Sunday, March 19, 2006

God's Foreknowledge

Here's something interesting from my study:

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What does it mean that God foreknew?

"The Arminian View: Foreknowledge means 'to know beforehand.' The natural question is this: what does God foreknow? The Amrminian answer: faith is what God foresees in those he predestines unto glory" (from Professor Tipton's class notes).

But Tipton contends that it "pertains not to a foreknowledge of what someone will do; instead, it has a different meaning. It involves the notion of knowing with particular interest and concern; it means to set one's affection upon as a special object of affection. God does not foreknow what a person will do, but he foreknows persons" (class notes).

This is supported by the use of this word in the LXX (the Old Testament translation into Greek). A form of the Greek word translated here is used to translate yada (to know) in the Old Testament in the LXX. Yada "conveys the sense of intimate, loving concern. It is not a mere recognition of something: instead, it is knowledge that involves love, trust, commitment and devotion" (class notes). As we can see from the following verses:

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Amos 3:2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

Exodus 2:25 "God saw the people of Israel- and God knew."

This same force is present in the New Testament:

2 Timothy 2:19 "But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are his,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.'"

Matthew 7:23 "And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"

1 Corinthians 8:3 "But if anyone loves God, he is known by God."

"This means, then that for God to know his people involves making them special objects of divine love and concern" (class notes).

Notice that nowhere in this passage does Paul mention that our actions are in view only that He foreknew His people.

We see this expressed elsewhere in Scripture:

Romans 11:2 "God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?"

1 Peter 1:2,20 "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you...He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for
your sake"
And we see a parallel thought in Ephesians 1:5 "in love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." "At the core of our salvation lies God's eternal act by which he fore-loved us and predestined us to be conformed to the glorious image of his Son." (class notes)

What a great thought for a Sunday morning! We were fore-loved by God from all eternity.

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4 Comments:

  1. prairie girl said...
    Hi Michele,

    Thanks for that great blog entry!
    I just wanted you to know that I added you to my blog links on my own personal blog today because I really appreciate your thinking and the fact that you are so theologically astute!
    michele said...
    Thank you so much, Karen! I have been meaning to put you on too! This will motivate me to get that done. I like your monstrous women feature. And I'm really nosey so I like the pictures of your grandbabbies and other family members.

    Thank you for the encouragement.
    Kim from Hiraeth said...
    Wow! I'm loving your blogs.

    It is so wonderful to read such excellent thoughts from a young girl who cares about sound doctrine.

    I've got to ask; is that you in the picture? What a sweet little baby grin!
    michele said...
    Sad to say that my "young girl" days are long gone! I know that most people think I'm younger than I am because my children are still somewhat young, but I had my first when I was 31!

    And yes, that's me! My husband is very paranoid about me being on the net so I couldn't use a more current picture :-). I do have a cute 5 year old shot I'm going to use when I get tired of the baby. But I kinda think the picture is cute because when I write something snarky, she looks like she's laughing (or I should say I look like I'm laughing).

    And yes, I love theology and have ever since I became a Christian. I was set free from the burden of trying to appease God after I truly understood the doctrine of justification and imputed righteousness. Ever since then I have wanted to help other women understand the freedom that they have in Christ to love God by following His word in love not in fear of condemnation.

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