The Providence Problem

In thinking through God’s Foreknowledge there are three basic approaches. Actually, there are four but the view known as Middle knowledge will not be explored in this post.

Name Description Determinism     Fore knowledge Libertarian  Free Will
Determinism God determines all events prior to creation. The foreknowledge of all future actions that God has is based on what He has decreed will occur. God is providentially active but this activity is part of what is decreed. yes yes (based on the decrees and not on the actions of people) no (compatibilistic free will)
Open Theism God does not have foreknowledge of future contingent actions. God is providentially active and responds to future events as they occur. no no (the future is not knowable) yes
Simple Foreknowledge God has complete foreknowledge of future contingent actions prior to creation. God is providentially active and interacts with His creation. no yes (based on the actions of people in the future) yes

One of the challenges posed to those holding the Simple Foreknowledge view is that God can not use his foreknowledge to providentially interact with His creation. Continue reading

3 Characteristics of Foreknowledge and Free Will

In the last post we examined three characteristics of Predestination and the logical conclusions that one can draw from them.

  • Original Conception of the Event
  • Exclusion of anything that can prevent the Event
  • Insurance that the Event as decreed will occur

In this post I will examine these three characteristics from the perspective of God possessing foreknowledge of contingent future actions.

calvin-and-hobbes-on-predestination2 Continue reading

3 Characteristics of Predestination

In “The Softer Face of Calvinism” (Christianity Today), it is argued that rather than appealing to theologians to understand Reformed theology, one should use the Reformed confessions and creeds.

The confessions, therefore, form an important framework that help us see both what is fundamental and what is not fundamental.

Following that advice, chapter three of the Westminster Confession makes two assertions:

  • God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass …
  • Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such condition

In a nutshell, God decreed (ordained, predestined) everything in eternity past. And His decrees were not based on His foreknowledge of the actions of those whom He would create. Continue reading