FOREKNOWLEDGE

Human knowledge is governed by the awareness that people have of a past, a present and a future, but God’s knowledge is not. God is eternal, and his knowledge is not related to a sequence of events that he must experience in a world of time and space (Isa 57:15; Jer 23:24; see ETERNITY; TIME). Human language uses the word ‘foreknowledge’ in relation to God because it is the most convenient word available to indicate knowledge of events that human beings sees as future. From their viewpoint, God’s knowledge of the entire history of the universe is foreknowledge (Ps 139:4-6,16; Isa 46:9-10; Acts 2:23). When the Bible speaks of God’s foreknowledge it means more than merely that he knows what will happen. Usually God’s foreknowledge is linked with God’s purpose, which means that it is often the same as his pre-determined will. God’s foreknowledge is according to his plan, and therefore may be another word for predestination (Acts 2:23; Rom 8:29; Heb 11:40; see PREDESTINATION). God’s sovereignty does not alter the fact that people are responsible for their actions. This may be a mystery beyond our understanding, but we do not solve the mystery by weakening the truth. We accept the perfect purposes of a sovereign God and at the same time acknowledge the free will of responsible human beings (Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; see also ELECTION).

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