q & a:

 

Does God use His ‘foreknowledge’ of a person’s decision for or against  the gospel to ‘predestine’ one’s own future with or without Him?

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

 

Frantz writes:

 

Hi Craig,

 

I do not believe that God predestined anyone to heaven or hell.  I believe the choice is ours because of free will.  Also, I do not believe in Limited Atonement like the Calvinist.  I believe that Jesus died for the WHOLE WORLD not just some and I also believe that God gave us a free will.  The question that I have is how about scriptures that discuss predestination, such as used in Romans 8:28-29, Ephesians 1:5 and similar passages. 

 

I know your teaching about what aspects of the future God does or does not understand.  My question therefore, is this: Could it be said that God, ‘foreknew’,’ each person’s choice and whether a decision to serve or reject Him? 

 

I am seeking a reasonable explanation that will reconcile apparent contradictions between what I know is true, and the text of verses, such as Romans 8:29, which says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  King James Version

 

God Bless,

 

Frantz

 

P.S. – I am not a Calvinist, I just love the WORD!

 

 

Craig’s Reply & Answers

 

January 18, 2006

 

Hi Frantz!

 

For readers unfamiliar with Calvinism, many people use an acrimonious doctrinaire, ‘TULIP,’ to jog the memory.  Each letter in the acronym TULIP represents the five points common to all hyper-Calvinistic dogma.  Below is a very succinct summarization, worth printing and saving inside your Bible:

 

L    Total depravity (aka ‘Original Sin’): Adam’s sin cursed mankind into a state of total depravity.

L    Unconditional election: God’s choice of ‘elect’ has no ‘condition’ (i.e. no man’s involvement).

L    Limited atonement: Christ’s atonement is ‘limited’ to God’s predetermined ‘elect.’

L    Irresistible grace: God’s grace is so divinely compelling that the ‘elect’ are unable to resist it.

L    Perseverance of believers: Christian church knows God’s ‘true elect’ for their perseverance

 

Unconditional election is the doctrinal origin of the non-scriptural doctrine, which purports that, ‘God knows the future.’  Unconditional election redefines the meaning of God’s ‘foreknowledge.  The correct and scriptural view of divine foreknowledge understands it as God’s plan for the future of his church. 

 

1 Corinthians 2:6-10 And wisdom we speak among the perfect, and wisdom not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age — of those becoming useless, 7 but we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a secret, that God foreordained {predestined} before the ages to our glory, 8 which no one of the rulers of this age did know, for if they had known, the Lord of the glory they would not have crucified; 9 but, according as it hath been written, 'What eye did not see, and ear did not hear, and upon the heart of man came not up, what God did prepare for those loving Him — '10 but to us did God reveal [them] through His Spirit, for the Spirit all things doth search, even the depths of God.  Young's Literal Translation Bible

 

Note carefully the words, in verse 7, “…the hidden wisdom of God in a secret, that God foreordained before the ages to our glory,” because the word, “foreordained,” (translated in other Bible versions as, “predestined”), is the same Greek term used as, “predestined,” in Romans 8:29, and in Ephesians 1:5, 11.  The apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesus about the, “hidden wisdom of God,” which was predestined, but clearly, he does not speak of the, “hidden believers of God,” that were predestined.  Also, note that the hidden wisdom was predestined, “before the ages,” which speaks of eons, or periods of time. 

 

Two Greek words used in 1 Corinthians 2:7 conclusively affirm the intended meaning and effortlessly refute the typical Calvinistic views concerning Unconditional election and God’s alleged ‘foreknowledge’ of the future.  The first Greek word translated, “hidden,” is, “apokrupto,” which means, “to conceal away; to keep secret until the disclosed time.”  The second Greek word of relevance is, ‘prooórisen,” translated as, “foreordained,” or in other versions, “predestined.”  The word prooórisen means literally, “To limit in advance, i.e. (figuratively) predetermine.”

 

Concerning the plan of God manifested thru His son Jesus the Christ, God knew of this plan, including the need for a human sacrificial propitiation, and how His plan would be enacted, set in motion, and carried thru to its completion.  However, God kept this plan, “concealed away,” and He kept it in, “secret,” until the right time, and His forbearance waited until the age when all the necessary ‘limits’ He had planned, ‘in advance,’ were ready and in place.  This view concurs identically to that found in the context of Romans 8:29, and elsewhere the same or similar Greek word cognates to prooórisen are used.

 

Below are some different versions which convey nicely the intent and meaning of (prooórisen), used in context (highlighted for distinction)

 

Ephesians 1:5-11 As we were designed before (prooórisen) by him for the position of sons to himself, through Jesus Christ, in the good pleasure of his purpose, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely gave to us in the Loved One: 7 In whom we have salvation through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, through the wealth of his grace, 8 which he gave us in full measure in all wisdom and care; 9 Having made clear to us the secret of his purpose, in agreement with the design which he had in mind, to put into his hands.  10 The ordering of the times when they are complete, so that all things might come to a head in Christ, the things in heaven and the things on the earth; in him, I say, 11 In whom we have a heritage, being marked out (prooórisen) from the first in his purpose who does all things in agreement with his designs; 12 So that his glory might have praise through us who first had hope in Christ:  The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson 2002

 

Ephesians 1:5 He planned, (prooórisen) in his love, that we should be adopted as his own children through Jesus Christ––this was his will and pleasure.  Phillip’s New Testament

 

Romans 8:26-30

26 And in the same way the spirit (pneuma) helps by taking hold of the moral weakness in us, because we do not know precisely (as needed) what thing we should wish or pray for that is most important.  However, the spirit (pneuma) itself intercedes (acts as a mediator) for or in behalf of inaudible (impossible to hear) prayer, which cannot be expressed in words. 

 

27 But the one who investigates the seat of the desires, feelings, affections, passions, and impulses, (of the heart or mind) sees, with perception, what the result of the mindset of the spirit (pneumatos) is, because, {coming} down from God, {he} meets and talks with {Him} on behalf and for the benefit and protection of the sanctified ones.

 

28 That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. 

 

29 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset (prooórisen) to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.  The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored.  We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. 

 

30 After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.  26-27 The Appropriate Translation 28-30 The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson 2002

 

In closing, I strongly encourage you to restudy this issue, always gives the context full consideration before trying to interpret lone verses, or else you’re sure to be misguided.  Last lf all, the Greek word meaning for the typical Bible version of, ‘foreknew,’ is the Greek word, “proginosko,” and it means, “to predestinate, or more correctly, to foreordain.”

 

Foreknowledge emphasizes the exercise of God's wisdom and intelligence in regard to His eternal purpose, whereas predestination (also known as foreordination) emphasizes the exercise of God's will in regard to it. What He has decreed is what He has decided.  This foreknowledge and foreordination in the Scripture are always unto salvation and not unto condemnation. Therefore, it should be said that the Lord never foreordains someone to be lost.  Rather, He foreordains unto salvation those whom He specially considers in each age that conform to his past plans (see Matthew 7:23; John 10:14; Romans 11:2; 1 Corinthians 8:3; Galatians 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:19; Sept.: Hosea 13:5; Amos 3:2).

 

Any thought of the lost being appointed or ordained unto condemnation should be understood as an act of passing over in which the lost are permitted to suffer the consequences of their choice of sin (1 Peter 2:8). The salvation of every believer is known by God at the time when that persons decides to conform to the image of God’s own dear son Jesus. 

 

In closing, to say that God knows ahead of time which person chooses Him or rejects Him is not only ludicrous, it is self-contradictory, and further, it violates the most basic of God’s nature, best illustrated in the book of Genesis below:

 

Genesis 6:5-7 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.  6 And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart.  7 So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground — not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air — for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them.”   Amplified Bible

 

If God already knew ahead of time every choice made by people from Adam’s day forward, why did He say that He, “regretted,” making them when He saw and witnessed the evil choices and decisions they were makings?  Unless you evade or try to explain away this powerful proof, you must conceded at the base level, that this foreknowledge of God involves only HIS part in the plan, but does not include ours’, which is yet to be lived out.

 

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.  6 And because you Gentiles have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father. 

7 Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you.  New Living Translation

 

Selah… pause, reflect, AND THINK about it.

 

With love in Jesus always,

 

Craigo

 

Craig Bluemel - The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.   

 

 

 


 

Return to BAS Homepage   ·   Craig's Bible Studies   ·   E-mail Craig   ·   Write Us   ·   Writings & Links to BAS Friends   ·   Q & A   ·   Return to Top of This Page