Foreknowledge and Foreordination

civic

Well-known member
Many Bible critics say, by knowing that Judas will betray Jesus hundreds of years in advance, that makes it foreordained to happen. As a result, human freedom is removed. Based on this reasoning, God foreordained even the sin of Adam and Eve, and thus they never had the free will to do otherwise. The Bible says that God is not the author of sin, but this would argue otherwise, contradicting Scripture. However, with this equation, sin is the result, not the result of Adam’s choice, but of God’s choosing, which should make us feel uncomfortable.

The best solution to this problem is to deny this equivalence, saying that foreknowledge does not equal foreordination.

FOREKNOWLEDGE

Does Not =

FOREORDINATION

It is better to understand it that God knows in advance what choice people will freely make. It is the free decisions of human beings that determine what foreknowledge God has of them, as opposed to the reverse.

FOREKNOWLEDGE

Determine

FREE DECISIONS

Or

FREE DECISIONS

Determine

FOREKNOWLEDGE

The foreknowledge does not determine the free decision; it is the free decisions that determine the foreknowledge. In this, we can distinguish what we might call Chronological Priority and Logical Priority.

Chronological priority would mean that Event “A” [God’s knowledge], as it relates to time, would come before Event “B” [the event God foreknows]. Thus, God’s knowledge is chronologically prior to the event that he foreknows.

CHRONOLOGICAL PRIORITY

God’s foreknowledge

Prior to

Event



However, logically speaking, the event is prior to God’s foreknowledge.

gods-foreknowledge-and-the-event




LOGICAL PRIORITY

Event

Prior to

God’s foreknowledge

In other words, the event does not happen because God foreknows it, but God foreknows the event because it will happen. The event is logically prior to the foreknowledge, so he foreknows it because it will happen, even though the foreknowledge is chronologically prior to the event.

We can see foreknowledge on this, as the foreshadowing of something. When you see the shadow of someone coming around the corner of the building, you see his or her shadow on the ground before you see the person. You know that person is about to come around the corner because of their shadow but the shadow does not determine the person, the person determines the shadow.

shadow-of-person-and-foreknowledge


God’s foreknowledge is like the foreshadowing of a future event. By seeing this foreshadowing, you know the events will happen, But the shadow does not determine the reality, the reality determines the shadow. Therefore, we should think of God’s foreknowledge as the foreshadowing of things to come. Therefore, just because God will know something will happen, this does not prejudice or remove the freedom of that happening.

In fact, if the events were to happen differently, God’s foreknowledge would be different as well. An illustration of this is, like an infallible barometer of the weather. Whatever the barometer says, because it is infallible, you know what the weather will be like. However, the barometer does not determine the weather; the weather determines the barometer’s findings. Thus, God’s foreknowledge is like an infallible barometer of the future. It lets him know what the future is going to be, but it does not constrain the future in any way. The future is going to happen anyway the free moral agent wants it to happen. However, the barometer is going to track whatever direction the future will take.

time-line-foreknowledge




Thus, those who believe that God’s foreknowledge removes the freedom of the person are mistaken. They posit a constraint upon human choices, which is really quite unintelligible. Let us use another illustration.

Suppose this is the timeline . . .



e-and-god-on-timeline-foreknowledge


Let us place an event “E” on the timeline, i.e., Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.

Let us suppose God is back here in time and by his foreknowledge (the dotted line); he knows that “E” will happen (Judas will betray Jesus). How does God’s knowledge about “E” constrain “E” from happening? How can God’s knowing “E” will occur, make “E” occur?

e-and-god-on-timeline-minus-line-for-foreknowledge




If you were to erase the line and say God does not have foreknowledge of the future, how has anything changed? How would “E” (Judas’ betrayal) be affected if you erased God’s foreknowledge of it? “E” (Judas’ betrayal) would occur just the same, it would not affect anything at all.



if-e-were-not-to-occure-foreknowledge


Therefore, the presence of God’s foreknowledge really does not prejudice anything about whether “E” will occur or not. Therefore, those who think that foreknowledge is incompatible with freedom are simply quite mistaken.

What we need to understand is this, if Judas (“E”) were not to betray Jesus; then, God would not have foreknown Judas’ betrayal (“E”) of Jesus because it would not have been on the timeline. In addition, as long as that statement is true, “E” being able to occur and not occur, God’s foreknowledge does not prejudice anything with respect to “E’s” occurrence.

Let us review without the “E” getting in our way of thinking it through. God can see the timeline similar to the way that a man in a helicopter looking down on a parade. Just as the man in the helicopter can see things before they get to the spectators, so too, God can see down the timeline to things that have not taken place yet. God knew way back in Genesis 3:15 when it was prophesied that the serpent (Satan) was to bruise Jesus and that Satan’s agent for doing so was going to be Judas Iscariot.

Just because God has the ability to see down the timeline, this does not affect Judas’ free will choice that he would come to make. On this, Andreas J. Köstenberger writes, “This does not alter the fact that Judas made his decision as a responsible agent and that he will be held accountable and judged for his evil act (see Mark 14:21 = Matt. 26:24)”[6] If we look at the diagram below, it gives us a visual aid of what God can see. Let us take persons such as myself, one who struggles with understanding deep scientific information. Just because I cannot fully understand the scientific areas of astronomy (the scientific study of the universe), this does not mean that an astronomer’s in-depth explanation of the motions, positions, sizes, composition, and behavior of astronomical objects is any less true because I am baffled. When he or she goes into an in-depth discussion of how these objects are studied and interpreted from the radiation they emit and from data gathered by interplanetary probes, I cannot just blurt out, “you are wrong” because I do not understand the how of things. However, some in science would do just that to a far more intelligent person than all of them combined, namely, God.

God has the ability to step into the timeline and tweak anything, to create a different outcome if he chooses to do so, which will then alter many future events because it will create a ripple effect in the timeline. If God were to alter anything that was already going to happen, making different choices outside of what was already going to occur in the present, it would have a ripple effect on future events. Let us use Willian Tyndale, which I believe God did step into the timeline to protect Tyndale from the Catholic Church that was hunting him down for translating the Bible from the original languages of Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT) into English. Let us say that God did step in to alter things, allowing Tyndale to survive to the point of bringing us the first printed translation in 1526, it would have had an impact on all English translations that lied ahead in the future: the Coverdale translation of 1535, the Matthew’s Bible of 1537, The Great Bible of 1539, Cranmer’s Bible of 1540, the Geneva Bible of 1560, and, of course, the King James Version of 1611, and all other down to the Revised Version of 1881, the 1801 American Standard Version, the 1952 Revised Standard Version, the 1960-1995 New American Standard Bible, and the 2001 English Standard Version. Think of the impact of the English translations had the Catholic Church executed Tyndale in 1523. https://christianpublishinghouse.co...mOpYBuXD2Z6jcj7D3DDqvOIM40eVQJLgVctxw-XIowOhw

hope this helps !!!
 

TomFL

Well-known member
Many Bible critics say, by knowing that Judas will betray Jesus hundreds of years in advance, that makes it foreordained to happen. As a result, human freedom is removed. Based on this reasoning, God foreordained even the sin of Adam and Eve, and thus they never had the free will to do otherwise. The Bible says that God is not the author of sin, but this would argue otherwise, contradicting Scripture. However, with this equation, sin is the result, not the result of Adam’s choice, but of God’s choosing, which should make us feel uncomfortable.

The best solution to this problem is to deny this equivalence, saying that foreknowledge does not equal foreordination.

FOREKNOWLEDGE

Does Not =

FOREORDINATION

It is better to understand it that God knows in advance what choice people will freely make. It is the free decisions of human beings that determine what foreknowledge God has of them, as opposed to the reverse.

Yes that is correct
 
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