This question seems to presume that not everyone has heard, seen and understood enough about God to respond positively to His revelation. Scripture, however, indicates otherwise. In Romans 1:16-2:16 for instance, the apostle Paul declares that the powerful gospel appeal has been sent first to the Jew and then the Gentile (1:16) and the “righteous live by faith” (1:17). This is in contrast with those who continue to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (1:18) and as a result will be “given over to their defiled minds” and cut off from further light of God’s gracious truth (1:24-26). (See also Psalm 19)
In other words, those who continually suppress the truth by “trading it in for lies” will grow more and more calloused and cut off from the light of divine revelation. Eventually their consciences will become seared, their hearts hardened, and they may no longer be able to see, hear, understand and turn to God for healing (see also Acts 28:23-28). Continue reading
An event can be certainly known without necessarily being determined by the one who certainly knows. To suggest otherwise is a modal fallacy which conflates certainty with necessity. (William Lane Craig explains more here.)
You and I may know for a certainty that I posted this very article at Soteriology101.com on September 17, 2017, but only one of us determined to do that. Knowledge of the event does not necessarily have a causal link to the determination of that event.
But what about events known in the future by an omnipotent Creator? Are all events that God foreknows only foreknown because He Himself has determined them to come to pass, as many Calvinistic scholars imply in their argumentation? I do not believe so. Allow me to explain why.
Consider this passage as just one of many examples:
“David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition.” -??1 Samuel? ?23:9-13? ?ESV??
The passage above proves that God foreknew of an expedition that did NOT come to pass, therefore demonstrating that exhaustive divine foreknowledge of all things does not equal exhaustive divine predetermination of all things.
A Calvinist may rebut by saying, “But God also foreknew David would ask these questions and leave the city after being told Saul was coming.”
I would respond by saying, “so what?” The fact is that God foreknew an event that did not come to pass. That is all that is needed to establish that foreknowledge doesn’t necessitate determinism. Plus, the point of our contention is not over whether or not God foreknew of David’s questions and his response, the real contention is over whether the knowledge itself necessitated or determined David’s choices. There is nothing logically or biblically to suggest that it did. After all, God foreknew of Saul’s expedition and that never came to pass.
Biblical translator for Logos Bible Software and Phd in ancient near east languages, Dr. Michael S Heiser, teaches more on this point for those who are interested: CLICK HERE.
Calvinism teaches God knows what will happen in the future, including everything each person will do, because He has microscopically determined that humans perform such actions. He accomplishes this through decrees and endowing man with compatible moral freedom. In very stark contrast, Extensivism teaches that God knows everything, including everything each person will do, but for different reasons. Extensivists recognize Scripture presents the picture that God chose to create man in His image. This includes the ability to choose otherwise within the range of options God has established, also known as libertarian freedom, resulting in undetermined outcomes, which is ubiquitously evident in Scriptures reflective of choosing between accessible options. Given that God is omniscient and chose to so endow man, we can be assured that God has eternally known every choice that every individual will make; further, while libertarian freedom is a force, it is a force created by God, and therefore, an integral part of His creation/redemption plan and entirely under His sovereign rule. Continue reading