God's knowledge vs foreknowledge?

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by convicted1, Nov 8, 2013.

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  1. convicted1

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    What would you consider the differences in the two?

    A Brother asked me this very question tonight and here's what I told him. God's knowledge is knowing something and allowing it to happen. God's foreknowledge is He actively decreeing them to come to pass. God's knowledge knew the falls of Satan and Adam, but He didn't force them to do their wickedness. God's foreknowledge was sending Jesus to redeem His elect. Not word-for-word, but close to that is how I answered him.
     
  2. Inspector Javert

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    Hi Willis :wavey:
    I don't think you worded your question very well.

    It's not that there's a "difference" between them. God possesses rather more knowledge than "foreknowledge". God is also Omniscient, meaning he knows all truths even DURING and AFTER events as well. I suppose theoretically, that one could posses "Foreknowledge" and actually not be Omniscient also!! Of course, no such being exists, but it's possible.

    "Foreknowledge" is, by definition, nothing more or less than knowing BEFORE-HAND. That's all it means.
    What you are speaking of as God's fore-knowledge is also defined as God's "free-knowledge" of all actual events as they occur in time. Calvinists and non-Calvinists invariably agree that God is possed of BOTH this...and also his "natural knowledge" which is his knowledge of all necessary truths prior to, and regardless of the decrees. That's another part of being entirely Omniscient.
    I think what you are really asking is HOW exactly God is in possession of that knowledge, not what it IS.

    You maintain that it is based in the fact of his decreeing all events beforehand, as you state. Others, (usually those who don't ascribe to your Soteriology) take his foreknowledge of events as a simple fait-accompli Based simply upon the nature of his being.......He knows...simply because he is possessed of the property of being "All-Knowing". Even if he were to simply decree basically nothing post the creative act, but rather let events unfold without interfering in any way....he would still know infallibly all events before they occured. A Calvinist might agree with that statement too, but they usually explain God's "knowing" BECAUSE he has decreed. Other's link his foreknowledge to his Omniscience....not his Sovereignty! It's just a brute fact to them....as sure as God is "All-Powerful" he is also "All-knowing". That's it.
     
    #2 Inspector Javert, Nov 8, 2013
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  3. convicted1

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    G4268

    foreknowledge, forethought, prearrangement

    Correct, foreknowledge does mean to know beforehand, but also it means prearrangement, as well. They were sacrificing children to their pagan god in the OT, and God said it did not even enter His mind. Now, that does not mean He did not know about it beforehand, but rather, He did not actively decree this to take place. God knows all things before they ever take place. Things either happen by Him decreeing them, or allowing them to happen. Nothing is beyond His control.....not saying you were stating this either....and that's another topic altogether......
     
  4. Inspector Javert

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  5. BobRyan

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    Foreknowledge specifically speaks of knowing the future. It is not a reference to knowing something in the past or knowing the current state of things.

    Knowledge is more generic - all knowledge - Foreknowledge or not -- is knowledge.

    God chose us according to his knowledge of the future - according to his foreknowledge.

    1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

    Rom 8
    29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    Foreknew is not a synonym for "predestined" it is the basis for it.



    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  6. Reformed

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    Willis,

    I would argue that God does not possess knowledge in the strict definition of the word. Knowledge is defined as "information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education" (Merriam-Webster). God does not learn. He does not acquire information or understanding from experience or education. God is omniscient. He knows everything there is to know and knows everything intimately. We use the words "know" and "knowledge" to describe God's omniscience, but those words are inadequate because, as said previously, God does not acquire knowledge.

    Foreknowledge does mean to know beforehand. I would argue that God's foreknowledge is part and parcel of His predetermined plan for whatever it is He chooses to do, whether it be saving a sinner or causing the wind to blow.
     
  7. BobRyan

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    We know God is all-knowing - but we don't know HOW God does what He does nor knows what He knows.

    In Calvinism it is "better living through better programming" not unlike the way you or I would do it - if we were sitting in God's chair and had to know everything about the future - we would just "program it that way".

    In the Arminian model it is "God who sovereignly chose the free will system and yet still manages to knows all - sure must be tough to BE God, we can't figure out how He does it"

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    Some examples that will help are Matthew 7:23 "I never knew you" and Acts 2:23 where the Greek construction demands that "foreknowledge" is synonmous with "determinate counsel."

    In regard to the first, the context is the last day before an OMNISCIENT judge - (Christ) who KNOWS EVERYTHING and EVERYONE as that is the essential condition to be the final judge of men. However, he "never" knew them according to how they claimed to know him - in a salvational sense. So the term "know" means more than mere awareness but salvation relationship. In regard to the elect he "foreknew" them in regard to salvational relationship (Rom. 8:29 with verse 32).

    In regard to Acts 2:23 the evil performed by these men was according to the "determinate counsel" of God. The Greek construction provides a definite article before the first noun while ommitting the article before the second noun, both nouns divided by the conjunction. That demands that the second noun is simply a reassertion of the first noun or further clarification and thus snyonmous. It can properly be translated "according to the determinate counsel or foreknowledge of God" or "according to the determinate counsel WHICH IS the foreknowlege of God". This is the meaning of "foreknew" in Romans 8:29 as it is based upon "according to his purpose" that does effectually work all things for the good of the elect (v. 32).
     
    #8 The Biblicist, Nov 8, 2013
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  9. webdog

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    The difference is from our vantage, not God's. The reason there are many disagreements in theology stem from a false understanding of God and time. There is no fore or pre with an omnipresent God, these are descriptions given to us who they do apply to.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    Let me throw a few random thoughts into the discussion.

    In Romans 8, Paul writes "....WHOM He foreknew..." Not WHAT He foreknew.

    In this instance, foreknowledge is related to people. I think it speaks of a relationship God has with his elect. An intimate relationship closely akin to that relationship described in Genesis as "Abraham knew his wife and she conceived."

    I also think the case can be made that God's foreknowledge is closely related to his "determinate counsel" (Acts 2;23). God can know all because he has the power to make it happen.

    Acts 2:23 clearly says that God had determined that Jesus would be crucified, thus knew it would happen.

    But here's the interesting thing. Those who orchestrated his crucifixion were held accountable. They had "wicked hands."

    I'm getting very close to the end of my understanding about all this. Jesus" death was planned from eternity. It was part of God's plan to save his people from their sins. God intended for it to happen. It happened as he intended. Yet, those who participated in that plan were wicked.

    When I see the Lord someday, I'll have a bunch of questions for Him. It may take a while.
     
  11. webdog

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    Both the foreknown faith view and deterministic view have the same fatal flaw, using our reasoning within time to say how God does things within time and outside of time. When we picture God existing at all points in time simultaneously, there can be no true ordo salutis, we have to accept the tension and mystery how God interacts with His creation within and outside of time. Why not just let there be tension as we do with the Godhead, hypostatic union, etc. and not come up with a systematic theology outside what the Bible explicitly states?
     
  12. Reformed

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    Because there is a logic contained in scripture that reveals an ordo salutis. Yes. I know I am answering this from a Reformed soteriological view, so I do not expect agreement. However, I need to respectfully point out that according to the Reformed view scripture clearly reveals an ordo salutis. Its components are: election and predestination; the Atonement; the outward (Gospel) call; the effectual (or inward) call; regeneration; justification; sanctification; and glorification. Some see conversion as a separate part of the call.
     
  13. Winman

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    Yes, and a perfect example is Nathanael in John chapter 1. Jesus saw Nathanael "coming to him" and called him an "Israelite indeed". This is referring to Romans 2:29, where Paul says a true Jew is one inwardly, one who believes, and whose praise is of God. Note how Jesus complimented Nathanael.

    And what was Nathanael's reaction? He asked how Jesus KNEW him. This is foreknowledge, Jesus knew before Nathanael was called that he would believe. He told Nathanael that before he was called, when he was under the fig tree, that Jesus "saw" him. Only at this point did Nathanael believe on Jesus. So this story is a perfect example of foreknowledge.

    And what does John 6:64 says Jesus knew from the beginning?

    Jhn 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

    If Jesus knew who did not believe from the beginning, then he also knew who did believe.

    How can anybody deny that foreknowledge involves knowing who believes when we are directly told so in scripture!?!

    Yes, and God does not know someone UNTIL they believe.

    Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

    God does not enter into a personal and intimate relationship with someone until they trust on Jesus. Only when one's sins are forgiven can they have a personal relationship with God.

    But God in his foreknowledge can see this personal relationship before it actually takes place in time.

    That is not what it says, read again;

    Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

    It does not say God determined Jesus would be crucified. It says God determined he would be delivered. Jesus willingly gave himself up, he told Peter he could have called on the Father, and his Father would send more than 12 legions of angels to rescue him. But Jesus willingly allowed himself to be taken, and so did the Father.

    But God did not determine that the Jews would crucify Jesus, although in his foreknowledge he knew they would. God never tempts any man to sin.

    These men had already tried to kill Jesus several times, proving that God did not cause this. God would not cause them to desire to kill Jesus before the proper time. In each case, Jesus escaped because it was not the correct time. But in the garden, Jesus allowed himself to be taken because it was the proper time, the Passover.

    That's because they were 100% guilty. It was completely their idea to kill Jesus, they had tried to kill him on at least two other occasions, but Jesus escaped because it wasn't the proper time.

    Has it ever occurred to you that nothing makes sense if Calvinism is true? You expressed that here yourself. You were puzzled why these men would be accountable if God had determined they crucify Jesus. The reason it doesn't make sense is because it is ERROR. God did not determine they would crucify Jesus, but he did FOREKNOW they would. God by his foreknowledge knew the priests and soldiers would come for Jesus, and he allowed them to take him and crucify him.

    Well, scripture says God never tempts any man to sin, so we can know for a certainty that God did not cause the Jews and Romans to crucify Jesus. God in his foreknowledge knew the Jews and Romans would put Jesus to death.

    God did allow this to happen however, so that Jesus could die on the Passover for our sins.
     
    #13 Winman, Nov 9, 2013
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  14. The Biblicist

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    Unfortunately the Bible does not share your view as the Bible places a clear distinction between before time and in time, in regard to the purpose and fulfillment of those purposes:

    Isa. 46:10 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:

    Take note that God Himself, distinguishes between His purpose and its fulfillment in time. If you view were correct the purpose and fulfillment are simeltaneous events in God's eyes and yet God denies that as He distinguishes His purposes BEFORE time and IN time.

    True God regards them as finished but not because He does not distinguish between before and after creation but because nothing can thwart His will as the text says "I WILL DO ALL MY PLEASURE" - not merely some but "ALL."
     
  15. webdog

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    I contest the phrase before time is both hyperbolic and anthropomorpic as the very word before is confined to time, meaning it is akin to an oxymoron.
     
  16. Winman

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    How can the foreknown faith view be flawed when scripture directly tells us Jesus knew from the beginning who believed not? And of course, if Jesus knew those who did not believe from the beginning, all the rest were believers.

    Jhn 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

    The foreknown faith view is absolutely scriptural, it cannot be denied.

    Jhn 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
    71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

    Again, an example of foreknowledge. Jesus knew when he chose the twelve disciples that Judas would not believe on him and would betray him.

    Jesus also knew the others would believe, he did not call them devils, only ONE was a devil, Judas.

    Pretty ridiculous to call the foreseen faith view a flaw when it is directly shown in scripture.
     
  17. webdog

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    Its flawed in the same way it would be to take other anthropomorphic language as literal. Of course he knew from the beginning...because He was, is and will know. Its just as much error to state He is confined at a point in time knowing the future as saying He is a literal door or lamb. The passages you supplied deal with Christ in time, btw.
     
    #17 webdog, Nov 9, 2013
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  18. Winman

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    Web, I don't worry about words like "anthropormorphic", I just believe what the scriptures say. The scriptures say that Jesus knew from the beginning who believed not. By process of elimination he would also know who believes.

    That is good enough for me.

    Scripture says we are elect according to the foreknowledge of the Father. It is not a stretch to believe God chose those he foresaw would believe. We are directly told God could foresee who would believe, and we are told the elect were chosen through belief of the truth.

    2 The 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

    Seems pretty plain to me.
     
  19. webdog

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    You really should pay greater attention to anthropomorphism as the Bible is filled with them. That language is for us...to try to get our feeble minds to understand slightly His power. There is a clear ordo salutis for our actions, the error occurs when we place God under the same.
     
  20. Winman

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    Well, I remember about 2 years ago I got everyone in an uproar when I said I believed the scriptures when they said Jacob wrestled with God and prevailed. Everyone tried to tell me that was anthropormorphic language.

    Well, I'm sorry, I believe scripture for what it says. I actually believe that God appeared as a man to Jacob, that they wrestled, and that Jacob won the wrestling match.

    I do not tell the scriptures what they say, I like to let them tell me.
     
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