The relationship between God's foreknowledge (or omniscience) and the free will of humans seems to be a complicated topic where multiple positions exist.

Regardless of my position (which you can read about here: How do non-Open-Theists reason a basis for "Free will"? and How would an Open-Theist explain that God's exhaustive foreknowledge would lead to predeterminism?) I think it would be helpful to have an overview of all the various positions that arose (including Open Theism).

The main questions I have for each position would be:

  • How do they imagine God's foreknowledge works?
  • Is God's foreknowledge exhaustive or limited?
  • What are the biggest biblical arguments they put forward?
  • Do humans have "free will" and if so, how does it work?
  • Do they avoid Fatalism/Predeterminism? If so how?

5 Answers 5


As I stated in my answer to your previous question, there are broadly speaking two views in classical Christianity, but one may divide into several different perspectives. I'll outline five, along with their answers to your questions: Open Theism, Arminianism, Calvinism, Molinism, and one I'll call "semi-Calvinism" which includes Lutheranism and "4-point" Calvinism. Of course, there is some diversity within each of these categories, but broadly speaking I believe this covers the whole field of Christianity. I will focus on the issue of salvation in particular, since this is the most important question in Christianity. I am speaking as a Calvinist; if I misrepresent any of the other views, I welcome correction.


The answers of the various positions to the questions posed may be summarized in a table:

Open Theism Arminianism Semi-Calvinism Molinism Calvinism
God exhaustively knows the future No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free will Libertarian Libertarian Mix of libertarian and compatibilist Limited libertarian Compatibilist
Salvation is ultimately the result of God's choice No No Yes Yes Yes
Damnation is ultimately the result of God's choice No No No Yes Yes

There are broadly two separate issues here, so I'll discuss them in two sections:

1. Free will and determinism

Broadly speaking, one can define free will in either a *libertarian* or a *compatibilist* way. An entity with libertarian free will makes choices that are wholly uncaused. Though they may be influenced by outside sources, the future decisions made by an actor with libertarian free will are not completely determined by the facts existing up to the present time. An entity with compatibilist free will, on the other hand, makes decisions that are determined by pre-existing conditions. Since those conditions include the desires, beliefs, thought processes, and habits of the entity in question, decisions can properly be said to be made by it, but if an outside observer knows perfectly the entity's mind and present situation, its choice can be predicted accurately.

Since this is simply two different definitions, it isn't really valuable to discuss which is the "correct" meaning of free will. It isn't a Biblical term, there is no Biblical argument about which definition to use; we get to decide which definition to use, and as long as we are clear what we're talking about, either is OK. Christians who would deny any sort of free will, either libertarian or compatibilist, regarding salvation are extremely rare. I've never encountered any in the wild. However, they do exist. Universalists would say that everyone is saved regardless of any of their choices. Hyper-Calvinists would say that humans are divided into the elect and the reprobate (appropriating terminology from the Calvinists), and the elect are saved regardless of their choices and the reprobate are damned regardless of their choices.

Fringe groups aside, the issue in Christian circles is whether human free will is best understood in a libertarian way or a compatibilist way. This question does not split Christians into exactly two groups, since there is actually a spectrum not a binary of "libertarian" vs. "compatibilist". Open Theists and Arminians say "yes" to libertarian free will in all cases, while Calvinists say "no". Semi-Calvinists would say that God unilaterally chooses to save the ones who are saved, but those who are not saved are not saved by their own free (libertarian) choices. This means that the choice to put one's faith in Christ is one made in a compatibilist way, but it is determined by the work of the Holy Spirit and not by the person being saved. On the other hand, the decision to reject Jesus is made freely (in a libertarian sense) by those who reject him, and is not predetermined. (Yes, people holding this view do acknowledge the apparent inconsistency here. No, they do not attempt to resolve it.) Molinists say that we do have libertarian free will, but only in a limited sense. They agree with the Calvinists that all outcomes are according to God's will. They reconcile this with libertarian free will by claiming that God has middle knowledge or counterfactual knowledge. He knows what we would do in any hypothetical scenario, and therefore designed the universe such that our free choices accord with his predetermined plan in all cases.

Scriptural arguments for the various positions on Libertarian Free Will

Please note that there are a lot of Biblical arguments that I am not citing here. I am only mentioning those which I think are the most compelling.

Biblical basis for libertarian free will: Proponents will support their perspective by arguing from the innumerable passages in Scripture which give us commands and instructions, which implies some ability in us to obey or disobey. They point especially to Deut. 30:11-15, which clearly puts the ball in our court, so to speak. They also will point to 2nd Peter 3:9 and 1st Timothy 2:4 which indicate that God desires to save those who are not saved. Similarly, Romans 10:21 and Matt.23:37 indicate that God is trying to save those who aren't saved. The blame for rejecting the Gospel is clearly put on the person who rejects it, and not on God, in 2nd Thessalonians 2:10. In order to argue that libertarian free will is at work in salvation, Open Theists and Arminians will point to verses such as John 3:16, Rev. 22:17, and many others, which indicate that anyone who desires to may come and be saved.

Biblical basis for rejecting libertarian free will: Opponents of libertarian free will support their view by pointing to Romans 8-9 (yes, the whole two chapters), especially pertinent is the argument in 9:11-24:

Though [Jacob and Esau] were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 

Paul emphasizes God's will over and against the human will in these paragraphs; Calvinists note that Paul anticipates the most common objections to God's choice being unconditional, i.e. that it is unjust or that it makes it absurd to find fault with sinners. Also, note Proverbs 16:1, 16:9, and 21:1.

Concerning salvation in particular: There are innumerable verses in the NT which talk about the saved people as "elect" (which means "chosen"). One can also point to the "book of life" image in Rev. 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, and 20:15, which appears to be a ledger of everyone who is saved, yet dates back to the foundation of the world. See also the statements of Jesus in John 15:16 and 6:37-39, which seems to indicate that coming to Jesus is the result of the God's choice.

Theologians arguing that salvation is not due to a choice of libertarian free will also point to verses such as Genesis 6:5 and Romans 3:10-18 and Jeremiah 17:9 that indicate the human condition is desperately wicked. They conclude therefore that in order to be saved, it must be wholly the work of God. They also point to Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:16, Titus 3:5, and many other verses that indicate salvation is by grace and not by works. The argument goes like this: Choices made by force of our will are "works" and therefore have no power to save us. On the other hand, grace is a gift from God and not something we can obtain except by his will.

Concerning damnation in particular: There is an obvious logical argument that if salvation is due to God's gift and not any choice on our part, then damnation must be God's will too, since he could choose to give the gift of salvific grace to everyone. Semi-Calvinists reject this as too much rationalism. Biblical support for God's choice also being the determining factor in damnation comes from Romans 9 (cited above) as well as Proverbs 16:4, 1st Peter 2:8, 2nd Peter 2:3,17, and Jude 13.

Biblical basis for middle knowledge: There are a few places in Scripture where God makes counterfactual claims, e.g. Matt.11:21 and 1st Samuel 23:12, which does not make sense if God doesn't have actual knowledge of the hypotheticals posed. (Note: Molinists are not the only ones who believe in middle knowledge, but they are distinguished by taking middle knowledge as the solution to the tension between human responsibility and God's sovereignty.)

2. God's foreknowledge

Open Theism asserts that God does not have complete knowledge of the future; he is passing through time in the same way that we are. They reconcile this with God's omniscience by postulating that God knows everything that there is to know, but future events haven't happened yet, so there is nothing true about them for God to not know.

To support the notion of God not knowing the future, open theists cite Genesis 6:6, where God is said to "regret" that he created man, as well as the testing of Abraham in Genesis 22, in which God apparently did not know in advance what Abraham would do. They also point to various passages which seem to contain unfulfilled prophecies, which they argue indicate that God made a mistaken prediction. Opponents of Open Theism will argue that said prophecies either have been misinterpreted by the open theists, or that they are not fulfilled yet but may be in the future.

Key to the open theist position is a non-Biblical logical argument that in order for someone to be morally culpable for their actions, they must be able to choose how to act, and in order for their choice to be a real choice, it cannot be known in advance. I know of know Biblical support for this syllogism.

Contrasting with Open Theism's stance on God's foreknowledge is Classical Theology, which includes all four other camps. In Classical Theology, God is above and separate from time. He is immutable which means not only that he is unchangeable, but that he does not actually experience the passage of time. From God's perspective, all times are laid out before him equally. (One might envision this a little like if you were to look at a three-panel comic strip, you can see all three panels simultaneously. God sees the entire timeline of the universe simultaneously.) This means that God knows the future just as completely as he knows the present and the past. This includes human choices. Biblical support for this notion comes from the numerous fulfilled prophecies, including those predicting specific actions by specific people (e.g. 1 Kings 13:2, fulfilled in 2nd Kings 23:15-16; Luke 9:22; Luke 22:34). Support for God's immutability and unique perspective on time comes from Isaiah 45-46, Psalm 102:25-27, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, and others. I'll point out especially John 8:58, where Jesus says "before Abraham was, I am." Note the verb tenses here. Also, note that 2nd Peter 3:8: "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," seems to indicate God's perspective on time is radically different from ours. A huge period of time is short to him and a short period is huge to him.

Classical theists also support their position with a non-Biblical syllogism: If God could change, then he would necessarily get better or get worse, which would contradict his perfection in either case. He isn't perfect if he can improve, and he isn't perfect if he has ever gotten worse.

Classical theists holding to libertarian free will argue that there is no contradiction because God's foreknowledge is in no way causative, and his knowledge is unknown to you. For example, if you are deciding whether to wear a blue shirt or a red shirt, God's foreknowledge of your choice has no influence on which you will choose. If you choose the blue, then it means that he knew all along that you would choose the blue. If you choose the red, that means that he knew that all along instead. In this way, your choice actually causes God's knowledge, not the other way around. The fact that your future choice causes God's knowledge in the present may seem counterintuitive, but it isn't logically inconsistent, especially if we remember that God is actually outside of time.

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    I think the "inconsistency" can perhaps be likened to a child trying to hold a something too heavy. If Dad puts his hands under the child's, the child, because of that help, can hold the thing. (Also, Dad is trying to help without being asked.) But if the child fights Dad, the thing will be dropped. Where it's weird is because "do nothing" isn't considered our will, while "resist" is. In other words, a distinction is made between passive action and active action.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jun 7 at 17:05
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    @DarkMalthorp This is one of the best answers I have read on SE. Presenting all viewpoints, their arguments and biblical sources in a fair manner is really impressive. If I had a goldern buzzer, this answer would take it. Thank you.
    – telion
    Commented Jun 7 at 20:50
  • Four criticisms of your exhaustive review of a difficult topic: 1) You fail to note that the noun, "Free-will" is a religious construct, which cannot be found in any English Bible. 2) Verses which seem to imply "Free-will" (Jn 3:16, Rev 22:17) have inserted words, "Whosoever", and render Greek commands (Rev 22:17), as English permissives. 3) You point out contradictions, as if, a matter of personal opinion. 4) You fail to note, since God can never contradict Himself, any Biblical contradiction of any belief, is sufficient for its falsification, regardless of how widely believed it might be.
    – AFL
    Commented Jun 12 at 4:16
  • I was just trying to outline what people in the different views think, i.e. what arguments they make. I believe that only one of them is Biblical, but to defend my own view and attack the others would not be an answer to the question. (And also, yes I did point out that free will is not a Biblical term.) Commented Jun 12 at 16:52


(And, to an extent, Calvinism; there's some differences, but the basics are the same.)

Humans have free will. However, God's foreknowledge includes "middle knowledge" — counterfactuals, the "what ifs." As a result, God planned the world in such a way that we would of our own free will act according to His Providence.

While I do not remember the exact verses, theologians generally point to verses about God's omniscience, such as the bit about His omniscience and foreknowledge, such as Jeremiah 1:5.

  • Overview questions require three different denominational views to a question. Could you please add in other viewpoints.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jun 6 at 11:26
  • @KenGraham I am only familiar with the Catholic (Molinism) and Baptist (Calvinism) positions. I would not be able to do justice to other views. Commented Jun 6 at 11:33
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    A little bit of research and you can add it in. Even two is better than one. I am sure you can do it.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jun 6 at 12:01
  • @KenGraham My answer currently covers Molinism and (to a lesser extent) Calvinism. I shall try to add something else in when I get the chance; I am busy with work (and will continue to be for the next few months), so don't have the time to do a bunch of research right now. Commented Jun 8 at 2:13

Explanation Here is a common rationale for the dilemma of predestination, free-will, sovereignty, etc. from an Arminian position:

Say that we have a modern educational classroom. The Teacher. the Master Teacher, is the sovereign head of the room and its conduct. The class is structured with texts, lectures, homework, etc. according to his wise knowledge and instruction methods. AND an experienced, compassionate Mentor (Tutor) is available at all times to insure the success of any and every student.

Up front, it is stated that there are to be tests, homework assignments, and Q&A discussions. Each student is free to participate in all of this, or not. If he does due diligence and passes the tests, he will receive the appropriate grade, or reward.

If the student chooses to ignore the homework assignments, or decides not to study for the tests, and gets a low score, he will receive the appropriate low grade he has earned (sic).

Application Has the Master relinquished any sovereignty by opening up the classroom for choice? Absolutely not! He has still control over all the aspects of the classroom.

Have the students been predestined to a certain outcome? Absolutely not. He freely chooses his destiny. And suffers the consequences, or enjoys the rewards.

So it is This is the way with the Sovereign God and the creatures to whom He has given Free Will. The just and right consequences are predetermined, but it is up to the creatures to freely choose to obey or disobey. The Sovereign God has done all He could to produce a happy ending for all; He cannot be criticized at all. AND He even provided a Savior to rescue the faltering/failing student! This awesome provision demonstrates that the Master Teacher is not wanting that any should fail, but that all should come to pass...not that any should perish, but all come to repentance.

Arminianism is flanked on both sides by Lutheranism and Calvinism:

Unconditional Election (salvation).......Conditional Election in Foresight...............Unconditional Election, with reprobation

These doctrines border on the topics of Predestination, Free will, and Divine Sovereignty. [Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Greek Orthodoxy also deal with these topics.]

Calvinism Reformed Theology positions have been portrayed by the acrostic, TULIP. (a) Total Depravity, (b) Unconditional election, (c) Limited atonement, (d) Irresistible grace, and (e) Perseverance (preservation) of the saints. Of note is the "unconditional election" presentation:

Unconditional election asserts that God as chosen from eternity those whom He will bring to Himself not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people; rather, his choice is unconditionally grounded in his mercy alone. God has chosen from eternity to extend mercy to those He has chosen and to withhold mercy from those He has not chosen. Those chosen receive salvation through Christ alone. Those not chosen receive the just wrath that is warranted for their sins against God. (Wikipedia, Five points of Calvinism, p.1)

Lutheranism There is a variation in Lutheran teaching:

Lutherans historically hold to unconditional election to salvation. However, some do not believe that there are certain people that are predestined to salvation, but salvation is predestined to those who seek God. Lutherans believe Christians should be assured that they are among the predestined. However, they disagree with those who make predestination the source of salvation rather than Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection. Unlike some Calvinists, Lutherans do not believe in a predestination to damnation. Instead, Lutherans teach eternal damnation is a result of the unbeliever's rejection of the forgiveness of sins and unbelief. (Wikipedia, "Predestination"; J.T. Mueller, Christian Dogmatics)

Many Bible students and theologians see in the prophet Ezekiel's statements, the responsibility of each person for their own sins. (Ezekiel 18) They note the it is the man that sinneth, he shall die. Accountability based on free will and personal decisions, is the basis for judgment. Conduct, not condition, is the modus operandi of Divine Judgment. (Matthew 25)

John Wesley, in his book of Sermons, dealt with this issue quite adroitly:

We know that in everything God works for good with those that love Him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

Wesley reasoned by starting at the last statement of fact: The Christian is glorified. And he asked, "Why is he glorified? It's because he has been justified." (by the blood of Jesus). And "Why is he justified? It is because he has been called". "And why is he called? It is because he is predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ!" And "why is this Conformation possible? It is because God foreknew." AND this was all because God's purpose was to show forth a salvation in a loving relationship."

And this love, as Paul stated, is not only the basis of mankind and his redemptive story, but it is a love that insures that no Christian can be separated from it by any evil power!

There is no "predestination" here, as the Calvinists, and other previous theologians deduce. (Pharisee, Ante-Nicene, Catholic, etc.) It is because the sentence of Paul does NOT end with the word, "predestination"!!! Rather, it reads, predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. What is stated is that which was declared by Peter, that it was in the forethought of God such that "Christ was slain from the foundation of the world." The whole program of redemption was pre-planned (predestined) so that man could be possible for man to be redeemed and be conformed to the righteous Son, Jesus. [A theologian might say that "Jesus was predestined", so that man would not be.]

It is this to which all men with free-will can attain because of the mercy and grace of a loving God. The choice is open to all, because it is not the will that any man perish, but that all come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4, John 3:16, Revelation 22:17) Whosoever believeth in Him...Whosoever will may come...


Calvinism/Reformed is a belief that God predestined everything; the debate is mostly over individual salvation. Calvinism maintains that men preexisted creation in some form or other and were individually chosen to be saved helter-skelter, without rhyme or reason. Hence, Christ’s atonement is limited to only the elect.

Arminianism is derived from disagreeing with Calvinism's method of election. It objects to God just choosing the elect without rhyme or reason. Hence, the invention of “Prevenient Faith”. Arminianism tests each of these preexisting souls with prevenient faith, that is, each is given just enough faith to see whether they lean toward or against believing God, see which way the wind blows so to speak. Those who lean toward God get elected to salvation. This would also contradict limited atonement in that all are tested giving them a choice to lean toward God or not, hence salvation would be open to all. Further, since some lean toward God, all are not totally depraved. However, men are still individually predestined.

Somewhere along the line, it became the belief that Arminianism did not hold to individual predestination. People started saying they were Arminian just to say they did not believe in Calvinistic predestination. I call this modern or Neo-Arminianism.

Neo-Arminianism believes God just knows who will and will not be saved, not that he predetermined it, that it was a free will choice., God, as this belief surmises, is looking at the past, present, and future, all at once to see what happened to happen. Hence, he can not lay claim to being the causation of anything. No explanation is given as to where this past, present, and future came from that God did not know about and must look to see what happened. When pressed, they say God created it. This is tantamount to Calvinistic predestination.

Open Theology believes that everything is happening in real time and God is simply dealing with men as they come into existence naturally. Hence, there is no need of supplemental fabrications: preexisting souls, a history for God to see. Certain things are predestined such as the plan of salvation, the cross, final judgment, etc.; in between is room for free will, time and chance, and most importantly God’s judgments upon men and nations. Most of the course of history has been due to God's judgments upon the evil of men in real time.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 KJV I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

There is one more, Universalism, which is the flip side of Calvinism. Neither could reconcile how Christ could have died for all and all not be saved. They cannot see the dual nature of eternal salvation. In consequence, Calvinism threw out salvation for all and introduced a limited atonement, just for the elect. Universalism went the other way and threw out eternal damnation and has all being saved eventually. They failed to see that Christ's death paid for the sins of the world and opened the door of salvation to all men, but each individual has to have their personal sins forgiven. The payment for sins was accomplished en masse, while forgiveness is done on an individual basis.

It is necessary to understand free will in conjunction with the above.

Men have free will of desire, inclination, passion, aspirations, motivations, intentions, likes, dislikes, loves, hatreds. what we would like to do or would do if we could get away with it. Free will of action is more restrictive.

An individual may desire to perform an action; God will use the desire to act to execute his will. He may allow an act to be performed to deal with an individual using it to bless, correct, punish, or deal with another, etc. All actions are controlled by God to accomplish his will. But it is man's desire, on a personal and national level, that he guides and focuses for his purposes and judges.

Hebrews 4:12 KJV For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

2 Corinthians 9:7 KJV Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Hebrews 3:10 KJV Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Matthew 12:35 KJV A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Proverbs 16:33 KJV The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

This is why the thought of sin is when you sin.

Matthew 5:28 KJV But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

James 1:14-15 KJV But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

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    Personal sins were forgiven through Christ's blood at the cross, but only believers in this are gifted salvation. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" Commented Jun 7 at 18:48
  • If sins were forgiven at Christ's atonement and not just paid for all would be saved. Christ's payment for sins opened the door to forgiveness of sins by taking the law out of the way. Commented Jun 8 at 14:30
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    That would be contrary to the word of reconciliation: 2 Cor 5:19 "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." One becomes justified when they believe what God did for them through Christ. Eph 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" Rom 3:25 "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" Commented Jun 8 at 15:10
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    Roman's 5:8-11 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." The atonement for all the world's sins was made through Christ's blood. Salvation occurs upon belief in that (Eph 1:12-13). Commented Jun 8 at 15:15
  • The Arminian conundrum: If Christ died for everybody, as Arminian believers maintain, then everybody would be justified by His blood and saved from the Wrath to come, as well as, reconciled to God (Rom 5:9-10). Accordingly, the "Lake of Fire" (Rev 20:10-15) would hold no human beings. Either this logic is faulty, Scripture is mistaken, or Jesus did not die for everybody.
    – AFL
    Commented Jun 12 at 4:59

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

There are abundant examples in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon illustrating God's foreknowledge of things, for example, the loss of the 116 manuscript pages He anticipated more than two thousand years in advance and had all the prophets of the Nephite civilization prepare for this eventuality. Many Biblical prophecies pertain to events that would similarly occur thousands of years into the future from when the prophecies were originally given. There is not a one of them that has not or will not come to pass. In a more proximal example, Jesus foreknew that Peter would deny Him three times during the night of His Atonement.

Freedom to act or agency is the non-negotiable crux of God's entire plan. Lehi in the Book of Mormon teaches:

And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

But if we are free to act, how could God in any case know what we are going to do before we do it? This needs no qualification since God is also our final Judge. He knows when we are "done" testing and the exact condition of our character.

O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it. (2 Nephi 9:20)

There is nothing that God does not know. God knows all things that can be known, just as He can do all things that are right. Contrary ideas only exist because of naive and paradoxical definitions, for example, the omnipotence paradox applies regardless of the subject, and is only due to the introduction of inconsistency in the definition of "omnipotence".

Is God's foreknowledge exhaustive or limited?

Exhaustive of all real things. Things that are not real are not "things". This includes many of our future decisions, which are unbound. Otherwise God would never use the word "if", but He does, everywhere our unmade choices are involved.

Do humans have "free will" and if so, how does it work?

Absolutely. Try it out.

Do they avoid Fatalism/Predeterminism? If so how?

All things that are done, someone is the doer of them. There are things to act, and things to be acted upon.

  • "Exhaustive of all real things. Things that are not real are not "things". This includes many of our future decisions, which are unbound." This is a little vague. Somehow you're saying that God has foreknowledge, but partly he doesn't. The Criteria you propose for what God knows is being a "real thing". Future decisions are not necessarily included to be a "real thing". So are future decisions real or not? What makes one different from the other?
    – telion
    Commented Jun 8 at 11:04
  • "Absolutely. Try it out." is not enough reason for the existence of free will. I can have the illusion that I have free will. Like providing a child with two presents to choose from, but both contain the same present. So "trying it out" is no sufficient argument that there is free will.
    – telion
    Commented Jun 8 at 11:06
  • @telion It 100% is, unless the experimenter is absolutely determined never to know anything.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Jun 11 at 15:26

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