Monday, January 28, 2008

Foreknowledge, Election and Predestination

Thursday is coming very quickly, so I am going to move on to another round of discussion: unconditional election. The common way to explain election from a non-Calvinistic point of view is to say that God looked through the portals of time before the foundations of the world and saw me walking down the aisle to trust Christ, and since God saw and knew that I would make that decision, He chose (elected) me and predestined me to go to heaven. God foreknew what I would do before I did it and chose me. This explanation sounds great to us because it keeps the ball safely in our court where we are in control. But think about it, that is rediculous and pointless. Why would God choose me before the foundation of the world, if I am going to choose Him anyway, why throw that extra layer in the cake? The truth is, God did not choose us based on future obedience or future faith.

Election, in the O.T. when referring to the people of Israel, was based on Gods love for them, not any good thing in them:

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you...

Why did God love them? Because He loved them....Period. If you are looking for any reason why God choose you, then you go against His work, He was freely choosing who He would love, when none of them were even deserving or worthy of His love in the first place.
When God freely choose to set His favor on Jacob over Esau for His saving purposes, it was not done for any good that was in either of them:
Romans 9:11-13 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Let's look at the basis of election since it's not on future obedience:
Romans 8:29-30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
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.
According to these passages, Gods election is based on his foreknowledge and all those whom God foreknew, He predestines them to be conformed to the Son. All whom He has predestines, He calls, and all those whom He calls, He justifies, and all whom He justifies, He glorifies. If you were elect according to His foreknowledge, then you are locked into all the rest of those blessings all the way to the point of glorification.

The $100 question is "what is foreknowledge, since that is the end of the road?"
The Greek word translated "foreknowledge" in 1 Peter 1:2 is progn[ma]osin (a form of the Greek word progn[ma]osis). We find the same term in 1 Peter 1:20, which says that Christ "was foreknown before the foundation of the world." Progn[ma]osis means the same thing in both verses. Since Christ was foreknown by God before the foundation of the world, and we were foreknown by God before the foundation of the world we were foreknown in the same way Christ was foreknown.
A good example of what Peter meant by "foreknowledge" is found in 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."
Here foreknowledge is linked to a predetermined plan. According to Peter, God's foreknowledge is a deliberate choice. God foreknew not by prior observation, but by bringing into reality His predetermined plan.

Because God is the only independent Being, then it is necessary that He choose or determine His purposes without consulting with my free will as a basis of His choosing. God consults nobody but His own good pleasure in election.
Isaiah 40:13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? If my election was based on my future actions, then God would have had to learn of those actions and choose accordingly. But that can't be, because God learns nothing, He knows everything because He has decreed all that will come to pass:

Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 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:

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