If God knows all things, then He knows what choices I will make. If He already knows, then (to me) there is really no choice or agency to choose on my part. I must be following His choices, not one’s I choose. If He knows the end from the beginning, then He knows what kingdom I will inherit. If that end is already known then, no matter what I do here, I will end up with that kingdom. To my limited knowledge, this does not make sense. Also I believe agency is free. It was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden without any requirements or efforts on their part, unless you consider their efforts in the pre-existence qualifying them to receive agency, which may be true. This agency was given to them before the temptations and I would feel that we had this agency to choose in the pre-existence since we chose to follow the Savior’s plan. So’ did agency or the ability to choose exist before a Savior was needed? Does the devil and his angels have agency or must they act according to Satan’s direction? Any thoughts on agency and God’s knowing the beginning from the end?
It seems to me that you have developed for yourself a rather interesting enigma. You perceive an inconsistency in the co-existence of both foreknowledge and free agency. However, you derive your notion of free agency, at least in part, from your understanding of the scriptures, as well as your notion of the foreknowledge of God. However, you seem to choose to believe in free agency but not in foreknowledge. So you have elected to accept part of the scriptures and reject another part. In so doing you have placed yourself in a position of judgment, condemning those scriptures with which you disagree. Could I suggest a possible alternative to that line of reasoning? Since you have no real basis for judging which scripture to condemn as false, it would seem to me very prudent to accept the concept that all the scriptures are true, then use your limited intellectual ability to attempt to rationalize the apparently contradicting scriptures. If that cannot be done, you might attribute it to your own ignorance rather than condemning the word of God, from whom you got the ideas in the first place.
First, let’s examine what appears to be a bit of faulty logic on your part. You state, “If that end is already known then, no matter what I do here, I will end up with that kingdom.” WRONG! God doesn’t just know the end, He also knows the beginning and the in between. If He knows where you will end up, He also knows that it will not be “no matter what [you] do,” but exactly because you do what you do.
Now let’s look at the concept that seems to be giving you some trouble. We could pose the question, Does foreknowledge imply predestination? If it does, then the foreknowledge of God robs you of your agency. Since you do have agency, and since God does have foreknowledge, it follows that foreknowledge does not imply predestination. But what about the logic of that statement? It is possible that through intensive study of, say, one of my children, and coming to understand thoroughly certain patterns of behavior of the child, I could predict with certainty just how the child would respond to a given situation. The fact that I have acquired that foreknowledge has absolutely no causal relation with the child. My foreknowledge is not connected in any way with the fact that he alone chooses what he does, and is therefore responsible for his behavior. The fact that I was aware of that behavior in no way makes me responsible for his actions. Foreknowledge does not imply predestination.
Now let’s look at the situation from another angle. Your problem with foreknowledge relates to your imprisonment in the concept of time. There are a couple of things about time that bear on the concept of the foreknowledge of God of which you must become aware. First, time is a transitory concept, and is measured only unto men during their mortal sojourn—
Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men (Alma 40:8).
The seventh angel shall….stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne, that there shall be time no longer; and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years (D&C 88:110).
Now it may be easier to see how all things are present with God. What we call the past, present and future, are continually before the Lord—
The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord (D&C 130:6-7).
Now, consider carefully the preceding scripture. If the future is continually before the Lord, He sees us as we will be in the future. But He sees us NOW as we will be in the future. Therefore, we must be there in the future when He sees us there–now. So although our perception is limited to the present, we continue to exist in the past and in the future. That may be why it is so difficult for us to change our way of being; we have a lot of baggage that we are either pulling from the past, or pushing into the future.
Let me now end this little excursion into the unknown with a bit of a conundrum. There is no existence in the past, the past is that which was but which no longer exists, it is only a memory. Nor does the future exist because it hasn’t happened yet. The past is only a memory and the future is only a hope. Therefore there is no future and no past, all existence is in the present. However, give me an interval that defines the present. I don’t care how small the interval that you define, I can immediately divide it into two parts–that part of the interval that hasn’t yet occurred, which is still in the future, and that part of the interval that has already occurred, which is in the past. So the present is only a non-dimensional interface between the past and the future. So in reality, there is no past, there is no future, and oddly enough there is also no now.