No. God cannot know the future. God can only know the present. He can only know the NOW.

How does God know a future that He did not determine? It is impossible. It just is. Which is why I cannot accept that God knows the future. No event exists until it comes to pass…how is this not axiomatic to everyone? There is no future to know because the future isn’t yet real.  How can God know something that does not exist?  And if it does, but it has not yet come to pass by any volition of man, the God must have created it, because only two things exist:  God, and whatever He creates.  So, again, if there is something God proclaims is REAL, like a perfectly KNOWN future, then He must have been the one to ordain it, because, since it doesn’t exist to man, man COULD NOT have created it.  Man cannot make choices himself that he hasn’t yet made.  So if God declares a future “choice” made, then HE must have made it, because man could not have, because the future, by definition, is not yet.

I’m still unclear why this poses such a challenge to the thinking of Christians.  If we declare a future already known by God then He must have determined it.  Thus, there is NO free choice because you cannot have a choice that is pre-determined by God.  Choice is a total illusion. Choice is not a paradox; it is not a mystery; it is lie.

I am not trying to be difficult, I am just stating a fact. God cannot know the future if He didn’t determine it.  And if He didn’t determine it then it isn’t fixed, which means He can’t know it perfectly. Which means He isn’t God. If God, who creates time, declares something to exist BEFORE it is brought about then He must be the One who created it. And if He determines our choices then they are not really our choices.

I maintain that the only way God can know what happens is WHEN it happens…He only knows our choices W”HEN we make them.  Anything less is in fact determinism. If not, I would love to know how that squares with metaphysical reason.  What we need to do then is reconcile this fact with how it might look to US when an eternal, omnipresent God interacts and speaks to humans. Will it look like He knows the future? Does He declare future events? Well sure, but that doesn’t mean they are the future to HIM. We have no problem conceding that God can be everywhere at once. Why then can we not concede that He, since reality and the universe is both space AND time, is also everyWHEN at once. And if He is, then there is no future to Him. He cannot know the future because God, by definition, has no future.

Can someone please explain to me what relevance there is in God knowing the future.  Why does God have to know the future?  That is, why is it important to Him? What difference does it make whether He knows it or not?  If He doesn’t know it, will His plans somehow be thwarted? What purpose of God; what power of God; what NEED of God is there in knowing the future?  How does knowing the future do anything but diminish His omnipotence?

Come on people!  Think about it!  Do you worship an omnipotent God or a God who is influenced by the same reality as we are?  What is a future to God who is in ALL time?  How can God possibly know a future that HE is IN already?  And if He is in it already, how is it the future?  How is the past the past? How can God predetermine anything if everything is NOW to Him?  God creates!  God doesn’t “know” or have a “future” or “past” in a way that you and I would think of it.  What is there for God to know?  What is there in a “future” that doesn’t include Him?  And if God knows all things, it is because He created them, and He exists NOW to everything, so knowledge and time are moot and irrelevant and redundant to God.  God CREATES!  A being that creates everything NOT HIM has no need to know anything.  He only has to BE.

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6 thoughts on “No. God cannot know the future. God can only know the present. He can only know the NOW.

  1. Thanks I was thinking along similar lines, when people list the qualities of god they say “he” (I will use the term “he” as a shorthand for God as he is loosely desribed in this way many times) can see the future but to me this is similar to god making a square triangle. It just doesn’t exist. I couldn’t find any scripture stating that God had such an ability, only that he knew everything. We don’t know how time works precisly and therefore cannot make assumptions about gods abilities, if time is linear then there never is set future and not even the past exists in the sense that anything can interact with it. The only thing that would exist would be the present as it progresses, and with that it is only possible for god to know everything that has happened and everything that is currently happening and nothing else.

    The only way to think he could know the future is if physical particles that we observe (or are yet to be observerd) determine what will happen and act or interact in a way that is measurable and repeatable i.e. not random. It is basically saying that our minds at the smallest lever are just chemical (the smallest physical unit that makes up everything) and other interactions that make up our thoughts and decisions, in this way we are decieved into thinking that we have free will, and god could determine how things would interact and play out for as far into the future as he wanted.

    However, we assume that god is not just a physical being and in this way any decision he would make would change how the future would end up, if he wanted he could change the direction of one of these smallest physical units that make up everything we know and it could have a butterfly effect and change many much more substantial things than the direction it is travelling in. So unless he knows what all of his own future decisions will be based on the future interactions that he has forsaw and the way that he will interact with those reactions then the future cannot be truly mapped, even by God.

  2. Frank,

    Welcome! Thank you for sharing. This is an excellent comment. You really sum it up nicely with this “It is basically saying that our minds at the smallest lever are just chemical (the smallest physical unit that makes up everything) and other interactions that make up our thoughts and decisions, in this way we are decieved into thinking that we have free will…”

    Right. In essence, there is really no such thing as SELF; what we consider, think, believe, etc. are nothing more than determined particle interactions, driven by some unseen and mysterious determining force. Which means that we cannot pretend to be aware of anything at all. And all arguments become moot, because understanding is impossible because no one really exists. We are all merely EFFECT by an unknowable cause.

    This business of time being an actual and causal force is really quite silly when you think about it.

  3. Well said, both of you! I’ve been teaching my children truths along similar lines. To me it’s pretty simple actually and I’m not sure why Christians don’t get it. If God knows the “future” per say, they we are nothing more than robots. Not having free will or the ability to choose. The Bible shows us in many different verses that God gets angry when we make certain bad choices. He got angry with Satan, angry with Moses and many others. It also reads in various areas that God knows what’s happening as it happens. He knows the desires of our hearts (as parents to children) and as God of the eternal past I would believe He has a pretty good idea of what choice one might make in most circumstances however, the fact that He gets angry alone, proves He did not predestine our choices. That would go against His very own word. On the other aspect of the spectrum, being all powerful He has the ability to end His creation at will. He has the ability to finish what He started. Is specifically stated that Jesus Himself doesn’t know when God the Father is going to send Him back to earth “but only the father knows” and so Jesus being a part of the triune “Godhead” is “limited” in a sense to knowing what His Father has in store for Him. He could see and determine the outcome of His creation undoubtedly. I explain it like this… A man could create a basketball and invent the game. He could teach the game to others and the rules to play. He can show them how to win and how to lose and he could also take his ball and go home whenever he desires. He would get upset at those who cheat, he would be pleased with those that play fair. He invented the game and can end the game. He is not subject to the game. The game is subject to him. He is the referee and he calls the shots. He is the owner and inventor of of the game. The fact that he has the ability to “take his ball and go home” whenever he wants, in a sense, could be interpreted by some as “knowing the furure of the game”. After watching so many games, he has a great idea of whether “John is going to miss he 3 pointer (as John always does). He is pleased with John when he sees John practice to play better and he is upset when John doesn’t take the game seriously. If John cheats, John is disqualified, but John can get another chance to play.

  4. It disturbs me when people like yourselves have so many opinions of God when you lack Biblical understanding. First of all knowing the future does not provoke people’s will in any way. God is NOT subordinate to time because he created it. There’s hundreds of predictions that have come to pass historically and Biblically. This is how God authenticates his message to us. They are 5,843 ancient manuscripts that prove the authenticity of the Biblical texts. These manuscripts were written by 40 authors over a span of 1400 years and all “somehow” are in perfect unity and consistency. The verse below describes Gods will clearly when it comes to time.
    9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

    10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
    IS 46:9-10
    I suggest you atheist or agnostic do your research before posting hear say.

  5. Paul,

    Your comment is full of errors of reason, logic, and awareness.

    1. “Biblical understanding” is not an argument. Citing the Bible as truth just because it’s the bible is an appeal not to reason, but to Authority. And thus, it’s not biblical understanding you are promoting, but slavish obedience to dogma.

    2. If what is in the future exists now, then now has nothing to do with it. In which case, what is chosen and done by the will of men has no bearing on the future, which, being known by God, is already set. So, sorry, but to claim that God knows the future indeed nullifies man’s will by making what he does in the present utterly pointless.

    The future doesn’t exist until it’s the present, precisely because man has will. And not even God can know what doesn’t yet exist.

    The truth is that time is merely an abstraction. One of many concepts man uses to cognitively organize his environment. It doesn’t exist as an actuality; a thing which has distinctness of being. Past, present, future are all merely abstract subsets of the “temporal continuum” which is just a fancy way of saying that a timeline cannot have a beginning or an end without contradicting itself (that which IS the beginning and the end cannot also HAVE a beginning or an end). So time is really just another way of defining and rendering “infinity”. That is, time is like mathematics. It takes infinity and organizes it into sets. Then massages those sets to man’s benefit.

    3. I don’t necessarily dispute the authenticity of biblical manuscripts. But this authenticity is not a validation nor a proof of your particular interpretation of the text. In order for your peculiar doctrine to be shown true, you must prove that it is rationally consistent. Which you cannot do, so you use the club of “biblical authority” as a a “proof” of your completely subjective interpretation. In other words, you threaten, you don’t reason. Agree with me, or else, is your basic strategy. This is what the Church has been doing for thousands of years, and why Christianity in the world has show itself one of the most power-hungry, bloodthirsty ideologies in history. Thankfully, in America today, your “or else” is a relatively toothless and empty threat to anyone not already brainwashed by the cults of today’s false teachers and prophets who lord their “calling” as God’s chosen ecclesiasty over the willfully ignorant laity. But history has shown again and again that when “believers” like yourself are able to wrest the monopoly of State power, you work out the “benevolence” of your “Christian” sensibilities with all the compassion and holy truth of a horde of rampaging Huns.

    Finally, I am not an atheist nor an agnostic. In this, you are also mistaken.

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