Is God omniscient?
Corollaries to this question might be, Does God know for sure our destiny ? Does God know *today* who will be saved and who won't be saved? Is our future already written? How can we then have free will?
These, of course, are difficult questions which many religions must deal with (not just Mormons).
My view is that the scriptures are very clear in teaching us that (a) God *is* omniscient, and (b) We *do* have free will, and *are* accountable for our actions. I will mention how I reconcile the two notions below.
I have had discussions (and disagreements) about this even among LDS people. So, I can't speak for the church, but I will tell you my view. My view is that the omniscience of God (insert various quote about "God know all things," and "all things are as one before the Lord" here) does in fact mean that God knows who will be saved and who will not. However, this does not necessarily mean that our future is written like a book.
I was recently re-reading C. S. Lewis's book, Mere Christianity, and found that he presents a view there that is very similar to my own. (Or should I say, that my view is very similar to his, since he thought of his first...) Basically, I see God as being outside space and time as we know it. This belief is very easy for me to have, since (assuming the scriptural accounts of miracles are correct), God can clearly violate the known laws of physics. I can then picture God, being outside of space and time, as being able to see all of space and time at once, much like an observer above a table can see all of the things on the table at once. So, although He knows our actions (because He sees the past, present, and future all at once), it is not like we are acting out a script-- we are writing our own script as we go along by the choices that we make.
Finally, here's some of the Book of Mormon references describing God's omniscience, since Bible scriptures regarding God's omniscience are probably well-known.
1 Nephi 9:6-- "But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen."
2 Nephi 2:24-- "But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."
2 Nephi 9:20-- "O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it."
1 Ne. 7:12-- "Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him."
I think the following scriptures (Bible as well as LDS-specific) support my view of God being "outside" of time.
Ps. 90:4-- "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night."
2 Peter 3:8-- "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
Malachi 3:6-- "For I am the LORD, I change not;"
Psalms 90:2-- "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."
Abraham 2:8-- "My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee."
Isa. 46:9-10-- "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"
Rev. 10:5-7-- "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."
If I read that correctly, the "mystery of God" will be finished when "time is no longer". That certainly makes it seem that God is outside of time as we know it.
Moses 1:6-- "And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all."
D&C 38:1-2-- "Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made; The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes;"
The phrase, "all things are present..." seems very much reminisent of the "God looking over table" analogy that I (and C. S. Lewis) used.
D&C 130:6-7-- "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."
The phrase "continually before the Lord" seems very similar also.