How Could God Take Risks If He Is All Knowing?
September 4, 2009 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

I have a question here that’s been bugging me for a few weeks. We teach that God took a risk when he created man and that love takes risks, but if God has an absolute knowledge of the future in regards to whether we will be saved or lost, then how is that a risk?

(same applies to the creation of Lucifer.)

Thanks for your question, one which many have struggled with through the centuries and one we will get much more insight into when we see Christ face to face. From my finite mind, the basic problem is either the limitation of human language or the assumption that God (Divinity) took a risk. I do not believe God (Divinity) took a risk, in the sense that God was unaware of what was coming. While it was never God’s will sin should exist, He foresaw its existence and was prepared to meet it. The question is why, if God foresaw the existence of sin, i.e. Lucifer’s rebellion, would God create Lucifer?

Because of who God is. God is love and love, according to 1 Corinthians, is selfless, other-centered, the opposite of selfish. God’s character of love would never use His power, foreknowledge or abilities to manipulate selfishly. Additionally, love can only exist where genuine freedom exists. God could have created a universe of robots or He could create a universe of free beings who are capable of genuine love – beings in His image!

If God used power or foreknowledge to manipulate the universe to “appear” free, but in actuality was constantly behind the scenes “making adjustments” based on His foreknowledge to prevent any real divergence, then love would not exist and God would, in such a universe, be the horrible being Satan alleges.

As strange as it is to realize, the fact sin exists and Satan was able to rebel is proof that God is not the kind of being Satan says. Satan’s very rebellion proves Satan a liar, for if God were like Satan says no rebellion would have been permitted.

So, Divinity did not take any risks, rather, God moved forward with the only plan whereby a free universe, run on the law of love, could exist. But, with all of that being truth, there is a place where God did take a risk.

Where God took a risk was when God became human in Jesus. The risk was experienced in Jesus’ human brain. Once human and while on earth, Jesus voluntarily surrendered His access to the infinite knowledge of the Godhead. He could no longer look down the corridor of time and see with absolute knowledge what would unfold. He, by His voluntary condescension, chose to become like every other son of Adam and was limited in this way. Christ, in His humanity, suffered real temptation and was capable of succumbing to those temptations and therefore He risked His very existence in order to save you and me. It was in the humanity of Jesus that God risked all, and that risk was real!

The fact that God foreknew the rebellion would occur and what it would cost Him to resolve it, yet did not change His method of running the universe, did not restrict liberty, did not use such knowledge selfishly, but instead sacrificed Himself in Jesus, causes His character of love to shine out all the more brightly. Oh how I trust I God like Him!

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.