Does God know who will be saved? Do we really “choose” hell?
If we are going to ask the question “Does God know who will ultimately become saved?” we must realize there are two possible answers:
“Yes, God does know who will be saved,” or
“No, God does not know who will be saved.”
Let’s begin by reminding ourselves of the attributes of God.
God we understand to be Infinite, in other words He is in every place. He is also understood to be Eternal. This means He exists from our finite human perspective in every “time.” In other words God exists in yesterday, today, and tomorrow — not that He existed yesterday exists today and will exist tomorrow, but that He exists concurrently in all of these. This is why it can be said that Jesus Christ was “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) – that’s before mankind was created… before any possibility of human sin.
God is also understood to be Omniscient, which means all-knowing. This attribute alone seems to necessitate that God knows who will be saved. Adding the fact of his eternality we understand He exists in our future just as truly as He is exists now in our present. He is thus as equally aware of those coming to Christ now as He is of those who (from our perspective) will come to Christ in what (from our perspective) we call the future.
Given the fact of these divine attributes and the fact there are two possible answers to the question, the matter may simply be boiled down to this: Which answer seems most reasonable? That is, which is the most consistent with the attributes of God?
We are drawn to only one possible conclusion: God does indeed know who will be saved. But be clear about this: the fact of His knowing is in no way causative – i.e. He is not making them become saved, He just knows. We have free will and we can choose to or choose not to turn to Christ, to trust His pure sacrifice efficacious to atone, to take Him as Lord as well as Saviour. The fact that God knows already what we will decide does not diminish the fact of our free will.
We can understand this concept better by looking backwards. If I saw my wife having a fried egg yesterday for breakfast I can know that fact today. This is possible because I consciously existed yesterday as much as I do today as well. God is not so limited. He consciously exists tomorrow as much as He does in any temporal period. Remember, He created time as well as space (Gen. 1).
But this understanding does not necessitate God causing known things in our future to occur. Just as my past knowing what my wife chose to have for breakfast is in no way causative of her decision. She freely decided to have an egg. She could have chosen to have something else, something unhealthy that would make her sick. But she chose an egg, nutritious, wholesome.
Consequences follow our choices and though God knows our decisions past and future He does not make them happen. He does however make every effort to draw us to the choice that is good for us, and that choice is Christ.
Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.