If one believes God knows the future, one may assume the future is determined. This can lead to frustration and passivity and makes God less relatable. A determined future contradicts that God created us with the freedom to make our own choices. God not being able to do the impossible, such as changing the past, forcing true love, or not knowing an underdetermined future doesn’t make God less powerful. God, unlike humans, doesn’t necessarily have to control to be in control.
The greatest freedom perhaps in believing God doesn’t know the future is realizing God isn’t failing to communicate. God supports us in being free to make decisions in an open future.
Joy and good can be achieved by making decisions based on gifts, aspirations, and avoiding immoral paths. God isn’t withholding information for important decisions. God’s voice is always loud and clear – I love you; I forgive you; let’s see what happens; I want what you want deep down. We are free without strings attached that we often feel from parents who claim support in whatever we decide. God truly is open-minded and invites our participation to make for a better world.
A known future can lead to wondering if God is orchestrating all this evil and suffering as some grand scheme.
Neither Jesus nor the biblical writers claimed evil which leads to so much suffering was God’s desire or part of some divine plan. Evil is the result of current and future human free decisions. Not even an all-powerful God can create and guarantee life without death, violence, suffering, and struggle and yet there be free will necessary for genuine relationships. No human parent brings children into the world not desiring their children freely reciprocate their love as opposed to being forced. God and parents risk creating which can lead to great joy or great pain. One is not possible without the other. An open future clarifies that evil lies with the one making current decisions to perpetuate evil. Suffering in a free world is not caused by God.
A God who doesn’t knows the future is more relatable. God is not aloof as if simply gazing into situations God already was aware of.
A known or set future doesn’t suggest one is truly free to choose otherwise. The Bible speaks often as if God doesn’t know the future. God hopes Israel would accept God’s guidance, but Israel often turned against God (i.e. Jer. 3:19-20). We don’t have to play mental gymnastics by assuming God is only pretending to not know future decisions When the Bible says God grieves with us in our suffering, we can know God agonizes with us each step of the way and deters any suffering possible without violating freedoms. God is not aloof as if simply gazing into situations God already was aware of.
Jesus predicted Peter would deny Christ not once but three times before it actually happened. Was Jesus simply peering into the future? Could Peter really resist? Why would Jesus pray Peter’s faith would succeed if failure inevitable (Luke 22:32)? Jesus’ prediction could have been a warning to Peter to prepare for upcoming faith challenges. A professor may observe a student and warn they will fail their class but hoping the student avoids such failure. Keep in mind the future is not totally unpredictable for humans much less God. A skilled physician can predict the death of a seemingly healthy individual because of symptoms that escaped the untrained eye. Remember, God is present everywhere, thus God’s knowledge is unimaginably extensive.
It speaks more to God’s character when they could control a situation but don’t out of uncontrolling love and freedom.
God can’t make someone truly love others and not harm others, but God can fulfill their promise of justice for victims after death. If God can create, God can fulfill a promise to provide eternal life for those who desire to be with their Creator. In the meantime God seeks to partner with us to make for a better world.