Free Will and Omniscience

I hope you can help me because this is one of the biggest stumbling blocks of my faith. I’m having a hard time with the concept of free will and an omniscient creator. It seems to me that if God was omniscient when He created the universe, then He already knew every choice each of us would ever make before anything even existed, in which case, by causing us to be born in those surroundings and times which formed our personality, He was effectively making the choice for us.

Sort of like setting up dominos and then letting them fall. By setting the dominos up in the pattern I chose, I remove any possibility that the dominos will fall any other way.

The only way I can synch this up is if God set aside his omniscience when he created the universe so that He truely did not know what choice we would make in each situation until he had set the universe in motion. But is that possible?

Dear Regenhund,

You are trying to reconcile the omniscinece of God with the free will of human beings in a manner that a human being can understand. Left to ourselves, this is bound to prove futile because we are pitting human intelligence against that of God. Fortunaley, we need not be left to ourselves. Through the incarnation of His Son, God has revealed much about Himself that we could never otherwise know.

The passion and death of Jesus Chrsit is God’s ultimate Self-Revelation. Here we have a God who could have redeemed the human race with merely a nod, but who chose in becoing incarnate, to die after suffering in such a painful and demeaning way. Though the human mind is numbed by this, we can readlily see that setting up dominos and letting them fall can in no way apply. First of all, we are not dominos. We do have a free will. The fact that God knows what we are going to choose does not remove such freedom. Further, only God knows what Scripture means by the new heaven and the new earth which He promises.

It is not for us to do the synching up, but to spend oursleves in giving thanks for a love that is beyond our present abilities to fully comprehend. God has not revealed Himself completley to us, but only enough for us to trust Him and His love for us. The Paschal Mystery is just that.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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