August 31, 2021 - Free Will And God’s Foreknowledge

Many years ago, a friend announced that he was getting married. It was a marriage that I knew, even before they tied the knot, was doomed. (After all, when a guy says that he wants to marry Susy because, “Well, Susy has a car” you know things are not off to a great start.)


Anyway, they get married, moved to Australia, and I had heard nothing about them for, perhaps, 15 years. Then, sure enough, my friend pops back into my life and, yes, the marriage didn’t last.


Now, though only an analogy, this story works as an example of what has been known as the Free Will Problem. If God knows the future, which He does (Isaiah 46:10; Isaiah 41:4; Daniel 2; Daniel 7: Daniel 8: Revelation 13-14; Psalms 139; Matthew 26:34)—then how is it possible that we can have free will? If God knew last year that I would be sitting here writing this devotional, did I have any choice in writing it?


Let’s go back to the marriage. I knew that the marriage was doomed, but my knowledge of it had no bearing on it being doomed. And if I, with only limited knowledge, knew it was doomed, what about God, who with perfect knowledge knows what will happen, even if He doesn’t cause it to happen?


But doesn’t His knowledge of what will happen make it inevitable? No, because if at the last minute, they managed to keep the marriage together, God would have known that already. God’s perfect knowledge includes knowing even if at the last minute we are going to change our minds. If I, at the last minute, decided that I was not going to write this devotional, God would have known it long ago. Far from our free will future choices being unknown to God, He knows them so well that even if at the last second we change our minds, He already, long before, knew it.


“Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4). God knows, even before we do what we do, what we will do. And the miracle of miracles is that He loves us anyway.