Calvinism and Foreknowledge

Right off the bat let me say that I accept predestination and election. I affirm the sovereignty of God and reject things like Open Theism and other weirdness. It’s God’s world, He can do what He wants and He knows what He’s doing.

I do not deny election, I do deny Calvinistic explanations of election. The standard line goes like this:

We are dead in sin. Dead people can’t choose. Dead people are like rocks: no life, no reasoning, no ability. Therefore, if a person is to get saved God must infuse them with life first, which means God saves them, then they come to an awareness of salvation.

This is all fine and dandy logic, but it’s not what the Bible says. Nowhere in the Bible does “we are dead in sin” mean that we are like a rock with no reason. We are still alive, we have senses and the ability to think and choose.

Not only do we have the ability to choose, we are judged, held accountable, for our choice. If it has nothing to do with me then I become the judge of God, “How come you didn’t choose me?”

I have yet to hear a Calvinist response to this that works with the Bible’s depiction of God.

Predestination exists because God is outside of time and we are not. He knows things that we don’t, like, the future. That is why Paul wrote Romans 8:29, “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.”

Foreknow means to know something beforehand. God knew stuff about us. I don’t know what, we are never told what. It just says that He foreknew people, so he predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son. That’s all I know and that’s what I go with.

Calvinists define foreknowledge as basically the same thing as predestination. Here is one Calvinist’s attempt to explain how Calvin defines foreknowledge, “God intimately knows certain individuals and thus favored (or elected) them ahead of time.” So basically, what Paul really meant was, “God did predestine those whom He predestined.” But that’s not what Paul says.

Predestination is based on foreknowledge. God knew something about me, that’s why I was predestined to be saved.

11 thoughts on “Calvinism and Foreknowledge”

  1. I believe God’s word, that He chose His elect due to foreknowledge, and they in turn chose Him. We have the free will to turn to, and trust Christ, because He chose us first. God chosing us doesn’t cancel a free will choice, election and free will are equally true.

  2. Jeff,
    One question we should all ask ourselves is, ” Is there anything GOOD in my life and how can I come to God if my heart is wicked?”

  3. In my flesh dwells no good thing. The goodness of God leads people to repentance. God commands all men everywhere to repent. Whoever will may come. All whom He foreknew he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.

  4. Ezekiel 11: 19
    I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
    Ezekiel 36: 26
    I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

    These verses reveal God’s promise to give those whom He foreknew hearts that would turn from our sinful desire to be our own god. Each one of us who have come to trust Christ, and to bend our knee to Him, have been given the ability to do so, by God. He has always desired to give us His best, but we in our sin cannot see the goodness of God without a changed heart.

  5. Is He doing this for everybody or for the elect? You are right, He wants to give us His best, and He did with the sacrifice of Christ. He made us all but we all chose to sin against Him. Just as you said, “We can’t see the goodness of God unless we have a change of heart” who does that if we cant? Why doesn’t everyone turn to Christ? God Changes our hearts.

  6. It is God’s goodness that leads people to repentance–Romans 2:4.

    Yes, we need a new heart and God provides the necessary means in creating the new heart. However, I disagree that the old heart cannot recognize goodness. We still have a brain capable of determining goodness. “The Gentiles, which have not the law, DO BY NATURE the things contained in the law”–Romans 2:14. There is still a conscience. Everyone has a conscience even if our heart is deceitful and wicked.

    That being the case it is indeed possible for people with the old, wicked heart to seek God, otherwise the Bible and God lie an awful lot. Paul says in Acts that “they [the nations] should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.”

  7. We all like Adam have turned our backs on God, and have said to God, I see that you are good, but I rather be in charge of my lown ife thank you. So what causes the change, when we finally submit to God’s goodness, it’s His grace isn’t it? He breaks in to our heart of stone, and replaces it with a heart of flesh, He gives us His faith.

  8. Jeff,
    I believe that Paul is speaking about the goodness of God in relation to the cross, and not just God’s over all goodness. Most people agree that God is good, they just don’t want to submit to Him.

  9. The fact is that God must give us a new heart. We must be “Born Again” . If I quite breathing and feel dead on the floor I can’t come back, unless someone else gives me CPR and brings me back. When we are dead to our sins only God’s grace can save us. We must repent and put our trust and faith in Christ alone.

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