If God is all knowing, and he knows the choices we will make, do we really have

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  1. wandererh profile image68
    wandererhposted 11 years ago

    If God is all knowing, and he knows the choices we will make, do we really have free will?

    If God knows everything, and he knows all the choices that we are going to make before we are even confronted with the choice, how can it be that we have free will?  The only way for us to have free will is for God not to know the choices that we are going to make, effectively making God not all-knowing.

  2. ackman1465 profile image62
    ackman1465posted 11 years ago

    Wanderer:  Questions such as this, which - when answered - reveal the circularity of much of what is known as "religion," are not welcome by those who are "religious"....    Wait a day or two and you will likely find that my reply (this one) will be relegated to the "...answer hidden due to negative feedback..." at the bottom of the page.

    I often wonder of the real conviction of those who make a claim (say, of strong religious beliefs)... then rely upon silencing anyone who disputes them... as a  means of supporting/defending his/her position......

    1. wandererh profile image68
      wandererhposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I'm sorry to say that I agree with you, but hope that those who do it are in the minority.

    2. ptosis profile image68
      ptosisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      at this comment post it is +4 and -1

  3. BrianMI6 profile image58
    BrianMI6posted 11 years ago

    The idea of "free will" is very tricky as it has to be defined.  What do you mean by this?  That anyone can do anything ever?  Even God does not have free will then because the Bible says in multiple places that God cannot lie.

    Under such a definition, people wouldn't have free will because we cannot conjure up a new species of animal from nothing as God does.  So is our will free?

    Even if you don't bring the supernatural, most people can't walk out today and buy a $50 million dollar yacht.  Does that mean some people who can have a "freer" will than those who can't?

    I don't believe in free will in as commonly (mis)understood.

    1. vector7 profile image61
      vector7posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I'm speechless. As in, the question is answered in full much more understandably than I have answered it previously. Looks like my sentiments on paper. [or screen rather]

      Double that statement above. I'd quote it if asked.

    2. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Free will implies you have the right to do whatever your human capabilities and mentality will allow you to do. Because you cannot afford an yacht does not mean you do not have free will.

    3. Sheepsquatch profile image63
      Sheepsquatchposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      God has the ability to lie, but by his nature he would not lie.

  4. krillco profile image85
    krillcoposted 11 years ago

    Think of it this way: if a parent knows a child so well that they can predict what the child will do in a particular situation, we do not say that the child does not have free will, just that the parent 'knows' what the child will do. It's the same with me and God. But because God is God and I am me, I cannot 'know' very far into the future what my son will do, or be ABSOLUTELY sure of what he will do. God knows absolutely, forever into the future. Most of us can grasp the concept of 'forever' as a long time, but have a tough time understanding that God both is 'forever' and 'has always been'. The latter is hard to grasp. So too, is the idea that we have free will but God knows our whole life in advance of our living it.

    1. wandererh profile image68
      wandererhposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      If God already knows everything down to the most minute of details, how can that be compatible with free will?  I just can't see how the concept of an all-knowing God and free will can coexist.

    2. backporchstories profile image73
      backporchstoriesposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You can even take this a step farther.  As parents we often watch our child and can see what step he is going to make next, but we let him take that step, even if it means failing.  It is through the mistakes that the child will learn. So it is with

    3. profile image0
      Starmom41posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      or think of it this way:  if you watch a movie on t.v. that you've seen before, you "know" everything that's going to happen in it, but you don't "control" what's going to happen- each of the characters is "doing his own thing."

  5. Civil War Bob profile image60
    Civil War Bobposted 11 years ago

    I cogitate on this subject in my hub, "Free Will, Free Willy, Freed Will, and Willfully Free For Now" that you may find interesting.

    1. vector7 profile image61
      vector7posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      What a title CWB! lol. Caught my interest, will check it out.

  6. d.william profile image74
    d.williamposted 11 years ago

    The caricature that humans put on God is superfluous to reality.   Religions portray God as a man looking down on humanity and judging others to decide who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. 
    Anyone with any iota of intelligence knows that this cannot be correct.   We waste way too much time trying to ascertain what this "human caricature" might think of us, when we should be spending our time gaining knowledge, spreading love, and helping others.
    If you consider the universal Oneness as a single entity you will drive yourself crazy trying to decide what is right and what is wrong.  Simply because what is wrong for me (in my mind) is not necessarily wrong for others (in their minds).  We DO all have free will, but only in the extent of what we do with our own lives, and the choices we make.  There are no wrong decisions unless those decisions harm someone else.  So, why would any intelligent spirit be interested in whether you or i make the wrong decisions or not? 
    The God that you aspire to is sexless, (not male or female), and therefore has no vested interest in what humans do in the privacy of their own homes.  Saying that God wants us to do ANYTHING in life is purely speculation, as no one has ever seen God,  or heard God speak, other that within their own minds, or from ancient voices in writings that are certainly not reality.
    I cannot understand the mentality of anyone who would spend their entire lives worrying about what some imaginary entity thinks of what we do on a daily basis.   It is no wonder that there is so much mental illness and negativity in this world.

    1. IDONO profile image60
      IDONOposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      So, why would anyone do anything good for another person? Is life real or just an extreme imaginary entity that will drive me nuts. If you think there is no God, you'd better be right!

    2. d.william profile image74
      d.williamposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      If you are going to comment on a comment make sure you read the comment you are commenting on and understand it before making your comment.  Your comment makes no sense in response to mine.

    3. ptosis profile image68
      ptosisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I thought god was all sexes, Adamas before split into 2, also the Hebrew name has both male & female "endings" (English doesn't have this feature in the language)

  7. SidKemp profile image87
    SidKempposted 11 years ago

    I think we cannot answer this question from our current perspective, living inside time as we do. The knowing nature of God may be more a matter of embracing and loving, rather than factual knowing. If we think more in terms of relationship than in terms of intellect, then a God who respects our free will and allows the results to play out, yet knows us in his Love for us is a very reasonable possibility.

  8. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 11 years ago

    We have free will. God knows what we are going to do, right or wrong. We have the free will to change our minds and do the right thing and not the wrong thing. God speaks to his children. Unfortunately, all of his children do not listen.

    1. backporchstories profile image73
      backporchstoriesposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I whole heartedly agree!

    2. ptosis profile image68
      ptosisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Not all choices have a bright line difference of right or wrong. There is no objective "truth" in morality.  - see liarliar hub

    3. lone77star profile image73
      lone77starposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Good points, Larry. Perhaps the last sentence would more accurately be stated, "Unfortunately, not all of his children listen." Worded as you have done means none of His children listen, including Jesus and the angels. I'm sure you didn't mean this.

  9. mintinfo profile image65
    mintinfoposted 11 years ago

    We have free will because God is only all knowing based on the amount of possibilities that exist so far. He is therefore only an intuitive prognosticator. When we assume He knows more we limit ourselves by remaining in the realm of His intuition.

    God is not an entity, He/It is the intelligence of the universe. He is constantly learning, adapting, changing.

    1. wandererh profile image68
      wandererhposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Are you saying that God knows all the different possible futures that can come to pass, but we get to choose which future will actually come to pass?  Hmmm, an all-knowing God and free will.

    2. mintinfo profile image65
      mintinfoposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I am saying that just as we are able to predict the weather to a certain accuracy, the intelligence of the universe can do even better. If makes and takes preventative measures to safeguard its creation.

    3. josh3418 profile image69
      josh3418posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      If He is all knowing but based on certain possibilities, that would only imply that He is not all knowing.  All knowing surpasses every limit, no matter what.

    4. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      God is all knowing of the possibilities or choices we can make. He leaves it up to us to make those choices. Often we make the wrong choices and hopefully we as individuals and as a people can learn and choose to make the right choices.

  10. iantoPF profile image79
    iantoPFposted 11 years ago

    Perhaps a different take;
    When the creator created the universe he also created time. He himself lives outside of time. He is literally yesterday, today and tomorrow. We have complete free will, not because God knows what we WILL do but because He knows what we have DONE. Because he views things from outside of time He can see the end and the beginning.

  11. ptosis profile image68
    ptosisposted 11 years ago


    All I can say is watch the video that explains 10 dimensions @

    This video explains vividly and simply how we are basically blind moles that only see a thin layer of our entire existence. Perhaps God is an entity that experiences reality on a higher dimension and appears to us as all-knowing.

    The second part of the question deals with the idea of justice. From the url http://www.naturalism.org/soul_of_law.htm is an excerpt that might help.

    "Free will as we ordinarily understand it is an illusion generated by our cognitive architecture. Retributivist notions of criminal responsibility ultimately depend on this illusion, and, if we are lucky, they will give way to consequentialist ones, thus radically transforming our approach to criminal justice."

    And if freedom is an illusion then the god of Abraham is unjust. - ChaosFreeWill

  12. Sheepsquatch profile image63
    Sheepsquatchposted 11 years ago

    If I take a pan with a wooden handle and I go into another room and heat it up really hot. Then I bring it back into the room, and I know that it is hot and you don't know that it is hot. I know that you will let go of the pan after I hand it to you. Does that make me God, and take away your freewill?

  13. wingedcentaur profile image66
    wingedcentaurposted 11 years ago

    Hi wandereh! How's it going?

    Its an interesting question you pose. Tell me: As you see it, how is it that our choices and actions are attached to God's foreknowledge? Say God does know what we are going to do before the event even comes up, how does this predictive ability of God restrict our freedom?

    Does human free will depend upon God's inability to predict our actions and choices?

    Or do you mean to say that, with God, thought and action are unified, so that when 'he' comes to 'know' what we shall do at any given time, 'he' is simultaneously directing us to do x, y, or z?

    If that is what you mean then a better question might be: Is free will achievable? As a corollary to that we might ask: Just how wide or how narrow are our range of options?

    As I said, interesting question, which, as you see, leads to more questions.

    Take it easy!

    1. wandererh profile image68
      wandererhposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Hi wingedcentaur, I think you are confusing predictive ability with control.  The fact that I or God can predict an outcome does not mean that we control the outcome.

  14. CynthiAnn profile image60
    CynthiAnnposted 11 years ago

    God has a life set for each and every one of us.  However, He gives us the choice to Trust in Him and commit our lives to Him.  One of the hardest things to do, for a lot of Christians I have met, is completely give God control of their lives.  It is an act of faith and complete trust in God for someone to drop the "comfortable" life they lead and begin a life that may be "unfamiliar".

    The reason God gave us free will is because He wants us to make the choice to love Him.  He loves us all very dearly and He wants us to know the choices we are making because then when we do come to find Him, it has all the more meaning in our lives.  That's the speculation I've come to so far through my walk with Christ. :-)

  15. wandererh profile image68
    wandererhposted 11 years ago

    Introduction My question on HubPages about whether an all-knowing God and free will are incompatible concepts elicited interesting responses. Our free will is central to who we are and come hell or high water, most of us will choose our free will... read more

  16. josh3418 profile image69
    josh3418posted 11 years ago

    Great question!  Yes God is all knowing, and yes we have free will.  He just knows what we will choose.  We can still make the decision on our own.

  17. yoginijoy profile image65
    yoginijoyposted 11 years ago

    This is a thought provoking question. I am writing a chapter about this very subject for a book I am working on.  It actually comes from a novel written by Gioconda Belli. The novel is about Eve and how she began history by disobeying Elokim (God). She defends herself by saying that she was created to be curious and to enact the first historical act: disobedience! It is a great read. The title is: En el infinito de la palma de la mano. In English: The infinite palm of one's hand (or something like that). Belli is a native  of Nicaragua.

  18. profile image58
    Xeminiposted 11 years ago

    Yes, this is how I look at it. Think of God as a GPS and you are the car. He shows you the path to your desired destination (heaven) and its your choice whether to listenor not. But lets say you go down a street the GPS is telling you not to go. The GPS can't stop you, but he can make another path for you to follow. So you see you do have free will, it's just that God's trying to show you he still cares about what happens to you.

  19. profile image0
    JimMilesposted 11 years ago

    What do you mean when you say "all-knowing"? Would it make Him seem less "knowing" if we said that instead of knowing the EXACT path I will choose in life, He sees all the possible paths I COULD take, grants me the free will to navigate through time as I choose, and therefore is never surprised by my choices.

    But in this sense, the "all-knowing" isn't incompatible with my free will. He's not controlling my choices, He simply knows so much about them that nothing which I could choose falls outside His ability to predict the outcome, or maybe to actually be able to witness it in other dimensions created by all my decisions.

  20. profile image0
    VeronicaInspiresposted 11 years ago

    Yes. God gave all of us free will and the ability to choose our actions; as evidenced through Adam and Eve in the garden.

    But God is available. He is waiting for us to decide to live a path of righteousness and live for Him.

    He's waiting for us to choose Him.

    1. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Well stated.

    2. profile image0
      VeronicaInspiresposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks Larry!


  21. lone77star profile image73
    lone77starposted 11 years ago

    Fascinating question, but a bit misguided.

    The intent seems one of "knocking God off His pedestal" because, logically, he cannot be "all-knowing."

    That really comes down to your definition of "all-knowing." Does it make God less powerful if He allows us to change our minds? I don't think so. If God knows everything that happens at any one moment -- from the beats of your heart, to the texture of your current thoughts and to the bending of the flowers in the breeze on a planet 300 galaxies away -- I'd call that "all-knowing" enough for my purposes. I'm lucky if I can remember what I had for breakfast.

    I'm in the middle of watching a video on YouTube by Dr. Wayne Dyer on the "Power of Intention."

    Suddenly, I felt compelled to come here to share what I just saw.

    Yes, we have "free will." We can do anything we want. But actions have their consequences. You murder someone, you exercise your free will, but you pay the price of that action.

    I was wondering about returning to God. It's something I've spent all of this life and several other lives working on. Suddenly, the question crossed my mind, "If I return to God, would I be restricted in any way? Would I no longer have free will?"

    Then it hit me. Yes, we've always had free will and always will. In the Garden, we had the free will to choose abundance, love and infinite well-being. But we also had the choice of scarcity, hatred and suffering. As soon as we disconnected from God -- turned away from that source of all goodness and abundance -- we found ourselves depending on physical continuity for perception and control. We were no longer spiritual beings in the active sense. We lumbered along from one incarnation to the other in complete oblivion to who we were. We chose this.

    God likely even knows likelihoods -- what we're likely to choose, but He leaves it open for us to change our minds. This is that gray area your question points to. This is the area that God does not know, if there is anything hidden from even Him. Can God see the future? Is the future malleable or written in stone?

    I like to think that our future decisions are not mechanically lock-step connected to the building blocks of the past. Certainly those past conditions will affect us, if we choose to let them, but we can let go of them, too. That "letting go" is the nature of our true power -- discontinuity with physical commensurability. This is at the heart of true forgiveness and even creation itself.

    1. wandererh profile image68
      wandererhposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The intent of the question has never been to "knock God off his pedestal", but to highlight that it appears that an all-knowing God (knowing all of the past, present and future) and the freewill of humans, cannot both be true at the same time.

    2. lone77star profile image73
      lone77starposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      And yet, I disagree. The key area of contention is perhaps future. That is what is malleable, but God knows all possible futures and allows us to pick the one we want for ourselves. Both are true

    3. wandererh profile image68
      wandererhposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Actually, I think we agree.  I think that the best "answer" to this question is a God who knows all possible outcomes, but doesn't know the actual outcome until it happens.  If you're interested, I did write a hub as an answer to this question.


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