Defining “Free Will” and an Omniscient God


I was speaking to a gentleman tonight and his 7 or 8-year-old son.  (By the way, the son just accepted Christ this past week! Praise God!) The gentleman was sharing with me how he was currently struggling to have faith in God.  The gentleman told me that he believed in God but just didn’t trust him right now. Apparently, the man and his wife recently separated and he lost his son in a custody battle earlier this month.  The gentleman was restricted to seeing his son twice a week – one afternoon and one full day.

As we continued to talk the gentleman became a little frustrated and shared with me how so many people tell him different things.  Some people tell him that he has free will. Others tell him that God already knows what he is going to do.  Yet, a third group tells him that God has ordained everything in his life. He asked me what he was supposed to do and what to believe.  I asked him, “Would you like for me to explain it all and bring them all together in order for you to better understand?”  He replied, “Yes, please do.  Here, let’s sit down so that we can talk.” And I began to explain…

“They overcame him [the enemy] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” Revelation 12:11

We overcome Satan by two things:

  1. The blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ that covers our sins and makes us righteous before God; and,
  2. The word of our testimony

Keep this in mind as we examine the story of Abraham and Isaac.

As we read in Genesis 22, Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering. Abraham, in obedience, takes Isaac to the top of a mountain that God reveals to him.  As Abraham is about the thrust his knife into his son, God calls out to him and, in verse 12, praises Abraham for his obedience, his faith in God, and his fear of God. Finally, God provides a ram in the thicket to be sacrificed instead.

Did God ordain this incident? Yes.
Did God know what Abraham would do and how far he would go in his obedience? Yes.
But, did Abraham know what he, himself, would do and how far he, himself, would go in his own obedience? Maybe. Maybe not.

You see, God allowed Abraham to go through this testing so that Abraham could add this display of God’s faithfulness to his own testimony.  God knew what Abraham would do, but Abraham might not have unless Abraham had actually gone through this testing.  Abraham might not have known the stretch of his own obedience and the depth of God’s faithfulness unless Abraham had experienced it for himself.

Inside the realm of God’s omnisciency lies our free will.  Our choices within free will build our testimonies.  These testimonies speak of God’s continued faithfulness to his children; it aids us in overcoming the enemy. God may know your next step, but you don’t. Continue to walk; continue to add to your testimony; continue to overcome Satan; continue to share hope with a lost and dying world.


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