Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 7:24 PM

TULIP (10) - Foreknowledge

One possible objection to the usage of Romans 8:29-30 is that God isn't calling people He chose, but rather calling people that He foreknew would come to faith. The claim is that "those he foreknew, he predestined" in verse 29 means that God foreknows the faith of the people he predestines.

Well, we're treading a bit on unconditional election (which will be the next topic), but I figure to just clear things away as they come up. In short, no I don't agree that the foreknowledge referenced here is a foreknowledge of future faith. Here's why:

1) This possibility is negated logically by our doctrine of total depravity. The only faith that people will be coming to is faith born out of God's work, because man's work is sinful and hostile to God. There is no single person that is going to come to God without God first renewing their mind.

2) Grammatically, the verse says, "29For 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" and points to God as foreknowing people and not faith. To change the sentence into "for those whose faith he foreknew" is inserting a concept that isn't there.

3) Positively, we understand God's foreknowing as an act of fore-loving. In the same way that Adam knew his wife Eve, God knows us in a loving manner. Jeremiah 1:5 reads:
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."
Here, we see God's fore-knowing of Jeremiah as leading directly to his consecration and appointment as a prophet. We see the same concept when Jesus says in Matthew 7
"And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"
We certainly can't say that Jesus never knew about these people, but rather he never loved them.

I would say that a more interpretative translation of Romans 8:29 would say, "For those God loved he predestined..."

Even if we concede that the foreknowledge is a foreknowledge of faith, it still remains to be shown that a person somehow comes to faith apart from God giving faith to him.


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