Hi everyone, I was wondering on thoughts about Gods foreknowledge and foreordination. It seems as though many often interpret the verses in the Bible (Romans, 1 Peter) to mean God chooses individuals to be saved. I was wondering if perhaps this means that rather than choosing individuals, God chose a people whom would freely choose to follow Christ and receive salvation through the atoning sacrifice? God knows who will make the choice, but he does not interfere in our free will. It seems evident that God chose Israel to be his chosen people who would bring blessings upon the world. This ultimately is for the purpose that the Gentiles too may become one with God. This has obviously been discussed for centuries but I was wondering on your thoughts?
@calebeldridge I tend to agree that we are foreordained ‘in Christ’ as a Body - not as individuals. God did not predestine who would choose - rather, He predestined the way by which we would come to Him - in Christ.
Here are some resources you may find helpful:
Paul’s burden, then, in Romans 9 is not to narrow the scope of God’s election but to broaden it. He wants to take in all who have faith in Christ Jesus regardless of their ethnicity. Election, then, is first and foremost a corporate notion: God has chosen for Himself a people, a corporate entity, and it is up to us by our response of faith whether or not we choose to be members of that corporate group destined to salvation. William Lane Craig
That being said, very smart people disagree - here are a few resources from Tim Keller on this issue. He tends more towards Calvinism and predestination, which I do not see Biblical support for personally. But I appreciate his ministry greatly and respect his thoroughness.
I found John Lennox’s book ‘Determined to Believe’ very helpful after struggling with the simple question for quite a while:
- How could God in eternity past have fixed a persons destiny so that they are unable to believe?
- Based on the above, How could God rightly judge a person and send them to hell for not believing something that they were incapable of believing.
Lennox starts out talking about non-theistic determinism which is quite interesting for the atheist to answer: if we are just a product of our genes then free will is also an illusion. I believe it was Stephen Hawking that spent an hour or so on a very highly anticipated lecture on free-will, and then after saying no one is free, it’s all an illusion, and completely removing hope from the atheist position: he gave himself an ‘escape hatch’ of “Even though we have no free will, and are completely determined, we don’t know what that fate is so we may as well be free, so don’t worry go and have fun”. I didn’t watch this lecture, only heard of it and the ending statement from somewhere.
I had not until I found this website, even heard of the position of Molinism - but prior to hearing of the term, I felt as though somehow it was ‘both’, when trying to in my own mind balance the free will of man and the sovereignty of God. Somehow both are true I think. Could not an infinite God create a completely free ‘space’ for all individuals to completely and freely choose - that is I’m finite, and within the sovereignly ordained boundaries of my own finite mind, will, and everything that is ‘me’ : I have a completely free choice whether to accept or reject the simple message of the Gospel that Jesus died in my place, and to put my trust in Him alone. I’m completely free within God’s sovereign boundaries of my own finiteness.
I’m not an academic, and certainly get quite lost in some of the advanced philosophy discussions. I rest in the statement of Abraham in Genesis ‘Will not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?’, after having seen God’s love demonstrated so clearly at the Cross.
Yes you are right, the issue has been discussed for centuries, and we are probably not going to solve it. I’ve not fully processed the position of Molinism myself, as sometimes my little brain can’t cope with William Lane Craig. I can only listen to a little bit, and then the mind boggles and I have to go and live normal life for a while to process it.
I also echo Sean’s respect for Tim Keller : I’m currently reading ‘walking with God through pain and suffering’, which I’m really enjoying because of his wisdom and clearly loving heart for people.
I really appreciated the resource that SeanO gave us and Matt’s comments also. This is a topic that will continue to provide us lots of interactions and opportunities to question God’s nature and our own. Sometimes, He reveals a little window that we can see some light through. Two basic principles guide my current position.
- God’s plan from Genesis 1 through Rev 22 is to give man dominion; this implies free-will to me. In many instances, God binds himself - most notably in becoming flesh and submitting to death. Thus, it is the sovereignty of God that ensures our free-will.
- I understand from scripture that election is always connected with purpose rather than privilege.
Two verses play out this dichotomy. The election of Abraham is tied to the greatest testing. When Abraham was faithful, God responded, “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Yes, you can call this ‘anthropomorphism’, or maybe God by His sovereign power chose to give Abraham freedom. The resulting election was spoken thus… “all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Gen 22) His election was for purpose, but the Jews were not the first nor the last to think of election in terms of privilege. God responded to this misunderstanding in Amos 9.
“Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?” declares the Lord. “Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?.." He went on to explain the destruction and restoration of the nation because of its unfaithfulness. God was working with peoples all over the region, but the faithfulness of Abraham would be His chosen vessel to bless all nations.
I tried to understand this without knowing Christ. If I am away from Christ, I am blank about foreknowledge and foreordination.
After my salvation EXPERIENCE, when I read His REVEALED TRUTH, I come to know that God foreordained me.
When I enter the Eternal Life which comes through Christ, I understand this Truth to thank and praise God for choosing me eternally, to be with Him eternally.
So, I perceive, foreordination and foreknowledge may not be applicable for the people who are still outside Christ and who have not entered into Eternal life line.