Dr. John Gerstner notes that confusion arises due to a misinterpretation of the word προέγνω


 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew (προέγνω) he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:28-31


προέγνω - foreknowledge



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 Francis Turretin (I, 333-334)

[A] word which occurs more frequently is prognosis. Paul speaks of it more than once: “whom He did foreknow” (hous proegno, Rom. 8:29); “He hath not but cast away his people which proegno” (Rom. 11:2); and they are called elect “according to foreknowledge” (kata progndsin, 1 Pet. 1:2).


Because the ancient and more modern Pelagians falsely abuse this word to establish the foresight of faith and works, we must observe that progndsin can be taken in two ways: either theoretically or practically. In the former way, it is taken for God’s simple knowledge of future things, which is called prescience and belongs to the intellect. In the latter, it is taken for the practical love and decree which God formed concerning the salva­tion of particular persons and pertains to the will. In this sense, knowledge is often put for delight and approbation (Ps. 1:6; Jn. 10:14; 2 Tim. 2:19). Thus ginoskein signifies not only to know but also to know and to judge concerning a thing (as the Plebiscitum is not the knowledge of the people, but the sentence— from the verb scisco, which means “to decree and determine”). Therefore when the Scripture uses the word progndseds in the doctrine of predestination, it is not in the former sense for the bare foreknowledge of God by which he foresaw the faith or works of men. (1) Because by that, he foreknew those also whom he reprobated, while here it treats of the foreknowledge proper to the effect. (2) Bare foreknowledge is not the cause of things, nor does it impose method or or­der upon them, but finds it out (as happens here in the chain of salvation). (3) Because nothing could be foreseen by God but what he himself had granted and which would so follow predestination as the effect, not indeed precede it as a cause, as will be proved hereafter. But it is taken in the latter sense for “practical foreknowledge” (i.e., the love and election of God) that we may not suppose it to be without reason (alogon), although the reasons of his wisdom may escape us (in which manner Christ is said to have been foreknown [proegndsmenos], i.e., fore­ordained by God “before the foundation of the world,” 1 Pet. 1:20).

Again, in that benevolence and practical foreknowledge of God we distin­guish: (1) the love and benevolence with which he pursues us; (2) the decree it­self by which he determined to unfold his love to us by the communication of salvation. Hence it happens that prognosis is at one time taken broader for both (viz., love and election, as in Rom. 8:29 and Rom. 11:2); at another, more strictly for love and favor which is the fountain and foundation of election. Thus Peter speaks of it when he says that believers are elect “according to the foreknowl­edge” (kata progndsin), i.e., the love of God (1 Pet. 1:2).



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