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The Omniscience of God and Human Freedom PDF Print E-mail

 

For your information, inspiration and intercession, please study this ICCP Discussion Document from the Reformation 500 Church Consultation in Wittenberg, Germany, October 2017, in preparation for the upcoming Reformation 500 Global Church Council Zürich, 15-19 July 2019.

 

If you have any suggestions on how these may be improved, or to communicate the support of your church, mission, or ministry, write to the International Church Council Project. 

 

ARTICLES of AFFIRMATION and DENIAL 

Article I

We affirm that God knows all things and that His understanding is infinite.1

We deny that God ever changes in His essence2 and that His infinite knowledge ever increases.3

1. Job 37:16; Psalm 139:1-2; 1 John 3:20; 1 Cor. 2:10-11; Matthew 10:29-30; Hebrews 4:13

2. Psalm 102:25-27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17

3. Isaiah 40:28; 46:9-11; Psalm 139:4,16; Psalm 147:5

 

Article II

We affirm that God’s knowledge comprehends all space and all time - past, present, and future.1

We deny that the present non-existence of future things and events entails their being unknowable to God, who “calls the things that are not as if they were.”2

1. 2 Chronicles 16:9; 1 Samuel 10:2-9; Job 28:24; Isaiah 46:9-10; Matthew 10:29-30; 1 John 3:20; Rev. 20:13

2. Romans 4:17; Proverbs 16:33; Isaiah 46:9-10; 42:8-9

 

Article III

We affirm that God’s knowledge is perfect and that His knowledge of the future is as certain as His knowledge of the past.1

We deny that God’s knowledge admits of either mistake or correction.2

1. 1 Samuel 10:2-9; Job 37:16; Psalm 139:16; 1 John 3:20

2. 1 Samuel 2:3; 1 Chron. 28:9; Job 28:24; 37:16; Psalms 119:168; 147:4-5; Isaiah 40:27-28; Matt. 10:29-30; John 21:17; Rom. 11:34-36; Heb. 4:13; James 1:17; 1 John 1:5; 3:20

 

Article IV

We affirm that God knows things present as present, things past as past, and things future as future.1

We deny that God’s knowledge of temporal relations compromises the certitude of His knowledge of the future.2

1. Deut. 2:7; 2 Chron. 16:9; Job 28:24; Psalm 33:13; 94:9; 119:168; 139:1-4; Isaiah 44:7-8, 25-28; 46:9-11; Jer. 2:2-3; Acts 2:23; Rom. 4:17; Rev. 20:13

2. 1 Sam. 10:2-9; 23:10-13; 2 Kings 13:19; Job 37:16; Psalm 139:16; 147:4-5; Isaiah 40:27-28; 42:8-9; 44:25-28; 46:9-11; 48:18; Jer. 38:17-20; Matt. 11:21,23; John 21:17: Acts 2:23; Rom. 4:17

 

Article V

We affirm that God’s knowledge of the future specifically includes the future choices of all free agents including Himself.1

We deny that the freedom of agents in choosing entails either the prior uncertainty or the prior unknowability of their choices.2

1. 1 Sam. 10:2-9; 23:10-13; Job 37:16; Psa. 139:1-4; 147:4-5; Isa. 44:7-8; 44:25-28; Jer. 38:17-20; Matt. 11:21, 23; Acts 2:23

2. Same as for the affirmation.

 

Article VI

We affirm that the freedom of moral agents entails that their choices are their own, not forced on them by anything external to themselves.1

We deny that the freedom of moral agents is founded on the complete liberty of the will from any restrictions inherent in the agents’ own moral character or intellectual apprehension.2

1. Jer. 19:5; Hosea 5:3; 6:4; 8:11-13; Matt. 23:13; Eph. 4:17-19; Rev. 20:13 with Isaiah 30:18

2. Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Acts 26:18; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19, 22; 2 Tim. 2:26

 

Article VII

We affirm that the moral character of free agents defines the moral content of their choices and that moral choices reveal moral character.1

We deny that the will of moral agents either is free from determination by their moral character or defines their moral character.2

1. Psa. 14:1-3; Jer. 13:23; Matt. 15:19; Rom. 1:28-32

2. Psa. 58:3; Jer. 13:23

 

Article VIII

We affirm that God’s moral character is infinitely, eternally, and immutably holy, righteous, and good, ensuring that His choices will always be holy, righteous, and good.1

We deny that God’s moral character is defined by His continuing choices.2

1. Gen. 18:25; Deut. 32:4; Psa. 19:8; 100:5; 106:1; 119:68; 145:9; Isa. 45:19; Mal. 3:6; Mat. 7:11; Acts 14:17; Rom. 8:28, 32; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:10; James 1:17; 1 Pet. 1:16

2. Deut. 32:4; Mal. 3:6

 

Article IX

We affirm that God created man in His own image,1 imparting to him, in man’s original state, His communicable attributes of knowledge2 and righteousness.3

(A DENIAL has not been drafted.)

1. Gen. 1:27; 9:6; Col. 1:15

2. Gen. 1:28-30; 2:16, 24; 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10

3. Ecc. 7:29; Hosea 6:7; Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2

 

Article X

We affirm that the sin of Adam brought moral guilt and corruption on the whole human race, so that all natural descendants of Adam are born both guilty before the judgment of God1 and with their wills enslaved to the sin in their own characters, so that all men freely but necessarily sin.2

We deny that the effect of Adam’s sin is limited to imparting the mere potential for sin and guilt to his descendants, to shaping an environment that occasions or tempts to sin.3

1. Psa. 51:5; 58:3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 5:12-21; 7:18; Eph. 2:3; 4:18; Titus 1:15

2. Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Acts 26:18; Eph. 2:1-3; 2 Tim. 2:26

3. Psa. 51:5; 58:3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 5:12-21; 7:18; Eph. 2:3; 4:18; Titus 1:15

 

Article XI

We affirm that just as every man inherits from Adam the image of God, the cultural mandate, and the dignity and rights inherent in being human, so also every man inherits from Adam the guilt and corruption of sin.1

(A DENIAL has not been drafted.)

1. Psa. 51:5; 58:3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 5:12-21; 7:18; Eph. 2:3; 4:18; Titus 1:15

 

Article XII

We affirm that the faulty definition of free agency as the “power of contrary choice,” as some define it, lies at the root of the contemporary movement among some professing Christians to deny the historic, orthodox doctrines of: (1) God’s infinite, eternal, and unchangeable knowledge and moral perfection; (2) man’s inherent guilt and corruption because of original sin; (3) the substitutionary, satisfactory atonement and redemption wrought in and by the death of Christ; (4) justification as the forensic imputation of the righteousness of Christ to guilty sinners on the grounds of faith; and (5) salvation as the work of God rather than of man.

We deny: (1) that all who believe in the aforementioned faulty definition of free agency as the “power of contrary choice” recognize any or all of these logical implications of the theory; (2) that the fact many adherents to this faulty definition of free agency fail to recognize these implications either justifies a complacent attitude toward the theory or reduces the danger inherent in the theory; and (3) that this faulty definition of free agency is ultimately compatible with the central, orthodox doctrines cited in Affirmation XII above.

No references for this A&D.

 

Article XIII

We affirm that the views of God, man, sin, the atonement, and salvation implied by the theory of free agency as the “power of contrary choice” are unbiblical, to the extreme of denying Christianity.1

We deny that the god of this theory is the God of the Bible. It is instead an idol constructed in the image of fallen and rebellious man. We further deny that the humanity described in this theory is the humanity described in scripture, that the atonement portrayed in this theory is the atonement portrayed in the Bible, and that the gospel outlined in this theory is the true gospel of the Bible.

 

Coalition on Revival

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See also:

Reformation 500 Church Council Zürich

Ulrich Zwingli and the Reformation in Switzerland

1. The Authority of Scripture

2. Biblical Hermeneutics

3. The Essentials of a Christian World View

4. The Kingdom of God

 

      

 
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