This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
If the “predetermined plan” and “foreknowledge of God” are exactly the same things, then this statement is redundant, and that would be especially odd, since the former is God’s plans, while the latter is an aspect of God’s nature and Being. However, Deterministic, 5-Point Calvinists believe that they are indeed identical, insomuch that God’s foreknowledge is a result of what He decrees, and even that God could not otherwise possess knowledge of the future, if He hadn’t scripted it. Of course, the problem with that is that if everything is scripted (in order to maintain omniscience, by the Determinist’s standards), then there would be no such thing as independent thought, from eternity to eternity, and thus key Calvinist defenses would be forfeited, such as Free Moral Agency and Compatibilism. For if there is no such thing as independent thought, from eternity to eternity, then concerning Calvary, what would God be acting in compatibility with? Life would simply be a stage, where no one thinks independently, and what else would you call that? Obviously, robots. That’s the inevitable reality of rejecting the concept of independent thought. Of course, there are worse problems besides that, since it makes God the Author, Scripter and Decreer of all thoughts, even the worst ones, and it makes His creative mind, the origin of it all. Therefore, such Deterministic Calvinists (and not all Calvinists are Determinists in this way), have no defense against God being the Author of Sin, and no option for citing Free Moral Agency or Compatibilism. Everything is simply heaped back onto God with no real logical way out of it. Calvinists who wish to take such a “High view” of the sovereignty of God, nevertheless take a “Low view” of the Holiness of God, since it necessarily heaps sin at God’s door. These kinds of Calvinists will almost always deny it, but without any logical basis for doing so, often appealing to “mystery.”
The alternative, Arminian interpretation, is that the predetermined plan is being qualified as having also involved God’s foreknowledge, meaning that they are not the same things.
Luke 12:2: “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined.”
If “independent thought” does exist, why shouldn’t an eternal Being be able to foreknow it, and develop His own plans according to it? If God dwells in all time and space, then why would it be so hard to conceive that all time and space stands before Him as present?
Daniel Whedon comments: “God wills that his son should lay down his life to redeem lost men. There are thousands of methods, from heaven above, or from earth below, in which it can be accomplished. But God foreknows that at that period and juncture the worst of men are living and ready to betray and to crucify him. It was fitting that God should permit the world to show how wicked men could be, as well as how good is God. There is a traitor in the twelve who is ready and foreseen to be willing, to be the undecreed, unnecessitated betrayer. The Jews and Gentiles are both at Jerusalem, foreseen to be ready and willing to be the unobliged crucifiers. Jesus has but to take his position at that central point and bide his time. Freely, responsibly, without decree, participation, or sanction on the part of God, the traitor and the murderers accomplish the work. Thus God’s end, that his Son should lay down his life, is accomplished. It is done by wicked men; yet neither are they to be thanked, or God to be implicated.” (Freedom of the Will: A Wesleyan Response to Jonathan Edwards, p.249)
Calvinist, D. James Kennedy, writes: “For that is what predestination is--a decision that our sovereign, gracious, loving Almighty God made from all eternity when He looked ahead to a world of lost and rebellious sinners. It’s a decision He made to save a vast multitude of them through His Son, Jesus.” (Solving Bible Mysteries, p.31, emphasis mine)
Exactly! This makes sense of foreknowledge, without simply equivocating it with predestination.
Lawrence Vance answers: “If God determined the crucifixion of his Son by a sovereign, eternal decree, with no foreknowledge at all involved (it was unconditional), then we are left with the ghastly, draconian thought that God decreed the death of his Son and then created man so he could fall and God could bring about his decree of crucifixion.” (The Other Side of Calvinism, p.266)
Dave Hunt comments: “…God foreknew the evil in everyone’s hearts and the actions they would take and that He used them to fulfill His preordained purpose. It does not say that God decreed or caused the evil intentions and actions of Pilate and Christ’s crucifiers.” (Debating Calvinism, p.52)
Hunt adds: “He did not cause Judas to betray Christ, nor did He cause the Jews to reject Him or the Romans to crucify Him--or predestine them to do so. He arranged that these particular individuals, who He knew would act in that manner, were on the scene at the right time to fulfill His will, though they were unaware that they were fulfilling prophecy. As Paul declared, ‘…because they knew him not, not yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they fulfilled them in condemning him’ (Acts 13:27).” (What Love is This?, pp.280-281)
John Calvin comments: “Peter noted two things here: ‘God’s set purpose’ and his ‘foreknowledge.’ Although God’s foreknowledge comes first (because God first sees what he will determine, before he determines it), yet Peter put foreknowledge after God’s set purpose. He did this so that we might know that God allows nothing and does not appoint anything except what he has long ago planned. Men often make rash decrees because they make them in haste. Peter taught that God’s purposes are reasonable, and so he linked foreknowledge to them.” (Acts: John Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.38, emphasis mine)
Here John Calvin takes special note of the fact that Peter mentions the “predetermined plan” ahead of the “foreknowledge of God,” to argue that the predetermined plan therefore must actually be what gives rise to foreknowledge. However, notice the inconsistency with Calvin’s commentary on John 3:3, in which he writes: “Accordingly he used the words ‘Spirit’ and ‘water’ to mean the same thing....It means little that he puts the word ‘water’ first.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.68, emphasis mine) Why shouldn’t we likewise consider that it “means little” that Peter puts “predetermined plan” first at Acts 2:23?
John Calvin writes: “He chose according to the purpose of His will, which is and was that He should choose those of whose future He foreknew what was written.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p140., emphasis mine)
This is what Calvinists do to Foreknowledge, and they are not real consistent about it, as you’ll notice in the following statement:
Calvin’s commentary on 1st Peter 1:20 states: “It may, however, be asked, as Adam did not fall before the creation of the world, how was Christ appointed to be the Redeemer? For a cure ought to come after the disease. My reply is, that this is to be referred to God’s foreknowledge, for doubtless before He created man, God foresaw that he would not stand firm for long in his integrity. Hence, according to His wonderful wisdom and goodness, He ordained that Christ should be the Redeemer, who would deliver the lost race of man from ruin.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Hebrews and I and II Peter, p.249, emphasis mine)
So was it a matter of “whose future He foreknew what was written”? Calvinists are all over the map.