Seems to me "knowledge of the future" is a human concept that isn't really relevant to questions about God's powers. Past, present and future are categories of human experience because we exist in time, but God exists in eternity where there are no such distinctions.
The Bible is written to accommodate our limited ability to understand these things, so God is described in human terms wherever possible, but it also points to a transcendent nature beyond our comprehension.
His knowledge is an indivisible part of His nature or being, not something he could acquire or could be without. He encompasses everything, nothing escapes Him, not the hairs of our heads, not the falling of a sparrow, not one single thing any of us does now or ever. "In Him we live and move and have our being" [Acts 17:28].
The whole question of how His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence affect our free will is a clumsy (and in a certain sense also presumptuous) human way of thinking. God's foreknowledge doesn't affect our free will, and our asking the question makes the mistake of putting God on our level, but He doesn't exist on our level.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.
ABE: Later: Keep thinking of other scripture verses to add here:
Malachi 3:6: ...I am the LORD; I change not...
Psalm 50:21 ... thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee ...
Edited by Faith, : move sentence
Edited by Faith, : add reference and quote and fix grammar.
Apparently the first requirement is that I should ignore what it actually says.
First requirement is "Believe." That means you know it's God's word so it can't contradict itself and therefore what looks like a contradiction isn't but is something that has to be understood in context and reconciled.
God does not change, He is the same yesterday today and forever, but IN RELATION TO HUMAN BEINGS He seems to change, such as changing His mind about punishing us if we repent of what He was going to punish us for and that sort of thing. Or by granting our prayers. That's the kind of thing that is put in our terms.
He always knows everything, always has the same will to do whatever He is going to do, but from our perspective we can get Him to seem to change by our changes. It's the problem I brought up in my first post: God doesn't exist in time, but we do. There are no changes in eternity, only in time where we experience things. First requirement: when something looks like a contradiction you understand it as a situation where something is true in one sense or frame of reference but not true in the other. "Believe." Don't drag God down to the level of our limitations.
So, is it true or false to say that God changed his mind?
It's true from our perspective, in relation to our human time-bound experience, completely true: He does change in relation to our prayers, our changes of heart and so on.
But on the level of His being in eternity, no. The question about God's foreknowledge is on the level of His being in eternity, it doesn't affect us personally, which is why I keep answering as I do. There is no way His foreknowledge can change, so that He has it at one time but not another, in relation to one thing but not another, it's part of His very being. But again, it doesn't affect us at all in our everyday choices and actions.
Yes, I think I knew the Bible was God's word before I actually read it or read much of it, as soon as I knew God is real. You do have to believe it in order to understand it. I think it was Athanasius who said "I understand because I have faith."
Jesus said "repent and believe." Obey and see marvelous things unfold before your eyes.
Ah yes, but while the gospel can be stated in simple terms as the message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ it is usually presented by the theologians I most appreciate as encompassing the entire revelation of the Bible. In fact you can't really understand the simple terms without understanding the larger context.
That's a lie based on what I just said. I didn't dream it up, it's the consensus of the theologians I trust. And speaking of who dreams up what, I have a suspicion that your version of the gospel wouldn't even be the one I put in simple terms. Your posts on the Bible are usually so outlandishly peculiar to you personally you shouldn't ever talk about others "making things up."
And that's a lie too. There are things in the Bible that are hard to understand and need to be interpreted and to trust oneself alone with that responsibility is foolishness. The Bible itself says "There is safety in many counselors," and I don't trust any one of them to get it all right, I weigh them all against one another, and I could still make the wrong decision. You, however, trust in your own reading of the Bible apart from anybody else I've ever heard of, and so does ringo, and GDR seems to trust in his one favorite theologian who seems to be a law unto himself without any precedent in the history of theology whatever, and yet you all accuse me of doing what you all do.
ABE: And by the way, if the Bible is God's word no theologian is needed to know that it can't contradict itself or say anything false.
I just saw Phat's answer to this, which I don't seriously disagree with, but thought I'd add my own:
What annoys me is the idea that God already has my place in Hell reserved, that I don't even know yet what it is that will send me there but He does - and YOU have the gall to suggest that its my choice.
Now you are acting as if you believe YOU have foreknowledge, and know you are going to Hell? How do you know any such thing? How do you even know what YOU will choose or believe next year for that matter? If you change your mind so that you don't deserve Hell, God will change His and not send you there.
But I'm also interested in the fact that you don't know how a person deserves Hell. According to my theology which I claim is the orthodox understanding of God's revelation to us, we are all born Hell-bound because of original sin due to the Fall, but also because of the Fall we continue to add sins of our own on top of original sin throughout our lives and all that is what sends us to Hell. Milder Hells or harsher Hells, there are different levels of Hell for different degrees of sin. Those who instinctively live by God's Law don't deserve much punishment but because of the Fall, alas, even they can't escape some degree of Hell because there is nobody on earth who is free of original sin and the propensity to sin.
That's how I understand Hell. We're all born to Hell for starters but dig ourselves deeper into it by our own sins.
God, however, has given us a way out: Believe that God sent Christ to die for our sins in our place and give yourself to Him. That's it. Do that and you escape Hell.
God chooses whom He chooses. "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." It's not for us to judge. But to venture a guess I'd guess He will have far more mercy on those who genuinely did not hear of Christ than on those who have heard the offer but scorn it.
I do NOT judge any of it according to whether I LIKE it or not, but according to consensus of the most persuasive interpretations by the most authoritative sources over the last two millennia. You may have problems with Isaiah 7; I do not.
There are some passages in the Bible I may never understand. That doesn't bother me.
I'm not at all okay with you going to Hell. I often feel like grabbing you or others here by the shirt front and shaking you hoping to get you to accept the gospel. I know it wouldn't work, that's all. But I'm not at all okay with any of you going to Hell.
I really do know I'm not going to give up on the gospel myself, if only because I came to it so late in life after experiencing over forty years of life without it.