Plotting Our Own Lives
K-Jo commented on “The Greatest Cause” and asked for more information about the idea that God sees the past, present and future, and that somewhere in our past, we agreed to the circumstances of life we now experience, and even engineered some of them ourselves.
The doctrine that God sees all things and all times is scriptural. “All things are present before mine eyes” (D&C 38:2). God’s possesses a “knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and they are to come” (D&C 93:24).
There are many accounts of God showing men a “vision of all things” which he could not do if He did not have access to this sweeping every-when vista He shares with them.
There have been thousands of years of debate about whether God actually knows all things, or if He just uses brilliant deduction to predict what will occur. The key to this issue to me is D&C 38:2, which states that all things are present before His eyes. In other words, to put it into a metaphor we can identify with, when He looks to the left, he sees yesterdays, when he looks forward He sees what we call “today” and when he looks to the right, he sees every tomorrow. In other words, He lives outside of time as we understand it. In fact, one of the grand events of the final cleansing of the earth is that time will cease. (D&C 84:100) In other words, time will cease for mortals, we will begin to live according to God’s keeping of time.
The key for my thinking is that He actually views everything and every-when. He isn’t deducing it, he sees it. This knowledge does not predestine us to any action, He just views the result of our decisions. It is this vast knowledge which gives Him, and our Savior, the ability to bless us perfectly. They can see the eternal consequence of every blessing or act they perform, before they perform it. Given that God has infinite understanding and infinite intelligence, and infinite love, this literally makes him omnipotent, or all powerful in our lives.
God’s power, his vast knowledge, his command of all things in all times, his perfect love and perfect plan for us is largely incomprehensible to us. Because we can only see “now” it is beyond our ability to understand how He does it. We can only believe, and that belief is a supreme gift.
This is comforting to me. I love knowing that everything about me is known. It gives me hope and trust in God, because I also devoutly believe He loves me, and all these struggles are being consecrated to my greatest good, to bring me those things which I want and for which I am praying. If God was guessing or predicting what I need, or how to lead me into the great and vast desires of my heart, then at some point He will guess wrong, and I will have suffered for nothing, justice will be violated, and the first time Justice falters, as Alma 42:23 says, God would cease to be God.
The idea that we, ourselves helped plan our lives arises from Abraham 3:24, “And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” In other words, Abraham plotted a course for his life, and because of his righteous choices (Alma 13), he was chosen to be a prophet in mortality. He understood this, he was ordained to it, and accepted this plan for his life before his birth. Given that agency is a powerful and inviolate principle that even God won’t abridge, it stands the test of reason that Abraham himself chose this path and worked very hard to achieve it.
Eternal law requires God to be just (Alma 42:16-23), which states in part: “But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.”
Justice would demand that all of Father’s children be treated alike – which means that if Abraham obeyed laws 1 through 10, and obtained a certain reward, any other person who obeys laws 1 through 10 must be given the same privileges and rewards. Otherwise, God would cease to be God. Ergo, we all chose the conditions of our lives now, by the laws which we chose to obey in the pre-mortal world – just as we are now choosing the conditions of our future lives by the laws we choose to obey in mortality.