Monday, February 2, 2009

More on Yesterday's Epistle

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)

There are only three ways I can think of to interpret “whom He foreknew”.

1.) It means nothing.

2.) It means God knew some people, but not others. How could that be, if God is all-knowing?

3.) It means God knew ahead of time who, throughout human history, would want / not reject Him, and predestined these to become like Jesus Christ. (Because of course – here comes a tautology – you can’t be one with Him except insofar as you are made like Him; viz., compatible with Him.)


William Weedon said...

A fourth way: St. Paul makes no causal statement between foreknowing and predestining. Rather, he simply states that those whom he foreknew he also predestined, and predestined for conformation to the image of His Son. He foreknew all, and in Christ, He chooses all. There is none rejected because they were not predestined; there are only those rejected because they refused to be conformed to the image of Christ.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Okay, good. Let's explore this idea. First, let's get some clarification.

He foreknew all, and in Christ, He chooses all.

This could mean more than one thing. Among the things it could mean is that God only chooses those He has placed in Christ. Or it could mean that, acting as Christ, He chooses absolutely everybody. Which do you mean, if either?

William Weedon said...

I mean that in Christ, He has chosen all people; there is not a soul who has not been lovingly made and lovingly redeemed in Him. Those only are lost who reject being conformed to the image of the Beloved Son; who spurn the life that is in Him for all. Said another way, the sins of all those in hell have also been covered by the blood of the Lamb and all human beings without exceptions are the objects of His love in Christ.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

So you're saying you reject the Calvinistic idea of Limited Atonement? Good.

But what has that to do with the passage at hand? Atonement for all doesn't mean salvation for all, does it?

This bit from Romans is talking about those who end up glorified, not those in hell.


William Weedon said...

Yes, it's a word of unspeakable comfort. It says to us whom He has called (named His own through Baptism, through the preaching of the Gospel): God chose you before the creation of the world, he knew you before you ever existed, He loved you in His Son, and He has destined you to be glorified in Him even as He sanctifies you by the crosses He sends your way to conform you to the image of His Son.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Yes, it is a word of comfort.

Are you saying the word "foreknew" simply means God knew you from forever, who you were going to be, inside and out, all the hairs of your head numbered, etc.?

William Weedon said...

Yes. It also means that he knew who would believe His salvation promises and who would not, but His foreknowing is not listed as the cause of this, but simply encompasses knowledge of it. In the same way He foreknew evil without causing evil, but by His foreknowledge planned to overthrow evil by His goodness and love. But overwhelmingly it is an affirmation of what Psalm 139 talks about: "You knew my days when as yet there were none of them..."

Anastasia Theodoridis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anastasia Theodoridis said...

We're agreed, I suppose, that in this sense of the word, God foreknew everyone?

P.S. Here, we're not talking about - or at least I'm not talking about - WHY God saves. Why He saves is, He freely wills to, and why He freely wills to is, He is a good God and loves mankind. I'm not talking about *why* He saves but *whom*.

William Weedon said...


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

But (I flatter myself that I can safely assume) yo are no universalist. You do not find it necessary, perhaps not even possible, to affirm that every single person will be saved in the end.

So what are we to make of, "Whom He foreknew [everybody], He predestined, and ... called, and ... justified, and ... glorified"?

William Weedon said...


I WANT to be a universalist. Does that count? :)

Yes, the "glorified" obviously applies only to those who persevere and then die in the faith; but that is perhaps the point. Although grammatically in the past, would you not agree that the glorification (though in process here) is not finally completed until we are dead. All the others lie solidly in the past. The passage, especially when taken in the larger context of Romans, comforts us that God has done the lot for our salvation and will indeed bring to completion the good work He has begun in us as glorification, provided only WE do not remove ourselves from the "in Christ" which is where He has foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and is in process of glorifying us.

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

I think it's important here to go from back to front. Paul is describing those who were glorified to conform to the image of His Son were specifically because they were justified for glorification, justified because they were called for justification, called because they were predestined for calling, and foreknown by God for the entire process. And it is a procees. The foreknowing and predestination aren't the only two things in play here.

Or so it seems to me!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

I agree, Kevin.

And I've been enjoying your blog!

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Thank you, Anastasia! I've been enjoying yours, as well. I'd always found your comments left around and about to be delightful, and then one day happily found your blog. That's a win-win situation!