But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. Job 23:10,11 NIV
You may have seen my recent piece where I confessed to overthinking some things, well here is one of those hoary chestnuts which I wrestle with, and have done more recently than in my early faith walk. The fact is, it was never in question, or an issue at any level in church circles until recently. The issue is the free will that God has given us to choose His way, or reject it.
The old patriarch Job had more real problems to contend with than any of us will ever face, and his faith was unwavering in spite of his friends advice, and yes even his wife who told him to ‘curse God and die’ and be done with it. The big lesson to be taken from the life of Job is his full, complete faith in a God he couldn’t see. He had no knowledge of Jesus, or God’s ultimate plan of salvation, but Job believed that his God knew the way Job would take. God didn’t decide what Job should do. The choices were Job’s to make, but it is clear that God knew the way Job would take. There is a vast difference between God knowing our path, and deciding that path for us.
An argument made by some professors and students of theology is this: Since our gift of free will is real, does this mean that God cannot know our decisions until we make them of free will, only then and not before? OR, although in free will, God does not make our decisions, but He, being God, knows what those decisions will be beforehand? The fundamental question at stake is God’s omniscience. Is He really ‘all knowing’? Do you have any thoughts on this?
I am reminded of this verse from Isaiah 55:8,9 (ESV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”