This may come as a shock but I was wondering, is it said in the bible that God knows everything? Or is it assumed? Because if God were to know everything, he must also know the future. If this knowledge exists then the future must be predetermined. In result, the free will we see would only be an illusion to a plan that has already been predetermined in his head.
We know about the past and the present. What about the future? Let’s begin with the idea of Time.
Jesus declared His timeless existence both backward and forward when He said to John: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13).
Psalm 90:3 reveals God’s perspective on time. In comparing the shortness of human life with the eternal span of God’s life, Moses wrote: “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by…” In other words, a long time to us is a short time to God. Of course, Moses was speaking metaphorically and not literally. Nevertheless, it is fun to play with this idea.
One day I and figured out that according to Moses, one year on earth equals about 90 seconds in Heaven.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get from wives whose husbands have died is, “Will he miss me?”
I respond, “Let’s say you outlive your husband by ten years. Will he miss you? Well, if one year on earth equals 15 seconds in Heaven, what that means is that your husband died and went to heaven, and fifteen minutes later, here you come! He’s probably still waiting in line to see Jesus.
According to Albert Einstein time is relative depending on the speed of the observer (the faster we go the more time slows down) and the proximity of the observer to the gravitational field of a massive body (the more massive the body, the slower time goes). In fact, at the event horizon of a black hole all time stops. Does this mean that eternity has already started there? Probably not; but the thought is intriguing. The only constant in the universe is the speed of light (although this precept is now considered questionable).
So, now we know a little bit about time, let’s get a little more intrigued as we consider whether or not God knows the future.
The implications of quantum mechanics in this area are astounding. Two stand out in considering your question.
First, in our universe time can move forward and/or backward.
Imagine that a gun is fired at you and moments later the bullet enters your body. There is nothing unusual about this scenario—except that the chance of you ever being shot are minimal. But, in our universe, time can also flow backward. In backward time, the bullet his you before the gun is fired. Impossible to imagine but backward time is quite real.
By the way, God could just as easily have created our universe with backward time instead of forward time.
The point is that God is not limited by time. He transcends time. We have a God Who moves just as easily in the future as in the past and present.
Second, downward causation is a foundational truth of quantum mechanics.
In the micro world we can cause subatomic particles to behave as we desire. We can set up experiments which predetermine just how a particular particle will behave. Our observation and choices predetermine their behaviors. Causation only moves down, never up. This means that while we can affect behavior and even existence in the micro world, we can not affect the behavior of things in dimensions larger than ours. God works downward to cause and bring into existence our world. The implication is that all of our activities are determined by God’s observations and choices. But, wait, don’t stop here.
Now, Unknown, you can imagine that there is much more involved in God knowing the future and predetermining our behaviors than can be found in the scientific world. While science can give us insight into the material world, there is still a spiritual world that affects everything.
We can begin to answer your individual questions in turn.
First you asked, “This may come as a shock but I was wondering, is it said in the bible that God knows everything? Or is it assumed?”
The answer is that many verses confirm the fact that God knows everything. I’ll share several examples.
“The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows!” (Joshua 22:22).
“For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20).
“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:10).
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
Second you asked, “Because if God were to know everything, he must also know the future.”
Again, many Bible verses affirm His knowledge of the future. Here is one example: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).
One of the most astounding proofs that God knows the future regards the many predictions God made about the coming of Jesus which were all fulfilled.
Gerry Peters.com has compiled a list of Biblical prophecies which all came true in Jesus. They came true because God looked into the future and revealed them to us.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, there are 300 predictions about Jesus Christ the Messiah. 48 specific details about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. What are the probabilities of OT prophecies about Christ becoming reality?
Birth in Bethlehem from tribe of Judah,
Preceded by messenger
Enter Jerusalem on a Colt
Betrayed by a friend
Hands and feet would be pierced
Wounded by enemies
Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
Spit on and beaten
Betrayal money would be thrown in the Temple and then given to Buy a potter’s field
He would be silent before His accusers
He would be crucified with thieves
People would gamble for his garments
His side would be pierced
No bones would be broken
Body would not decay
Buried in a rich man’s tomb
Darkness would cover the earth. Remember, he was crucified on Passover…full moon…eclipse impossible.
The probability of these 17 Bible prophecies occurring is equal to 1 chance in 480 Billion X 1 Billion X 1 Trillion or 1 in 480,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 This is a calculated number through scientific study by Auticians. It’s NOT a guess.
Here’s my point: We have scientific proof that God knows the future. He knows our future. His predictions are right 100% of the time.
Third, you asked: “If this knowledge exists then the future must be predetermined. In result, the free will we see would only be an illusion to a plan that has already been predetermined in his head.
Just because God knows the future in no way means that He has determined in advance exactly what that future will be. Free will does not stop being free because God knows what will happen. When my children were small I knew for certain that when offered a bowl of chocolate ice cream and a bowl of raw spinach, they would go for the ice cream every time. My knowing this in no way took away there free choice to choose one dish over the other.
Free choice is not predetermined. However the issue of predetermination is inherent in answering your question. As referred to earlier, the idea of downward causation seems to infer that everything that happens is determined by God. However, I tend to see in downward causation an indication that God has His “fingers” in everything that happens on earth. However we sort these concepts out, there is no doubt that we are certainly free to make all kinds of choices entirely on our own. Jesus solidified our free will ability when He invited “whosoever will” to come to Him for salvation (John 3:16).
By the way, you may have heard of a relatively recent theological development among evangelical Christians known as “open theism.” The proponents of this nonclassical view postulate a God of limited omniscience who is unable to know all because He, like us, has yet to experience the future. God Himself is open to new experiences and to discovering new events as world history unfolds.
I chuckled when the proponents of open theology made such a splash and caused such turmoil among evangelical ranks back in the early 1990s. Proponents continue to this day. Unfortunately, their understanding of time is limited. A little exposure to the nature of time in our universe would have precluded their foolishness.
Now, let’s get personal. What I want to know is: “Does God have my life in His hands? Does He have good things in store for me and for my future?
Fortunately, when I turn to the Bible, I find plenty to give me hope that I’m not on my own. I have a God Who is intricately and lovingly involved in everything I do—past, present and future. Let me share a few verses that focus on God’s care and security for our futures.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely” (Psalm 139:1-4).
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11-12).
Well, Unknown, even though I don’t know who you are, there is a God in Heaven Who knows you very well. Fortunately, He has wonderful plans for you. I hope you enjoy them.