Predestination always confuses me, but it almost makes sense sometimes"Foreknowledge is not a cause of that which is going to be, but rather that which is going to be is a cause of foreknowledge. For that which is going to be does not ensue upon foreknowledge, but rather foreknowledge ensues upon that which is going to be." Molina, Concondia, 10.52.21, citing Justin Martyr.
If God knows all things, that is what will happen tomorrow (is this true?) Then he already knows what we will do is this correct? Or if we have the free will to choose what will happen tomorrow, does God not then know all things? Or does he instead know all possibilities? But if God only knows the possibilities, he still does not know all things since he could not say what we will do tomorrow. Does God already know exactly how my life will play out? Is my free will just an illusion of what is already going to happen since it is already set in stone from God knowing that it will be this certain way?
Foreknowledge is deterministic. If God is beyond time and has already foreseen the consummation of all things(see the book of Revelation) than the future is already determined(consumed).
Romans 8: 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren
God foreknew the crucifixion, yet Christ freely laid his life down. The Father chose/elected the Son should die, yet Christ said "I lay down my life freely." The free decision and the act of election are in unison.
More like God prophecied the Crucifixion and other hound reds of Old Testament prophecies that apparently were fulfilled in Christ, that he came to awarely fulfil, to awarely walk after a certain pattern rather then doing things freely and randomly. The Scriptures themselves say that those had
to be fulfilled.
"I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: 'He who shared my bread has turned against me.'
"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, "They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment." So this is what the soldiers did.
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty."
Matthew 26:53"Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54"How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?"
The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
Thomas Aquinas argued there is no formal contradiction between God knowing future free acts and their being freely chosen.
A contradiction in Aristotle/Aquinas is affirming something to be both A and non-A at the same time and in the same sense. But the sense here, according to Aquinas, is not the same:
"Everything known by God must necessarily be" is true if it refers to the statement of the truth of God's knowledge, but it is false, if it refers to the necessity of the contingent events." see http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.FP_Q14_A13.html
Zagzebski has argued that the dilemma of theological fatalism is broader than a problem about free will. The modal or causal asymmetry of time, a transfer of necessity principle, and the supposition of infallible foreknowledge are mutually inconsistent. (1991, appendix). If there is a distinct kind of necessity that the past has qua past, and which is not an implicit reference to the lack of causability of the past, then it is temporally asymmetrical. The past has it and the future does not. The necessity of the past and the contingency of the future are two sides of the same coin. To say that the future is contingent in the sense of temporal modality does not imply that we have causal control over the entire future, of course. We lack control over part of the future because part (or even all) of it is causally necessary. But if the necessity of the past is distinct from the lack of causability, and is a type of necessity the past has just because it is past, the future must lack that particular kind of necessity.
The idea that there is temporally asymmetrical modality is inconsistent with the transfer of necessity principle and the supposition of infallible foreknowledge of an essentially omniscient deity. The inconsistency can be demonstrated as follows:
Dilemma of Foreknowledge and Modal Temporal Asymmetry
Again, let T = the proposition that you will answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am.
There is (and was before now) an essentially omniscient foreknower (EOF) [Assumption for dilemma]
(1f) and the Principle of the Necessity of the Past tells us that
Either it is now-necessary that the EOF believed T before now or it is now-necessary that the EOF believed not T before now.
From (1f) and the definition of an EOF it follows that
Necessarily (The EOF believed before now that T → T), and necessarily (The EOF believed before now that not T → not T) .
By the Transfer of Necessity Principle (TNP), (2f) and (3f) entail
Either it is now-necessary that T or it is now-necessary that not T.
(4f) is logically equivalent to
Either it is not now-possible that T or it is not now-possible that not T.
From the Principle of the Contingency of the Future we get
It is now-possible that T and it is now-possible that not T.
But (6f) contradicts (5f).
The inconsistency shown in this argument has nothing to do with free will or fatalism. But the problem is even more general than this argument illustrates. The reason essential omniscience conflicts with temporal modality and the transfer principle is that the existence of an EOF requires that a proposition about the past entails a proposition about the future. But it straightforwardly follows from TNP that a proposition that is now-necessary cannot entail a proposition that is not now-necessary. So if the past is now-necessary and the future is not, a proposition about the past cannot entail a proposition about the future. The conclusion is that if asymmetrical temporal modality is coherent, it can obey TNP, or it can permit a proposition about the past to entail a proposition about the future, but not both.
The root of the problem, then, is that it is impossible for there to be a type of modality that has the following features:
The past and future are asymmetrical in that the past qua past is necessary with respect to this type of modality, whereas the future qua future is contingent with respect to this type of modality.
There are propositions about the past that entail propositions about the future.
So the problem of the alleged incompatibility of infallible foreknowledge and free will is a special case of a more general problem that has nothing to do with either foreknowledge or free will. Temporally asymmetrical necessity and the transfer of necessity principle threaten a host of metaphysical theses that require that a proposition about the past entails a proposition about the future (e.g., Matter is indestructible). This is not an issue that can be evaded by denying the religious doctrine of divine foreknowledge.
It was suggested in section 2.6 that the problem may be (a) above. There is no temporally asymmetrical necessity. If the root intuition behind the necessity of the past is something like the non-causability of the past, there is another inconsistency. There is an inconsistency between the alleged non-causability of the past, the transfer of non-causability principle, and the supposition that a proposition about the past entails a proposition about the future. But in these arguments it is the transfer principle that is suspicious. Arguments of this kind are discussed in some detail in Zagzebski (2002b).
Regardless of what one thinks of the argument for theological fatalism, there is a more general problem in the logic of time and causation that needs to be addressed. Both the alleged modal asymmetry of time and the causal asymmetry should be examined in more detail, as well as the various transfer principles that result in an inconsistency with metaphysical theses that have the consequence that a proposition about the past entails a proposition about the future. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/free-will-foreknowledge/#3
This was also Luther's understanding: "Judas betrayed Christ willingly. My point is that this act of the will in Judas was certainly and infallibly bound to take place, if God foreknew it. That is to say (if my meaning is not yet grasped), I distinguish two necessities: one I call necessity of force (necessitatem violentam), referring to action; the other I call necessity of infallibility (necessitatem infallibilem), referring to time. Let him who hears me understand that I am speaking of the latter, not the former; that is, I am not discussing whether Judas became a traitor willingly or unwillingly, but whether it was infallibly bound to come to pass that Judas should willingly betray Christ at a time predetermined by God." Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, p. 206.
Peter and Jesus kind of say that the prophecies had to be fulfilled regarding Judas:
Acts 1:15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters,[d] the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”
Matthew 26:24The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
"While I [Jesus] was with them, I was keeping them in Your [God's] name which You have given Me; and I guarded them [the 11 disciples] and not one of them perished but the son of perdition [Judas], so that the Scripture would be fulfilled." John 17:12
"I [Jesus] do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, `HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.' " John 13:18
Romans 9:21-22 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
"Foreknowledge" in referring to "before" vs. "after" is an anthropomorphism (a biblical one, but an anthropomorphism nonetheless) insofar as God in his unknowable essence is beyond time, as time's Creator:
“Let us put it once more sub specie temporis: On the basis of our temporal images we can speak of a time in which the Son of God had ‘not yet’ become man… And now sub specie aeternitatis: When we reason from the viewpoint of God’s eternal manner of existence, we must abandon transitory and temporal conceptions. God has time in its fullness without end; His time is not fragmented into a sequence of present, past, and future. Rather it is the unity of the before, the now, and the hereafter –of beginning, middle, and end. It is erroneous to conceive of the divine Logos as if He had ‘already’ become man in some ‘pre-temporal’ eternity, just as it would be wrong to imagine that the divine Logos had ‘not yet’ become man in some ‘pre-temporal’ eternity. From this viewpoint there is no such thing in God Himself as an eternity before the incarnation. This would amount to dissolving eternity into an interior time of unlimited duration… On the basis of our temporal images we can ask: What is the Son of God before the incarnation? From the standpoint of eternity, however, the most we can ask is: What would the Logos be without the incarnation? –a question possibly helpful in formulating the absolutely free graciousness of the incarnation. In the realm of eternity, it is impossible to speak simply in the strict sense of a non-incarnate Logos, of a prehistorical, pre-Christian, or post-Christian epoch. In this connection, all terms expressing a “pre” (like predetermination, prevision, predestination, pre-existent Christ) easily mislead, since they result, often unconsciously, in the application of inferior temporal images to God’s eternity. We must not overlook the primacy in knowing which existent act has over all forms of potency. To think of God’s knowing as first focused on the yet-undefined, on the potential and possible and only thereafter on the actual and the real, on the final existential definiteness of things, is an anthropomorphism. It is deceiving to imagine that for God knowledge of possibilities (possiblilia) could be an anterior prerequisite for knowing existing things or for deciding to create them. Equally deceiving is the notion that God’s knowledge of what is necessary in His person (for instance, His omnipotence or the Trinity of Persons) could be an anterior prerequisite for knowing what is free in Himself (for example the human nature of the Son)" "Excursus: The Redeemer in God's Eternity" in Kung, Justification, pp. 285ff).
Can someone please explain orthodox predestination to me, since I never really thought about it too much and it is making me very confused about all these absolutesAn excellent Orthodox description, in line also with the above comments, can be found on pp. 58, 60, and 61 of Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck's His Broken Body (chapter on Ecclesiology); see the whole section here (I provide some key quotes below):
Some key quotes (I'm assuming the longer quotation with attribution is allowable since the author has placed the whole chapter on the internet himself; if my assumption is incorrect, mods please feel free to cut it as desired]
"Essentially, the Church is an eschatological reality that transcends space and time. It could be said that God knows, foreknows and has a relationship with our eternal self. He knows his elect from “before the foundation of the world.” The early Christian (and therefore orthodox) doctrine of the ‘pre-existence’ of the Church is well established... Moreover, the books and the Apostles declare that the Church belongs not to the present, but existed from the origin [beginning, source].4
In order to understand reality properly, that is according to the mind of the Spirit, we must discern within time and creation a dynamic movement towards its telos or end.5 Our human consciousness experiences the universe as “purpose-driven,” but could it be that our experience of the arrow of time is only an icon or foretaste of the reality that already exists in God?6 In his classic Being as Communion, Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon makes the point that the Eucharistic liturgy is also “a remembrance of the future,” because the Church below7 is a manifestation of the Church beyond.8 The great theologian compares us with trees “with branches in the present and roots in the future.” This is why the great prayer of consecration of the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom can say: "Remembering , therefore, this command of the Savior, and all that has come to pass for our sake, the cross, the tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the sitting at the right hand of the Father, and the second and glorious coming." In the Church, we are already “new creatures in Christ”, and even in our present chronos (time), we are revealed as foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified. The apparent contradiction between ‘pastoral free will’ passages and those stressing eternal divine election simply reflect the tension between equally valid perspectives on reality.
These words of Clement of Alexandria aptly summarize this relationship between the Church of the elect above and the (catholic) Church below: "The earthly Church is the image of the heavenly." 4
Margaret Barker’s research on the origins and meaning of early Christian worship, which was itself based on Temple worship, confirms this approach. In a paragraph fittingly entitled Time and Eternity, the author documents how “beyond the veil” of the Holy of Holies, the whole history of the world appeared in one glimpse, as a literally ‘omni-present’5 picture:
In the world view of the temple, there was another, timeless state beyond the veil which was not ‘future’ but always present.6
Likewise, commenting on the biblical worldview assumed by the author of Hebrews, James DeYoung describes a “worldview that views reality as both seen and unseen, as earthly and heavenly, as historical and transtemporal, as existential and essential. These two levels of reality are co-existent. They are tied together by a process of actualization whereby essential reality is being actualized more and more in existential reality.7
In the perspective of our experience of time, of our eon or ‘age,’ the Church is “the body of Christ1,” the means by which temporal creatures can be united to the eternal God-Man, and become “partakers of the divine nature"2 now and in “the age to come.” The purpose of the Church is that the many creatures would be one with God the Father in Jesus Christ, so that “God may be all in all"3. The Church is the means by which human beings can enter in this new mode of existence not “born of the flesh” but “of the Spirit”4. This is what I call “the eschatological5, pre-eternal, fulfilled or supra-temporal Church.” I am keenly aware that this definition can sound identical with that of ‘Universal Church.’ For instance, the Catechism of the Orthodox Church has this question and answer:
Q. Why is the Church called Catholic, or which is the same thing, Universal?
A. Because she is not limited to any place, time, or people, but contains true believers of all places, times, and peoples.
In this sense, both concepts are identical, even though the early Church use of ‘catholic Church’ was reserved for the manifestation of the pre-eternal Church in space and time. The problem is that ‘Universal /Catholic Church’ is mainly used to refer to all believers now alive on earth. As we shall see, this is usual Roman Catholic terminology (and theology) for both ‘Catholic Church’ and ‘Universal Church’.
As we reflect on what makes the mystery of the Church (which is the mystery of Christ himself), we can understand that the Eucharistic gathering is what constitutes and manifests the Church. In the Eucharist, we experience an intersection of the eternal “
5 1 Corinthians 15:24
6 The reader interested in a beautiful exposition of this profound truth can refer to the writings of St. Maximus the Confessor: “The things of the past are shadow; those of the present icon; the truth is to be found in the things of the future” (Scolion on the ecclesiastical hierarchy, 3,3:2). See also James 1:17.
7 The catholic Church in its eucharistic gathering.
 8 See Hebrews 12:23-24 and Revelation 4.
1 Being As Communion, p.64-74
2 1 Corinthians 5:17
3 John 6, Romans 9, Ephesians 1
4 DECB, p. 147
5 Omnipresent is an interesting word which means all-pervading, either in space or in time.
6 The Great High Priest, Margaret Barker, Continuum, London, 2003, p. 336
7 The heavenly tabernacle/temple as interpretive guide (faculty paper, posted at westernseminary.edu)
1 Colossians 1:24-28, also Ephesians 5
2 2 Peter 1:5-9
3 1 Corinthians 15:28
4 John 3:6
5 Eschatological means “of the last things.” Most Christian theologians are aware of the complementarity between “realized eschatological” and “future eschatology.”
If God already foreknows the future / tells the future then how can people change the future that God already has known and told how it would be? The God is outside of time argument doesn't really change anything, on the contrary it adds more problems to your equation.
More on all your foreknowledge and free-will models here : http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/free-will-foreknowledge/#3