In the Bible, we learn that God is not only omnipresent and omnipotent; He is also omniscient. He knows or is able to perceive what has happened, what is happening everywhere and what will eventually occur in the future. This is probably why and how He is able to guide our life by means of Divine Providence. This is also why the Bible or Word of God not only contains the history of humanity but its prophecy as well. But, if God knows what will happen in the future, how can there still be freewill in the universe? In order to understand how God knows and influences the future, we must understand how natural Light behaves because Spiritual Light or Love is God’s substance. And natural and spiritual Light are in correspondence.
We know that natural Light behaves according to the Principle of Least Action. In the physical world, Light always moves to its destination in the least amount of time. But the only reason it can do this is because it is an omnipresent wave. Although to our physical eyes natural Light seems to be moving, in the realm or field of Light itself, it is already at its destination. This is the reason photons can be in two places at once. This is also why the speed of Light is absolute. In the realm of Light itself, there is no time.
Similarly, Love in the universe seems to be moving towards a spiritual destination or Heaven. But, in the realm of Divine Love itself, it is already there. God knows that the future destiny of the universe is a Heaven of angels from the human race. And Divine Providence is always guiding the universe to this future spiritual destination. And, since Love is the substance that drives our intentions, thoughts and actions, it is always impelling us to reach our destination in the least amount of time. God knows what will happen at the end of time.
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
Now, although God knows the future, we are still free to choose our intentions and actions. For example, we are free to throw a stone up in the air but this stone will necessarily move and fall according to the Principle of Least Action. Its motion will be governed by the law of gravitation. Similarly, although God knows what will happen in the end, we are still free to choose what we intend, think, say and do. But our intentions, thoughts, words and actions will produce reactions that are in accord with Divine Providence. If we obey conscience and our intentions are unselfish, we will continue to advance to the state of Heavenly Love in the least amount of time. But, what if our intentions and actions are selfish or evil? Divine Providence will reorganize the events in our life so that we arrive in Heaven in the least amount of time. When we intend and do evil, we generate obstacles and constraints and delay our arrival in Heaven. We have an analogy of this in human society. What happens when we commit a crime in society? We break a civil law and end up in a prison where we must waste many years of incarceration before we are again released into society. Similarly, when we break spiritual law, we are wasting time and delaying our arrival in Heaven. But, although God knows our spiritual destination, He cannot prevent us from exercising our freewill. And, if we consistently choose to behave according to self-love and love of the world, we can delay our arrival indefinitely.
Due to the spiritual fall of mankind, many of us do not know the real purpose of the universe. Hence, many of us still believe that life on earth is an end in itself. And, as a consequence, we foolishly think that we will attain real joy and happiness by fulfilling our selfish desires. Fortunately, since He is omniscient, God does know that life on earth is simply a means to an end and that the end or purpose of the universe is a Heaven of angelic beings from the human race. Hence, His Divine Providence is perpetually restoring the events in our life so that we arrive in Heaven as soon as possible. For many of us who still choose to disobey spiritual Law, it means that we will ultimately experience negative circumstances. But these unpleasant events are designed to awaken us to Spiritual Reality and steer us in the right direction.
GOD IS OMNISCIENT, THAT IS, HE PERCEIVES, SEES AND KNOWS DOWN TO THE TINIEST DETAIL EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS ACCORDING TO ORDER; AND FROM THESE THINGS ALSO WHAT HAPPENS CONTRARY TO ORDER.
The reason God is omniscient, that is, perceives, sees and knows everything is because He is Wisdom itself and Light itself, and Wisdom itself perceives everything and Light itself sees everything. It was shown above that God is Wisdom itself. He is Light itself because He is the sun of the heaven of angels, which sheds light on the understanding of every angel and every person. For as the eye sees by the light of the natural sun, so the understanding sees by the light of the spiritual sun. It not only sees by that light, but is also filled with intelligence the more it loves to receive that light, since this light is in its essence wisdom. Thus we read in the Psalms of David that God dwells in inaccessible light [Ps. 104:2; cf. 1 Tim. 6:16]; and in Revelation that in the New Jerusalem they have no need of a lamp, because the Lord God sheds light on them [21:23]; and in John that the Word, which was with God, and was God, is the light, which enlightens every man that comes into the world [John 1:1, 9]. By the Word is meant the Divine Wisdom. This is why the angels enjoy a brighter light, the greater their wisdom; and why in the Word, every time light is mentioned, wisdom is meant.
How the Lord can be present with all who are in heaven and throughout the whole earth, and can know all things, even the most particular things connected with them, both present and future, can be comprehended only by means of the following truths:
(1) In the natural world there are spaces and times, but in the spiritual world these are appearances.
(2) Spaces and times must be removed from the ideas before the Lord’s omnipresence with all and with each individual, and His omniscience of things present and things future connected with them, can be comprehended.
(3) All angels of heaven and all men of the earth who constitute the church are as one man, and the Lord is the life of that man.
(4) Consequently as there is life in the particular and most particular things of man and it knows the entire state of these, so the Lord is in the particular and most particular things of the angels of heaven and of the men of the church.
(5) The Lord, by the intellectual faculty that each man has, or by its opposite, is also present with those who are out of heaven and out of the church, that is, those who are in hell or who are to come into hell, and knows their whole state.
(6) From the omnipresence and omniscience of the Lord thus perceived it can be understood how the Lord is the all and is in all things of heaven and the church, and that we are in the Lord and He is in us.
(7) The omnipresence and omniscience of the Lord can be comprehended also from the creation of the universe; for it was so created by Him that He is in things first and in things last, in the center and at the same time in the circumferences, and that the things in which He is are uses.
(8) As the Lord has the Divine love and the Divine wisdom, so from these He has the Divine omnipresence and the Divine omniscience; but omnipresence is chiefly from the Divine love, and omniscience chiefly from the Divine wisdom.
Man is not granted a knowledge of future events, also for the reason that he may be able to act from freedom according to reason; for it is well known that a man desires to have in effect whatever he loves, and he leads himself to this end by his reason. It is also known that everything a man meditates in his reason arises from the love of bringing it into effect by means of his thought. Therefore, if he knew the effect or result from Divine prediction his reason would come to rest, and with it his love; for love with reason comes to an end in the effect, and from that point it begins anew. It is the very delight of reason to see from love the effect in thought not the effect in its attainment, but before it, that is, not in the present but in the future. Hence man has what is called Hope, which increases and decreases in the reason as he sees or looks forward to the event. This delight is completed in the event, but it thereafter fades away with the thought concerning the event. It would be similar in the case of an event that was foreknown.
The mind of man is continually in these three things, called end, cause, and effect. If one of these is wanting the human mind is not in its life. The affection of the will is the originating end (a quo); the thought of the understanding is the operative cause (per quam); and the action of the body, as the speech of the mouth, or external sensation, is the effect of the end by means of the thought. It is clear to anyone that the human mind is not in its life when it is in nothing beyond the affection of the will, and similarly when it is only in the effect. Therefore, the mind has no life from one of these separately, but only from the three conjointly. This activity of the mind would diminish and pass away if the event were foretold. Emanuel Swedenborg [TCR 59, AE 1217, DP 173]