Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thesis 4: Omniscience, Predestination, and Providence

God knows everything, everywhere, at all times, throughout history: past, present, and future. The actions of all creatures are predestined by God.

Notes and References
Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd rev. ed., p. 184-191 has a nice list of verses.

John M. Frame, No Other God: A Response to Open Theism

John M. Frame, The Doctrine of God (A Theology of Lordship) pp. 483ff. More good proof-texts.

"Omniscience," excerpted from Biblical Predestination by Gordon H. Clark

The importance of this Thesis will be seen when we deal with Romans 13, but we'll see the importance many times before we get there. See:

Predestination and American Liberty

Capitalism: Astonishing Providence

Calvin's America


The primary objection to predestination is that it negates human free will.

There is no logical syllogism that can prove this; it's simply an emotional objection.

"Free will" is a term used by non-Calvinist laymen to speak of the human capacity to plan, reason, sing, forecast, make choices and decisions, engage in creative work analogous to God's creative work, and to exercise dominion over the earth. All of these human capacities are the result of man being created in the Image of God, not a result of God being unable to intervene in history, or unable to determine the outcome of history in advance, or unable to predestine all of these actions.

"Free will" is also a term used by philosophers to deny the sovereignty of God and affirm the autonomy of man. It leads to atheism.

Laymen are confused by the philosophers, and believe that the philosophers have proven that if God predestines, man is a "robot." There is no logical connection between "predestination" and "robot" -- the loss of the Image of God. If God predestined me to type every single letter than I am now typing, and you to read those words, I am still created in the Image of God. I am not a rock, robot, or rottweiler. God's predestination does not in any sense require that we are no longer created in the Image of God -- with the capacity to think, plan, program software, type sentences, and read them. It simply means that God predestined human beings to exist as His Image-Bearers, and to act accordingly.

"God predestined each one of us to be created in His Image."

There is nothing self-contradictory or non-rational about that sentence.

If we substitute "free will" for "created in the Image of God, we have:

"God predestined each one of us to have 'free-will.'"

And if we understand "free-will" to be "created in the Image of God, not like the plants and animals," the sentence is logical and Biblical.

Man can program computers and robots; they are less than man.
God can "program" human beings created in His Image; they are less than God but more than man's creations. Man can create robots, but man cannot create beings in the image of God. God can, and can do so while retaining full sovereignty over them, without destroying the Image of God in them.

Being created as rational creatures in the Image of God with dominion (which some speak of as "free will") has nothing to do with man being "free" (autonomous) from God, and God being powerless to exercise His Lordship over the creation, including man.

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