Q. I was taught that God is all-forgiving.When Judas was born his only reason for being here was to carry out the part that God made him to do. Now some people say you have freedom of choice, however, if you believe that God knows all things, then he knows what you are going to choose. People think they have a choice but if you really think about it, you really don’t. If you say yes you do, then you don’t believe God knows all things. We may think we have a choice, but he knows what you are gonna choose. Yes or No. Peace to you. Oh, by the way, back in the ’60s when I asked this question I was slapped in the face.
First of all, let me say how sorry I am about the experience you had when you asked this question before. Though it was probably fifty years ago, I’ll bet it still hurts, physically and emotionally. I call this blog Good Question for a reason. I honestly believe that questions like yours are good. They allow us to probe more deeply into what we believe, to see what we can understand better, and to recognize that there are maybe some other things we just won’t understand in this life. But there’s no such thing as a bad question, if it’s asked out of a genuine desire to learn and understand. May God give you grace and peace to deal with the memory of that slap. It should never have happened.
Your question is one that has actually been asked before on this blog, from a number of different angles. For example, one person asked how God could ever have created Satan. Even though he began as a glorious angel (Lucifer), didn’t God know that he would disobey, fall, and turn into a monster who would wreak havoc on the earth for all of human history? In my response, I rephrase the issues this way:
“How do we explain the creation and continuing existence of Satan? Is God not all-knowing? (He didn’t realize Satan would rebel?) Or is God not all-powerful? (He thought he could stop Satan but then wasn’t able to?) Or is God simply not all-good? (He doesn’t care whether his creatures are destroyed?)”
I think you’re getting at some of these same issues in your question. So here’s what I say in that other post:
“I think the solution to this problem lies in appreciating the radical nature of the freedom that God has endowed each of His intelligent creatures with. It’s hard for us to understand this because we are created and finite, but an eternal and infinite God can make creatures who are so free that their moral choices are not predetermined and so cannot be known in advance.
But isn’t God supposed to be omniscient and know everything, even the choices that we’re going to make? No, it is no failure in omniscience not to know what cannot be known. And the freedom God has given us is so radical and profound that the essential moral choices we will make cannot be known in advance.”
I develop these thoughts further in that post, and in a follow-up that deals in more detail with the issue of how our freedom can be reconciled with God being all-knowing. At the end of the first post there are links to some other related posts as well. (As you can see, many people have this same question!)
As for Judas, whether he didn’t have free will because God made him just so that he would betray Jesus, I deal with that question quite extensively, in a series of eight posts, which begin here. Once again you’re asking a question that other people of faith also wonder about.
I hope that this blog will always be a place where you and others feel comfortable and safe asking any questions you want.