Godís foreknowledge is a crucial doctrine because it is propaedeutic to so many other issues in the theology, soteriology, and anthropology. In this work Steven Roy, associate professor of pastoral theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, offers a thorough survey of the biblical materials relating to the Godís foreknowledge.
The primary focus of this study is a contemporary (largely intramural) discussion among evangelical Christians between open theists (who deny that God foreknows future free human choices) and the majority of evangelicals (who affirm that God has exhaustive foreknowledge of all events, including future human choices). A quick survey of the names referenced in the book illustrates this somewhat narrow focus. Open theists such as Gregory Boyd, John Sanders, Clark Pinnock, and Richard Rice are referenced over twenty times each, and evangelicals who have opposed this perspective such as D. A. Carson, Millard Erickson, and Bruce Ware receive significant attention as well. The narrow focus of this approach has the concomitant weaknesses of lacking both historical perspective and breadth of theological perspectives addressed. Amazingly, Boethius is referenced only once in this work (and even this reference does not mention Boethiusí pivotal position on divine foreknowledge), and Augustineís perspective on foreknowledge is never mentioned.
A key element of this discussion is the affirmation of either a libertarian or compatibilistic view of human freedom. Since the libertarian view affirms that humans are genuinely free to choose from a range of alternatives, open theists question whether such future human choices are knowable even by God. On the other hand, since the compatibilistic view held many evangelicals with Calvinistic theology affirms that God perfectly knows and foreordains human choices, it appears that humans have no real freedom to choose alternatives because to do so would depart from Godís foreordained script. Unfortunately, standard mediating positions which affirm both human libertarian free will and divine exhaustive foreknowledge get short shrift in this rather polarized discussion.
The great strength and value of this book is the thorough examination it provides of all the key biblical teachings addressing the issue of divine foreknowledge. It also provides the contrasting interpretations offered on these passages by those affirming and denying Godís exhaustive foreknowledge of human choices. Roy draws his support primarily from evangelical commentaries and theological books, along with occasional references to more technical language tools such as Greek and Hebrew lexicons and theological wordbooks.
Notwithstanding its limitations, How Much Does God Foreknow? has much to offer. It affords a helpful survey of all the biblical materials relating to divine knowledge, and Roy adds insightful commentary with contrasting perspectives. This is a useful focused Bible study for a theologian or any thinking Christian.