“If God is all-knowing, He must know the outcome of everything—so why bother going through the process?”
Ed: GOD HAS A PURPOSE, which is to fill the earth with His glory (Habakkuk 2:14). That purpose involves you and me (if we want it), glorified and immortal when Jesus Christ returns to establish God’s Kingdom: ‘When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ (Colossians 3:4). There are those who will respond faithfully and be part of that glorious future, and those who won’t (see for example Matthew 25:31–46).
God knows everything: ‘O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up’ (Psalm 139:1–2). He knows the future: ‘I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done’ (Isaiah 46:9–10).
So it’s a good question—why did God embark on the massive multi-billion- person six-thousand-year process that is the history of the world, with all its suffering and confusion and tragedy, when He knew from the beginning exactly what the outcome will be and exactly who will be there? He could have cut out the painful part, and created the world and us perfect.
The short answer is, because it’s His prerogative to do what He wants—‘he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”’ (Daniel 4:35).
If we want to explore the question further, this might be an answer: God wants to share the joy of eternity with people who have had the opportunity to demonstrate that they want it. That’s why He gave us free will. He could have made everything perfect at the start, and made us unable to do wrong, and made our lives easy. But instead He gave us free will, and put us in a difficult and dangerous world where we’ll be tested. This is what the Apostle Peter wrote to fellow Christians in the First Century who were undergoing persecution for their faith:
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:6–7).
The reason God is putting us through the process is because He is preparing us for praise, glory and honour in His Kingdom.