FREE-DESTINATION, GRACE, AND PRE-WILL: Part 2 of 5

FREE-DESTINATION, GRACE, AND PRE-WILL: Part 1 of 5
July 9, 2012
FREE-DESTINATION, GRACE, AND PRE-WILL: Part 3 of 5
July 11, 2012

FREE-DESTINATION, GRACE, AND PRE-WILL: Part 2 of 5

Foreknowledge

            Foreknowledge is God’s knowledge of an event, thing, or person, from some point in eternity before the actual creation of that specific event person or thing.  Foreknowledge does not necessarily require pre-destination to occur.  God is outside space and time so it is conceivable that God can have foreknowledge that an event will happen, a person will be born, or a thing will be created, without actually causing it to happen.  Acts 2:23 states that, “this man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge.”  God’s foreknowledge, prognosis[1], is separated in scripture from his deliberate, predetermined plan, horizō[2].  Scripture emphasizes the difference between the two concepts, both, which have different meaning from each other.

Foreordained 

In Acts 2:23, God clearly states that God has already appointed or ordained certain events to take place.  Acts 2:23 describes that Christ’s death on the cross was a foreordained event.  These events are described with the Greek word, horizō. Horizō means preordained or pre-appointed.[3]  Acts 17:26 gives us an account of God’s foreordainment of all nations and their boundaries throughout history. Acts 17:26 states, “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”  The word for appointed in this translation is horizō, foreordained.  God clearly foreordains nations and boundaries in scripture.

Free Will

Scripture provides ample opportunities to discover the role that free will plays in the relationship between God and man.  The Old Testament is peppered with references to voluntariness and free will, specifically in regard to sacrifices to God.[4]  The New Testament continues this by constantly stating the freedom that we have in Christ.[5]  Many or the forty separate authors all who were divinely inspired declared the nature of the freedom of man.  This freedom was the freedom to choose, make decisions, and freedom to act.  Many scholars disagree with the nature of free will, and for the purposes of this paper free will is mans ability to control every single aspect of his life.

The issue at hand is not whether or not man has free will, the issue is how much is man free to do the will of God?  This issue can be determined in large part by understanding what the will of God is for man and how that will also carries over in to the election of individuals or groups.  Determining the amount of freedom of man is as important as understanding if man is capable of exercising free will.  If man is only capable of determining a small percentage of his decision and actions, is man actually free?  Or does even the smallest amount of freedom equate to man being free?

God’s Will

            Will is the mental state from which a person determines his or her course of action.  Will can also be summed up as an intentional desire or wish.  In a world that is completely predestined, will does not exist.  The Bible is clear that will exists in this world and that God has a will for our lives. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  We are told to carry out these actions because it is God’s intentional desire for our lives.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 states:

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

The Bible states that God has a designed will for humans. In verse 8 it is clear that man has the opportunity to reject God’s will and man will face punishment for this rejection.  In no way does this verse share that man is predestined to refuse or reject the will of God.

God’s Omniscience

            John Shook remarks that, “God’s omniscience may be incompatible with human free will, depending on the definitions of both omniscience and freedom.” [6] Many Scholars argue that an omniscient God makes free will impossible.  Some have suggested that there is an inherent need to change the definition of omniscience to allow an omniscient God to not possess the ability to know human behavior beforehand.[7]  Doing so would undermine the authority of scripture, which asserts that God is an all-knowing God.  Free will does not necessitate that God does not or cannot know human behavior beforehand.  That statement is based on faulty human logic and it goes against scripture.

The principle of sufficient reason would assert that because there is free will in the world and because God is omniscient, then the explanation of a world containing free will is contained within the concept of an omniscient God.[8]


[1] Strong, James. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1995, 75.

 

[2] Ibid, 64.

 

[3] Ibid, 64.

 

[4] Leviticus 22:23, Numbers 29:29, and Psalms 119:108 are just a few examples.

[5] James 1:25, John 8:36, and Romans 13:3 are some examples.

[6] Shook, John.  “God’s Divinely Justified Knowledge is Incompatible with Human Free Will.”  Forum Philosophicum 15 (2010): 141.

 

[7] Ibid, 159.

 

[8] Mcallister, Blake.  “The Principle of Sufficient Reason and Free Will.”  Stance 3 (2010): 7.

 

Cyle Young
Cyle Young
Cyle a binge writer, pastor, and cinnamon roll savant. He spends his day devising how to make the world a better place through the Gospel of Jesus and creating fantastic adventure for his fantasy characters in The Last Waveson novels. He is co-creator of All Out Sports and an avid indoorsman. :) He likes air conditioning more than fleas, ticks, or wasps.

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