Whilst studying through Jesus the Christ I came to this quote which I wanted to explore a little further. Elder James E. Talmage wrote “Let not ignorance and thoughtlessness lead us into the error of assuming that the Father’s foreknowledge as to what would be, under given conditions, determined that such must be.”
God, in His infinite love for us, has allowed us to choose for ourselves. Due to His infinite knowledge, or omniscience, He knows all of His children better than they themselves do. Therefore, He knows what decisions we will make when placed under certain circumstances. However, if the choices we will make are not good, we are still allowed to go through with them because that’s part of the whole purpose of why we’re here – “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” (Abraham 3:25) – God knows if we will prove ourselves but He allows us to make the decision.
True to the Faith describes it very well, much better than I can – “Foreordination does not guarantee that individuals will receive certain callings or responsibilities. Such opportunities cone in this life as a result of the righteous exercise of agency, just as foreordination came as a result of righteousness in the premortal existence.” We have been offered and have accepted certain tasks, but whether we take them up in this life depends on our willingness and worthiness.
One final quote again by Elder James E. Talmage “He…sees the end from the beginning. His foreknowledge is based on intelligence and reason. He foresees the future as a state which naturally and surely will be; not as one which must be because He has arbitrarily willed that it shall be.” If we don’t live righteously to take on our pre-chosen duties – God has foreseen it (not pre-determined it) and will have provided another way for it to be accomplished. A great example of this is the Fall of Adam and Eve. The Lord left Adam and Eve in the Garden with the express commandment not to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, as we know, they did partake. Was this a surprise? Of course not – as Lehi states “But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.” (2 Nephi 2:24) Adam did not ‘surprise’ God by taking the fruit – our Saviour was not chosen to come to Earth to save mankind because Adam and Eve did something he did not expect – it was always His plan. Does that mean He consigned Adam and Eve to fail? No, because they chose to partake of the fruit, and also He knew there would be a way for them to be saved through our Saviour.
Knowing this helps us to be assured in the knowledge we have a Heavenly Father who has planned the best for us. If we are willing to do what we can, we have the opportunity for great blessings.