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The Doctrines of Grace: TULIP Revisited
by Carol Berubee

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Unconditional Election, Part IV

How is Election Accomplished? Foreseen Faith or Forelove? (Continued)
Beyond this definition of foreknowledge, we need to see that it is illogical to say that God is sovereign and to also say that God elects certain people based on foreknowledge of their decisions.

Romans 8:29-30
"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son...Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."

If God elects people based on the decisions He knows they will make, what is the point in electing anyone? If they are already going to choose Christ, then there is no reason to elect them and call them. If God has already seen that their free will has determined that they will be saved, then there's no reason to predestine and call them. You may counter by saying that God, in time past, gave faith to everyone in His creation, then saw what each person would do with that faith. Based upon what each person did, He then went ahead with Creation, giving faith only to those whom He foreknew would exercise it. But then you still have to answer this question: If God gives everyone free will, and He does not cause a person to exercise faith, what did cause each person to make the decision that God, in His foreknowledge, saw them make? What causes a person to exercise faith, an internal source or an external source?

If God, looking at what would happen in the future, put grace and faith out there for the taking, what would cause one person to snatch up that faith and act on it, while another rejected it? There still has to be a causal agent. The "Arminian" says that man has free will to act on faith or reject it. Yet, this would indicate that there is some intrinsic goodness in the person who exercises faith toward God, and depravity in the person who does not exercise faith. Are some people "more good" than others? If so, then there is a place for boasting in one's salvation.

Does the decision to act on faith come from an internal source or an external source? Remember, John 1 says that the one who is born again was not born of blood (internal), nor of the will of the flesh (internal), nor of the will of man (external), but of God (external). Man cannot act in goodness toward God by his own internal nature, nor can he choose God due to the will of someone else (external). A man is born again of God, who is external to the man. But there's more to it than that.

The "Arminian" view that says that man has free will and God chose based on man's foreseen faith makes God a helpless bystander. In this view, God is not sovereign, man is. The "Arminian" position would say that God did not write history, man did, but then God takes credit for it in the end. The "Arminian" view makes man the pilot, while God was the dutiful co-pilot who prepped the cockpit: He gave us free will and set us on our way to deciding our own destinies and, indeed, history itself.

In Romans 8:29-30, as we have seen, God is the one who foreloves and predestines and calls, but the "Arminian" says, in reality, that God had no part in any of it. If God foreknows the decisions people will make and, at the same time, man has free will, then what is Paul talking about in Romans 8?

The "Arminian" wants to eliminate the true meaning of election and predestination in favor of free will, but when he does so, he ends up eliminating free will. If God knows what you are going to do, then there is no changing it, is there? If God did look down through time, saw your decisions, set it all into motion, and watched history unfold, do you really have free will? No. History has been set, based on your foreknown decisions, so now your life has been determined. The "Calvinist" would also say that your life has been determined, but it has been determined by God's sovereign will, not by man's "free will."

If God foreknows something, then it must be fixed. But if we follow "Arminian" logic, we see that if an event is not certain, then God's foreknowledge would be useless, since the "Arminian" says that God's foreknowledge is defined as God seeing what will happen in the future. The "Arminian" either has to admit that the future is predetermined, or do away with the foreknowledge of God. Unfortunately, the "Arminian" believes in the idea of human free will. But if man has free will, and God has based all of history on those decisions that are made, then man is only free to exercise the decisions he has already determined for himself! And then God is also bound by man's decisions.

The "Calvinist" would say that God has determined all of history; that God has chosen whom He will for His good pleasure; that all men are depraved, have rebelled, and stand condemned; that God, in His love and mercy, has chosen to save some; and that it is these whom He has chosen that are the foreknown, predestined, and called. These are they that, by His grace, are regenerated.

If you go back a verse to Romans 8:28, you see that, "...all things work together for good to those...who are the called according to His purpose." The elect are called according to His purpose, not our purpose or plan. If He called us only because He knew that we would choose Him, then we were called according to our purpose, not according to His purpose. If this were the case, the verse would read, "...all things work together for good to those...who are the called according to their purpose and choice." Then verse 29 would say, "For whom He saw would make the right choice, He also predestined..."

John Wesley said, "Men are as free in believing or not believing as if he (God) did not know it at all." ("Sermon LVIII, On Predestination," in The Works of John Wesley)

Wesley's statement provokes more questions than it answers. The chief question here is why some men choose God while others do not. What is the source of their faith? Does it come from within? Or does it come from God? If it comes from within, then that means some men are born more righteous than others; it means that not all men are depraved. If faith comes from God, to whom does He choose to give it? To the more righteous? To the ones He has foreseen as making the right choice? If so, then all of history is dependent, not on God, but on man.

Romans 3:11-12
"'There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.'"

The Bible is clear that no one, of himself, is going to seek the one true God. Not one person does good. Not one person can exercise faith toward God. Yet, most professing Christians will say that man has free will and is given the choice of whether to accept or reject Christ. But then what is it that exists within the person who chooses Christ that does not exist in the person who does not choose Christ? Even if you say that God, in time past, doled out faith to everyone and saw who would exercise that faith and who would not, you still have the question: Why would some accept it and some reject it?

The "Arminian" wants to show that all men are free. Yet, even in this scenario, in which God allows all men to choose to exercise faith, man is not free. Even in this scenario, there is some force that is causing one man to exercise faith and another man to reject it. Is it something from within the man that is causing a certain decision? Is there something in his environment that is causing a certain decision? Whatever it is, something is affecting his will to choose one way or another. He is not truly free. Something is affecting his will. But what is it?

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