I have been told in my past that God knows every jot and tittle of my life past, present, and future. God knows every little thing about me and every choice I will make and why. This was told to me in order to give me a sense of comfort. A sense that God would be able to take care of me because he was in control of all possible variables.
Now that view is beginning to sound like a human ideal of what "control" and "in charge" means. It also makes God's eloquent expression of dissapointment in mankind right before the flood sound like a bunch of melodrama. It makes God seem like the one posturing and playing around and human beings are the only ones with "real" lives and "real" experiences of suffering because we are limited and therefore we can "truly" suffer.
God's experience of regret or pain seems to be a bunch of posturing because if he knew all of this before it happened but decided to put himself through it anyway its his stupid problem and why should I care? So I hear in my mind appeals from preachers and Bible Study leaders and retreat leaders and Sunday School teachers and religious devotionals. They appeal to me to sympathize with God and to feel great sadness because of the pain my choices have brought him. Mine personally and the choice of human kind in general.
And then they also tell me that he knows every little thing and don't be afraid because God is completely unruffled by all our problems. And God knew what I was going to do even before I thought of it. And even more "comforting", God made me to be exactly the way I am and to do the things I do. Any good desires I have are just placed there by God.
So now God's supposed "pain" seems like even more posturing. First he makes me like this, then he knows what I'm going to choose, then he wants me to feel sorry for him at how it all worked out.
But something's wrong with this picture. What's wrong is that I don't recall God himself ever asking me to feel sorry for him. I read through the old testament with all the emotional outbursts by God. He expresses sadness and anger and offers choice again and again. Even when he says "you won't change" he offers yet again, "but if you will change I will turn away my wrath".
I believe with faith (not logic) that God is not posturing when he expresses regret at creating humans (before the flood.) I believe with faith that he meant what he said when he tested Abraham and then said "now I know that you fear God". (He didn't say "I knew you were going to do that - now I hope you've learned something.") I belive with faith that Jesus being tested by Satan in the desert was not just a show and the outcome a "no brainer". So there must be more to the story about what it means for God to "know" what we will do or how he "knows" the future.
Does he "know" what I will do in the same way I know what Golum will do in the movie I have watched several times already?
Or does he know what I will do in the same I know what Kelly will do if I say "Do you want to buy something from the ice cream man?"
Or is it something else that hasn't occured to me yet? In any case, I now formally reject the "movie re-run" version of how God knows my future.