Of God’s Decree
Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
Paragraph 1 dealt with the fact that the decree is universal. This paragraph deals with the fact that the decree is unconditional. How do we know this? There are three straightforward arguments for the fact God’s decree is unconditional.
The first is the nature of the situation.
No one was there, nothing existed, when God decreed. Hence, God took nothing into consideration except his own will when he decreed all things. To say anything else is to fall into the catastrophic and anti-God view of an eternal dualism.
The second is the assertion of Scripture
Scripture asserts that no one counseled God when he decreed (Isa. 40:13-14; Rom. 11:34; 1 Cor. 2:16). “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?
The third is the inference of its universality
We have already proved that God’s decree is absolutely universal or comprehensive. The decree determines all things, but if it determines all things, then it is determined by none of those things which it determines.
God foreknows the future comprehensively and certainly. The Arminian is right when he says that foreknowledge does make the future certain. But divine foreknowledge does assume that the future is comprehensively certain. So we ask the Arminian to think a little more deeply and ask this question. So foreknowledge by itself does not make the future comprehensively certain, but something does? What is that something? The only possible answer—the only Christian answer—is that God does so by His eternal decree. Foreknowledge is possible because God’s decree is universal and unconditional. The connection is stated in Isaiah 46:10-11: “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Yes, we worship a God who knows the future comprehensively and completely and certainly. That is because—it can only be because—He planned it comprehensively and completely and certainly. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing takes Him off guard. And His people may trust Him completely. Also, His enemies must be in terror of this God!
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.