“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:23 ESV
“For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” Acts 4:27-28 ESV
Let us see now what can be proved from these passages. The passage in Acts 2:23, teaches, not that God willed that the Jews should slay Christ, but, that he was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” into the power of those who wished to slay him. Nothing more can be inferred from Acts 4:28. For God predetermined to deliver His own Son into the hands of his enemies, that He might suffer from them that which God had laid upon him, and which the Jews, of their own wickedness and hatred against Christ, had determined to inflict upon him.
God, indeed, “determined before” that death should be inflicted on Christ by them; but in what character did God consider them when He “determined before” that this should be done by them? In that character, surely, which they had at the time when they inflicted death upon Christ, that is, in the character of sworn enemies of Christ, of obstinate enemies and contemners of God and the truth; who could be led to repentance by no admonitions, prayers, threats or miracles; who wished to inflict every evil on Christ, if they could only obtain the power over him, which they had often sought in vain.
It is evident, then, that there was here no other action of God in this case than that He delivered His own Son into their hands, and permitted them to do their pleasure in reference to him, yet determining the limit to which He pleased that they should go, regulating and governing their wickedness, in such a manner, yet very gently, that they should inflict on him only that which God had willed that His own Son should suffer, and nothing more. This is clearly seen in the very manner of his punishment, in preventing the breaking of his legs, in the piercing of his side, in the inscription of the title, and the like.
But there appears here no action of God by which they were impelled or moved to will and to do what they willed and did; but He used those who wished, of their own malice and envy, to put Christ to death, in a mode, which, He knew, would conduce to His own glory and the salvation of men.
From: James Arminius, “Allegation 3“, Works, Vol. 3. Available online at: https://biblehub.com/library/arminius/the_works_of_james_arminius_vol_3/allegation_3_the_predestination_of.htm
- John Piper on God Ordaining All Sin and Evil Part 1: An Arminian Response to Piper’s First “Question”