Pilgrim’s Keyboard

January 31, 2015

Attributes of God – The Foreknowledge of God

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The Foreknowledge of God

 

NT

  • 1 Peter 1:1-2 | … To the pilgrims [strangers – KJV] of the Dispersion [i.e., Asia Minor] … elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father …

 

Foreknowledge

This is a NT word –

 

  • Gk. word for Foreknowledge – Gk. verb: proginosko ((pro, “before,” ginosko, “to know”)  /  noun: prognosis |
    • Verb: know something beforehand or in advance; know someone previously; select in advance, choose or appoint beforehand (Acts 26:5; Ro. 8:29, 11:2; 1 Pet. 1:20; 2 Pet. 3:17).
    • Noun:  it is used only of divine foreknowledge; foreknowledge; advance knowledge, foreknowledge, what is known ahead of time (Acts 2:23; 1 Pet. 1:2).[1]

 

OT – Demonstrated

  • Isaiah 42:8-9 | I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them. 
  • Isaiah 45:1-5,  | Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held … I will go before you and make the crooked places straight [etc.] … that you may know that I am the LORD, who called you by name … I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the Lord and there is none other; there is no God besides Me. 

FOREKNOWLEDGE

 

Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology[2]

God omniscient understanding of future events, both actually and contingently. God’s “understanding is infinite” (Ps 147:5), and His foreknowledge interrelates with His plan, as seen in His redemptive purpose through Christ (Isa 46:9-10; Ac 2:23; Eph 1:11). This plan “was foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet 1:20).

In biblical usage, divine foreknowledge is applied to the salvation of humans, whom God brings into a special relationship with Himself as His chosen people (Rom 11:2-28). God’s foreknowledge is not based upon foresight. He is in control of the future and nothing occurs that is outside His plan (Isa 48:3-5; Eph 1:11).

 

C. D. Cole[3]

When the word is used … it refers to God’s knowledge of events before they actually happened. In this sense “foreknowledge” is one of the Divine attributes …

 

Milburn Cockrell[4]

The word “foreknowledge” in English means “to know beforehand” or “to have previous knowledge.” Its meaning can be seen by dividing the word. The prefix “fore” means “beforehand,” and is connected with the word “knowledge.”

 

The foreknowledge of God must be distinguished from His [omniscience] which embraces all things, past, present, and future, while foreknowledge anticipates only future events. … The foreknowledge of God is what He purposed to bring to pass. It is the whole order of events which He Himself purposed to do by His sovereign decrees. … Hence foreknowledge is not a preview of events that blind fate might engender, or that are supposed to arise in the will of man or angel, for neither man nor angel existed when God made His plan in eternity past. God was more than a mere onlooker gazing down on the course of events. By foreordination and foreknowledge He determined what would and would not transpire in time and eternity [“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined …” – Rom. 8:29]. To deny this is to deny the Godhood of God.

 

A. W. Pink[5]

Foreknowledge is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to persons.

  • Acts 2:23 | Him [Christ] being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God …
  • Romans 8:29-30 | For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son … these He called … these He justified … these He also glorified.
  • Romans 11:2 | God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.
  • 1 Peter 1:2 | Elect [dispersed in Asia Minor – v. 1] according to the foreknowledge of God the father …

Wayne Grudem[6]

Romans 8:29 | “foreknow” –

God’s foreknowledge is before not after the fact of one believing.

This verse [cannot] be used to demonstrate that God based his predestination on foreknowledge of the fact that a person would believe. The passage speaks rather of the fact that God knew persons (“those who foreknew”), not that he knew some fact about them, such as the fact that they would believe. It is a personal, relational knowledge [cf. Matt. 7:23; John 10:14, 27] that is spoken of here … Therefore in Romans 8:29, “those whom he foreknew” is best understood to mean, “those whom he long ago thought of in a saving relationship to himself.” The text actually says nothing about God foreknowing or foreseeing that certain people would believe, nor is that idea mentioned in any other text of Scripture.

 

Millard Erickson[7]

Paul’s use of … proginosko [know before], signifies more than an advance knowledge or precognition. It carries the connotation of a very positive and intimate relationship. It suggests looking with favor on or loving someone, and is even used of sexual relations [OT – (Hb) yada – Gen. 4:1, 24 | Adam knew his wife Eve; NT – (Gk) – Matt. 1:24-25 | Joseph “did not” know Mary until after the birth of Jesus]. What is in view, then, is not a neutral advance knowledge of what someone will do, but an affirmative choice of that person.

Closing Thot:

Stephen Lawson[8]

Foreknowledge …

Before time began, before the foundation of the world, in eternity past, God drew a circle around your name and He singled you out and He chose to love you and He set His heart upon you with blazing burning love and affection. He entered into a saving love relationship with you by His eternal covenant from before the foundation of the world and He wrote your name in His lamb’s Book of Life before time began, [saying] you are mine and I have set my heart upon you and I love you with an everlasting love.

[1] Vine, 249; Friberg, 327, 328; Wigram, 654.

[2] Holloman, Krekel Dictionary, 156.

[3]Cole, 66.

[4] Cockrell, 12.

[5] Pink, Attributes, 27.

[6] Grudem, 676-677.

[7] Erickson, 939.

[8] Lawson, “The Foreknowledge of God”.

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