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  • Torah Reading: Naso
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God Knowing the Future

If God is omniscient and knows the future, how can we have free will?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Dr. Gerald Schroeder, double-Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics and Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains:

God knows the end already. God knows the future, but not as a future. Having created time, God is outside of time. In such a dimension, future, past and present are meaningless. They are all simultaneous. The four-lettered Hebrew name of God, Y/H/V/H, is composed of the letters that spell in Hebrew "I was, I am, I will be." The three tenses fold into one eternal "now."

We, however, live in time. So for us, the future has not yet occurred.

Nature gives a hint of what it means to be outside of time. The laws of relativity have shown us that at the speed of light, time stands still.

To our perception, light travels for eight minutes as it moves from sun to Earth. But if we could move along with the light in its journey, we would record that zero time passed during the flight from sun to Earth.

Here on Earth, being inside of time, those eight minutes afford us the opportunity to choose among a variety of activities. Yet their beginnings and endings would appear as occurring simultaneously from the perspective of the light.

In this sense, although totally outside of human experience and so difficult to comprehend, God knows the ending even at the beginning.

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