West London Alliance Church

Originally posted on April 23, 2009:

Foreordination of Sinful Decisions

Well, the topics don't get any easier in the fourth chapter of The Doctrine of God. After discussing such topics as the efficacy of God's control in the natural world, human history, and human decisions, Frame goes on to discuss God's sovereignty over our sinful decisions and actions.

The author is frank about this topic: "This section raises even more serious difficulties than the last. If it is hard for us to accept God's foreordination of human decisions and actions in general, it is even harder to accept his foreordination of our sinful decisions and actions in particular.The former raises questions about human freedom and responsibilities; the latter raises questions about God's own goodness." (65)

Frame goes on to give examples from Scripture where God hardened peoples hearts; Pharoah,Sihon, and the Israelites themselves. Or consider God sending a wicked spirit which causes the false prophets to lie to King Ahab. Frame also uses the crucifixion of Christ as an example: "As we have seen, Judas' betrayal, the Jews murderous hatred of Jesus, and the horrible injustice of the Romans, were all due to "God's set purpose and foreknowledge" (Acts 2:23). These people did what God's "power and will had decided beforehand should happen" (4:28; cf. 13:27; Luke 22:22). The crucifixion of Jesus could not have happened without sin, for he did not deserve death. For God to foreordain the Crucifixion, he had to foreordain sinful actions to bring it about." (69, emphasis mine)

These ideas bring to mind the quote I shared by D. A. Carson a while back: "To put it bluntly, God stands behind evil in such a way that not even evil takes place outside the bounds of his sovereignty, yet the evil is not morally chargeable to him: it is always chargeable to the secondary agents, to secondary causes [i.e., those who actually do it]. On the other hand, God stands behind good in such a way that it not only takes place within the bounds of his sovereignty, but it is always chargeable to him, and only derivatively to secondary agents...If this sound just a bit too convenient for God, my initial response (though there is more to be said) is that according to the Bible this is the only God there is."

I'll keep reading, because as Carson suggests, 'there is more to be said'. We'll have to see what more is said by Frame concerning this difficult doctrine.

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