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Daily devotional - The Gift of God's Word - Someone, wearing a gray sweater, holding a Bible to their chest. Daily devotional - The Gift of God's Word - Someone, wearing a gray sweater, holding a Bible to their chest.

Questions and Answers | God Knows Everything

God knows everything that will happen. For example, Jesus said to Peter that “today—yes, tonight— before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times” (Mark 14:30). But if He foreknew that Peter would deny Him, then Peter had to deny Him. So, why are we considered sinful, since nobody can change what He already knows will happen?

Only God can “declare...what is yet to come” (Isa.44:7) because He is all-knowing. His knowledge is perfect in that He knows all past, present, future, hypothetical facts, and believes no falsehoods. However, as you suggest, we cannot suppose that His foreknowledge determines our acts, since we are morally responsible for what we do.

“Fatalism” (as this question suggests) implies that we are not accountable for sin, yet the Bible teaches that “each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Rom. 14:12). Notably, Peter did not blame Christ for causing his denial, but “broke down and wept” (Mark 14:72) upon realizing that he had sinned.

Our freedom does not nullify God’s foreknowledge. “Open theists” maintain that the future is unknowable and insist that, while God knows the past and present, He is ignorant of the future, since there is literally nothing to know. This belief is patently unbiblical. Scripture proves that God knows the future. Moreover, future tense statements, such as “the next president will be a woman,” are either true or false now. Surely, an all- knowing being knows future facts.

Christ’s foreknowledge did not cause Peter to deny Him three times. Quite the opposite, Peter’s impending, free denial caused Christ’s foreknowledge. In our limited view, we naturally suppose that cause A must occur before effect B. But in this case, the cause—namely, Peter’s denial—occurred after the effect, namely, Christ’s knowledge of Peter’s denial. If Peter had freely refrained from denying Christ, then this foreknowledge would have been different.

Although God foreordains everything (see Acts 4:27–28; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:5), He does not determine our acts. Both are true: God foreknows everything that will happen, and, at the same time, we are free. We need not concede either that God’s foreknowledge nullifies human freedom or that human freedom nullifies God’s foreknowledge.

BY Sanjay Merchant

Sanjay Merchant is Professor of Theology at Moody Bible Institute and a teaching pastor at Northshore Christian Church in Everett, Washington. He earned his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University School of Religion, and Master’s degrees from Biola University. He enjoys helping his students wrestle with hard questions of the faith, teaching courses on philosophy, theology, and apologetics. Sanjay and his wife, Erin, have four children and reside in Roselle, Illinois.

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