Does God Know The Future

Does God Know What Will Happen in The Future? Why Does He Regret?

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Does God have exhaustive knowledge of what will happen in future?

Why does He regret making Man after the flood?

Why does He regret making soul?

In the Bible there are places where God has regretted something He did. When you read 1 Samuel 15:11, 35 – 11“I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” 35 And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that He made Saul king over Israel. (ESV)

Why did God did regret what He did?  Has God regretted anything He has done in my life? In Genesis 6:6, God regretted making man (And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.)

This awakens a deep disturbance in our hearts. If God knows all things and sees all things and hears all things, then why would He regret something He did? If God knew what Saul was going to do before He created the earth, why wouldn’t He put someone else in charge?

The confession of the church of Jesus Christ throughout all time has overwhelmingly affirmed that God knows all things. He knows everything that has ever taken place. He knows everything that ever will take place. This is part of what it means to be God; to know all things, past, present and future. If you were to go through the annals of church history, you would find an overwhelming agreement on this issue. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A. D.) believed this. In his book, “The City of God,” he wrote, “to confess, that God exists, and at the same time to deny that He has foreknowledge of future things, is the most manifest folly.” [1]All of the Reformers believed this: Martin Luther, John Calvin, and even James Arminius. John Calvin wrote, “God foresees future events only by reason of the fact that he decreed that they take place.” [2]

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In recent years, there has been a theological movement that would deny the exhaustive foreknowledge of God. There are those among us today deny that God knows everything about the future. They say that much of the future is undetermined and unknown, so, of course, God cannot know it. Those who believe this are often called “Open Theists” in the sense that they believe that God is open to all sorts of possibilities for the future. Sometimes this system of thinking is referred to as “Open Theism” or the “Open View of God.”

Open theism, also known as the Open view, teaches that God learns, that He gains knowledge as He discovers what people decide to do.  They teach this because they believe that God does not know the future. Therefore God learns what happens as things occur. Unfortunately, the logical problem is that God could then make mistakes. Just as we make mistakes because we do not know what will happen, so can the God of open theism. He could make a prediction that could fail. He might expect someone to repent who does not. He might believe that one thing will happen and yet it fails to occur. These would be mistakes on God’s part.

What are the ramifications of such a position?  Very simple.  It casts doubt on such a God who can make mistakes.  Is such a God trustworthy?  Is God who is supposed to be holy, righteous, and perfect in all his ways, capable of making mistakes?  Is this someone that you should trust with the awesome responsibility of saving your soul?

We see no value, no security in looking to a God who is described as being limited to the knowledge of the present and who makes mistakes in His hopes and expectations. Such a God must learn, grow in knowledge, can be affected by what we do, and must change according to the “free will” choices of his creation.

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Over forty years ago, A. W. Tozer wrote, “The gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that compose the church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God.”[3]

Tozer goes on to explain how important it is that our minds conceive God as nearly as possible to what God is actually like. It’s not what we say about God that is important. It’s not what we know about God that is important. Of utmost in importance is what we believe deep in our hearts and are convinced God is like. Tozer writes, “our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well.”

And Tozer is so right. If our view of God is wrong, it will affect many areas of our life. It will affect our prayer life. It will affect our worship. It will affect our evangelism. It will affect our confidence. It will affect our faith in God. But perhaps most important, it will affect how we respond to the difficulties that come your way. Trials are coming in our life. When they come, we will find comfort only in a God who is entirely in control of the situation, and committed to your good and His greater glory.

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If we think that God doesn’t know the future, we are headed for difficult times. When the tragedy strikes our lives, and we are completely confused as to why it took place, we won’t find comfort in a God who is equally as surprised at the turn of events as we are.

This is how life works. When we see God as He really is (entirely sovereign and ruling and reigning upon this earth), we can stand firm in the midst of incredible difficulties in life. We can do this, precisely because we know that God’s ways are perfect and nothing has caught God off guard and all things are proceeding according to His plan. The open view of God undermines all of these things!

If God is ignorant of certain things, then He does know all things and His understanding is not infinite.  But, the Bible speaks against such error: “in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things,” (1 John 3:20). “Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite,” (Ps. 147:5).

 

 

[1] Augustine, City of God, Book 5, chapter 9.

[2] John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Section 6.

[3] A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, pp. 1-2.

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Steve Onguko

Steve Onguko

Steve Onguko is a youth pastor at CITAM Thika Road

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