I understand many may not think about or find all that relevant whether God knows the future or not. Assuming God knows the future though can lead to questions for example as to why God didn’t warn us about a partner who turned out to be abusive. What we believe about God and the future can make God seem less relatable or more distance during difficult times.
Thousands of biblical passages could be cited to defend either God does or doesn’t know the future. Some may be inclined to believe an all-powerful Supreme Being must know the future. I am convinced God doesn’t know the future, which helps with certain problems encountered below. Most agree true love must be freely chosen, or we are simply robots than humans. God not being able to do the impossible such as changing the past, forcing true love, or not knowing the future until it happens doesn’t make God less powerful.
The Bible speaks about God sometimes regretting certain decisions (i.e. Gen. 6:6).
If God knew the outcome of certain decisions by knowing the future, why would God make such regrettable decisions? If one does a google search they will see many biblical passages that refer to God changing their mind depending on what choices humans freely make. God doesn’t know what decisions are made ahead of time but pretending otherwise. Writers of the Bible often write as if God thought the future was open, thus undetermined and unknown.
One major problem when believing God knows the future arises during times of suffering.
A young woman may ask God for wisdom in marrying their partner. All think it is a match made in heaven, but the husband becomes abusive and the children suffer. What kind of God doesn’t warn if God knew this was going to happen? Or, since God didn’t direct us otherwise we go searching for the lesson that God is supposedly trying to teach us. But, since God doesn’t communicate directly we are clueless what the lesson is. That is not how a loving God acts.
A second problem with thinking God knows the future is understanding how I am truly free to make decisions other than what is already supposed to happen.
A known or set future suggests one is not truly free to choose otherwise. A determined future contradicts that God created us with the freedom to make our own choices. We don’t have to play mental gymnastics with God by assuming we have freedom but future decisions are predetermined. God is not aloof as if simply gazing into situations God already was aware of. God grieves with us in our suffering. A God who doesn’t know the future can be more relatable.
But, doesn’t prophecy confirm God knows the future ahead of time?
The most talked about prophecy in the Old Testament is the forthcoming of the Messiah and their subsequent death. Jesus prayed to God that if possible He be spared of dying on the Cross (Mt. 26:39). Such a prayer seems meaningless unless Jesus’ life could have been spared. It is likely many prophesies in the OT are conditional. God changes their mind if people change. God also realized it was highly unlikely religious people would accept Jesus confronting their erroneous, sacred beliefs about God. Jesus died for His message to influence people of God’s radical love for them.
But, if God can’t know or control the future can God make any guarantees of the future?
God didn’t necessarily promise to come back and destroy the world and make it anew. I am convinced God came in the flesh through Jesus to change the world. If all took Jesus’ message to heart, the world would surely be a lot better off and many wouldn’t be hoping God bring to an end all this madness. A God though who can create can surely guarantee the ending after death. God after death hopes all choose to be with God forever reunited with their loved ones. The journey of freedom here on earth may have been necessary to make such a decision.
God may not know the future.
God can certainly predict what God intends to achieve if circumstances remain the same. Many prophecies are simply declarations of what God will do, such as coming in the flesh through Jesus, and that doesn’t impact anyone’s freedom. But, if you have issues with believing God can foreknow the future but then doubt freedom, you are in good company. Maybe God didn’t warn you of something because it wasn’t known or predetermined. Maybe God isn’t trying to teach you some unknown lesson because of suffering. God simply wants to stand by your side in making a difference in a troubled world.