FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD:

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Sam West | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, May 16 2011 3:19 AM

FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD: I am totally confused with this word in this passage and other passages. I am not an not an advocate of "predestination" or at least I thought I wasn't but all the research that I have done in my platinum library makes me wonder now what I should believe. I have noticed Paul speaking of foreknowledge in some of his writings.

If someone could point me to a good resource that would clear my mind on this I would appreciate it.

Posts 19576
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 4:03 AM

You say you have Platinum, but I'm not sure whether you have any additional resources. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology has a helpful article on that word and related words (I'm including only the section on that word itself):

Foreknowledge, Providence, Predestination

This group of articles brings together words which denote human or divine foreknowledge, predestination and predetermination of future events. Their common characteristic is the prefix pro-, before, in both spatial and temporal significance. The temporal component is strongest in the vb. ōproginōsk, know beforehand, and in the noun prognōsis, foreknowledge. On the other hand, the vb. protithēmi, set before, plan, propose and the noun prothesis, setting forth, plan, purpose have spatial overtones. But when they denote a previously determined resolution they have assimilated a temporal sense. Approximating somewhat to these is the vb. ōprohoriz, predestine, which likewise expresses definite planning and care. ōpronoe, consider beforehand, plan carefully, and the noun pronoia, foresight, forethought, care, are by contrast with the surrounding Gk. Hellenistic world attested in the NT only very rarely.

προγινώσκω G4589 (proginōskō), know beforehand, know in advance; πρόγνωσις G4590 (prognōsis), foreknowledge.

CL The composite ōproginōsk, formed from the prefix, pro-, before, and the vb. ōginōsk, perceive, be acquainted with, understand, know, is attested from Euripides onwards (Hippolytus, 1072) and means to know or perceive in advance, to see the future (→ Knowledge, art. ἀναγινώσκω). The corresponding noun prognōsis (attested as a medical technical term since Hippocrates) denotes the foreknowledge which makes it possible to predict the future. The early Gks. understood this as non-verbal foreknowledge of a dream-like kind which can however be apprehended and communicated by those who were clever enough. It belongs to the realm of destiny. It is often both hidden from men and open to them. It is capricious like the gods themselves. Both gods and men are subject to it. Its power controls the rise and fall of gods and nations. Hel. thinkers, especially the Stoics, transformed the concept and understood it in a pantheistic way as an expression of the purposefully creative order of the divine world-force which includes both nature and men. Fate itself is subjected to this order, and can be a factor in the order itself. Divinity, destiny, order and necessity become identical. Everything is arranged rationally and harmoniously, or at least in the direction of a development towards a harmonious consummation.

OT The vb. ōproginōsk, foreknow, is found in the LXX only 3 times, always without any Heb. equivalent. Two of these occurrences concern sophia (→ Wisdom), conceived in personal terms: Wisdom knows in advance those who desire her (Wis. 6:13); Wisdom has foreknowledge of signs and wonders (Wis. 8:8). The other reference concerns the foreknowledge which the Israelites in Egypt were given of the destruction of the Egyptian first-born (Wis. 18:6). The noun prognōsis, foreknowledge, is found only twice in the LXX (Jud. 9:6 of God's foreknowledge decreeing the fall of the Egyptians; Jud. 11:19 of prophetic foreknowledge).

NT 1. In the NT the vb. ōproginōsk, foreknow, know beforehand or in advance, choose beforehand, is found 5 times. Two occurrences are in Paul (Rom. 8:29; 11:2). Acts 26:5 speaks of a human "having known long since" (similarly 1 Pet. 1:20; 2 Pet. 3:17). The noun prognōsis, foreknowledge, is attested in the NT only in Acts 2:23 and 1 Pet. 1:2.

2. In Paul the vb. ōproginōsk, foreknow, choose beforehand, demonstrates the character of God's activity among men. It assumes the aspect of a personal relationship with a group of people which originates in God himself. Rom. 8:29 declares that those whom God "foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son" (RSV). In Rom. 11:2 the vb. expresses God's election and love of Israel which opposes the idea of a final rejection of Israel.

3. 1 Pet. 1:20 says that Christ was "foreknown" or "destined (proegnōsmenou) before the foundation of the world" (RSV). The noun prognōsis denotes in 1 Pet. 1:2 the foreknowledge of God, which is said to be for the Christians in the Diaspora the ground of their → election. Membership of the community in a completely differently orientated and partly hostile environment is accordingly grounded in the relationship which God takes up with men as their → Father.

2 Pet. 3:17 speaks of the foreknowledge or advance knowledge of believers. They are aware that the parousia is coming despite the delay. The point at issue here is the misunderstandings and disagreements over statements of Paul (cf. 3:15f.). They are, therefore, urged to watchfulness to counteract the danger of apostasy (→ Fall). Human proginōskein thus gains here a theological stress in paraenesis.

4. In Acts 2:23 prognōsis, foreknowledge (much as in 1 Pet. 1:20) characterizes the events surrounding Jesus of Nazareth before and up to his execution. Jesus was "delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God [tē hōrismenē boulē kai prognōsei tou theou ekdoton]" (RSV).

5. Thus in the few relevant passages both the vb. and the noun speak chiefly of God's action towards Christ or towards men, and witness to his activity as planned and directed. Any interpretation in terms of an impersonal constraint (such as destiny, fate or doom), or of an autonomy which removes itself from the normal course of world events, would contradict the NT use of these words.

P. Jacobs, H. Krienke[1]

 



[1] Colin Brown, vol. 1, New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 691-93.

 

 

Posts 263
Steve Clevenger | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 5:14 AM

Sam,

Here is another good one:

Acts 13:48 (NKJV)

48Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 

Posts 141
Jonathan Watson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 6:12 AM

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

(Ephesians 1)

Posts 89
Harbey Santiago | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 9:20 AM

Sam West:

 

FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD: I am totally confused with this word in this passage and other passages. I am not an not an advocate of "predestination" or at least I thought I wasn't but all the research that I have done in my platinum library makes me wonder now what I should believe. I have noticed Paul speaking of foreknowledge in some of his writings.

If someone could point me to a good resource that would clear my mind on this I would appreciate it.

 

Sam,

 

   Keep in mind that God's divine foreknowledge is part of His divine mystery.  What we understand as Knowledge and God's divine knowledge are two different things. What I mean that since God is eternal (i.e. living in the eternal now, with no past or future) the knowledge he has of any event is very different of our own "linear" (i.e. with a past and a present) knowledge. When Paul and Peter talk about God's foreknowledge they refer to this mystery of the divine nature without trying to explain it.

Here is a good quick and dirty explanation:

http://www.theologyforthechurch.com/1/post/2010/04/so-what-is-molinism.html

And in case you are wandering, to the the dismay of all my Thomist friends, I am a Molinist .Geeked

 

"Viva Cristo rey!!"

 

Deacon Harbey Santiago

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Posts 255
Pat Flanakin | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 10:05 AM

Mr. West:

Just a word of warning.  You should understand the theological stance of any commentators/resource writers you read on such subjects since their theological stance will send their conclusions one way or another.

Calvinists have one perspective and Free Grace/non-reformed theologians have another and will determine the consequences of predestination with different results and applications to the Christian life.

Overall, I hope you receive well researched help in your endeavor to study such an important theological topic.

One resource I would recommend is Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology (a bit easier to read), or L.S. Chafer's Systematic Theology.  They both will address this from a Free Grace perspective.  For a reformed side of things, you likely will be served by Louis Berkhof's or Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.

I always recommend that researching such a heady theological topic to remember the fundamentals of the faith since the Bible cannot contradict itself.  This usually will help developing conclusions which are self-contradictory as some systematic theologies have done.

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 10:09 AM

Sam West:

 

FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD: I am totally confused with this word in this passage and other passages. I am not an not an advocate of "predestination" or at least I thought I wasn't but all the research that I have done in my platinum library makes me wonder now what I should believe. I have noticed Paul speaking of foreknowledge in some of his writings.

If someone could point me to a good resource that would clear my mind on this I would appreciate it.

 

There's Lorraine Boetner's The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination and Calvin's Calvinism as well as John Murray's Calvin on Scripture and Divine Sovereignty.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 10:23 AM

Harbey Santiago:

Here is a good quick and dirty explanation:

http://www.theologyforthechurch.com/1/post/2010/04/so-what-is-molinism.html

And in case you are wandering, to the the dismay of all my Thomist friends, I am a Molinist .Geeked

Thank you!   Deacon Santiago.

I now have one adjective to describe myself to my friends.  I will still have to define it for them (or let them look it up themselves.)

caveat: the video linked below does not end well for the goose. Do not watch ih you have a pet goose. Crying

Many think foreknowledge necessitates predetermination on God's part. I can not encapsulate and explain God but I do know from experience a human parent (or wise person) can have foreknowledge regarding a child (or fool) in regards to the end result of a course of action. There is a Youtube video that displays consequences only God knew would happen. I can make a theological argument based on Hebrews 9:27 for God knowing the end result of the goose fight but it doesn't equate foreknowledge with predestination. There is still room for either perspective. I just find myself a "Molinist." Whisper

 

 

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 11:35 AM

Matthew C Jones:
I just find myself a "Molinist." Whisper

Do we get to hear El sombrero de tres picos ?  Smile

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Harbey Santiago | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 11:56 AM

Matthew C Jones:

[

Thank you!   Deacon Santiago.

I now have one adjective to describe myself to my friends.  I will still have to define it for them (or let them look it up themselves.)

caveat: the video linked below does not end well for the goose. Do not watch ih you have a pet goose. Crying

Many think foreknowledge necessitates predetermination on God's part. I can not encapsulate and explain God but I do know from experience a human parent (or wise person) can have foreknowledge regarding a child (or fool) in regards to the end result of a course of action. There is a Youtube video that displays consequences only God knew would happen. I can make a theological argument based on Hebrews 9:27 for God knowing the end result of the goose fight but it doesn't equate foreknowledge with predestination. There is still room for either perspective. I just find myself a "Molinist." Whisper

 

Hi Mathew,

 The best analogy I can find to explain Divine Foreknowledge comes from my many years as a tournament chess player. At times you will see grandmasters walking around the lower rated classes games. Sometimes they will stop and stare at the board while two lower rated players were playing. These grandmasters could, with a quick glance, see 5 to 7 moves ahead of the position on the board including many variation that would take mere mortals hours if not days to figure out.   Their knowledge and understanding of the board position did not determine the outcome of the game although I'm sure many times they stared at the board and think to themselves "White is lost" and move on.

If we extend this analogy to God's divine foreknowledge we can say that he is like the Grandmaster who knows all the potential outcomes of a game but this knowledge does not dictate how the lower ranked players will move, they still have their free will to make any move they want but they can not escape the fact that the Grandmaster knows what is going to happen before they have made a move.

I'm glad I was able to increase your arsenal of self describing adjectives. Wink

 

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"

 

Deacon Harbey Santiago

Archdiocese of Baltimore

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 1:34 PM

Harbey Santiago:

The best analogy I can find to explain Divine Foreknowledge comes from my many years as a tournament chess player. At times you will see grandmasters walking around the lower rated classes games. Sometimes they will stop and stare at the board while two lower rated players were playing. These grandmasters could, with a quick glance, see 5 to 7 moves ahead of the position on the board including many variation that would take mere mortals hours if not days to figure out.   Their knowledge and understanding of the board position did not determine the outcome of the game although I'm sure many times they stared at the board and think to themselves "White is lost" and move on.

If we extend this analogy to God's divine foreknowledge we can say that he is like the Grandmaster who knows all the potential outcomes of a game but this knowledge does not dictate how the lower ranked players will move, they still have their free will to make any move they want but they can not escape the fact that the Grandmaster knows what is going to happen before they have made a move.

Thank you for that analogy. I will be sure to give you credit when I use that in my S/S class. Yes

Posts 263
Steve Clevenger | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 3:29 PM

Harbey Santiago:

they still have their free will to make any move they want 

 

Really? Jesus taught that men are enslaved to sin and they are not free. 

 

John 6:44  

44No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 

John 8:34–36 (NKJV)

34Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.

35And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.

36Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 4:41 PM

Pat Flanakin:
One resource I would recommend is Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology (a bit easier to read), or L.S. Chafer's Systematic Theology.  They both will address this from a Free Grace perspective.  For a reformed side of things, you likely will be served by Louis Berkhof's or Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.

I agree.  All four of these works are helpful in getting a grasp of the discussion. Here are the links at Logos:

It is more than a weekend reading marathon.  But all are interesting.

There are shorter , more specific treatments of strictly "Foreknowledge" only as an attribute of God rather than it's bearing on the estate of Adam's fallen race. I don't know if that is relative.

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Harbey Santiago | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 5:14 PM

Hi Jack,

 

    You are welcome to use it and expand on it as you like. (We Molinists, we have to stick together Wink )

 

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"

 

Deacon Harbey Santiago

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Posts 89
Harbey Santiago | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 6:09 PM

Steve Clevenger:

Harbey Santiago:

they still have their free will to make any move they want 

Really? Jesus taught that men are enslaved to sin and they are not free. 

 John 6:44  

44No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 

John 8:34–36 (NKJV)

34Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.

35And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.

36Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 

Hi Steve,

   Thanks for your interest on my answer.

     I fail to see the contradiction of men's free will and the Scripture passages you provide. Lets assume for a second that your interpretation of these passages is the correct one and man is in fact enslaved by sin. Now lets look at our own experience as sinners. When we sin, do we always try to commit the gravest  sin possible or do we have the freedom to select between the sins we commit? Perhaps an example will illustrate better: A man is walking down a  street and sees an open car and a bundle of 100 bills in the front seat. Because of concupiscence his first thought is, "This rich man drives a corvette and does not care about his money. I can take this money and buy me a Mac so my Logos 4 runs faster, and he will not miss a penny" Now according to Jesus teaching this mas sinned in his heart by lusting over some else's property. In fact, However realizing that taking the money would be a great sin than just lusting over it he decides to move on. (Here I'm using the theological definition of "sin" provided by John in 1 Jn 5:15-17, to differentiate between lesser and greater sin)

Now if this man were completely enslaved by sin and had no free will then the it follows that he has no choice, he has to take the money, because he is not free to move on. But experience tells us that for most of us, this is not the case, the man just made a decision not to sin in a particular instance, is he less enslaved by sin because of this decision. NO! but is is free to decided between lesser and greater sins of course he is. So you see, experience teaches us that in our sin we are free to select between lesser and greater sins.

I hope this illustrates my point.

Also... (A bit of self policing here) The logos forums are to discuss logos issues, if you would like to discuss this further off-line just drop me a note at DeaconHarbey@yahoo.com.

 

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"

Deacon Harbey Santiago

Archdiocese of Baltimore

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2011 8:31 PM

I knew it was gonna happen....
If Calvin got it right, what a "free-willer" believes has no effect on his eternal destination. So why argue with him?
If Arminius got it right, all the Calvinists who are loving and serving God because they have "no choice but to do so" should be saved, Right?
If Jesus got it right, not everyone who thinks they are right, are, in truth "right."  Matthew 7:21

Don't let the commas trip you up.                       ~ Comma-tose Puppy

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2011 1:40 PM

Harbey Santiago:
And in case you are wandering, to the the dismay of all my Thomist friends, I am a Molinist .Geeked

In spite of having done PR at a Catholic college I can't remember ever having heard of this guy or this ism. The funny thing, though, is that only minutes before first reading this (didn't have time to post then), I heard Rabbi Moline give the final blessing at the Chicago inaugural. How's that for a coincidence? Big Smile

Sam West:

If someone could point me to a good resource that would clear my mind on this I would appreciate it.

You could also take a look at what the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say (not yet in Logos, but gathering interest in Community Pricing).

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

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Wes Saad | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2011 2:00 PM

In the same way that believers are foreknown by the Father in 1 Peter 1:2, the Son is foreknown in 1 Peter 1:20. In the same way that the Son is chosen in 1 Peter 2:4, believers are chosen in 1 Peter 2:9.

Foreknowledge is not about God looking into the future to see how people will act; it is about God determining what he will do and knowing in advance (from before the foundation of the world) his plan for himself and his creation. The Father didn't choose the Son because he knew the Son would agree to do the work of salvation; the trinity determined that the Son would be the one through whom the elect would be raised from the dead. In the same way, the Father's choosing of believers is not based on what he knows we will do, but based on his sovereign will.

Obviously, much more can and has been and will be said.

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Harbey Santiago | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2011 2:06 PM

fgh:

[ The funny thing, though, is that only minutes before first reading this (didn't have time to post then), I heard Rabbi Moline give the final blessing at the Chicago inaugural. How's that for a coincidence? Big Smile.

 

Hi fgh,

  Maybe a new interest on your part on the finer points of  Molinism is contingent upon this discussion,  but God knew that all alongWink... How about that for Divine Knowledge?

Peace,

 

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"

Deacon Harbey Santiago

Archdiocese of Baltimore

 

 

Posts 8899
fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2011 2:30 PM

Harbey Santiago:
How about that for Divine Knowledge?

Big Smile

Harbey Santiago:
a new interest on your part on the finer points of  Molinism

I'm more into Aquinas.

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

Mac Pro OS 10.9.

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