The certainty of God's Foreknowledge?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rlvaughn, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    I posted this question in another forum and received some interesting answers. I am interested to know what the readers of Baptist Board might have to say.

    How do you view God's foreknowledge? It seems that most Baptist people I talk to believe in it. Some seem to see it as a foreknowledge of an endless number of possibilities based on numerous choices that different people could make. To me that seems to put a certain uncertainty to it.

    Let me put forth a piece of history to make the discussion concrete.
    Did God foreknow that John F. Kennedy would die Friday, November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas? Did He foreknow John F. Kennedy would be assassinated (and how he would be)?

    If your answer is no, please discuss how an omniscient God could not know this.

    If your answer is yes, then (1) Could John F. Kennedy have chosen not to go to Dallas on November 22, 1963? and (2) Could the assassin have chosen not to shoot President Kennedy?

    Thanks.
     
  2. canadyjd

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    From Acts 2:23, it seems that God's "foreknowledge" is tied to His "predetermined plan", as least in the case of the crucifixion.

    You also have passages speaking of God working all things after the counsel of His will or for the good of those He has chosen. (Eph. 1:11) (Romans 8:28)

    So, I tend to believe that God "knows" what will happen because He is actively working to bring it about.

    I know some will accuse me of saying God is the author of evil, but I am not saying that. God allows evil, and uses it to bring about His own purposes and plans.

    So, Joseph can tell his brothers that their intention when selling him into slavery was evil, but God meant it for good.

    So, Peter can tell the Jews that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was by the hands of ungodly men, but also according to the predetermined plan of God.

    So, in reference to JFK...God knew it would happen, He allowed it to happen, and He used that event (in some way) for the good of those He has called according to His purpose.

    BTW, the "foreknew" in Romans 8:28 is not referring to "knowing" intellectually, but "knowing" in a relationship, as is clear from the context.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    rlvaughn, good to see you posting today. Welcome back for one of your too-rare visits.

    Some random thoughts:

    I freely admit that I don't understand this, but God's foreknowledge is closely related to his decrees and his will. I believe that God knows the future because it is part of his plan from the foundation of the world. canadyjd's quote of Acts 2:23 is apt. God's "determinate counsel" cannot be separated from his foreknowledge.
    Hardest to fathom is how God incorporates the choices of human beings into that plan. Suffice it to say, though, that I don't believe God as a Plan B.

    God's foreknowledge is also related to his immutability. What God knows today he has always known. I'm indebted to R. Charles Blair of Western Kentucky for this quote: "Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?"

    In Romans 8, "those whom he foreknew," are the objects of hlis grace, his sheep. This is not just God's foreknowing what would happen to them, this is God's knowing them from eternity. Remember immutability. Whom God knows today (the predesitinated, the called, the justified), he has always known.

    Contrast this to God's judgment of the goats "I NEVER knew you."

    Some hold that God based his election on his foreknowledge of their choice of him as Savior. Either way, the outcome is certain and cannot be changed. The final number of the saved is fixed. No one else will have a "chance" to be saved. God cannot suddenly foresee something that he hasn't already foreseen.

    What God decides, on whatever basis you favor, he has always decided.
     
    #3 Tom Butler, Jul 4, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2008
  4. Gold Dragon

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    Our understanding of time is linear and we are limited by that. God's understanding of time may not necessarily be so and probably isn't. Our tendency is to fit God's foreknowledge into a framework that we can understand which is one of linear time.

    2 Peter 3:8 NASB
    But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, [SIZE=-1][/SIZE]that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a[SIZE=-1][/SIZE] thousand years like one day.
     
  5. Benjamin

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    Can an omnipotent God create a world with creatures which allows them a choice within created time and still be omniscient?

    If no, please discuss why an omnipotent God could not do this.

    Must God’s foreknowledge limit His ability to having to encompass all events as predestined, and if yes are Determinist not limiting God within their finite understanding of God’s foreknowledge?

    Is it even logical to conclude that our limited understanding of God’s foreknowledge must command that He has determined all things or can not be in control (sovereign) in His creation as He designed it? Does this position not limit His omnipotence, discount His omnibenvolence, and open the door to the “problem of evil” while attempting to put the responsibility of evil on Him in a confrontational fashion against His revelations of His nature and being Truth?

    Can one really rest his doctrine on “Determinism” and fully integrate this with the rest of God’s revelations concerning His Nature, creation, plan of salvation, and truth without force fitting their finite presumptions on their understanding of foreknowledge alone and becoming hypocritical on the issues of free will compatibilities?

    Nah, the Determinist view of God’s foreknowledge does not prove God predestined an assassin to kill John F. Kennedy.
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    If could have said it better myself, I might have tried...from our confession:

    God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.

    Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
     
  7. StefanM

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    The idea that God simply knows all possible outcomes is nothing more than dressed-up open theism.

    That being said, I do believe God has knowledge of counterfactuals, but he also has definite knowledge of what will happen.

    God foreknew the assassination.

    1) Yes, in a sense.
    2) Yes, in a sense.

    I qualify these because there was nothing preventing them from making that choice. However, they would not have chosen otherwise. God knew that the events would occur exactly as they did and that the participants would not choose otherwise.

    It is not as if foreknowledge of the event determines the choices therein. The only sense in which this would be true is hard determinism. If God specifically orchestrates the situation down to the smallest detail, then his foreknowledge is logically prior to the execution of the events. If God does not specifically orchestrate it, then his foreknowledge of the event is not logically prior to it. While chronologically prior (from our perspective), it is logically subsequent to the events.

    For the example, if JFK had chosen not to go to Dallas, then God would have known this, and his foreknowledge would still have been 100% accurate. I also believe that God knows what would have happened had JFK not gone to Dallas (any any other choices---knowledge of counterfactuals).

    But maybe I should put down the Molinist Kool-Aid for a moment. :laugh:
     
  8. Outsider

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    Hi all,
    I do not know if this is the answer you are looking for or if it helps with the true question (Deeper question) that you may be asking.... but here is what I find.
    John F Kennedy was going to die on this date. Death is an appointment that we all have. This date was his appointment.
    He was assassinated in Dallas because of John F Kennedy's prior decisions.
    Because death is an appointment, if he would have phoned in sick that day, I believe he would have died another way. It was his time because God called him out of this world.
    If the assassin would have chose not to do it, another way would have presented itself. Maybe there were other assassins waiting, freak accident, etc...
    I view His foreknowledge as Him knowing everything and everyone. I agree with canadyjd, "the "foreknew" in Romans 8:28 is not referring to "knowing" intellectually, but "knowing" in a relationship, as is clear from the context". I also believe this to be consistent with what Tom said "God's judgment of the goats "I NEVER knew you."" He knew them as goats but not as sheep (relationship).

    When I see predestination in scripture, I find it to be about God's children being predestinated to heaven, not to be confused with this person being predestinated to being one of His children and this person not.

    As for JFK, I do believe that God knew the way it was going to happen. It was going to happen on that day (His departure from this world) and in that manner. He foreknew the event but foreordained JFK's departure. Again, I see it as an appointment set by God.
    This is the way I view it in scripture. I hope this helps.
     
    #8 Outsider, Jul 5, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2008
  9. JustChristian

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    You make an interesting point.

    Death is an appointment that we all have. This date was his appointment.

    Of course I believe that we are all going to die. But you seem to believe that the date of our death is absolutely fixed but the circumstances are not. What other things aren't fixed? Doesn't this represent a kind of "partial predestination?"
     
  10. Outsider

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    Hi BB,
    I have read many of your posts. I enjoy them.
    I do believe that death is an appointment for everyone, with one small exception. I do believe that when Christ returns, there will be some who are naturally still alive. Other than that, we all have that appointed time.

    I am unfamiliar with many terms, so forgive me when I ask "What exactly is partial predestination"?
    I do think the time of our death is an appointed time that will not be changed, unless God changes it. I am unsure if it is written in stone how we are to die. For us, in our present time, we make choices that appear to determine such events. I will admitt, I don't think God will be in "Shock" or "Suprised" in the way we meet our death.

    Nice talking with you. Many blessings!
     
  11. ReformedBaptist

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    Predestination does come up frequently with foreknowledge. Again, if I could say it better...lol

    By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.
     
  12. Outsider

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    Are they condemned in their sin or the sin of Adam?
    This is not predestination, this is double predestination.
    Predestination are those predestined for heaven. Once saved, they are sealed (predestined) for the glory land, never to be seperated from Christ.
     
  13. TomMann

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    "God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree."

    I not only find no fault in any of the above.... but I rejoice in every word of it.
     
  14. skypair

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    And thus we introduce the fallacy of "if God knows it, He wills/predestines it, because He can't just 'foresee' it," right? (I realize you have not limited the options that way but that is what it comes down to, right?)

    1) Omniscient God the FATHER foreknows everything, period. He it is Who is "supratemporal" -- outside of or above time.

    2) The God the Son who administers this earthly kingdom does NOT foreknow everything. It is part of His "Persona" since creation that He only knows what God tells Him.

    3) It is the Spirit's -- the "atemporal" Persona -- to reveal everything that makes God's plan work according to His purposes. That is, the Spirit presents all the choices and options for good that men have available to them.

    4) The Son still controls the consequences of those choices as "Lord of lords" and "King of kings." Though men may choose one way or another, it is the Son administering the promises and mercy of God, who "molds the clay" that God the Father foreknows is unto honor or dishonor.

    There really is no pupose in this "tail chasing" we seem to have with "when does God know -- what is His will" denial of free will. The assassination of Kennedy was an option for dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people that Christ and the Spirit were dealing with. And if Kennedy had not been President, we would have a whole different set of conditions with which Christ would be dealing and that God would have already foreknown.

    skypair
     
    #14 skypair, Jul 6, 2008
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  15. MB

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    Why must God's knowing have any effect on the man and his life. The man still makes those decisions independantly, God didn't make them for Him. You being a reformer believe this takes any possible decision out of the hand of man and places it in belief of fate. Is it our fate because God knows it? No not according to reformers. It's our predestination because He knows it.

    What this argument does is distract men from Christ, by causing them to believe they are the way they are and there is nothing that can be done about it. Which isn't true because, all things are possible with God. You can not believe all things are possible with Him and believe that because God knows a thing it will happen and is unalterable. None of this theory is found in scripture and there fore is nothing but the whinnings of men. However the fact all things are possible with God is in the Bible and there fore disproves this belief in fate.

    MB
     
  16. webdog

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    AMEN! God's foreknowledge is such that finite beings bound by time cannot fathom. The very phrase "fore" knowledge is a phrase bound by time, which God is not. I believe it is used for us who are bound by time to get a slight glimmer of God's awesomeness, sovereignty, and omnipotence over everything INCLUDING time.
     
  17. ReformedBaptist

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    I believe you are mistaken. Since we are using theological terms (which you claim you didn't understand) please define double-predestination according to the commonly accepted meaning of it. You make this mistake on your website as well. But I would like to you see you retrieve a theological definition for it.
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    Amen and Amen!
     
  19. Crabtownboy

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    It depends on how we understand time.

    1- There is a beginning and an end to time and we are somewhere between the two. God can see from the beginning to the end and thus has foreknowledge of everything that will happen, when, where and how.

    2- There is a beginning and an end to time and we are always at the very end of time. What lies ahead is not time as it has not occurred yet. God can see from the begining to the end ... that is from the beginning to the now. In this case God does not know exactly what specificially will happen in the future, though he has a pretty good idea as he knows humans so well. That would mean he does not know each choice we will make and thus does not know specifics, i.e. that Kennedy would be shot in Dallas on a given day.

    I can see merit in both views of time.

    There is a very good book entitled, "What, Then Is Time," by Eva Brann.
     
  20. psalms109:31

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    All things work for the good of those who love Him

    Ezekiel 28:15
    You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.

    Jeremiah 17:5
    This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.2 Chronicles

    1 Samuel 8: 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead [Traditionally judge ] us, such as all the other nations have."

    6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

    Romans 1:
    24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts...

    1 Samuel 10:19
    But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your calamities and distresses. And you have said, 'No, set a king over us.' So now present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and clans."

    2 Chronicles 16:9
    For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war."

    Romans 1:
    24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

    James 1:12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

    13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

    16Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

    2 Peter 3:3
    First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

    2 Peter 3:3
    First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

    1 John 2:17
    The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

    Do not forget

    Romans 8:28[ More Than Conquerors ] And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

    1 Peter 38Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

    1 Timothy 1:
    Warning Against False Teachers of the Law
    3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work—which is by faith. 5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

    8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    Hebrews 10:
    26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

    35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while,
    "He who is coming will come and will not delay.
    38But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And if he shrinks back,
    I will not be pleased with him." 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
     

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