How Do We Have Free Will if God is All-Knowing?

How do we have free will if God already knows all that we will do? It seems like a contradiction if He knows our fate.

I love the way St. Augustine responded to that many centuries ago. When we understand that God knows all things in an absolute “now”, there’s no motion with God. He’s not scratching his head saying, “Gosh, I wonder what he is going to say next.” No, He sees all things now. Just as you and I look back at the past and we see “I remember what I did there”, God sees the future as well as the past. When you and I look back at the past, we see what already happened but does our seeing it, remembering it change anything about it? No, our remembering the past doesn’t change it. In the same way when God sees the future, his seeing it doesn’t change it anymore than our looking into the past and remembering it changes it. That’s one way of looking at it.

Or you can think of it this way. Imagine you’re standing up on a very high place and you’re looking down and you’re able to see two cars approaching each other. They can’t see each other and they’re getting ready to hit each other. You see it, you can even predict “They’re about to hit.” and you know before they hit what’s going to happen. But did you affect that collision because of your knowledge? Of course not. God’s knowing the future or seeing the future doesn’t affect it in the sense of making it compulsory for either agent to act in a particular way. So those are a couple of different ways that you can look at it. Most importantly is just to remember: knowledge of something doesn’t mean you make that something happen.