– part of an ongoing examination of the question: “Does God Exist?” –
Omniscience – that’s another one of those big fancy words.
“All-knowing.” A Supreme Being would certainly have to know everything.
Like, he could never be wrong, huh?
No. He would never mistakenly think that 2 + 2 = 5, for example, or that someone was single when in fact they were married.
But what about the future? Does an all-knowing God know what’s going to happen before it happens?
If God knows everything – all truths – then he has to know what’s going to happen in the future.
That makes sense…
But this is where it gets tricky… Because, if God knows what will happen before it happens, then everything that God knows is going to happen in the future has to happen exactly the way God already knows that it will happen.
You mean, like, the future is set in stone, already determined?
Yes. If God knows what’s going to happen, there’s no getting around it – the future has to happen the way God knows it will happen.
We can’t change our mind? We can’t choose to act in a way different from the way God has already foreseen that we will act?
How can we? If we had the power to act in a way different from the way God thinks we’re going to act, then God would be wrong and he wouldn’t be omniscient. And yet, if God is correct in knowing what we are going to do before we do it, then we have to do exactly that or else God didn’t really know what we were going to do.
Wow, that’s mind-boggling!
Think of it this way… Jesus is the son of God, right?
Yes – so we can assume that he is omniscient, too.
And Jesus told Peter that he, Peter, would deny Christ three times before the sun went down.
Which he did, out of weakness.
But – if Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times before the sun went down before Peter denied him three times before the sun went down, then Peter had no choice, there was nothing else he could do.
To say that “Peter did not deny Christ three times before the sun went down even though Christ knew that Peter would deny him three times before the sun went down” is as illogical a statement as saying that “life did not emerge on earth even though God knew that life would emerge on earth.”
So, what’s the answer, is God all-knowing or not? Any limitations as to what he knows – like, maybe he knows the past and the present but he can’t predict the future?