"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Determinism, Party Chats, and Musings About God’s Offer

Posted in Theological by matt on Monday, February 2, 2009

I have a question that isn’t even close to rhetorical: If God offers people salvation yet knows the outcome of their decision, does that undermine the integrity of His offer?

Let me clarify the question a bit. I was recently at a party and had a conversation about omniscience, sovereignty, and free will with a friend from my church. Great party conversation, right? We were both feeling pretty introverted, so we decided to sip our drinks, cloister ourselves in a corner,  and discuss abstract things that had absolutely nothing to do with all the jubilant superficializing around us. And, at some point, he asked me the aforementioned question. So here I am without an answer and choosing to cop-out by asking you guys.

It’s also worth mentioning that I’m specifically referring to salvation offered by God to the individual. A human’s redemption to God in Christ. I’m not even sure if I’m totally comfortable discussing salvation in wholly individualistic terms (and by that I mean I’m not), but for the sake of clarity we’ll just leave it there. The real difficulty lies in ones definition of God’s foreknowledge, or whatever you believe He has. If God “offers” but knows the outcome, did He really “offer”? That’s like sending a wedding invitation with the RSVP box already checked “No Attending”. Sorry, I’m full of wedding analogies these days. But if he offers and doesn’t know then is He really an all-powerful God?

I have and will continue reading the Scriptures on this, but I’m genuinely perplexed. Your thoughts?

3 Responses

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  1. aiyanmernerd said, on Monday, February 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I think it’s still a legit offer, mainly because I believe it has to be. But I can tell you why I don’t think it’s not. I think that it would only be illegit if God only offered salvation to those he knew would take it. But the Bible says Jesus died for all, not for all willing. Don’t know if I made any sense (I’m currently dying from running), but that’s what I’ve got

  2. benjamite said, on Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    OOOH. OOOH. Go look up something. It’s called “Middle Knowledge.” I’ll try to explain it somewhere with more space sometime. REMIND ME.

    But go look it up. You’ll like it/it’ll screw up your mind.

  3. matt said, on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 4:52 am

    To aiyanmernerd: Thanks for the input! . The Scriptures do say, in fact, that “Christ is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” (1 Tim 4.10) It’s that “especially” that creates the apparent logical discrepancy, regardless of how you define it. Fun stuff to think about though.

    To benjamite: Haha, my mind is perpetually screwed up. But thanks for adding to that my friend. I remember you telling me a little bit about it at my wedding, but I’ll look into this “Middle Knowledge” you speak of. Was it created by Tolkien?

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