It is nearly universally accepted by Christians that God knows everything. We call that God's "omniscience." We have no problem grasping the idea that God knows every person on earth, the atomic structure of an atom, how many stars there are in the galaxy, and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll tootsie pop. However, our meditation on God's foreknowledge rarely goes beyond such basic thoughts. The problem comes in when we realize that God's knowledge of the facts may actually create the facts themselves. Let me elaborate a bit.
We tend to make God like us, and so when we think of God knowing something, we think that He knows it like we do. That is, we tend to think of God knowing geometry like we do. He simply has a set of truths and facts memorized and He uses those facts to build things. The problems is that those geometric facts and truths cannot exist outside of God. God does not memorize a set of facts, the facts come into being by His will. Without God willing it, there is no geometry.
This trouble is part of the problem we have with God's foreknowledge of human events. We have the idea that God, somewhere back in "time", started this thing called "creation." After He created things, He sort of looked down the corridor of time into the future to see what would happen. The problem with that is that God did not simply create "Creation" and let it go. He actively ordained whatever comes to pass. Indeed, things cannot come to pass apart from His will because it is by His will that all things consist and hold together (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; 2:10). God is actively sustaining the universe at this very moment, and it cannot exist independently of His will. So God's foreknowledge of something cannot simply mean that God is simply seeing how things will "play out." He has decreed everything that comes to pass.
Another thing that Christians ought to agree on is that everything comes to pass precisely the way God means for them to, and that the end result of the universe is assured. Think on the implications of the Book of Revelation. John saw, over a thousand years ago, what will certainly come to pass at some unknown time in the future. He saw all of the future redeemed, indeed, he saw the full number of them. Each individual that John saw must certainly be there, and every tongue and tribe and nation will certainly be there. The end is assured. Every redeemed soul that John saw will certainly be redeemed, and every condemned soul will certainly be condemned.
The natural question that arises is to wonder, if God has indeed scripted the history of the universe and everything turns out precisely as He means them to, then how can man be said to be free in any real way? And how does our involvement affect the outcome? And where, if God has ordained all things, does evil come from?
While confusing at first, God's sovereignty in all things will turn out to be a great source of hope if understood correctly. Today we have not answered any questions, we've just made the questions a little clearer. Soon, we'll take a look at some evil things that God predetermined to take place and how that harmonizes with human responsibility.
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