by Ken Green
A Reformed (Calvinist) scholar wrote: “The Scriptures clearly teach that long before we pray, God already knows everything and that He has already determined what He is going to do.”
It’s true that God is omniscient and absolutely sovereign over all things. To think that we can give God new information or convince Him to do something that He hasn’t thought of is the height of arrogance. But if we’re not careful, we’ll abuse these wondrous truths about God by never pouring our hearts out to Him in prayer.
As one of my grandchildren once prayed: ‘God, you already know everything. So, just take care of it all.’”
Personally, I can find no fault in the logic of that child. Reformed theology is Christian fatalism. The scholar says “The Scriptures teach that long before we pray” (he means, from all eternity, before we were born, before the heavens and earth were created) “God already knows everything and has already determined what He is going to do.”
I don’t believe the Scriptures teach this. What the Scriptures teach is that God doesn’t change, but His plans are not always fixed. The future is flexible depending on our freewill choices. There are a number of examples in the Bible of God obviously changing His plans.
In some matters, God has purposed and revealed that something will happen. He has absolutely predestined or foreordained that this will be done. In such cases, He knows it will be done. Why does He know this? Does He know because He looks into the future and sees it happening? No. He knows it because He is faithful to do what He promises. And not only is He faithful, but He is able to do it. He’s going to be around in a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand years to bring it to pass.
“For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’“ (Isaiah 46:9-10).
What most non-Reformed folks cannot seem to grasp is that their theology of God’s absolute foreknowledge is as fatalistic and unscriptural as the Calvinistic theology of absolute predestination. If, as the grandchild said, “God already knows everything” and as the scholar said, “He has already determined what He will do” then, it makes perfect sense to say, “Just take care of it all.”