I normally do not write articles or Takes that deal with the Christian religion as I know it’s such a touchy topic with so many people, especially non-believers, who some of them tend to believe I'm trying to 'convert' them. I don't try to convert anyone, and that certainly is not the goal of this Take in anyway. Rather, I'm attempting to pass along information as I personally understand it.
I tend to keep my religious beliefs and ideas to myself for two reasons. It’s true that in part, it’s because I know discussing the with the majority of non-believers, not just Atheists, will lead to some sort of argument that will just go nowhere and annoy the heck out of its participants. Then there’s my second reason, and, honestly, this one is the biggie.
I feel most “Christians” will tell me I am wrong in my own beliefs. Why? Well, because they do earnestly believe that I'm wrong. Sometimes I feel Christians argue with one another more than they do with a non-believer about their own religion. And, I’ll admit, growing up as a child who went to church every Sunday with parents who pray over every meal and still advocate for God to this day, I was very misinformed about the Bible, as are most Christians. That doesn’t mean I think it’s hogwash. No, not at all.
I just think what I was told was in the Bible was hogwash. But then I got older and, with age comes wisdom, and the ability to read for oneself. So I did. And in my reading adventures, I found so many misconceptions in the Bible that even most Christians don’t realize, the number one being the concept of free will.
I’m sure you know what argument to which I am referring. Do we REALLY have free will if God already knows what we’re going to do? Doesn’t that take free will away? Honestly, I’ll have to give this argument to the non-believers. I have literally never heard a Christian successfully win that argument. Why? Well, because they don’t know what the heck they’re talking about. In order to do that, you'd have to read the Bible, which I think most of us can agree that the majority of Christians do not do anymore.
Yet, here’s what I think. Free will absolutely, one hundred percent, without a doubt exists. I know what you’re thinking. “BUT IF HE ALREADY KNOWS WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO, THEN THERE’S NO FREE WILL!”
Wrong. Remember, I said I’ve never heard a Christian successfully win that argument. Just because I believe most Christians do not know what they are talking about doesn't necessarily mean non-believers are right.
Free will means you can do what you like to do, and literally no one can stop you from making a choice by forcing their own free will on you. God isn’t making you do anything. He never has, he never will, and it’s up to you to decide how to live your life. However, just because he knows you’ll ultimately do what you want doesn’t mean he can’t predict what you’ll really do.
See, the Bible actually states that the Lord knows your heart, not that he knows literally what you’ll do next or what's in your future. He knows you on a level you do not even know yourself.
Allow me to use my dog for example. I have an eight-year-old beagle that I love dearly. She’s been mine for almost five years. I know my dog and how she thinks, not necessarily WHAT she thinks. I know that if I put a plate of medium rare diced rib eye in front of her and next to it a Cobb salad, she’s going to pick the rib eye. I didn’t make her do it. She chose it on her own. But I know my dog. I know what she likes. I know what she’s going to do because that’s how close I am to my dog. But that salad is still there. She could pick it if she wanted to, but the option is always there for her to have. I didn’t restrict her option to have a Cobb salad.
Friends are the same. We all have that one friend who keeps saying they’re leaving their husband, wife, or otherwise significant because of how they treat them. Yet, years later, where are they? With their significant other. Guess what? It’s no surprise because we know how our friends are, and we’re usually never surprised by their actions. There are people who know us better than we know ourselves. We need look no further than the story of Jeremiah, the prophet who foretold the destruction of cities, to see that God looks at your heart. It’s literally stated as such in Jeremiah 17:10. He looks at your heart, not into your future.
Even my own parents do this. My dad bought a white 1983 Chevy Camaro Z28 back in 1983, and he’s been the only owner of that car. Yet, for the past decade, my parents have been saying they were going to sell that car, which, you know, whatever. They’ve been singing that same song for ten years, yet that car has no “For Sale” sign in it, there’s no ads in the paper, no ads on craigslist, they haven’t told any of their coworkers it’s for sale, and the biggest indicator, it’s been sitting in our garage for ten years. I know they aren’t getting rid of this car because they haven’t put the effort into doing so. That doesn’t mean I won’t wake up one day and see a “For Sale” sign in its window.
The reason God knows what people did in the Bible is because He WATCHED THEM DO IT. He knew Cain killed Abel out of jealousy. Why? He watched him do it. He knew Sarah laughed and didn’t believe He’d give her and Abraham a son within the year. Why? BECAUSE HE WATCHED HER DO IT. He knew Adam ate that fruit and it wasn’t just Eve. Because, here it comes, you ready?
He. Watched. Them. Do. It.
Why do you think God left that tree in the garden anyway? If he was truly trying to restrict Adam and Eve's free will, that tree wouldn't have been put there in the first place. He put it there strictly so they had the option. He didn't have to put it there, but he did. He gave them the choice.
Even God knew which disciple would betray Jesus because he knew their hearts. Judas was not as pure of heart as the other disciples and was a backstabber, which is why he warned Jesus. We all know people who have backed stabbed us at least once, and a lot of the time, they were our friend(s).
For instance, I have Bipolar disorder. Three of my coworkers know I have this and have known for three years. Why? Because I know they won’t tell anyone. They’ve known for years and, still, my colleagues don’t know why I am on medical leave even though there are three people in our high school that know I’m on medical leave due to my disability. There people in that building, however, that I know will run their mouths to everyone because that’s what they do, that’s how they are, and they’ve done it time and time again to other people. I know who is a busybody and who isn’t. They’ll say they don’t gossip, but they actually do. How do I know? You ready for this? You sure? Prepare yourself!
I watch them do it. Yes, it’s true, they may keep my secret to themselves, but their actions, their words, and their attitude tell me something else. That doesn’t mean they don’t have the choice not to tell my secret should I choose to share it with them. And it also doesn’t mean that those who already know won’t share it. Yet, the choice is still there.
Remember, omniscient means having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight. It does not mean being able to predict the future. That’s actually a sin, and God warns us to not listen to those who practice divination as it’s associated with witchcraft. Samuel 15:23 tells you that. Why would God practice an act that he himself has deemed sinful?
Your actions will usually follow what’s in your heart. You can say what you want or what you believe, but if it’s not in your actions, it’s usually because it’s not in your heart.
Hopefully, this [lengthy] Take clears up your misconception of free will and God’s ‘ability’ to see into the future. IF you’re a Christian and you didn’t know, well, now you know. If you’re a non-believer and didn’t know, now you know.
I didn't write this Take to change anyone's beliefs because I don't think that's possible for me to do. You can believe what you want. God is real, he’s a piece of fiction, the Bible is bull, etc. But at the very least, both sides should understand the topic itself because engaging in the debate.