My favorite nonessential topic of theology is probably the foreknowledge of God. This involves how and what God knows about the future. Practically, this topic has revolutionized my concept of prayer and allowed me to see a more Jesus-looking version of God. But it’s also a fun way to make your brain work a bit. Consider the following argument from Michael Heiser in his book The Unseen Realm:
“That which never happens can be foreknown by God, but it is not predestined, since it never happened.”
Let’s break this down a bit.
I believe God foreknows things that never happen because God has an infinite ability to foreknow every possible outcome to every possible situation. And each choice we make opens up new possibilities and closes other possibilities. God knows these on and on and on into the future. The scope of this type of knowledge overwhelms us easily. Especially when people with free will interact with others with free will.
Second, predestination is one of the most misunderstood concepts. Calvinists use it to argue that God can predetermine individual choices we will make or at a minimum whether or not we will be one of the saved (they use the word ‘elect’). Personally, I don’t see that type of God in the Scriptures. Instead, we can think of predestination in two ways. Since God foreknows every possible choice, the choice we end up making becomes the predestined choice. God can be surprised when we make a less likely choice considering all of our options, but God isn’t surprised in the sense that God could not have envisioned us making that choice. In addition, God has predestined certain big-picture things, especially as it pertains to what God will do (i.e. Jesus and the means of salvation).
Third, this frees us from the strangling idea of trying to figure out the will of God, as if there is one path forward that is better than all else. You don’t have to live cautiously in fear of missing out if you don’t perfectly discern God’s desire for your life choices (as if any of us could manage that). You can make bad choice after bad choice in your life, and God will still meet you where you are and join you in going somewhere better. This is great news!
You may not love this topic of theology as much as I do, but hopefully, this is a reminder that God looks like Jesus and Jesus is with you at this moment. Your past does not define you, and your future does not elude you.Your past does not define you, and your future does not elude you. Click To Tweet