Open Theology Q & A

Q: Hi there. I'm an 18-year old Christian with a really complicated question that I am sure has been asked before. If God knows everything...then he knows that no matter what "Jim" is going to Hell. That is, he will never accept Christ. Before Jim was even born, God knew Jim would end up in Hell. I guess my question is...why let Jim even be born if he's gonna end up in Hell? Does the Bible provide an answer to this? Thank you so much and God Bless...
A: Let me give a simple answer to your question, and then give you an attached paper that might help. There are four points to the answer.
1. God does indeed know everything before hand, including whether "Jim" is going to Heaven or Hell before Jim was even born. 1 John 3:20; Isaiah 46:10; Psalm 139:16; Romans 9:10-23; 8:29; Ephesians 1:4; ~Proverbs 5:21; 15:3
2. God could have made us all robots, with no capability to be able to choose to disobey God. However, God so valued our ability to choose to love Him, that God did not make us this way. As Francis Schaeffer said, we can do things that make God sad. Ezekiel 8; Mt 23:37-39
3. God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but rather desires that they turn from their wickedness and live. Ezekiel 18:23,32; 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4-5; Matthew 18:14
4. So God did not coerce us, but gave us a choice. But could we really have a choice, since God already knew of our choice? The following illustration shows this.
Suppose you read in a history book that George Washington crossed the Delaware River. When you read this, did your knowledge force George Washington to cross the Delaware? - of course not. Now suppose you could go back in a time machine to a period before George Washington was born, and you brought the history book with you. Then would you somehow be forcing George Washington to make his choice? -of course not. Likewise, God knowing what we will do does not coerce us to do it, nor relieve us of the responsibility for our actions.
This is probably one of the heaviest topics to discuss in Christianity. I have more material that discusses this, but read over what I attached first, and let me know if you have any questions.

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by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.