Free Will, Really?

Q. I have a question that’s been bothering me like crazy lately. If God knows everything before it happens, then He knows what we are going to do before we do it, so how is that free will? Its like He knows this person is going to hell and that one to heaven and He cannot be surprised, so why was he mad at Adam and Eve if he knew they were going to eat from the tree?

A. God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). But knowing the future is not the same as controlling it. We are still free to make our own choices. God simply knows what our choices will be and how they will effect our lives. He does everything possible to guide us into the correct choices, but at the end of the day how we live our life is always our choice to make, not His. Believe me, if God was making our choices for us, things would turn out a lot better for everyone.

The Bible does not say God was mad at Adam and Eve, but He certainly had a right to be. He only gave them one rule and told them in advance there would be consequences if they broke it (Genesis 2:16-17). And sadly, they were only the first to willfully disobey God.

Imagine how frustrating it must be for Him, knowing we’re going down the wrong road, and knowing what a mess we’ll make of things, but knowing it’s our right to do so. If you have any teenaged children you have experienced a little of this. Multiply that by the billions who have lived since Adam and you’ll get a glimpse of how God must feel.

I think Jesus may have voiced this frustration best when He said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (Matt. 23:27-39).

Dear Lord, we thank You for making it impossible for us to mess up our eternal destiny with you, because You know if we could we surely would. Amen.

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