Unofficial Notes from
International Conferences for Clergy Questions And Answers
ICC - Questions And Answers - God's Foreknowledge
QUESTION: 1. If God knew all things from the foundation of the earth, why wouldn't He know of good and evil.
ANSWER: God knows good and evil, but God's knowledge of good and evil stems from His utter oneness with goodness, indeed God is the archetype of goodness. Therefore, anything not of God or in relationship with God is evil. God's knowledge of evil is not a result of God participating in or the experience of evil. Adam and Eve's knowledge of evil (and ours) is based on the experience and participation on evil activity in disobedience to God's word. Therefore, because God is the archetype of goodness, all things of God are good. This means then, that God's will is for goodness and goodness only. God's will for Adam and Eve was for goodness and that is why He commanded them not to eat of the fruit. Evil is not a creation of God, and neither is evil eternal and self existent as the "dualists" believe. Evil is the result when beings of goodness, created by God, fall outside the sphere of relationship with God.
QUESTION: 2. You say that God did not know man would fail. How do you explain Ephesians 1:3,4,5 "...For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will."
Romans 8:29 ..." 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."
ANSWER: Ephesians is saying that the original will of God was that man be holy and blameless. In that this purpose was not fulfilled in the beginning, God predestined us to be adopted into His family through Christ. God's predestined will is that man be holy and blameless and stand as God's children. It is not stating a foreknowledge or predestination of Adam's failure or indicating that God, though telling Adam not to eat, actually wanted him to eat. as far as who are the objects of God's predestined will for man to be adopted, 2Peter 3:9 indicates that God is not willing that anyone should perish, but all should come to repentance, and hence everlasting life. The reason His will that all come to repentance is not fulfilled, is because man is given a role in his justification. Salvation is not automatic, the work of predestination, likewise, does not override man's responsibility. Romans 8:30..."those He predestined, He also called, those He called, He also justified, those He justified, He also glorified." But if you look at James 2:24, it is clear that the area of justification is not automatically done by God. Man must play a role in order to procure justification.
QUESTION: 3. If God is omnipotent-omniscient-omnipresent and if "omni" means all and we know that were there is all of something there can be no room for anything else, where is there room for satan?
ANSWER: God knows both good and evil. God's knowledge of evil is not, however, as a result of a practical experience with substantial evil. The basis of God's knowledge of evil is that God is the paragon of goodness and therefore anything not in relationship with or originating from God is not goodness and is therefore evil. Lucifer became evil not because of God, but because Lucifer severed himself from God, relinquishing his relationship with God, the source of goodness. This knowledge of good and evil finds perfect harmony within the mind of God, because the concept of evil only exists to give validity and a three dimensional quality to goodness. Therefore, only goodness should substantiate and be actualized. Evil should remain as concept only.
QUESTION: 4. In God's eternal, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent position, did not God see the beginning to the end? If God chose not to know everything, as you suggest, wouldn't He cease from being God?
ANSWER: God, as a sovereign God, is not a slave to His attributes. God controls His attributes and exercises them when and under what conditions He so chooses, in accordance with His will and purpose. God chose not to control man's area of responsibility. This did not cause God to cease from being God, it did cause God to cease to be the only being that could give and receive love freely, which of course, was exactly His purpose: to share His creative nature, and love with His creature; Man! All doctrines since the beginning of theological history, have fallen short with regard to the core purpose of theology: to bring man into the awareness of the heart and love of God. Doctrines must begin first with this basic assumption: that God thinks and plans from the standpoint of a loving Father, not an absolute, tyrannical monarch. God had no need to exercise His foreknowledge with regard to the commitment of Adam and Eve, because God's relationship with them was based on entrustment. God lovingly endowed them with His trust. He did not reserve it or cynically double check through His foreknowledge to see if He was going to get the pay off He wanted. God entrusted unconditionally. Exercising His foreknowledge would be superfluous to the commitment or the nature of his relationship with Adam and Eve. God will not do what He has no need of doing. God's grief recorded in Genesis 6:6 is a real grief, a grief that transverses the ages, a grief felt by Christ at Gethsemane, a grief that even now is always with Him, making every joy hollow, until some of us, His children, can realize the substance of His grief; the longing for all His children to return to Him. Truly, the man closest to God will be the one who can, even in the midst of His own worst suffering, never complain about his situation, being too busy worrying about his Father's heart. How could he complain, knowing that God's suffering is so much more than his own? Instead, he will comfort God's heart by pledging that he will commit all his life, blood, sweat and tears, to end the suffering of God's lonely heart, by bringing all people, the knowledge and awareness of the love of God. If we could all be more like this, then all prophesies, tongues and doctrines could cease, for the age of the full knowledge, face to face, of the love of God will then be upon us.
QUESTION: 5. Did God know before creating that man would fall?
ANSWER: Only God knows. Certainly God's will was that Adam and Eve not eat the fruit. God grieved that He had made man on earth because man became such sinners. God declares that ..."He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked...and that He is not willing that anyone should perish"! certainly God had the omniscience to know what they would do. But I would say God did not know what they were going to do, because He had no need to know. He had no need to exercise His power of foreknowledge because God's relationship with His children was based on trust.
QUESTION: 6. Given the fact that God is all knowing, all powerful and everywhere at the same time, do you believe that God was not aware that Adam would fall and if not why do you feel He did not?
ANSWER: God is certainly omnipotent and omniscient. That God has these attributes, however does not mean that God is a slave to those attributes. God is also a sovereign God. That means God can choose when and where and under what conditions to exercise His omnipotence and omniscience. God chose not to exercise direct control over Adam during the growing period in order to fulfill His purpose that Adam be given a responsibility for his own growth. This would enable Adam, if faithful, to grow to become a perfect loving being and one with the heart of God. God chose not to exercise His power of foreknowledge in that God had entered into a relationship of faith and entrustment with His children. God entrusted Adam and Eve with His word fully and therefore had no need to exert His omniscience to see whether or not they would fulfill. When Adam sinned, therefore, it broke fully the entrustment that God had placed in them. God's grief (Gen. 6:6), is a genuine grief, not a symbolic one.
QUESTION: 7. Did God know that Adam and Eve were going to fall before they did?
ANSWER: God is omniscient and omnipotent. That God has these attributes, however, does not mean that God is a slave to those attributes. God is also a sovereign God. That means God can choose when and where and under what circumstances to exercise His omnipotence and omniscience. God chose not to exercise direct control over Adam and Eve during the growing period in order to fulfill His purpose that Adam and Eve be given a responsibility for their own growth. This should enable Adam and Eve, if faithful, to grow to become a perfect loving being and one with the heart of God. God chose not to exercise His power of foreknowledge in that God had entered into a relationship of faith and entrustment with His children. god entrusted Adam and Eve with His word fully and therefore had no need to exert His omniscience to see whether or not they would fulfill. When Adam and Eve sinned, therefore, it broke fully the entrustment that God had placed in them. God's grief (Gen. 6:6) is a genuine grief, not a symbolic one.
QUESTION: 8. What is the foreknowledge of God? Does God know what is going to happen before it happens?
ANSWER: God can know anything He wants to know, likewise, God can chose not to know that which He has no need to know.
QUESTION: 9. Job 38:7, Isaiah 14:13, Luke 10:18, Rev. 12:7, Jer. 1:5, Acts 17:28, Romans 8:29, Eph.1:4, 2Peter 2:4. Pre-existence scriptures indicating spirits existed with angels in the presence of God. Please explain.
ANSWER: Job 38:7 is interesting with regard to the consistent symbolism of stars, but ultimately a symbol must be reflected in other scripture in order to get a real handle on the full implication of it. Isa.14:13, Luke 10:18, Rev. 12:7, Jude 1:6 and 2Peter 2:4 do not declare emphatically a pre-existence. The timing of the fall is often thought to be a pre-creation fall owing to and alleged "gap" between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This falls apart on closer inspection of the original Hebrew. Also it comes into contradiction with the testimony of Eze. 28:12-19, which places the angel, who falls, in Eden in the un-fallen state. His corruption therefore post-dates the creation of the Garden and Adam and Eve. Therefore the "stars" of God in Isa. 14:13 are not pre-existent beings, but rather Adam and Eve. The rebellion of the angels for which Jude and 2Peter speak to, is after the fall of man and thus we see Gen. 6:2. Gen 6:2 is the sin of the angels mentioned in 2Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6-8.
As far as the other scriptures you mentioned, they are referring to foreknowledge of God, which do not necessarily declare a pre-existence (as does fore-ordination not necessarily require or indicate a pre-existence).
QUESTION: 10. Didn't God know that Jesus would be rejected and crucified before He was sent?
ANSWER: The cross is preplanned, but will only be exact if there is no faith in Israel. As much as we see prediction for the suffering of Christ, we see predictions of Christ received in Israel. The central element regarding dual prophesy is the contingency implied by human responsibility.
QUESTION: 11. Was the cross predestined? Are we predestined?
ANSWER: Yes, from the last year of His ministry (Matt. 16:21). Predestination does not override our responsibility or the potential to fail or miss our calling. We see in 2Peter 3:9, that God is not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance and, hence, to everlasting life. The emphatic implication of Romans 8:30 should be tempered by James declaration (James 2:24) that justification comes about not just by faith but also action (us, doing our part) and not through the exclusive work of predestination.
QUESTION: 12. Can God's prophetic word not only be a word with the condition of "if" but also be a word of what "what will actually be" based on His foreknowledge of man's free will and choice?
ANSWER: When man fails in his responsibility to have faith or to repent, God will, from that point, predetermine an atonement course. The example of Jeremiah is a case in point. Up until that moment the message of the prophets was "repent and you can remain in the land" but after the time period of faith and repentance had past, God sent Jeremiah to proclaim a destiny set in motion at that moment. God's foreknowledge is an attribute on His omnipotence and sovereignty. God exerts His foreknowledge only in the context of that which He controls. God therefore will not exert His foreknowledge into man's area of responsibility (in violation of His own principle) while there is still a possibility for man, through free choice, to fulfill that responsibility.
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