How Can Free Will and Predestination Coexist?

How Can Free Will and Predestination Coexist?

We have the right to choose, but God knows our decision

Some people insist that God gave us free will to make our own decisions, that we hold our future in our hands. Others claim our future has already been set, that God charts our course, with the outcome predestined.

Which is it?

Both.

Creation and the Timespace Continuum

Let’s start at the beginning. Actually, let’s start before the beginning. Before God’s creation.

God is an eternal being without beginning or end. He exists outside our spacetime reality. When he created us and the space we live in, he created time, too. Consider the spacetime continuum. If he made space, he had to make time, because the two are inseparable.

To him there is no past or future. I suppose this means he sees everything as a present, existent reality.

However, our existence unfolds as we move through the time he created for us to live in. Because we are bound by time, we see our future as unknown, something yet to be determined. Therefore, the question of free will and predestination seems to us as an either/or proposition. But to God, it isn’t.

God, who exists outside of time, doesn’t have the constraints we have. Click To Tweet

Our Perspective of Time

God, who exists outside of time, doesn’t have the constraints we have.

Though our minds are finite, and our reasoning has limits, here’s how I reconcile the two. God gives us free will to choose. But he already knows what those decisions are. Because of his awareness, one not bound by time, he knows our future as if it is the present.

What we see as an unknown future, he sees as a known reality. To God our future is foreknown. In essence, it’s predestined. It will happen for us in our future even though it’s in the present for him. It’s known in advance, predestined, because he sees the outcomes of the free will that he gave us.

Though God allows us to choose our future, he already knows what those choices are. Nothing we do surprises him. In this way, our future is predestined, even though we have the free will to choose it.

And since he already knows what will happen to us in our future reality, he works things out for our best (Romans 8:28-29).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

2 Comments

  • Merci Posted September 24, 2020 6:36 pm

    Then some of us are lost irrevocably and whether we know it or not wont stop it from happening!!! I may know im lost in the end but I still cant do a damn thing to change it!! This the very definition of utter hopeleness. God acts like we have a real chance and can really make it to heaven, all the while knowing that we were destined for hell from before we even lived. What a fucked up system this is What the hell kind of real hope is that. The outcome is aleady set and no onec an change it even if they wanted to and knew what it was ahead of tie. Sorry but I do not see God or this situation as agood or loving thing. Tjis is nothng but an excerise in futility for those poor souls who will be inevuitably lost.

  • Peter DeHaan Posted September 25, 2020 7:39 am

    Merci, but you do have a choice in this. The decision is yours.

    Though God wants all of us to turn to him, he won’t force us. That won’t be free will. He leaves that choice to each of us.

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