God’s Knowledge and Necessity Part 3: The Arminian

One of the more interesting aspects of theological Arminians is that they wish to hold to two contradictory propositions; God is omniscient and the future is contingent. It is often stated that “all men can be saved and come to faith in Jesus Christ.” Immediately following a statement such as this is typically an appeal to John 3:16 and “whosoever.” Noting this, the question must be asked, is the Arminian being consistent at this point?

If God perfectly knows that person “X” will be saved and person “S” will be damned, is there any possible way that this truth will not come to pass, considering that God’s knowledge is perfect? No, it is not possible because God knows nothing falsely. It logically follows that if God is indeed omniscient (with perfect and exhaustive foreknowledge) then, His knowledge is certain in regards to future events. Noting this, if God foreknows that “X” will be saved and “S” will reject Christ, and He knows this perfectly prior to creation, then, it is justified to say that what will come to pass must come to pass.

Let “x” = future

Open Theism

(P1) The future (“x”) is contingent

(P2) If “x” is foreknown, then, “x” is not contingent

(C)  Therefore, “x” cannot be foreknown

Calvinism

(P1) The future (“x”) is foreknown by God

(P2) If “x” is foreknown, then, “x” is not contingent

(C)  Therefore, “x” cannot be contingent

Arminianism

(P1) The future (“x”) is foreknown by God and the future is contingent

(P2) ?

(C)  ?

P1 fails right from the start (for the Arminian) because there is contradiction built into the major premises. One cannot logically hold to both the perfect foreknowledge of God and future contingent events. Moreover, if we were to fill out the rest of the syllogism, greater problems would occur because the Arminian must attempt to redefine P2 to deny the conclusion (“x” is not contingent). However, if someone redefines P2 so that it does not lead to C, then, they have not redefined P2, but rather, they have denied P2. Logically, the Arminian must give up one of these views. They must either affirm a future contingent world and thus deny God’s omniscience, or, they must affirm God’s omniscience and thus, deny contingent future events because these two positions are logically incompatible.

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