Among the characteristics of God is that He’s omniscient, indicating He knows all things (Isaiah 46:10). That would indicate He knows the future too. Does God foreknowing all things equal to God predestining all things? Or how can God foreknow all things without predestining all things? Let us explore the exegetical evidence for predestination in the Bible.
Some would lean more towards the Calvinist side of things; that God certainly does predestine all things. Nevertheless if God has actually predestined all things, then that would likewise suggest He predestined evil to happen in the world. Does He predestine countless people passing away in a natural catastrophe? Does He predestine kids getting raped and killed? These are the concerns you need to wrestle with as a Calvinist. I would submit that you study carefully the exegetical evidence for predestination.
I do not believe foreknowledge requires predestination, because of this one passage in bible, 1 Samuel 23:6 -14 and for that reason do not believe God predestines evil. In this passage, young David had actually rescued the city Keilah from the Philistines with his war-band. Then he learns Saul is on his way to capture him.
When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. 7 Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account.11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. 14 And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.
(1 Samuel 23:6-14)
What did David do as a result of hearing from god these news of Saul coming for him? Did he state, oh well, my fate is sealed, simply gotta wait and perish. No he did the next best thing, which was to leave the city. Accordingly, the happenings of Saul descending to the city and catching David NEVER HAPPENED! This is the key point for the exegetical evidence for predestination!
So what are we to conclude from this story? God sees every possible future, even the one that does not happen. So no, foreknowledge does not require predestination. God can look into any point on our timeline. He foreknows all things, however that does not suggest He has actually predestined all things to occur the way it does. He might predestined some things, however not all things. His foreknowledge of future happenings does not infringe upon our free-will.
With that in mind, we can now address challenging doctrinal inquiries like, why did God put the forbidden tree in the garden to begin with, if He foreknew Adam and Eve would eat of it? Did God predestine the fall of mankind in the garden?
Let’s address both inquiries in order. Initially, why did God position the forbidden tree in the garden? The response is really easy. Due to the fact that He made us to be free will beings. If there were no alternative to disobey God, we would not have free will, but be merely pre-programmed. If all we can ever do is good, and comply with God, then free will does not exist. There needs to be the choice to do wicked, to disobey in order for there to be free will. So God made us with free will, and put the tree there as a sort of test. He desires us to freely pick Him and follow Him out of love. He did not however intend the temptation to eat from the tree to be too much to handle. Only when the Serpent seduced Eve did the temptation end up being too tempting. Once again why did God permit the Serpent to trick Adam and Eve? Well people have free will, and so do God’s other creations like angels. In fact the Serpent may have been a divine being, “the Shining One”. This divine being, which the New Testament authors recognized as Satan, has free will much like we do. And he makes use of that free will to disobey and rebel in opposition to God. He was the original rebel. God didn’t step in since that would infringe upon humanity’s free will and He permitted it to occur as a test of faith, which they failed. God has actually subsequently offered a way of redemption through His Son, and a way to bring back the relationship we lost with Him at the fall.
So yes, God foreknew Adam and Eve would disobey Him and eat of the tree, however He didn’t predestine it happening. As we’ve uncovered, foreknowledge does not require predestination. God likewise fore-knew the future that would happen had they followed Him. A joined human and divine family operating in partnership ruling the earth. By this, I do not mean to suggest that God does not know what concrete future will happen. Naturally He does, He not just foreknows the concrete future, however likewise all possible futures. And therefore, this eventually reveals the exegetical evidence for predestination.
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