Why are we comforted in the idea of God's foreknowledge?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    Why are we comforted in the idea of God's foreknowledge?

    Regarding foreknowledge and our general confidence that God will win in the end:

    My wife is decidedly disinterested in my uber-geeky contemplations about theology. She will listen to me, thankfully, but does not feel as though she needs to wrestle with the issues… I really have no problem with that (it is probably for the best for our family's sake!) but I asked her a question that I was planning on asking this board:


    Would you feel less confident that God would win in the end if you were to believe that future decisions of free creatures were unknown to God?


    Her answer was a quick yes. My question I'd like to put to this board is, 'Why?'. Why would we feel less confident? Is it because we have a trust problem? Is it because it is an idea we are not comfortable with?

    Is it the case that, God may be sovereign, omnipotent, omni-intelligent, all wise, eternal, omni-resourceful, all-loving, Creator, etc., but, if He doesn't foreknow the free decisions of his free creatures, then, "No way, he's not God or at least not a God that I would want to trust."

    What benefit, usefulness or security does God himself gain or maintain in knowing such? What is it about that one issue that would finally win or loose our confidence and comfort in God?
     
  2. Iconoclast

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    We could have no confidence in the word of God ,or its promises coming to pass if God's decree was not certain.Prayer itself would be meaningless if God has not predestined it as a means of grace.

    You said FOREKNOWLEDGE...that has to do with God's elect alone.
    I think you are speaking more of the Decree....or what God has predestined and foreordained to come to pass.
    Consider this:
    [QUOTE17Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
    18That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

    19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

    20Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
    ][/QUOTE]


    and again;

    Life itself is all about this OATH, This Pledge, This Covenant,......we should understand and rejoice in this...learn more about it....not argue over such a great blessing;
     
  3. humblethinker

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    Iconoclast, i was actually speaking of foreknowledge. My OP is intended to be addressed from an arminian perspective. What you would see as foreordainment or God determining, the arminian would mostly explain as God's foreknowledge (this is a loose statement not meant to be arguementative... So I hope it comes across that way the way I'm intending.) For the Arminian, God Knows the future such that His knowledge would not be quantitatively or qualitatively different than if he directly and personally caused every event Himself.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    This discussion is prompting a couple of questions.

    One, if God simply foreknows who will exercise repentance and faith, and elects them on that basis, how is it that we do not elect ourselves?

    Can we exercise that repentance and faith independently of God's decrees, or even his desires? Or in opposition to his desires.

    On what basis do we determine if God reacts because of his foreknowledge of the actions of men, or if God decrees that those actions will take place?

    Can God decree to change something that he has foreknown will take place?
     
  5. Skandelon

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    FYI, that is not the scholarly Arminian (non-Calvinistic) view of election/predestination. What is known as the corporate view is much more accepted and taught by non-cal scholars. (i.e. God has elected to first invite the Jew and then the Gentiles through his gospel appeal and He has predetermined to justify, adopt and conform whosoever believes, whether Jew or Gentile.)

    The view you have described above is more of a layman's overly simplistic way to deal with Calvinism's individualization of the doctrine. (i.e. God invites both Jews and then Gentiles but has preselected certain individuals from each group to be believers so that they will certainly be justified, adopted and conformed.)
     
  6. Skandelon

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    Because it is true, and truth about the nature of our God is comforting. :)

    That said, I believe God's knowledge of all things, past, present and future, is most likely not the way we would know things past present and future if we had a crystal ball and could foresee all that is going to come to pass, yet so much of our speculations presuppose this to be the case. We think of God's foreknowledge of future events as if he is on a timeline looking through the corridors of time to see what will take place, but that ignores the fact that God is present at all times and the same time, so why would he need to look into a future in order know something where he currently exists and knows it?

    I prefer the 'eternal I AM' view of God's omniscience, not this simplistic view where we assume God is bound by some time line of past, present and future knowledge and thus bound by casual effects of time and space. He is much bigger than that IMO.
     
  7. Iconoclast

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    HT,

    Biblical foreknowledge is used of persons not events. We can agree that God knows the end from the beginning and does not need to learn anything.
    He knows all men will not come unless He purposes for a multitude to come.
    HT.....God is not just an observer.....He causes by His own will and purpose whatsoever comes to pass....using whatever means He knows to be wise.

    This language is completely unscriptural.
     
  8. saturneptune

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    That is not true. First of all, it is not overly simplistic. Your long posts and theologically challanged ideas do not make the concept of God's sovereignty any clearer, it just makes the posts longer.

    Since you always make some remark demeaning the idea that the Lord chooses, or chose before the foundation of the world, those who will come to salvation, you always fail to descirbe what it is within man that makes him come to that decision. What is the mechanism within the spirit and soul of man that decides one is going to put their faith in Jesus Christ or one is not. It almost sounds like the big bang theory in relation to Creation. It just happened on its own.

    There seems to be a big disconnect in this type of logic between Romans 1, how the Gospel is delivered, and the salvation experience.
     
  9. humblethinker

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    Thank you Skan, i wanted to say the same but glad you did. I was hoping that this thread would be responded to from a classical arminian perspective.
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Oh, how kind. Thank you, but I have about 32 PMs in my inbox telling me otherwise. 1 of 32 isn't bad. :)

    My views are representative of what MANY scholarly baptist theologians believe and teach about the sovereignty of God as it relates to the doctrines of predestination and election, including but not limited to Herschel Hobbs, author of the Baptist Faith and Message. I'm sorry you feel they are 'challenged', 'too long' and 'unclear.'

    Oh, so you want me to tell you what determines a person to decide what he decides, as if a deterministic response is necessary? Interesting. That is called "question begging." If you can tell me what determined God's decision to save you and not someone else, then I'll explain to you the free moral choices of every free moral creature. ;)

    An act is determined by the actor. A choice is determined by the chooser. That is what makes one the actor and the chooser and thus culpable for his actions and choices. That is all we know. If I could define a free choice by telling you what determined it then I wouldn't believe in a free choice, now would I?
     
  11. humblethinker

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    :thumbs:Yes, I agree, but though you and I arive at the same conclusion we come by different means.
     
  12. saturneptune

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    And who is the chooser, or Chooser?

    So 1 in 32, wow, I did not know there was an election going on. There are people on this board voting for Mitt Romney also. Why do you need PMs to confirm your theories are correct?

    It seems odd to me you know the exact force that started Creation, yet when it comes to salvation, the Gospel, or our eternal destiny, you can offer no more than a throw of the dice. It also seems odd that we cannot choose to lose our salvation once obtained, but we sure have a big part in choosing to gain it. 32 PMs does not make your theories any better. Anyone can watch the Twilight Zone.
     
    #12 saturneptune, Apr 25, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2012
  13. Skandelon

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    Depends on the choice. Is He the Chooser of my choice to reject your theological views? If so, why are you arguing with me? :smilewinkgrin:
     
  14. humblethinker

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    Well... Thanks for the answer and I agree, it being true would be an obvious and necessary reason for justifiably feeling as such, but it wasn't the only answer I was looking for! :p

    What about the 7 or 8 other questions I asked?

    (I'll take up the topic of time and views of God's relation to it and creation after I finish a book I'm currently reading.)
     
  15. Skandelon

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    Well, I kind of felt as if the rest of my response addressed some of those questions. Our trust in God is often related to how we view his divine qualities and those were some of the thoughts I have about Him. I think we too often put him in a small little theological box and think we got it all figured out, but we don't.
     
  16. Skandelon

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    I wasn't talking about any of that. I was referring to your opinion about how long and unclear my posts are when I have many thanking me for explaining the non-Calvinistic views from a very well established orthodox Baptist perspective. I'm sorry you don't agree, but I can't please everyone.

    Are you talking about God? Who here doesn't know and believe that?

    I suppose this quip is in reference to your feeling that my view of free will amounts to nothing more than chance? Chance is just another word for mystery. There are too many factors for you to measure, gage, and fully understand why dice would turn up a particular number...it is a mystery (chance), yet you wouldn't deny that the dice thrower is responsible, right?

    So, in the same way a free moral agent makes a choice using factors that you cannot gage, measure or fully understand and so you call it chance, but you still can't deny the agent is responsible for that choice. Just because you can't define, explain, measure and fully grasp the free moral choice of a man doesn't mean God must have determined it to be what it was. That is a very small view of God, mankind and the world IMO.

    We, like Calvinists, affirm the powerful and effectual effect of regeneration upon the life of any true believer, we just disagree as to the order and cause/effect relationship of these. Either we believe in order to have life or we are brought to life in order to believe. The bible supports the former, not the latter.

    John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
     
  17. saturneptune

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    There is no argument about the verse you quoted. There is also no argument about man's responsibility being one element in the equation. There is more to consider than two choices. Those who limit the subject to two man made choices are the ones that have the "small view of God, mankind and the world" IMO.
     
  18. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  19. Skandelon

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    Good, so we've established that you have no argument.

    Yes there is. Who said otherwise?

    First, no one 'limited the subject'. Second, this sentence makes no sense.
     

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