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Foreknowledge and Foreordination

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    “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.” The word “predestinate” is the same as “foreordain,” which is found in the Revised Version. Volumes of speculation have been written about these terms, but a few words are sufficient to set forth the facts. With respect to these, as well as the other attributes of God, it is sufficient for us to know the fact. With the explanation we have nothing to do.FOFO 1.1

    That God knows all things is plainly set forth in the Scripture. Not only does he know the things that are past, but he sees the future as well. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” Acts 15:18. “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off.” Psalm 139:1, 2. Thus God can tell what people even yet unborn will do and say.FOFO 1.2

    This does not make God responsible for the evil that they do. Some have foolishly thought it necessary to apologize for the Lord and to relieve him of the charge that if he is omniscient He is responsible for the evil if he does not prevent it, by saying that He could know if he wished, but that he chooses not to know many things. Such a “defense” of God is both foolish and wicked. It assumes that God would be responsible for the evil if he knew it beforehand and did not prevent it, and that in order not to be in a position to prevent it, he deliberately shuts his eyes from it. Thus their “defense” really puts the responsibility for all evil upon God. Not only so, but it limits Him. It makes him like a man.FOFO 2.1

    God knows all things, not by study and research as man learns the little he knows, but because he is God. He inhabits eternity. Isaiah 57:15. We can not understand how this can be any more than we can understand eternity. We must accept the fact and be not only content, but glad, that God is greater than we. All time, past, present, and future, is the same to Him. It is always “now” with God.FOFO 2.2

    The fact that God knew the evil that men would do, even before the foundation of the world, does not make him responsible for it, any more than the fact that a man can see by means of a telescope what a man is doing ten miles distant makes him responsible for that other one’s actions. God has from the beginning set before people warnings against sin, and has provided them with all the necessary means for avoiding it; but he can not interfere with man’s right and freedom of choice without depriving him of his manhood and making him the same as a stick.FOFO 2.3

    Freedom to do right implies freedom to do wrong. If a man were made so that he could not do wrong, he would have no freedom at all, not even to do right. He would be less than the brutes. There is no virtue in forced obedience, nor would there be any virtue in doing that which is right if it were impossible to do wrong. Moreover, there could be no pleasure or satisfaction in the professed friendship of two persons if one associated with the other just because he could not avoid it. The joy of the Lord in the companionship of his people is that they of their own free-will choose him above all others. And that which is the joy of the Lord is the joy of His people.FOFO 3.1

    The very ones who rail against God for not preventing the ills that he foresees since he is all-powerful, would be the very first to charge him with cruelty if he did arbitrarily interfere with their freedom and make them do that which they do not choose. Such a course would make everybody unhappy and discontented. The wisest thing for us to do is to stop trying to fathom the ways of the Almighty, and accept the fact that whatever he does is right. “As for God, His way is perfect.” Psalm 18:30.FOFO 3.2

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