You Should Have Seen this Coming- Refuting the Arminian View

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” -Ephesians 2.8-9

For ‘God has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘all things are put in subjection,’ it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” -1 Corinthians 15.27-28

To recap from the previous post, the Arminian view of the relationship between God’s predetermination and his foreknowledge is that man is entirely free in his choices and yet God is in complete control of the universe, the reason for this being not that there exists some type of “coercion” to do what he has determined, but because his predetermination is based on “the knowledge of what the free agents will do under whatever persuasive means He may use on them” (Geisler, Chosen but Free, p.51). So, in short, God’s foreknowledge of man’s decisions is what guides his predetermination of what will happen.

Now, why do I believe this is an incorrect view of the relationship as shown in Scripture and in logic?

First off, looking into Scripture, the biggest problem we find with this is that, if God’s decree of election to salvation is dependent upon his foreknowledge of who can be persuaded to choose him then this makes the criteria for salvation being man choosing God and God acquiescing to this choice, instead of what is taught in Scripture which is that salvation comes by grace through faith (Ephesians 2.8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God“).

In fact, looking at that verse, we see that it says, “And this is not your own doing.” But under the Arminian view it is your own doing. Yes, they still view salvation as being completed by God through his mercy, but the giving of it to you it is not an act of grace, it is an act of compliance to your free moral choice. This objection is also supported by Titus 3.5-7 and Romans 11.6.

Second, logically, if God’s predetermination is based upon his foreknowledge of how free moral agents will respond under persuasion, then the ultimate determination in any event actually lies with man and not with God. When the Arminian says that God’s predetermination is based on “the knowledge of what the free agents will do under whatever persuasive means He may use on them” what they intend is that God acts out in choosing those who he knows can be persuaded to choose him, leaving open the amount of persuasion which God uses to do this (thus we have a difference between the amount of persuasion used to convert Joe Christian versus the radical persuasion used in influencing Paul on the Damascus Road).

But consider an instance in which there is a person A who cannot, under any amount of influence or persuasion from God, be led to choose God. Then, if God is constrained from imposing upon that persons freedom in any way which exceeds persuasion, what we find in the end is that God is utterly incapable of determining this persons salvation, and ergo God’s purpose is actually subject to the will of person A, which is a contradiction of the fact that all things are in subjection to God (cf. 1 Corinthians 15.27-28).

Yet one must not get so radical as person A to see that in any instance God’s working is constrained by what this free moral agent will actually let him do and so God falls subject to the will of all his creation, a decree that I never find being made in the Scriptures.

Thus, from both the perspective of pure Scripture and of philosophical reflection we see that the Arminian view of the relationship between God’s predetermination and his foreknowledge is false.

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