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Before anything in our world was created, God was already there. Also, there is biblical evidence for omniscience.

However, did God, prior to the creation of everything, already know the events that would unfold in our world?

What are the different viewpoints regarding God's foreknowledge of the events of this world?

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I've made a substantial edit to the question based on your previous comments. If we start out with this question, you will be able to get a survey of beliefs. Moving forward from there, you can ask more questions regarding how individual doctrines deals with the idea of a world that has chosen sin. Thank you for your patience with this process. – Richard Nov 2 '11 at 14:53

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The Bible indicates that God is eternal and outside of time. As we understand from science, time, space, and matter all came into existence at once. The Creator of time, space, and matter must of necessity be outside of time, space, and matter. God reveals in the Scriptures that He is eternal (outside of time) and He is spirit (outside of space and matter).

Learning or growing in knowledge takes place inside of time, so, in a way, this concept is irrelevant to a Being who is outside of time.

Psalm 139 seems to indicate that God's knowledge includes what we will do in the future:

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. Psalm 139:4 ESV

It also indicates that God was able to see what was yet unformed, and that every one of our days was written in a book before we were born.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:16 ESV

So, a very common position is that God has always known everything. His knowledge has never grown, but has always been complete and infinite.

As one person questioned, "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?"

This doctrine is one that provides us with exceedlingly abundant comfort, because it means that God will never be surprised at our failures. There will never be a time when God gets buyer's remorse when our sins become greater than he originally anticipated. His salvation accounts for all of our sins that we will ever commit--even sins we didn't know we would commit--from the very beginning. He drew us to Himself knowing full well how frequently and how great we would fail and continue in our sin.

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Good stuff... Does this doctrine have a name? The OP may need it for future questions. – Richard Nov 3 '11 at 12:55
This blog post seems to indicate that it is the classical view… – Narnian Nov 3 '11 at 13:13
It is called 'foreknowledge', if I recall correctly. Some fathers will say, 'he forknew, but he did not predestine' in reference to our free actions. – user304 Nov 4 '11 at 0:24

If God knew everything about the future shortly after the creation, there is no reason he could not have the same foreknowledge before creation, and vice versa. However, there is no immediate evidence after the creation of foreknowledge, and therefore omniscience, by God:

  • In Genesis 2:18-20,God created animals as company for Adam and eventually realised that none of the animals met Adam's needs; he did not know in advance that this would be the case:

    And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

  • In Genesis 2:9,11, God did not know where Adam was, as Adam had hidden himself, then had to ask whether Adam had eaten the forbidden fruit.
  • In Genesis 6:6, God repented that he had made man, grieving his heart. In this case, God was surprised by our failures, and foreknowledge would seem inconsistent with remorse and grief.
All this, and other examples, suggest that God did not already know the events that would unfold in our world, prior to the creation of everything.

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