Free Will, Sin and the Plan of God
Question: Hi. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in your website, ICHTHYS. You have answered many questions that puzzled me for a very long time. I have a few questions to ask. (1) God is all knowing. So why did he create angels and men and give them free will if He knew that they were going to commit sin regardless? (2) Does God have a name? (3) What happens to those people who have never heard about God and Jesus Christ, when they die in the flesh? (3) If Satan knows he can never defeat Christ then why does he still try? (4) Why doesn't the church explain certain things from the Bible as it is explained, clear as day, in your ICHTHYS website? (5) WHY DOESN'T God forgive blasphemy? I thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Your answers would be deeply appreciated. Thank you
Response: You are asking some fairly complicated questions. I will try in this e-mail to give you "the gist". But I would ask you also to read the studies (or sections of studies) referenced here where these matters are covered in greater detail (and the biblical basis made clear):
(1)God is all knowing. So why did he create angles and men and give them free will if He knew that they were going to commit sin regardless?
God wants His creatures to worship Him of their own free will (Jn.4:23). Free will is the whole reason that sin and evil exist: we (and angels) choose to sin. Without the opportunity to sin, there is no opportunity to choose for God by choosing against something else. And given the nature of creatures with free will, some will choose to sin. Why did God do it? We are glad He did! And we wouldn't be "us" if we didn't have the free will that gives us the opportunity to choose for Him. There is much, much more on this subject in Part 3 of Satan's Rebellion: The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man (see also Part 1 for Satan's original fall). Please also see these links:
(2) Does God have a name?
We human beings speak human languages, and they have their limitations. The name God chose for Himself, JHVH, expresses His infinite existence: "I shall be/can be" = nothing is impossible for the One who created everything (much more on this and other names for God in Essential Doctrines of the Bible Part 1: Theology and Divine Names in the Bible.
(3) What happens to those people who have never heard about God and Jesus Christ, when they die in the flesh?
Salvation is through faith in Christ alone. Before Christ's first advent and death on the cross, the only difference was that believers put their faith in God to provide a sacrifice for their sins, but the main point of faith in God and His provision (Jesus Christ) has always been the same (Gen.15:6). EVERYONE knows about God from observing the world He has made (Ps.19:1-6; Rom.1:20). Everyone comes to the point of understanding that there is a God (with the exception of the mentally deficient and those who die before maturity: they are saved: 2Sam.12:23). Most people in the history of the world have hardened their hearts at this point and rejected the notion of having any sort of relationship with Him, at which point they are given over to their own sinful ways and idolatrous substitutes. God, you must remember, knows everything. He knew it all before He created it, knew every possibility, knows so much more about us than we could ever know about ourselves that it is breath-taking. He has never let anyone perish for lack of information, but goes to whatever lengths are necessary to provide the gospel for any who truly desire it (and always has). You can trust Him on this (see Peter #11). See also God's Free Gift of Salvation
(4) If Satan knows he can never defeat Christ then why does he still try?
Better yet, why do people sin when they know God will call them to account? Why doesn't everyone believe in Jesus when hell is the unavoidable alternative. Answer: they don't really believe it - in their hardness of heart (the process of self-blinding brought about by increasing sin and arrogance) they blot the idea of God out of their minds. Satan should have known that he couldn't win in the first place, but he let his arrogance corrupt his judgment. He thought he had the perfect plan, but he didn't give God the credit he should have. At this late date, the process of blinding arrogance is irremediably far advanced in Satan's case (see Satan's rebellion: Part 1 and Learning from the Devil's Revolt).
(5) Why doesn't the church explain certain things from the bible as it is explained, clear as day, in your ICHTYS website?
I am very happy that these studies have been helpful to you. I know from my own experience that finding solid Bible teaching that is both truly scripture-based and also in-depth is very rare. Most churches are not particularly interested in the truth of the Word of God, although much lip-service is paid to it. This is very much in keeping with where we are in the historical Plan of God, in the last days of the Church Age, in the era of Laodicea where lukewarm interest is the norm. I have always found it ironic that in this time when all the Greek and Hebrew resources are finally available, all the scholarship of the last century accessible, when the denominational controversies have largely run their course, that is to say, right at the time when we have more opportunity than ever before to dig deeply into the Word of God and discover all the answers you and I crave, the whole counsel of God that He definitely wants us to have, right at this time there seems to be less interest in the Bible than ever before. All we can do is "choose the best part" as Jesus says (Lk.10:41-42). Please see these links for more on the subject:
(6) WHY DOESN'T God forgive blasphemy?
By this question I assume you are referring to Matthew 12:31. In Matthew 12:31 it actually says that "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" will not be forgiven. Now the Spirit was testifying with signs and miracles (as well as by testifying to the hearts of men directly) that Jesus is the Christ. "Blasphemy against the Spirit", then, is saying the Spirit within Christ and testifying to Christ was lying, and so, blasphemy against the Spirit is denying Christ. Christ could die for all sins except one: the sin of rejecting Himself (2Tim.2:13). See Peter #24 for more on this, as well as the following links:
I hope some of this will be useful. As I say, please consult the studies listed for more detail and biblical support.
Yours in Christ,