I got into a conversation today that touched on the tension between human free will and God’s omniscience, and moreso His foreknowledge. I don’t think that God is micro-managing the universe and I believe that human beings have a much more active role in determining the outcome of their existence than my religious compunctions had previously allowed me to believe. I don’t think that free will is an illusion or some kind of divine joke where the rats don’t know that they’re running in a maze.
To explain my opinion, I want to get practical: a devout person comes to a point of decision and wants to discern what God’s will is.
Pray about it. Do that, but, I also believe that consistency outweighs intensity. This means that if your mind has been toward God up to this point, if you were praying, or whatever it is you do, consistently all along, then your mind will be in a state where you will likely make the right decision without having to force a special inquiry.
It’s like you will already know.
And I wonder if that pattern is a reflection of God’s mind. The question is not, “Does God know what will happen?” I believe the more powerful question is, “Does He even need to?” From a human perspective it’s easy to think of God’s foreknowledge like, “He has already seen the movie”. But what if the real deal is that His mind is so perfect that He can optimize any crazy decision that a person can throw at Him? There’s sort of a human assumption that God knew that such-and-such was going to play out this way, so He caused this thing to happen. But what if His perfect verdict comes not from watching the movie in advance, but from the perfect state of His mind as He bears with us?
That would change the mindset of the prayer if, when you seek God’s direction for something, you’re not asking someone has already read the book to give you the major plot points. You’re not trying to tap passive knowledge about the future in order to optimize your next step. Maybe that’s where a lot of prayers seeking ‘God’s will’ fall flat: the mistake is asking God to reveal your future rather than asking God to be your future. That is when He stands at your crossroad and gives direction based His perfection, which always was, always is, and always will be. The future, in that case, becomes divinely appointed because it is a function of His timelessness. God isn’t in the business of telling the future, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. His decisions flow out of that identity. Out of that identity flow the verdicts of God you’re looking for. You don’t need a vision of the future, You need a vision of God’s perfection.