tyrone_howard — 2017-10-01T07:14:23-04:00 — #1
} “foreknowledge of God” This is the term prognosis (to know before), used only here and in I Pet. 1:2. This concept of God’s
knowing all of human history is difficult for us to reconcile with human free will. God is an eternal, spiritual being who is not
limited by temporal sequence. Although He controls and shapes history, humans are responsible for their motives and acts.
Foreknowledge does not affect God’s love and election. If so, then it would be conditional on future human effort and merit. God
is sovereign and He has chosen that His Covenant followers have some freedom of choice in responding to Him (cf. Rom. 8:29;
I Pet. 1:20).
There are two extremes in this area of theology: (1) freedom pushed too far: some say God does not know the future choices
and actions of humans (Open Theism, which is a philosophical extension of Process Thought) and (2) sovereignty pushed too far,
which becomes God choosing some to heaven and some to hell (supralapsarianism, double-edged Calvinism). I prefer Psalm 139!
Dr Utley gives the above commentary about foreknowledge during a study on Acts.
dave_l — 2017-10-01T09:18:38-04:00 — #2
I think most of what Dr. Utley says is accurate. But I would make a few adjustments.
As I've been saying, people always choose what they want. But only according to their nature and the reasons that led to their choices. So they incur the guilt or reward because of their wanting to make the choices they did.
The Westminster Confession Chapter 3 says the same only not as clearly spelled out;
- God, from all eternity, did—by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will—freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass. Yet he ordered all things in such a way that he is not the author of sin, nor does he force his creatures to act against their wills; neither is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
The Westminster Confession Chapter 3 answers this theologically from the bible;
By God's decree, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined to everlasting life, and others are foreordained to everlasting death.
These angels and men, thus predestined and foreordained, are individually and unchangeably designated, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or decreased.
Those people who are predestined to life, God—before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and unchangeable purpose and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will—has chosen in Christ to everlasting glory. He chose them out of his free grace and love alone, not because he foresaw faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of these, or anything else in the creature, as conditions or causes moving him to do this; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.
As God has appointed the elect to glory, so he has—by the eternal and most free purpose of his will—foreordained all the means to that end. Therefore, his chosen ones, all of them being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ and are effectually called to faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season. They are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation. No others are redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, except the elect only.
The rest of mankind God was pleased—according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extends or withholds mercy as he pleases—for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.
OPC. (n.d.). Westminster Confession with Modern English.