Q&A: OmnisciencePosted on November 2, 2014 by Rabbi Manis Friedman
“G d is the knower, the object of knowledge, and the knowledge itself. So He knows all, past , future, present. He can’t help but know. And yet we have some limited degree of free will. And yet because He is the knower, of course He knows what we will choose. And we often choose wrongly. It all breaks down for me about here. Is it that G d knows what we will choose and yet hopes he is wrong? It sounds ridiculous.”
I love a thoughtful question. Thank you.
First, G-d’s knowledge extends to all existence, past, present, and future. This is because all existence derives from G-d’s personal attention. Hence if He is constantly creating everything He must also be aware of it.
Secondly, past, present and future are all part of what He creates. He is creating the future or has already created the future.
Now, if you say that He knows the future, you don’t mean that He ispredicting the future like some soothsayer. Rather, that He knows the future. How can He know the future if it hasn’t happened yet? There is nothing to know! So knowing the future assumes that a future exists, has already happened and that this is something to know. He already knows it. We won’t know until we get there.
In other words: He doesn’t know what will happen, He sees the future already ‘happened’. He knows what you will choose only because you have already made your choice. He sees you choosing it and it is your free choice that He is observing – He knows your choice now because you have already chosen – in the future, which is for Him, the same as the past.
Your choice, therefore, does not come from His knowledge; His knowledge comes from your choice.
Thanks again for the question