Foreknowledge: How Does God Know?

Iconoclast

Active member
From A.W.Pink;

When that term is used in connection with God, it often signifies to regard with favor , denoting not mere cognition but an affection for the object in view. “I know thee by name” ( Exo.33:17). “Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you” ( Deut. 9:24). “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” ( Jer. 1:5). “They have made princes and I knew it not ”( Hosea 8:4). “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” ( Amos 3:2).

In these passages knew signifies either loved or appointed .

In like manner, the word “know” is frequently used in the New Testament, in the same sense as in the Old Testament. “Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you” ( Matt. 7:23). “I am the good shepherd and know My sheep and am known of Mine” ( John 10:14). “If any man love God, the same is known of Him” ( 1 Cor. 8:3). “The Lord knoweth them that are His” ( 2 Tim. 2:19).

Now the word “foreknowledge” as it is used in the New Testament is less ambiguous than in its simple form “to know.” If every passage in which it occurs is carefully studied, it will be discovered that it is a moot point whether it ever has reference to the mere perception of events which are yet to take place. The fact is that “foreknowledge” is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to persons . It is persons God is said to “foreknow,” not the actions of those persons. In proof of this we shall now quote each passage where this expression is found.

The first occurrence is in Acts 2:23. There we read, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” If careful attention is paid to the wording of this verse it will be seen that the apostle was not there speaking of God’s foreknowledge of the act of the crucifixion, but of the Personcrucified: “Him (Christ) being delivered by,” etc.

The second occurrence is in 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. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called,” etc.

Weigh well the pronoun that is used here. It is not what He did foreknow, but whom He did. It is not the surrendering of their wills nor the believing of their hearts but the persons themselves, which is here in view. “God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew” ( Rom. 11:2).

Once more the plain reference is to persons, and to persons only.

The last mention is in 1 Pet. 1:2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father? The previous verse tells us: the reference is to the “strangers scattered” i.e. the Diaspora, the Dispersion, the believing Jews. Thus, here too the reference is to persons, and not to their foreseen acts.
 

Iconoclast

Active member
pt2;
Now in view of these passages (and there are no more) what scriptural ground is there for anyone saying God “foreknew” the acts of certain ones, viz., their “repenting and believing,” and that because of those acts He elected them unto salvation? The answer is, None whatever. Scripture never speaks of repentance and faith as being foreseen or foreknown by God. Truly, He didknow from all eternity that certain ones would repent and believe, yet this is not what Scripture refers to as the object of God’s “foreknowledge.” The word uniformly refers to God’s foreknowing persons ; then let us “hold fast the form of sound words” ( 2 Tim. 1:13).

Another thing to which we desire to call particular attention is that the first two passages quoted above show plainly and teach implicitly that God’s “foreknowledge” is not causative , that instead, something else lies behind, precedes it, and that something is His own sovereign decree . Christ was “delivered by the (1) determinate counsel and (2) foreknowledge of God.” ( Acts 2:23).

His “counsel” or decree was the ground of His foreknowledge. So again in Rom.8:29. That verse opens with the word “for,” which tells us to look back to what immediately precedes. What, then, does the previous verse say? This, “all things worktogether for good to them...who are the called according to His purpose.” Thus God’s foreknowledge is based upon His purpose or decree (see Psa.2:7).

God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be . It is therefore a reversing of the order of Scripture, a putting of the cart before the horse, to affirm that God elects because He foreknows people. The truth is, He “foreknows” because He has elected . This removes the ground or cause of election from outside the creature, and places it in God’s own sovereign will. God purposed in Himself to elect a certain people, not because of anything good in them or from them, either actual or foreseen, but solely out of His own mere pleasure. As to why He chose the ones He did, we do not know, and can only say, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” The plain truth of Rom. 8:29 is that God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation ( 2 Thess. 2:13). This is clear from the concluding words of the verse: “Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son,” etc. God did not predestinate those whom He foreknew were “conformed,” but, on the contrary, those whom He “foreknew” (i.e., loved and elected) He predestinated to be conformed. Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God’s foreknowledge and predestination.

God did not elect any sinner because He foresaw that he would believe, for the simple but sufficient reason that no sinner ever does believe until God gives him faith; just as no man sees until God gives him sight. Sight is God’s gift, seeing is the consequence of my using His gift. So faith is God’s gift ( Eph. 1:8,9), believing is the consequence of my using His gift. If it were true that God had elected certain ones to be saved because in due time they would believe, then that would make believing a meritorious act, and in that event the saved sinner would have ground for “boasting,” which Scripture emphatically denies: Eph.2:9.
 

Iconoclast

Active member
  1. Once more the plain reference is to persons, and to persons only.

    The last mention is in 1 Peter 1:2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father? The previous verse tells us: the reference is to the “strangers scattered” i.e. the Diaspora, the Dispersion, the believing Jews. Thus, here too the reference is to persons, and not to their foreseen acts.

    Now in view of these passages (and there are no more) what scriptural ground is there for anyone saying God “foreknew” the acts of certain ones, viz., their “repenting and believing,” and that because of those acts He elected them unto salvation? The answer is, None whatever. Scripture never speaks of repentance and faith as being foreseen or foreknown by God. Truly, He didknow from all eternity that certain ones would repent and believe, yet this is not what Scripture refers to as the object of God’s “foreknowledge.” The word uniformly refers to God’s foreknowing persons ; then let us “hold fast the form of sound words” ( 2 Timothy 1:13).

    Another thing to which we desire to call particular attention is that the first two passages quoted above show plainly and teach implicitly that God’s “foreknowledge” is not causative , that instead, something else lies behind, precedes it, and that something is His own sovereign decree . Christ was “delivered by the (1) determinate counsel and (2) foreknowledge of God.” ( Acts 2:23).

    His “counsel” or decree was the ground of His foreknowledge. So again in Romans 8:29. That verse opens with the word “for,” which tells us to look back to what immediately precedes. What, then, does the previous verse say? This, “all things worktogether for good to them...who are the called according to His purpose.” Thus God’s foreknowledge is based upon His purpose or decree (see Psalm 2:7).

    God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be . It is therefore a reversing of the order of Scripture, a putting of the cart before the horse, to affirm that God elects because He foreknows people. The truth is, He “foreknows” because He has elected . This removes the ground or cause of election from outside the creature, and places it in God’s own sovereign will. God purposed in Himself to elect a certain people, not because of anything good in them or from them, either actual or foreseen, but solely out of His own mere pleasure. As to why He chose the ones He did, we do not know, and can only say, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” The plain truth of Romans 8:29 is that God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation ( 2 Thessalonians 2:13). This is clear from the concluding words of the verse: “Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son,” etc. God did not predestinate those whom He foreknew were “conformed,” but, on the contrary, those whom He “foreknew” (i.e., loved and elected) He predestinated to be conformed. Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God’s foreknowledge and predestination.

    God did not elect any sinner because He foresaw that he would believe, for the simple but sufficient reason that no sinner ever does believe until God gives him faith; just as no man sees until God gives him sight. Sight is God’s gift, seeing is the consequence of my using His gift. So faith is God’s gift ( Ephesians 1:8,9), believing is the consequence of my using His gift. If it were true that God had elected certain ones to be saved because in due time they would believe, then that would make believing a meritorious act, and in that event the saved sinner would have ground for “boasting,” which Scripture emphatically denies: Ephesians 2:9.


 

Joe

Active member
Those verses do not show God arbitrarily hardens men
You toss arbitrarily around like it's candy.

Calvinism from what I've read is steeped in God purposely electing and hardening as He desires to His own purposes. That means God has a purpose when he does either one...That is not arbitrarily.

Did God harden Pharaoh so that he would disobey Him?

Did God chose Saul of Tarsus before he was born and at the time of His choosing reveal His Son to Him and put Saul to work doing His will of preaching Christ to the Gentiles?
 

TomFL

Well-known member
Where did you post this irrefutable proof? what post#
It is seem in several places portions in this very thread


elsewhere

 

TomFL

Well-known member
You toss arbitrarily around like it's candy.

Calvinism from what I've read is steeped in God purposely electing and hardening as He desires to His own purposes. That means God has a purpose when he does either one...That is not arbitrarily.

Did God harden Pharaoh so that he would disobey Him?

Did God chose Saul of Tarsus before he was born and at the time of His choosing reveal His Son to Him and put Saul to work doing His will of preaching Christ to the Gentiles?
A couple of issues here

All election is not to salvation. God's choice of servants is election

Calvinism teaches God elects to salvation according to his good pleasure and not according to anything within the man nor based on anything he would do

arbitrary

ADJECTIVE
  1. based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
    "his mealtimes were entirely arbitrary"

    • (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.


God hardens judicially it is an act of judgment. God's judgments are just
 

Joe

Active member
A couple of issues here

All election is not to salvation. God's choice of servants is election
Are not all of creation servants unto God?

Cannot God save all of creation or is His power to weak that He cannot do it?

If anyone is saved it is because God elected to save them.

If anyone dies in their sin it is because they sinned.

Calvinism teaches God elects to salvation according to his good pleasure and not according to anything within the man nor based on anything he would do

arbitrary

ADJECTIVE
  1. based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
    "his mealtimes were entirely arbitrary"
    • (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.


God hardens judicially it is an act of judgment. God's judgments are just
I know what arbitrary is and that's why I called you out on it. You are 100% wrong using the word arbitrary with Calvinists. Again, God has a purpose for each person that He elects. That is not arbitrary. That is purposed.

And here is God's good pleasure..."And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." (Rom 8:28-30)

The prophecies that concern God's mercy to mankind declares His good pleasure. The sending of His one and only Son was to His good pleasure. The sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles was to His good pleasure. On and on...and none of it is arbitrary, and all of it has to do with the good pleasure of His will.

So God did harden Pharaoh's heart so he would not obey Him. At least from your response that's what is implied. God could harden everyone's heart and He would still be just. The only reason some are harden and some are shown mercy is because God decides what to do with His creation.

Were you in sin when God drew you to Christ? Yes, and He didn't have to draw you to begin with. He could have left you in your harden state, or even harden you further if it met His purpose. The only reason you profess Jesus Christ as Lord is by God's mercy that He shown unto you, otherwise you would still be in your sin.

Fallen mankind strives to be God. We want to be autonomous and forge our own reality when it is God who is sovereign and creation that is His subject.

Click here to go to the thread titled, The case from Saul of Tarsus. It delves into election and resistance.

God bless
 

TomFL

Well-known member
TomFL said:
A couple of issues here

All election is not to salvation. God's choice of servants is election

Joe
Are not all of creation servants unto God?

Are you denying God specifically elected the nation of Israel

Joe

Cannot God save all of creation or is His power to weak that He cannot do it?

If anyone is saved it is because God elected to save them.

God can do whatever he wants

The issue is did God unconditionally elect some men for salvation and others for reprobation


Joe states

If anyone dies in it is because they sinned.

Calvinism teaches God determines everything

If that were true then sin was determined and unavoidable

TomFL said:
Calvinism teaches God elects to salvation according to his good pleasure and not according to anything within the man nor based on anything he would do

arbitrary

ADJECTIVE
  1. based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
    "his mealtimes were entirely arbitrary"
    • (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.

God hardens judicially it is an act of judgment. God's judgments are just
I know what arbitrary is and that's why I called you out on it. You are 100% wrong using the word arbitrary with Calvinists. Again, God has a purpose for each person that He elects. That is not arbitrary. That is purposed.


The definition is above tell me how it does not fit

And here is God's good pleasure..."And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." (Rom 8:28-30)

First this does not even address the reprobate

Secondly Romans 8:28 concerns those who loved God and were formerly known by him
See Rom 11:2 where Paul in the same book uses the same word proginosko (foreknew) in the same
phrase to speak of those in the time of Elias

Not a thing in the world to do with unconditional election


PS regarding your comment
"Faith in the living God and his Son Jesus Christ is always the result of the new birth, and can never exist except in the regenerate. Whoever has faith is a saved man."
C.H. Spurgeon

Except scripture shows regeneration (new life) is preceded by faith

See how faith precedes life in signature link below
 
Last edited:

brightfame52

Well-known member
Some declare that the word foreknowledge means that God looked down the chronicles of time and saw who would believe and then elected them to salvation. This notion makes faith a work of the flesh and not the gift of God.
 

TomFL

Well-known member
Some declare that the word foreknowledge means that God looked down the chronicles of time and saw who would believe and then elected them to salvation. This notion makes faith a work of the flesh and not the gift of God.
Actually that is a rather poor description of God's foreknowledge

What God knows he always knew. He does not learn nor does he look down the chronicles of time
 
Top