • Feb 2 2013: I like your thought process on this I've been on similar paths myself. I hadn't heard of predestinarianism though. I think I'll see what "Da Google" has to say.
    • Feb 2 2013: The fact that there is a Bible means there is no predestination. We can choose to read the Bible or decide not to read it.
      There are 10 commandments we can obey or not obey.

      When the Lord says He will knock on our door and suggest we open that door... we have a choice.

      There are prisons because we can change our minds.

      This book (actually two books) is about God and His government. In detail.
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      Feb 2 2013: Consider Acts 2: 23 and Romans 8:29, 30. God's foreknowledge is an integral part of the Holy Bible. To deny God's foreknowledge is to deny the Word of God. See also I Peter 1:2. Such denial is dishonoring to the God of the Holy Bible. You are embracing an error in soteriology. You believe God saves someone not because he chose them to be saved before the foundation of the world as it clearly states in Ephesians 1:4, 5, but that he saves them because they demonstrate some meritorious act of belief for which he has been waiting and watching, never knowing how they would choose? Such teaching is of human origin and is not to be found in the Holy Bible. People are saved by God's grace whereby He grants the gift of faith, not by ANYTHING they do, otherwise man could rightfully boast about saving himself. Read Ephesians 2:8, 9.
      • Feb 2 2013: Mr. Long.

        Okay, so why does God grant the gift of faith?
        And what is that gift exactly?

        I ask because you seem to be very intelligent, well-read and well-versed in the bible, among
        other topics and subjects.

        I don't believe in a God, but I do believe there is something that many call faith.
        Hope to me is a completely false concept, although one can come to a place
        where to continue on, they grasp at something in perhaps a real, but short-lived
        form of hope, that the new thing they reach for, might work.

        But afterwards, hope goes nowhere because it is false.
        Something has to be done. Along the way, faith of a kind, is built but that too becomes
        like hope if it doesn't transform into something else. It will remain like hope, blind.

        It is that last or next transformation I find to be of utmost importance and,
        I believe that most people, along with not really knowing what it is they believe in,
        not really trusting what they say they believe in, either.

        I don't know if you will see this post or will even care to respond to it and that's okay.

        I assume you believe in God, from your posts and quotes and would like to ask another question.
        Do you ever become afraid? If so, what would being afraid mean or represent to you?
        Hope you don't mind.
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          Feb 3 2013: I can only answer according to what the Holy Bible says about your four very important questions.Why does God grant the gift of faith? God made Man in his own image for the purpose of knowing Him and enjoying Him forever. Adam messed it up for everybody. God made a way of forgiveness and restoration. That way is based entirely on God's grace. To save the objects of His mercy from perishing forever God gives them the gift of faith.What is faith? Becoming born again is the only way a person can avoid perishing in what you rightly call the last transformation, or death. To become born again a person must believe in God. To believe requires faith. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. In accordance with His grace God grants the gift of faith to the objects of His mercy. Without faith it is impossible to please God. If you ask what you must do to be saved the Holy Bible answers that you must believe. But, iIn and of yourself you cannot believe. As you say, apart from God there is no hope. But with God there is hope. That hope has its substance in faith. Faith is essence of things not seen (spiritual things).As a believer (Christian) do I become afraid? Yes. As often as I let my thoughts drift away from God's truth as revealed in the Holy Bible I become partially disconnected from the awareness of God's love. The cares of this world cause doubt, fear and lack of peace. The simple truth is the God is love, perfect love. Perfect love casts out fear. By keeping my eyes upon Jesus the things of Earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and Grace.What does fear mean? Personally it means I have allowed myself to lose sight of the sure promise of God to all who believe in Him that all things work together for good and there is no reason to fear, ever. Thank you!
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        Feb 6 2013: Wow Ed, I owe you an apology.
        Totally forgot about this conversation, and now I realized that I did not word my ending correctly in my original comment.

        What I meant to say at the end of my comment was that I do believe in Gods's "all knowing" but not that he foreordains, or knows how we will choose.

        I am more in line with the original thinking by the Jews.......God's purpose "unfolds"....it takes time to see his purpose because He is dealing with humans as well as angelic beings who have free will. And as Ephesians brings out........God's wisdom is....."multi-faceted" or has "rich variety" or another translation says, it is "greatly diversified". So God is able to deal with this free will of ours while at the same time moving towards his purpose. Patiently he waits for us to choose and then mercifully he helps us carry out his will. That is how I have always seen it.

        In Ephesians 1:4-5 it says God foreordained individuals, yes, but as to which individuals, isn't it possible that we get to choose if we want to or not? I don't get the meaning that you get. That is, that already God knows who will serve him and who won't ahead of time.

        Because if that is the case, why drag out all this suffering. Why not end it all and allow evil to be done away with already?

        We have to exercise faith to be saved. The choice to exercise faith or not is ours.
        The gift of everlasting life to those who have exercised faith belongs to our Creator through provision of salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord. And note I said "exercised faith".....works are required Ed, it's not just about believing. We have to act on our faith, and we have Jesus' example to lead us.
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          Feb 6 2013: If salvation required even one, small work no one would ever be saved because since Adam's fall there is a guilty verdict on all mankind. Only by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ is there an acceptable sacrifice. Sorry Mary, the Holy Bible allows no human effort to participate in the salvation process. If you embrace such a belief you are not getting it from the Bible. Salvation is all of God. Be well friend.
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        Feb 6 2013: I think we are talking apples and oranges Ed.

        You are either not understanding me, or you are choosing not to understand me.
        In either case, I've cleared the air on my original post.
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          Feb 6 2013: I understand your original post which reads: "I personally have trouble believing that God is omniscient." Do you stand by that statement? I commend you for your perspicuity in that statement, but not for your understanding of the Holy Bible. Please, Mary, I am not choosing to misunderstand you, nor are we talking apples and oranges. The OP is about God's omniscience, which is precisely what you addressed and precisely what I responded to. It is apples and apples here. If you wish to hold to your position that God is not omniscient OK, I will not try further to convince you otherwise. But don't prolong this by saying I don't understand you. We do not misunderstand one another, we understand but we disagree and I gladly leave it at that.

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