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Does God Predestinate People Based On His Foreknowledge?

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Does God Predestinate People Based On His Foreknowledge?


Many Christians are told that God has looked into the future to see who would accept Christ and therefore those people are the ones whom God has predestined to be saved. Where is this idea stated in the Bible? This idea is a false doctrine, perhaps based on a misunderstanding of scriptures like Romans 8:29 and Romans 11:2. After the fall of Adam, if God ever looked forward in time, the only thing He saw was this:


Genesis 6:5 – “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”


If we look at Romans 8:29 and Romans 11:2 in context, we will see plenty of evidence for election by God’s sovereign grace and zero evidence for that election being based on God looking into the future and seeing people accepting Christ:


Romans 8:28-33 – “28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 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. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”


God foreknew that there were none that seeketh after God (Romans 3:11) and knowing that, He had no choice but to call people out of the world if He was going to have a people for Himself. God does the electing. Sinners do no elect themselves to be saved by choosing Christ or by repenting or by anything else they DO.


Romans 11:2-8 – “2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8 According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day.”


Note in verse 5 above, that election is according to grace, NOT according to foreknowledge. If it was according to God’s foreknowledge of our acceptance of Christ, it would be according to works and not according to grace. Note also in verse 7 that God blinded the rest. He did not intend for the rest to be saved, only His elect. Does that sound unfair? Remember, “who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?” (1 Cor. 2:16) and also “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Prov. 16:4). Also, if God were to be fair, everyone would end up in hell.


If God looked down the corridors of time and “elected” those he foreknew would “accept” or “choose” him then man would have to be better than God says he is.  You must concede that there is some good in man that is capable in his own strength to choose God.  If God elected people the way that is suggested by Arminian defenders then no one would come to Christ because God would have found no one in the future that would have the ability to choose him.  God must regenerate the soul of man to heed the call of the Holy Spirit and respond.


God ALLOWS LOTS of “bad” things to happen, for His own purposes, purposes for which He is under NO obligation to tell us. However, sometimes God chooses to show us the reasons, as we saw with Joseph sold into captivity by his brothers… and as we see with God sending His beloved Son into a world that was going to butcher and murder His only begotten Son. Those who fight against the doctrine of Election have to somehow come to terms with a “good” God devising such a horrible, cruel, gruesome way of atoning for sin, KNOWING how much His Son would have to suffer. These “free-will” promoters often say that a “good” god would never force people to love Him. Yet they most likely say that because they don’t understand how spiritually dead a person is before being supernaturally regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Would a “good” parent EVER subject their child to such brutality? Yet God did. Or would a “loving” God ever send ANYONE to hell to suffer for all eternity? Yet God does. So, there is more to understanding the living and true God of the Bible than by just considering the one aspect of God, namely, love. And even with respect to the aspect of love, we must come to grips with the fact that as finite sinful beings, we cannot possibly fully comprehend everything that God loves and to what extent. Likewise, we cannot fully comprehend everything that God hates.
One of the most helpful articles I have ever read for explaining all that pertains to the human will and the term that many use so ignorantly (i.e. free will), is Walter Chantry’s The Myth Of Free Will. Don’t let the title fool you into being afraid to read it. I guarantee you, it is not what most people would expect from reading a title like that, and it does an excellent job of explaining the scope and limits of the human will. Another closely related article by Walter Chantry is: Man’s Will – Free Yet Bound.
— RM Kane


Many more articles on the subjects of election, predestination, free-will, Arminianism and Calvinism can be found here:

Predestination & Free-Will – Calvinism & Arminianism


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The divine testimony concerning man is, that he is a sinner. God bears witness against him, not for him; and testifies that "there is none righteous, no, not one"; that there is "none that doeth good"; none "that understandeth"; none that even seeks after God, and, still more, none that loves Him (Psa. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12). God speaks of man kindly, but severely; as one yearning over a lost child, yet as one who will make no terms with sin, and will "by no means clear the guilty." <continued>

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