On free will and God's ability to predict the future
God predicts the future by either making it or simulating every possible outcome.
From the last article I concluded:
There are parts of the human consciousness that are not computational and cannot be predicted by anyone, not even by God.
This connects us to the free will that Jehovah gave to angelic and human beings. Through the creation of consciousness and free will, God restricted the amount of things he can predict. Him knowing exactly what decisions we will take would mean that our destiny is written in advance, which contradicts human beings having received free will from God.
Any other heuristic approach, where a probability is associated to each possible outcome, is not excluded. Like with the weather forecast, there are multiple possible weather conditions for a given day in the future. Only one will actually take place, but you may initially map all possible outcomes with a graph:
Intuitively, we expect God to have infinite computing power, thus being perfectly able to simulate the universe we live in. Like with chess, the number of possible states is upper bounded. It does not matter how many states the universe can be in. As long as the computing power is sufficiently great, it can be simulated. “Simulated” I say, because simulating something does not imply that you know the next step. You just know, given the current state, what future states come into question.
How does God make up plans and ensure that they are followed if he cannot deterministically predict the behavior of people and thus the path that the universe is going to take? Simulating every possible outcome and steering the direction of the universe by intervening with his active force, the holy spirit. The paths that lead to the fulfillment of God’s will can be many. Whenever God sees that things are going out of hand, he uses natural forces, like winds and floods, or messengers, like angels having a dialog with relevant people, to prevent earth from derailing.
This view is compatible both with the idea of human beings having a free will and with God’s ability to predict events. When he leaves things running as they are, he may not predict what I am going to eat tomorrow. If, for any reason, he wants me to eat carrots tomorrow, he can drive events to make that happen. God would simply force me to eat carrots, leaving no space for any other outcome. In this hypothetical scenario, my decision would not be predicted, but the fact that I am going to eat carrots, would be predicted correctly.
It goes without saying that God intervening is the exception. Most decisions we take have the potential of changing our personal lives, but do not have an influence on God’s purpose.