Before reading about God’s Omniscience and free will, consider if you were given any choice options before reading this passage. Could your independent volition play a role in this decision, or perhaps it was predetermined, and you did not pause to consider it at all?
If God exists, it has complete knowledge of all things, encompassing both what has been and what is yet to come. This implies that everything, including our choices and actions, has been predetermined by this power. Therefore, the concept of free will becomes obsolete, as our paths are already set in motion. However, some might argue that the existence of free will negates the idea of a higher power, suggesting that our choices and actions are not predetermined but rather the result of our own volition. Let’s shed some light on the concept of “entanglement” and demonstrate that God’s omniscience and free will are not in conflict.
God’s Omniscience and Free Will
The concept of God implies a being with a set of attributes, including omnipresence, infinity, omnipotence, and omniscience. Omniscience is a fundamental property of God, meaning that God possesses absolute knowledge and understanding of all things, past, present, and future. In other words, God’s omniscience implies that God is all-knowing and has complete awareness of everything that has ever existed or will exist. Without this attribute, an entity cannot be considered God.
Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism, among other influential religions, all hold the belief that God possesses unlimited knowledge.
One Instance From the Bible That We Can Mention Is the Passage That States God Has Knowledge of Us Even Before Our Birth.
I knew you before you were even formed in the womb and before you were born, I sanctified you; I chose you to be a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Allah’s All-Knowing Nature: A Central Tenet of Islam
In the Quran verse 49:16, it is mentioned to reflect upon the fact that Allah is already aware of your beliefs and thoughts; there is no need to inform Him about them explicitly. Allah’s knowledge encompasses everything that exists in the heavens and on earth. He is all-knowing.
One Example of Similar Teachings in the Vedas
Oh, humanity, Brahma is truly all-powerful and without physical form. It cannot be manipulated or shattered into pieces. It is pure, flawless, present everywhere, and all-knowing… (Yajur Veda 8:40)
God possesses knowledge of not just the events that have occurred and those that will occur but also has a comprehensive understanding of all potential situations that did not happen but could have.
The term “free will” encompasses various meanings, contexts, and interpretations, prompting intricate debates that have spanned across our history.
The concept of free will can be simplified to the ability to determine one’s own actions. This means that as long as we possess the capacity to choose, whether in our thoughts or physical actions, we exercise free will. It is crucial to distinguish between free will and the limitations that may restrict our actions in any given situation. Could you tell me what that distinction involves? For instance, imagine if someone were to hold a gun against your head and coerce you into reading this text (though I sincerely hope this is not the case). In such circumstances, you may feel like you need to comply with the order. However, it is still within your power to let you know, regardless of the potential consequences. Hence, we can affirm that free will persists, even in situations where we are effectively coerced into a particular choice.
Instead, free will is absent when we lack the capacity to choose from multiple alternatives. For instance, consider a computer program that is designed to perform a single, predetermined action without the ability to deviate from that course of action.
Although someone may desire to perform a physically or logically impossible action, such as flying into the clouds, traveling through time, or seeing through walls, it does not necessarily mean that free will does not exist. Instead, it simply means that free will does not extend to physically and logically impossible things.
Free Will Is Present as Long as Our Actions and Thoughts Are Not Predetermined
The notion that everything is predetermined has been explored in various studies, focusing on the genetic level. While these findings may raise questions about the validity of free will, they do not necessarily imply that individuals cannot make conscious decisions in all situations. Instead, they suggest that certain behaviors may be more likely to occur in given circumstances, but the power to make choices remains.
God and Time
The concept of time can be interpreted in various ways depending on the perspective, whether it be scientific, philosophical, mythological, or otherwise. The discussions surrounding time are vast and never-ending within scientific and philosophical realms. The average person perceives time as a linear progression of moments, dividing it into past, present, and future, as noted by St. Aurelius.
Eternal Knowledge Beyond Time
In the earlier section, we pondered whether or not God has predetermined all things. In fact, if God possesses complete knowledge, including knowledge of future events, does that mean everything is predestined? Are all aspects of our lives already determined without our awareness?
The concept of God doing something “in advance” raises questions about the nature of time and its relationship to divine action. If God created time, as we have previously discussed, then the idea of God acting before or in anticipation of a particular event or situation becomes problematic. Without time, it’s difficult to understand what it means for God to act “in advance” or to plan for the future. How can we make sense of this idea when time itself is a creation of God?
Unlike us, who exist within a time, God exists outside of time; God’s perspective on what we refer to as the past or the future is distinct from ours.
You Have the Ability to Make Choices and Act Upon Them
By choosing to read this text, you have exercised your free will. God is aware of your decision and accepts responsibility for it, as he is all-knowing and not restricted by time. However, if you had decided to do something else, God would still have been aware of that decision and would have accepted responsibility for it, as time constraints do not limit him.
Grasping the concept of God’s timeless existence allows us to reconcile the idea of human free will with God’s all-knowing nature, alleviating concerns that our autonomy is compromised by divine foreknowledge.