How would you like to live with the fatalistic notion that everything which has ever happened was predetermined by God? I have a friend who is a Calvinist and embraces the doctrine of foreknowledge. Once as he was walking down a flight of stairs, he stumbled and fell. After regaining his composure, he muttered to himself, “I’m glad that’s finally over.”
I don’t share this to make light of my friend or his painful experience, but I do want to point out the foolishness of attempting to consistently apply the teachings of Calvinism to practical experience. If God knew, and therefore determined, who would be saved before the foundation of the world, then we may conclude that since He also knew every detail of our lives, He determined each of them – good and bad. Your flat tire on the way to work, your house foreclosure, your job loss – I could go on forever.
While it is true God knew everything that would ever happen in human history, including the time of our salvation, the balanced – and Biblical – view of foreknowledge is that God did not cause these events, but rather He knew they would occur and allowed them to occur. Then God uses the situations He allows to fulfill the perfect purpose He has determined for our lives. This is why the Apostle Paul was able to say that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).
The flat tire, the foreclosure, and the loss of your job all play a part in God’s plan for your life. The way you respond to them is completely up to you – and yes, God knows what your response will be beforehand. But once you understand that these circumstances are under His control, then you can fully submit to Him as He leads you down the perfect path He has chosen for you.
There are three things that only God knows: the beginning of things, the cause of things, and the end of things. – Welsh Proverb
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.