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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/election/elmss915.s.htm
MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part II: Examining Scripture On The Will-Related Doctrines
Chapter III: Examining God's Foreknowledge Throughout Scripture
B. Pertinent Bible Passages And Conclusion On God's Foreknowledge
- If God's foreknowledge is eternally coextensive with His predestination or if it is subject to it as in Moderate or regular Calvinism respectively, God would foreknow what He decreed to exist. That would mean God predestined who would trust in Christ, an errant view (as we before established).
- However, if the Bible shows God's foreknowledge is simply prescience, or "knowledge beforehand," then God's election could result in goals other than justification (as we found is so in our induction).
- Thus, we examine the significant Scripture passages affecting the meaning of God's foreknowledge to discern what constitutes that divine foreknowledge as it relates to His predestination:
- Genesis 18:19
- The Hebrew verb, yada' appears in this verse, a word lexically meaning "know" as we established. However, the NIV, NASB and ESV translate it to be God's election.
- Hence, one's theological presuppositions must make it mean "choose," so to say its usual lexical is to be altered to mean what God predestines to be knowable or to be coextensive with what God decreed.
- Jeremiah 1:5
- God used yada' here to describe His foreknowledge of Jeremiah.
- This could mean God's "prescience" rather than an awareness of what God decreed to be knowable or what is coextensive with what He decreed as in Calvinism or Moderate Calvinism respectively.
- Exodus 3:19-20
- As God here claims He knew (using yada') Pharaoh would not let Israel leave Egypt except with a strong arm of the Lord, nothing in the context implies this knowledge is what is known because it was determined by God to be knowable, or what is known coextensive with God's eternal decree.
- Thus, one would have to obtain a theological definition of divine foreknowledge from another passage.
- Acts 2:23
- This verse reveals that through God's "determinate counsel and foreknowledge" (KJV), the Hebrews by evil hands had slain the Lord Jesus.
- However, lest we assume this means God's foreknowledge is what He has predestined to be knowable or is coextensive with it, the author of Acts may mean the offering of Christ by agency of evil people was all within the will of God in accord with God's mere "prescience" and decree.
- One may try to employ the Granville Sharpe rule to claim the Greek text equates God's foreknowledge with His predestination, for only one feminine singular article in the dative case introduces the two feminine nouns of that case that respectively are rendered as God's foreknowledge and counsel, UBS Grk. N.T., p. 422; Dana & Mantey, Man. Gram. Of the Grk. N.T., p. 147. However, as James R. White reveals, the actual Granville Sharpe rule applied only to singular nouns that are persons, not proper names or things, cf. White, The King James Only Controversy, p. 269-270; thus, the rule arguably does not apply to the things of God's foreknowledge and determinate counsel.
- Again, one would have to obtain a theological definition of divine foreknowledge from another verse.
- 1 Peter 1:2
- Arminians and Calvinists with Moderate Calvinists argue much over whether this verse reveals God's election is subject to His foreknowledge, a view that can be used to support an Arminian election view.
- Indeed, kata which is translated "according to" (KJV) appears here in the accusative case as it qualifies prognosis, "foreknowledge," leaving it most likely suggesting a standard or norm as kata does in the rest of 1 Peter 1 (1:3, 15 and 17), cf. Arndt & Ging., Grk.-Engl. Lex. of the N.T., p. 406-409.
- Yet, one must look elsewhere for a theological definition of divine foreknowledge itself, for if it refers to what God has decreed to be known or is coextensive with that decree, the debate would still rage!
- Conclusion on God's Foreknowledge: Due to the absence of Scripture evidence to the contrary, we find God's foreknowledge is only His "knowledge beforehand," the same idea of foreknowledge that appears in extrabiblical use. In accord with 1 Peter 1:2, God's predestination is then based on His foreknowledge. One would have to study other will-related topics to discern how faith is authored.