Can God be surprised?

Since God is eternal, can He be surprised by our decisions?

He certainly seemed surprised when Adam and Eve ate the apple, or was He?

-emily

No, God cannot be surprised. In the story of the fall of Adam and Eve nowhere does the account tell us that he was. He knew perfectly well what they had done, but like a parent who wants to hear his errant child own up to what he has done, God asked Adam and Eve to explain themselves to him.

I don’t see how he can be surprised by things he already knew were going to happen.

Josh

But don’t you think God might like a surprise every now and then? I don’t see how He can be surprised while He knows everything, but I think surprises make life more fun. Of course, I don’t know the mind of God…

Thank you for your ideas so far, and I will look forward to hearing more of them. :slight_smile:

I don’t think He can be surprised, though I’m very sure He can be pleased. I tend to agree with Della, He’s like a parent who wants their errant child to confess.

Now I’m curious as to what would have happened if Adam and Eve just confessed, but that’s an entirely different topic!

God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end…all time belongs to Him. With God, the events of the future have already happened, they are happening now, it’s beyond our human comprehension to understand this. But there is no way God can be surprised since he knows all things.

[quote=california_girl]Since God is eternal, can He be surprised by our decisions?
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I think so.
The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain…but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:5-8

Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” 1 Samuel 15:10-11

[quote=california_girl]But don’t you think God might like a surprise every now and then? I don’t see how He can be surprised while He knows everything, but I think surprises make life more fun. Of course, I don’t know the mind of God…

Thank you for your ideas so far, and I will look forward to hearing more of them. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Because of our fallen natures, we are prone to boredom and are not able to revel in the created world around us as much as we should. So, for humans, sure—surprises “make life more fun”, but only because we are not fully participating in the joy that God gives us. Surprises might be, if anything, something to jolt us into a better appreciation of what already exists. So, no, God cannot–and need not-----be “surprised”.

I guess this brings up the issue of whether God “has fun.”

Is our idea of “pleasing” the same as His? I don’t know when we say we’re made in the image of God, what parts of us that includes and what it doesn’t. Likeness could mean many things; obviously we are an instantiation of independent units of consciousness or being or whatever, which share some of His characteristics.

Some say that God must have a sense of humor, as evidenced by the platypus.

Attributed to G.K. Chesterton:

Being “contented” ought to mean in English, as it does in French, being pleased. Being content with an attic ought not to mean being unable to move from it and resigned to living in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position.

Alan

[quote=california_girl]Since God is eternal, can He be surprised by our decisions?

He certainly seemed surprised when Adam and Eve ate the apple, or was He?

-emily
[/quote]

Do you believe God is omniscient?

[quote=Akanke]Do you believe God is omniscient?
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Yes.

If you can imagine that you are omniscient too, knew the future and past alike, we can’t “feel” it maybe but we can accept the idea. Now, cannot God set up experiments which have random aspects beyond His control? (Such as human free will I assume)

Then again, in order to be able to be surprised in the future, I could probably conclude after some circuitous logic, He should also be able to be surprised by the past since the direction of time is something we assume He doesn’t view like we do as an uncontrolled force.

How could God be surprised by the past? This is a stretch but I like to stretch. It’s easier to imagine something far out and then reign it in, than to always be trying to build up and build up.

God can choose to have a selective memory, compared to what we humans consider “selective memory.” If that’s the case, then God can change His own view of reality of the past, as far as a model for us humans. When He forgives sins he separates them from us as far as east from west and if I’m not mistaken I think He actually remembers them no more. How can God choose not to remember something? If time can go either way with God, then, how much of a stretch that He could arrange it so that human free will is indeed coming in as a surprise to Him?

What if He knows the secrets of our hearts, but does not exactly know how we will respond because He doesn’t want to?

Am I just blowing steam? In case I am, I’ll stop.

Alan

No, God cannot be surprised. In the story of the fall of Adam and Eve nowhere does the account tell us that he was. He knew perfectly well what they had done, but like a parent who wants to hear his errant child own up to what he has done, God asked Adam and Eve to explain themselves to him.

But, why did God a) lie about dying if you eat the fruit and b) leave the tree ungaurded if he knew they were going to disobey?
And doesn’t he then go on to cast them out before they might eat of the tree of life?So he doesn’t know, but just in case. And what about when mankind finally crosses the line and feels god’s wrath…could he be so easily spurred to anger over something he knew was going to transpire? Seems like our free will is full of all sorts of unpleasant surprises for him.

God is Surprise! :smiley:

[quote=Wormwood]But, why did God a) lie about dying if you eat the fruit and b) leave the tree ungaurded if he knew they were going to disobey?
And doesn’t he then go on to cast them out before they might eat of the tree of life?So he doesn’t know, but just in case. And what about when mankind finally crosses the line and feels god’s wrath…could he be so easily spurred to anger over something he knew was going to transpire? Seems like our free will is full of all sorts of unpleasant surprises for him.
[/quote]

He didn’t lie. Do you see Adam and Eve walking around today? Godf gave us all free will. If he put a guard around the tree then there is no choice. God wants us to choose to be good. If he made it so we couldn’t choose to be good or bad -then we have no free will.

[quote=Wormwood]But, why did God a) lie about dying if you eat the fruit and b) leave the tree ungaurded if he knew they were going to disobey?..
[/quote]

I doubt God would lie to His beloved. When He spoke of dying after eating from the tree, He didn’t mean that they would die right away. I think He meant that they would lose eternal life on earth and would have to wait to be saved before being able to live fully with God.

I believe the reason He may have left the tree unguarded because He wanted to give us the chance to make our own decisions. I mean, He gave us a free will, so why not allow us to use it? :smiley:

In a sense, Adam and Eve "died spiritually as well, at the moment they ate of the apple. They lost their closeness with God, suddenly realized they were naked, etc, etc. God’s questions were not posed to them because he did not know the answers, but rather to make them confess aloud (maybe a root of Confession, eh? :wink: ), and verbally acknowledge their sin.

God s omniscient. If He weren’t, He wouldn’t be God. I suggest reading Augustines “Confessions” for a very indepth (though somewhat difficult to read) proof of God’s omniscience, as he explains it far better than I can.

If God is surprised He ain’t God. :eek:

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Yes.

If you can imagine that you are omniscient too, knew the future and past alike, we can’t “feel” it maybe but we can accept the idea. Now, cannot God set up experiments which have random aspects beyond His control? (Such as human free will I assume)

Then again, in order to be able to be surprised in the future, I could probably conclude after some circuitous logic, He should also be able to be surprised by the past since the direction of time is something we assume He doesn’t view like we do as an uncontrolled force.

How could God be surprised by the past? This is a stretch but I like to stretch. It’s easier to imagine something far out and then reign it in, than to always be trying to build up and build up.

God can choose to have a selective memory, compared to what we humans consider “selective memory.” If that’s the case, then God can change His own view of reality of the past, as far as a model for us humans. When He forgives sins he separates them from us as far as east from west and if I’m not mistaken I think He actually remembers them no more. How can God choose not to remember something? If time can go either way with God, then, how much of a stretch that He could arrange it so that human free will is indeed coming in as a surprise to Him?

What if He knows the secrets of our hearts, but does not exactly know how we will respond because He doesn’t want to?

Am I just blowing steam? In case I am, I’ll stop.

Alan
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Just a few clarifications…I lost you in a couple places.
I’m not sure why I should think of myself as omniscient. I think I don’t understand where you were headed with that. I can look at the past, as you ask, to consider whether I am surprised by something, but that doesn’t require me to be omniscient. Instead it calls into question the common understanding of the word “surprise” as it relates to this thread. (We question His omniscience)

Also, did you mean *beyond *His control, or did you mean that He chooses not to exercise the control He has? (We question His omnipotence)

Also, I’m not sure what you meant by “if time can go either way with God”…it’s my understanding that He exists outside of time. (We question His eternal being, as eternal is an “everlasting present” if it must reference time)

[quote=threej_lc]I don’t see how he can be surprised by things he already knew were going to happen.
[/quote]

In that “eternal time” before God created the universe there was nothing, right? There was no Adam, no Eve, no Earth, no light, and even no time. God is master of time and exists outside of it.

In this “eternal time” before God created the universe, did God know if a non-existant Eve would eat the non-existant forbidden fruit?

Ang,
but this is suggesting that God is bound by time, rather than a creator of it…
Peace,
k

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