fork in the road

The God Who Over-Knows The Future

God perfectly knows from all time what will be, what would be, and what may be. He sovereignly sets parameters for all three categories. His knowledge of what might occur leaves him no less prepared for the future than his knowledge of determined aspects of creation. Because he is infinitely intelligent, he does not need to focus his attention on a limited set of possibilities as we do.

In other words, he is able to attend to each one of a trillion billion possibilities, as though it was the only possibility he had to consider. He is infinitely attentive to each and every one. Hence, whatever possibility ends up coming to pass, we may say that from all eternity God was preparing for just this possibility, as though it were the only possibility that could ever possibly occur.

Even when possibilities occur that are objectively improbable—and to this extent surprise or disappoint God—it is not at all the case the he is caught of guard. He is as perfectly prepared for the improbable as he is for the probable.

We humans with our limited intelligence could not as confidently attend to a trillion billion possibilities as easily, and as perfectly, as we could attend to one certainty. Indeed, our focus is divided in half the second we have to attend to two possibilities instead of one certainty. And we humans with our limited wisdom and power could not assure anyone of a certain outcome unless we exhaustively controlled all of the variables.

Hence it is tempting to project our experience upon God and assume that God must face similar difficulties. Those who criticize Open Theism often assume that God (like a finite human) can be assured of ultimate victory only if he controls all the variables. Hence, they criticize a concept of God who is not all-controlling as being out of control.

The open view of the future does not undermine God’s wisdom and sovereign control: it rather infinitely exalts it. In this view God does not know less than the classical view: he knows more. He does not under-know the future, as it were: he over-knows it.

Adapted from Satan and the Problem of Evil, pages 128-130

Image by Bs0u10e0 via Flickr.

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