When you accept the existence of God, you are not merely accepting a being among other beings. It’s not correct to think that God happens to be the most powerful being and has superpowers and clairvoyance.
Imagine there was no physical reality and no other beings other than God. God is not a being in existence, but rather God is the very act of existence in the most fundamental sense. This is to say that God is the absolute antithesis of nothing. God has no physical locality. There is no outside of God, and to come into existence is the very act of coming into God’s existence. Thus a thing cannot begin to exist without God permeating it’s very being. God is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Outside of God there is absolutely nothing - no reality.
It is only with the fact of living within space-time that we can speak of a future and a past. But God is the very act of existence in which everything else finds it’s existence, and thus it is actually not possible for there to be a space-time event where God is not. God is not subject to space-time, God is not physical, and so it is meaningless for God to be limited in that way. It is impossible for God not to know the future.
If you are asking how we can have freewill despite God knowing what we will choose, i will leave that to someone else to answer. But personally i don’t think it necessarily needs an answer in order to accept that the foundation of all contingent realities by necessity permeates all contingent realities and therefore everything that will ever happen or has happened, timelessly. And we know that we have free-will, it’s self evident. How that works might just be beyond our comprehension to understand. But i don’t see any intrinsic contradiction. After all you are just making a choice that somebody knows you would make because they are not subject to space-time and is the very act of reality by which you exist. There is no causal connection between God’s knowledge and your choice, and God only knows it because that is what you did.
I personally think it would make sense if God could see every possible future outcome and is one with all of them. Maybe God saw the possibility mankind could be evil, or the possibility of X thing happening, instead of knowing exactly what’s going to happen?
God knows that we commit evil, and still we come to be.
Our parents know before we are born that we will suffer in some way. In fact, our parents know they are giving birth to a child that will someday suffer death!
Why would any parent have children, while knowing this?
The only answer is love. Love participates in creation, and love risks being hurt. It’s in love’s nature to create, and it’s a greater joy to live a life than to be fearful of suffering.
A parent likely wouldn’t try to have children if they knew the child was going to be miscarried. If God knows all that is going to happen, He knew that my teacher’s son was going to be miscarried, and yet He did nothing to prevent it. How can that be love! If He saw only the possibility, I could reasonably believe a good God to not intervene in such a situation.
Then why did He repent of the evil which He thought to do unto His people? Exodus 32:14.
And Exodus 32:14 So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.
Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He changed His mind and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Then we have a God that forces outcomes on human beings, and love does not force.
Do you know people who try to force themselves on others, and force what they thing is a good outcome on others? It’s not very pleasant, and it’s not love.
Those passages are meant to express in limited human terms how the humans of that particular time thought God must feel.
If I were living in around 2000 BC in a society of a monotheistic God while all around me were pantheistic peoples whose experiences of their gods were always couched in anthropomorphic terms, whose own limited gods were just like human beings on a ‘bigger scale’, i.e. more lustful, more angry, more ‘emotional’, then the way I would think about my God as a ‘Supreme Being’ would be like a supremely perfect person. And a normal person when exposed to a tragic situation would show regret and wish it hadn’t happened, therefore that "Supreme Being’ would also ‘show regret’ or appear to do so.
Look at today’s society. Look how many people are out there screaming that they are more just and more perfect than God, how if ‘they’ were God they’d do X, and how, “If God really does Y, He can’t be good”, etc. etc. We’re still judging God based on our human limitations. And when we are exposed to the real God who, also real Man, does act as True God. . .we crucify Him, we complain that He must be crazy if He expects us to eat His flesh.
Even the best of us don’t truly understand God, and even when we try to convey who He is and what He says or does, we fall short. That doesn’t mean that HE isn’t perfect, or that we’re fools, dupes, liars, or wrong (we aren’t).
I’m really sorry for your teacher’s loss. But you must try to understand that no matter how long her child lived, she is still and always will be his or her mother. That won’t change. Some of us have children who live long, full lives, some very short and what the world calls ‘worthless’ lives, are miscarried, aborted, die of terrible illnesses, etc. But each life is precious in God’s eyes.
Do you think that God loves people LESS if He calls them home what you think is ‘too early’? Do you think God only loves people whose lives are long and full of wealth and success? Do you think God ‘owes’ every person a ‘good life’?
If I, with my limited human knowledge, offer my wife a choice of chocolate syrup or dill pickle juice for an ice cream topping, I know which one she’ll pick. That doesn’t mean she lacks free will in that binary decision.
If God, with His infinite knowledge, knows what decisions everyone will make, that doesn’t mean we don’t have the freedom to make them. It just means He knows us so perfectly that he knows what we will choose before we ever choose it.
Good example, but not perfect. God knows, not just because He “knows us perfectly”, but because He knows all things that happen within the universe, irregardless of the time of their occurrence. If that’s what you mean by “God knows us perfectly”, then that’s cool. It needs to be stated explicitly, though, I think…
Agreed, but in the context of your comparison (of your wife’s ice cream preferences), the gist is “previous knowledge of person” leads to “expectation of future choice”. We both know that this is not what God does…
God would be able to know the future and every our acts even without predestination.
The truth is, the universe and our world are God’s design/ plan down to the minutest details.
Furthermore, every event in the universe down to the minutest details, predestined from all eternity.
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA Divine Providence says;
His wisdom He so orders all events within the universe that the end for which it was created may be realized.
Hence Providence is at once universal, immediate, efficacious, yet all alike postulate Divine concurrence and receive their powers of operation from Him (I, Q. xxii, a. 3; Q. ciii, a. 6); efficacious, in that all things minister to God’s final purpose, a purpose which cannot be frustrated (Contra Gent., III, xciv);
. He directs all, even evil and sin itself, to the final end for which the universe was created.
. Nor would God permit evil at all, unless He could draw good out of evil (St. Augustine, xi in P.L, LX, 236;
. Evil, therefore, ministers to God’s design (St. Gregory the Great, op. cit., VI, xxxii in; P.L.
God preserves the universe in being; He acts in and with every creature in each and all its activities.
. God alone can move the will, as an agent, without doing violence to it. Hence we receive from God not only the power of willing but its employment also. (Bk III, Chaps 88-89)
Aquinas said, “God changes the will without forcing it.
But he can change the will from the fact that He himself operates in the will as He does in nature,” De Veritatis 22:9.
Phil.2:13; For it is God who works in you BOTH to WILL and to ACT in order to fulfil his good purpose.
2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace PRECEDES,PREPARES, and ELICITS the free response of man.
God effects everything, the willing and the achievement. … (Thomas Aquinas, S. Th.II/II 4, 4 ad 3).
. God’s graces does NOT hinders our free wills, God’s efficacious graces enlightens our minds and we always FREELY choose the good.
This is the essential non-human statement.
No one else can say this. A human being can’t superimpose his own understanding on it beyond a limited degree.
No human being can say “I am existence itself”. It makes no sense in the context of humanity.
Other passages can be a superimposition of human understanding on God’s action. And this is why we don’t read scripture as individuals in a vacuum, but as individuals with Christ, with his Church. So that we can compare inspired scripture to the life of Christ, and to Christian doctrine based on that life.