Foreknowledge

Why I Reject Determinism and A Model of God’s Atemporal Perspective in Relation to Contrary Choice

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

One of the questions we invariably get from Determinists is “But HOW does God know the future??” Determinists often seize upon the difficulty of understanding God’s knowledge, and insist that if God didn’t cause the future, then He could not have known it. Besides being a rather silly stretch, this claim requires several unfounded assumptions about the nature of God.

The Basic Views

Now before I jump in any deeper, let’s define what the major views of God’s knowledge in relation to free will are (this is just a basic list, variations of these views exist):

1. Determinism: God determines absolutely all that will be, making absolute foreknowledge trivial. There is no such things as libertarian free will, and our choices cannot be otherwise.

Affirms foreknowledge, but has the very unfortunate side-effect of making absolutely everything that occurs the will of God, and possibly essential to His nature, as we’ll touch on below.

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Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 8: Can Free Agency be Harmonized With Divine Foreknowledge?

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Thomas Ralston now tackles the necessitarian objection that God’s foreknowledge of our actions renders the power of self-determination impossible. My comments are in bold print.

II. The next grand objection to the doctrine of free agency is, that it is supposed to be irreconcilable with the Scripture account of the divine prescience.

Necessitarians argue that free agency, in the proper sense, implies contingency; and that contingency cannot be reconciled with the divine foreknowledge. It is admitted by Arminians, and the advocates of free agency generally, that the foreknowledge of God extends to all things great and small, whether necessary or contingent – that it is perfect and certain.

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The Sovereignty, Providence, and Will of God

, posted by

The subject of the Will of God was a topic of interest for James Arminius. Many have wondered if he was a Molinist. Richard Muller acknowledges that Arminius read from Molina,1 but Arminius never claimed to be a Molinist.

However, Arminius left in his writings the notion that perhaps he was at least influenced by Molina’s pattern of thought on what God knows and what God has willed according to that knowledge. Muller noted

    The divine knowledge of possibility, since it is knowledge of what things can come into existence, is also a knowledge of the way in which all possibles could exist ideally or perfectly, without defect and a knowledge of impossibility as well. Arminius even argues an order in the divine knowledge of possibles. Thus God knows, first, ‘what things can exist by his own primary act.’

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Middle Knowledge: What Does God Know?

, posted by

The subject of God’s knowledge has been a seed bed of debate lately. Modern day Molinists believe that their system offers a middle-ground approach to theology, avoiding both Calvinism and Arminianism. One of my professors…

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That “Dreadful” Decree

, posted by

What decree is that? The “dreadful” decree I am referring to today is the decree of Reprobation, its consequence being Unconditional Election (for how could there be one without the other?). Now, calling it “dreadful,”…

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Predestination As Temporal Only

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Predestination As Temporal Only

From the Wesleyan Theological Journal
J. Kenneth Grider

One of the most interesting theological finds I have made in recent years is that God’s predestinating of us does not seem to have to do with eternal destiny.

God does indeed predestinate us in certain ways. Six times the word for “to predestinate” is used in the NT. Besides the instances of cognates of that very word “proorizo,” other “pro” words are found in both Testaments which also show that God makes pre-decisions on various matters. And God sometimes makes decrees, even as kings do, according to Scripture. But my recent study suggests that none of these references has to do with our eternal destiny, but only with other matters.

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Molina, Arminius, Plaifere, Goad, and Wesley On Human Free-will, Divine Omniscience, and Middle Knowledge

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Molina, Arminus, Plaifere, Goad, and Wesley On Human Free-will, Divine Omniscience, and Middle Knowledge

From the Wesleyan Theological Journal
Barry E. Bryant

Upon first glance the title of this paper contains a strange mix of individuals, one or two of whom are perhaps more obscure than the others. What each has in common with the others is a vested interest in the issue of free-will. What they also have in common is the realization that arising from the doctrine of free-will is the paradox of omniscience.

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Andrew Telford, “Foreknowledge”

, posted by SEA

Preface It is dangerous for God to give high truth to highly educated people. There is a danger that in the furtherance of that truth it becomes mixed with an alloy of human wisdom. It…

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Review of Edwards’ Arguments Against LFW

, posted by Godismyjudge

This article defines Libertarian Free Will (LFW) and then reviews Jonathan Edwards’ arguments against LFW based both on causation and divine foreknowledge. DEFINITION OF LIBERTARIAN FREE WILL LFW is the idea that man is able…

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John Wesley, “On Predestination”

, posted by SEA

A sermon by John Wesley taken from http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/sermons/58/ On Predestination By John Wesley Sermon 58 (text from the 1872 edition – Thomas Jackson, editor) ——————————————————————————– Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be…

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A Very Brief Excursion on Election

, posted by

Arminius, at times, equated election with predestination, as many Calvinists do as well. For these people, the matter of one’s eternal destination is wrapped up in the word, “predestination.” Today, however, theologians have properly distinguished…

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Why Divine Foreknowledge Does Not Determine the Future

, posted by arminianbaptist

by
James M. Leonard
arminianbaptist.blogspot.com

Robert E. Picirilli, in his excellent work Grace, Faith, and Free Will, broaches the subject of Divine Foreknowledge of future events. (See his JETS article here: http://evangelicalarminians.org/files/Picirilli.%20Foreknowledge,%20Freedom,%20and%20the%20Future_0.pdf )

He’s very clear on the subject, and convincing. He draws from Arminius himself and from Richard Watson, although he admits that the 19th century theologian’s style is belabored. I’m not sure what is original either to Dr. Picirilli or to his sources.

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Eric Landstrom, Is God’s Knowledge the Cause of All Things?

, posted by Eric Landstrom

There is a common argument that says God’s knowledge causes all things. It goes like this: If God foreknows that something (x) is going to occur, then something else (non-x) cannot occur. If something (x) does not occur, then God’s knowledge was false. Curiously since they make strange bedfellows, this argument is used by theological determinists like Calvinists as well as those holding to process theology and Openness against orthodox Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and orthodox non-Calvinist Protestants. The argument is used by theological determinists to show that God must determine all things before they come to pass and alternatively, by those who hold that God cannot know the future for free will to be actual and not mere rhetorical sophistry.

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Why Divine Foreknowledge Does Not Determine the Future

, posted by arminianbaptist

Robert E. Picirilli, in his excellent work Grace, Faith, and Free Will, broaches the subject of Divine Foreknowledge of future events.

He’s very clear on the subject, and convincing. He draws from Arminius himself and from Richard Watson, although he admits that the 19th century theologian’s style is belabored. I’m not sure what is original either to Dr. Picirilli or to his sources.

In particular, Dr. Picirilli cites the simple illustration that we ourselves know with certainty specific events which occurred yesterday, but that none of us would claim that our present knowledge of yesterday’s events caused those things to happen or that such knowledge limited our choices when we were faced with them. In the same way, God’s knowledge of the future doesn’t cause events to happen or limit the human’s freedom to choose to do one thing or another.

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