The question of free will has been coming up in my quiet time and in most of the Bible studies I am in. I used to have a great deal of difficulty with understanding free will. I could not wrap my head around the fact that if God knew everything then how did we truly have free will, He knew what we were going to do, so why bother giving us a choice and did we really have a choice to begin with?
Then I began pondering the question further. For argument sake let us say we have free will and the ability to choose. We come to a fork in the road and we make a decision based on the information that we have; here is where our free will and God’s omniscience comes into play. We can choose either fork, but God knows the outcome of each choice. I still wasn’t sure I was on solid ground with this assumption, so I went to a sister in Christ who is also who counsels women who come to the church for help. This lady is full of Godly wisdom and she helped me make sense of what I was pondering. I hope my illustrations can fully explain it to you.
We each make decisions in life and they add up to our experience and help to make us who we are. We also come a to cross-road where we have to decide to zig or zag and the total of those zigs and zags is us. I typed a number that is beneath this blue square.
I have also typed out a chart consisting of 36 numbers in a grid pattern
I asked a friend to choose a number on the grid
She chose 15. Now think of that number as a major life decision, like what college you are going to attend. Once you have chosen that you have knocked out all the other choices around that one (i.e. other colleges you could attend).
I asked her to choose another number. This would be another life choice like who to marry (#26). Then that would knock out all the other men in her life that she could have chosen to marry out of the running.
We continued on in this vein until we had covered the chart with life choices and knocked out all the other options.
I added all the circled numbers together. 1+10+15+24+26+35=111 and then I revealed what number was under the blue square.
When I was shown this it confirmed for me that I did indeed have free will because I made the choices each time I came to a fork in the road (whether I did it prayerfully or in my flesh), but God knew the outcome no matter what choice I made.
It helped me to come to terms with His omniscience. Right now in my precepts study we are in the book of Genesis and we just finished where Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This whole exercise helped me comprehend at least a little of the reasoning behind why the tree existed and why we were given free will, but still are made to praise and worship Him. I don’t have it down pat, but I do kinda sort of “get it”.
Yeah still in that whole “work in progress” section of life, but it’s not a bad place to be.