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Introduction and Review
Highlight the importance of theology.
If you don’t agree with me, at least you will know why I believe what I believe.
All of God’s other attributes operate in symphony with one another and all are rooted in His infinite, personal character.
God is omnipresent.
God is infinite.
He is everywhere at all times.
He is everywhere present in all time (past, present, future).
In order to be truly infinite.
You cannot have a beginning.
To have a beginning to to be inside a sequence of events.
Any thing that began to exist was created inside time.
God never began to exist.
God is outside time.
God is omnipotent.
God can do anything, and He freely chose to create free, moral creatures.
No one else makes or compels God to do anything.
God freely decided to create morally-free creatures.
God freely decided to save those same morally-free creatures in accordance with His divine, eternal nature.
For those reasons,
Salvation is available to every person in the world.
But salvation is only applied to those who believe.
So salvation is founded in God’s free, sovereign will.
God is omnibenevolent.
God loves everyone, but He never forces people to love Him (align with Him).
So salvation is founded upon God’s intrinsic and infinite all-goodness.
The questions we covered in our last lesson…
Does God only love those He knows will be saved?
(omnibenevolence and election)
Does God save people before they place their faith in Jesus?
(omnibenevolence and irresistible grace)
Does God forbid certain people from redemption (omnibenevolence and double predestination)
So we covered:
Salvation’s foundation in God’s infinite love.
God is omniscient.
God knows everything, and He never learns anything new.
God’s knowledge is so vast that He even knows what would have occurred had a different set of human decisions or actions occurred (or even a different set of divine actions).
(Matt 11:21; 1 Sam 23:10-12).
God is not waiting on us to make our decisions before He knows what to do or what we will do.
(see Isaiah 42:9).
Everly eating smarties.
The reason I know that is because I eat smarties and smarties make you smart.
God is also all-wise.
In order to be all-wise, God must be all-knowing.
That is obvious.
But in order to be all-wise, God must also be all-good.
It is the combination of God’s infinite-knowledge (omniscience) with God’s infinite-goodness (omnibenevolence) that integrate into God’s infinite-wisdom (omnisapience).
So, we concluded:
God has a plan (because He is all-knowing).
God’s plan is the best plan (because He is all-wise).
God will complete His plan (because He is all-sovereign).
I won’t handle every objection; but I do intend to handle their most common and most powerful arguments.
This leads us to questions about salvation.
Does God change His mind when we change ours?
Or, what does foreknowledge mean?
Let me split this question into two parts.
A. Can we change our minds?
There would be no reason for the Bible message exhorting us to repent unless we could change our minds.
God is the “Eternal Now.” ~C.S. Lewis
“God has always experienced the totality of time and everything before time (eternity past) and after time (eternity future) as the present.”
~Richard Land, “Congruent Election,” Whosoever Will, 55
“Past, present, and future are all present to God.” ~Geoffrey Bromiley, “Foreknowledge,” The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 320.
“The foreknowledge of God is based upon his omniscience, or all knowledge.
Since the Bible views God as present at all times and all places contemporaneously in his universe, he knows all things simultaneously.”
~Herschel Hobbs, What Baptists Believe, 24.
Wuest stated the foreknowledge here meant more “here than mere previous knowledge, even though that knowledge be part of the omniscience of God.” ~Word Studies, 2.144
In light of these, we can understand that foreknowledge means pre-experience with.
“There is no moment in eternity when the sum total of God’s experience with each person was not God’s present...” ~Richard Land, “Congruent Election,” Whosoever Will, 56
Can we change our minds?
Yes, but not in a way that impacts God’s foreknowledge or sovereignty.
Armenianism doesn’t teach this about God.
In this view, man is so free to determine their destiny that God is waiting to see what they will decide so that He will can determine how to govern in order to bring about His sovereign plan.
It is possible to overemphasize the free will of man.
In light of our view of God’s omniscient foreknowledge, that Armenian view is irrelevant.
The bigger question, then, becomes…
B. Does God change His mind?
| Exodus 32.
Does God change His mind?
(Other verses: 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 102:26-27; Hebrews 6:18; 13:8; 2 Timothy 2:13)
If that’s the case, what do we make of the verses that indicate that God changed His mind?
But then almost in the same historical context (40 years later), the Bible says...
I believe that the Bible teaches that God cannot change, otherwise it would be that He has learned something new.
Armenians argue that God obviously doesn’t know all that people will choose because several places in the Bible tell us that God repented of what He was about to do.
Thus, God changed His mind and reacted to human free-choice rather than it being predetermined.
He changes in answer to prayer.
Exodus 32
He changed His mind about creating the world.
Genesis 6:6
He changed His mind when Nineveh repented.
Jonah 3:10
The answer to this seeming paradox is twofold.
1) Sometimes the Bible uses human descriptions to help people understand some aspect of God.
The Bible often uses human descriptions to better relate God to people.
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