The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
My friend once asked me this question but I didn’t know how to answer it. If God know’s everything past, present, future, and everything we will do. How is it that we have free will?
It is a very interesting question. It’s actually more two separate questions that aren’t necessarily related. So let’s look at the time thing and the free will part individually.
Your friend was right that God knows our past, present, and future. It actually goes beyond that, He knows them all at once. God is outside of time. He is eternal, so God relates to and experiences time differently than we do. We are so constrained and defined by time that we can’t begin to wrap our head around how God experiences it.
As for the free will thing, that is one of the biggest theological questions ever. There are certain things we can pull out of scripture. God does have a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11), though apparently it is possible to run from that plan, for at least a while (look at the life of Jonah). God can use all outcomes and circumstances to the good (Romans 8:28). Now as for if He makes things happen to script or weaves a tapestry from the choices we make, I don’t know.
That’s the short answer to your friend’s question. I don’t have a definitive answer, no one does. There are theories and proposals and ideas, but no solid answers. When talking to people about your faith, one of the toughest things can be to just say “I don’t know”. But since we are dealing with a God who is infinite where we are finite, it is just the tough truth. What that means is that we need to focus on what we do know: that God loves us, offers us free forgiveness, wants a relationship with us, and has a plan and a purpose for our lives. If we can embrace that, the rest takes a back seat. They are interesting to think about, theorize about; but they are not what is essential.
-Matt from The Bridge