Does God change his mind?
Does he ever change it in response to our prayers?
How do Bible statements that God ordains the future and that he alters his plans relate to each other?
Does God know your next move—whether it's a life-changing decision or a routine choice at the grocery store?
And if he really knows it all, are you truly free?
Does God know the future?
Does he know it precisely or just with a high degree of probability?
Was God taking a risk in making the human race?
If God doesn't know the future, how do we make sense of Bible prophecy?
And if God doesn't know the future, what are we to make of the Bible's teaching that "those whom God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son"?
Evangelical theologians are now discussing (and debating) the nature of God's knowledge of the future. These theological debates have enormous implications for piety and pastoral care—especially for how we respond to the tragedies that invade our lives.
The Time Factor
All these questions hinge on one key issue: how God's knowledge relates to the flow of time. How is his experience of time different from ours? Does everything exist for him in a divine simultaneity?
Key Christian thinkers, from second-century theologians Irenaeus and Tertullian to the 20th-century apologist C. S. Lewis, believed that God is free of the constraints of time, and therefore knows everything future and past. But a few theologians are now teaching that God doesn't know the future precisely because the future does not yet ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more