by Ray Moore and Mike Stine
|View on election||Arminianism- God elected those who he knew would believe of their own free will. Election is conditional, based on man’s response in faith.||Calvinism- God unconditionally, from eternity past, elected some to be saved. Election is not based on man’s future response.|
There is a stumbling block here that I find within the view of conditional perseverance. If God elected those who he knew would believe, he would also know those who would fall away. However, if we are given total free will over our salvation and it is simply a gift of God for us to pick up, God doesn’t force anything on us and simply allows us to have the gift. He does not say, “No, you can’t have salvation because I know you’ll later just give it back.”
Foreknowledge in this use by Arminians makes it seem like God is helpless in the outcome of prophecy regarding who would be saved and would not. By these statements it would appear that God has watched time unfold, gone back, then elected, and watched things happen with very little intervening.
The election of saints is based on God’s design for man. If he has designed something and planned it, of course he knows the outcome because he is the designer and sustainer of all things. If you have designed something, you know what the expected outcome of it is and if the outcome did not end up being what it was designed to be, you would simply destroy it. Because of this, eternal security is needed. We see this from Psalm 139: 13-16.
However, simply because God should give free will to his creation, not absolute free will, but free will within his own boundaries, he does not lose control over salvation. It is God’s will that all should be saved, but we know very well that not everyone shall be. This doesn’t violate God’s plan. Neither should the fact that some have tasted God’s goodness and foolishly turn away.
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