The way I see Christianity, all the concepts are correlated in a perfect system. In today’s chat, I would like to state my opinion on such a delicate subject, which is basically the relationship between God’s omniscience (He knows who will and who won’t be saved) and our freedom to choose or not the salvation.
Before exposing my opinion, I’d like to make it clear that I fully respect those who think differently about the subject of predestination. My intent is not to change their opinion, but to show how Christianity is the most articulated worldview that exists, so that even when dealing with sensitive issues, we can still use evidence to reach a consistent interpretation of the concepts found in the Bible.
After these initial placements, I’d like to start by addressing one of God’s characteristics: timelessness. In order to do so, I ask you to consider that both the Bible and the most respected scientific theory for the origin of the universe agree on one point: along with the universe, space, matter and time were created.
We see then that the cause that created the universe and everything that exists in it must be timeless, immaterial and non-spatial, which are characteristics of God, according to Scripture.
God’s timelessness, in particular, is very important for us to understand an issue that many Christians have, which is this: if God knows our future, how can we have free will? Many believe that God’s omniscience is incompatible with our freedom.
Some people argue that, regardless of how we act, God already knew what our choice would be and, therefore, this choice could not be truly free, since it is in the foreknowledge of God.
The answer to this question lays in the understanding of what being timeless would really mean. First of all, consider that being timeless is not being eternal. Saved Christian will go to heaven and live eternally with God when their bodies die, but those saved people won’t be timeless. Even if we know that being eternal means living forever, we’ll still be subjected to the temporal dimension. In other words, even eternal beings cannot subvert the following order: past, present and future.
God, who is timeless, live outside time and therefore is not subject to the “past, present and future” order. Therefore, He can see in the future what you’ll freely choose. In slightly more technical terms, we can say that God has the full knowledge of what you, in the exercise of your free will, will still decide.
You might be asking now: doesn’t God already know who and how many will be saved? Of course, He does, but it does not mean that He chose some to be saved and not others. That means He has science (knowledge) of those who freely choose to spend eternity with Him. The choice is ours; it’s our responsibility. What was up to God was to make everyone’s way to Him available. And He did it through Jesus Christ.
Being free to choose to love God is central for us to be able to offer to God what He’s truly seeking in us: love. How could we truly love God and therefore opt for salvation if we didn’t have a real opportunity to reject this love?
There is no way to love another person, except being able not to love. Love presupposes the freedom to choose to love or not to love. In other words, you cannot force someone to love. At most, one can force someone to behave as he or she loved, but that, as we know, is not truly love. Love is a free choice by definition.
Thus, we can say that free will is a prerequisite of love. But have you ever stopped to think about love as a prerequisite of the Trinity? I’ll explain. We know from the Bible that God is love (1 John 4: 8). He doesn’t just love, but He is love itself.
In reality, this is a feature that distinguishes the Bible from other sacred books. In the Quran, for example, there are ninety-nine ways the text refers to God, but none of them is love. To the Bible, God is love and He is so even before creating the world and creating human beings. How could this be possible, since it presupposes relationship, I mean, it presupposes someone to be loved?
We know that love, unlike Holiness (another characteristic of God), only takes place in a relationship with someone to be loved. So, even before the creation of beings to be loved, God was love in a relational context. But who would be in this relationship? We’re speaking here of the persons of the Trinity: the Father, the Son (Logos) and the Holy Spirit, which relates to each other in love. It gives meaning to the claim that the God of the Bible does not only act in love, but He is love Himself.
Incidentally, God did what he did because He was love. Only someone that was essentially love would be able to do what the gospel says:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).
We can see how the concepts of Christianity interrelate harmoniously, providing the perfect background to the understanding that the Triune God, who is Himself love, gave us free-will so that we could freely decide about our future and about our salvation. Doing that, we’ll be choosing to live forever by His side. Yes, we’re free to choose to be saved and thank God for that.