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(2 posts) “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined . . .” —Romans 8:29

Foreknowledge in Brief

A very basic explanation of the foreknowledge of God from R. C. Sproul: Throughout church history one of the most popular views of election or predestination has been the prescient view. Prescience means “pre-science” or “foreknowledge.” According to this view, since Paul in Romans speaks first of foreknowledge and then of predestination, obviously God’s action of election or predestination must somehow be constructed upon His foreknowledge. The prescient view says that God looks down the corridor of time and knows that some people will say yes to the offer of the gospel and some will say no; in other words, some will cooperate with the grace God makes available while others will reject it. On the basis of this prior knowledge, God then chooses or elects unto salvation those whom He knows in advance will respond to the gospel. That view cannot possibly be squared with Romans 8, not to mention Romans 9, nor can it explain the doctrine of election. It basically denies it or tries to get around it. The doctrine of sovereign election is odious to us by nature. The word “foreknowledge” comes before the words “election” and “predestination” in Romans 8 because God never elects nameless, faceless ciphers—He elects people. Therefore, those whom God elects, He knows. Predestination must be related to that divine foreknowledge as the basis upon which God knows what He intends to do. How does God, even in His transcendent majesty, have the ability to know the end from the beginning? How is it possible for God to have knowledge of future things? God does not have a crystal ball into which He gazes so that He can know in advance what decisions we will make; rather, God knows the future because He ordains it. He knows His own plan in advance, and He knows it certainly, because He has decreed it. Those decrees are not based on any human condition that God foreknows. Indeed, if God did look into the future to examine the responses that people will one day make, the only response of fallen human beings to His grace would be that of unbelief. People are not elect because they have faith, but they are elected to have faith. Faith itself is the result of God’s electing grace. —R. C. Sproul, 1–2 Peter: Be All the More Diligent to Make Your Calling and Election Sure (Crossway, 2011), 26–27.

Scholastic Monergist: John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe on divine foreknowledge and foreordination: If Christ prophesied of certain events, certainly to come, such events have been or will be. The antecedent, namely that Christ has thus prophesied, is necessary, and the consequence is also necessary. The consequence is not in the power of any man, or of any creature; nor are the sayings of Christ, or the elections of his mind to be affected by accident. And therefore as it is necessary that Christ has foretold certain things, so it is necessary they should come to pass. By arguments of this kind also, we shew other events to be necessary, the coming of which has been determined by God. Nor will it matter, after what manner God may chose to inform us, that he had actually so determined before the foundation of the world. —cited in Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 365–366.


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