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Predestinate: to determine or set a destiny ahead of an appointed time.

I am curious as to why the appointed time in regard to 'predestinate' is so often interpreted to mean "before time began," when a more consistent meaning in regard to salvation would be "before judgment." There is one case where predestinate is qualified as being before the foundations of the World, when talking about how being in Christ was always the plan, and it was always the plan that those in Christ would be blameless. That exception suggests to me that 'before the foundation of the World' is needed as a qualifier, and is not something to automatically assume.

MY QUESTION: How does one answer these questions concerning the use of predestinate when not specified:
(a) Destine what?
(b) Ahead of what time?

EXAMPLE

Rom 8:29 (KJV)

For whom he did foreknow, [G4267] he also did predestinate [G4309] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

προορίζω proorízō, pro-or-id'-zo; from G4253 and G3724; to limit in advance, i.e. (figuratively) predetermine:—determine before, ordain, predestinate.

In Rom 8:29, how does one know whether to interpret foreknow to mean "before time began" or "before judgment" or something else? If it is "before time began," then that would mean everything is settled before you're born. If it is "before judgment," then that would point to a salvation event in the person's lifetime.

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  • There are many different soteriologies, and you they need to be assessed against the whole of scripture. You might like to visit and ask questions like this at Christianity instead.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 29 '16 at 23:39
  • @curiousdannii : Do you feel that this is not a reasonable Hermeneutics question as posed in MY QUESTION? If not, perhaps you can suggest a simple modification that would allow the question to fit into the context of this site? Mar 30 '16 at 0:17
  • @TrialAndError This is actually a Very Good Question and it strikes at the heart of predestination. An Omniscient God knows everything-otherwise by definition He cannot be "God". And He lives outside of our space/time continuum, therefore He can be both Alpha And Omega. Yet, when He 'communicates' this knowledge before the actual event, it changes 'destiny', even though He equips man with a will to chose. Does the very act of knowing deprive choice....? This is at the heart of predestination.
    – Tau
    Mar 30 '16 at 2:40
  • 1
    @TrialAndError - Per dannii's comment, I'd suggest the first 3/4 of your question is mostly hermeneutical (in scope), and the last bit is mostly doctrinal (out of scope). As we're a hermeneutics site, the context is always 'how do we interpret the text', and not 'is X interpretation/doctrine consistent' - because this is not a Christian site, and we're all about the meaning of the text. Logical arguments involving implications are relevant and can partly inform our hermeneutic of interpretation, but don't supersede authorial intent.
    – Steve Taylor
    Mar 30 '16 at 7:51
  • TrialAndError (great pen name), I like your question and agree that the last bit should be left off. But I wanted to inform/remind you that you are allowed to answer your own question. It sounds like you may have done some study on this and if so, great, feel free to post your answer and mark it so.
    – Ruminator
    Jul 13 '18 at 1:03
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I believe that we can answer your question by using some help from Ephesians 1.

Ephesians 1:4

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

This verse clearly communicates that we (believers) have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. The word foundation in Greek (KATABOLE) clearly expresses that this is a time reference, ie before that (foundation) which is laid down.

KATABOLE

Vines: “lit. a casting down is used (b) of a foundation as that which is laid down or in the sense of founding, metaphorically, of the foundation of the world, in this respect two phrases are used (2) “before the foundation of the world”, John 17:24, Eph 1:4, 1 Pet 1:20. The latter phrase looks back into past eternity.”

The same message is being communicated in Romans 8:29.

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren

The word predestinate in Greek (PROORIZO) gives you the understanding that the believer was conformed to the image of His Son before the foundation of the world, meaning, looking back past the visible horizon, that which is clearly marked out: foreordained.

PROORIZO

Vines:“pro, beforehand and No. 2 (HORIZO) denotes to mark out beforehand, to determine before, foreordain…”

HORIZO

Vines: “denotes to bound, to set a boundary(Eng. horizon) hence to mark out definitely, determine; it is translated to determine in Luke 22:22, of the fore-ordained pathway of Christ…”

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  • I agree that those in Christ are pre-destined. They are destined ahead of time for salvation. That did not happen to believers before the World began. "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." The plan was in place at the beginning for those who would be in Christ. Aug 26 '18 at 16:20
  • Understand your feeling but I see no conflict here. The Greek is pretty clear. Verses 4-11 talk specifically about being predestined/preordained and verse 13 is just the fulfilment of that which God has willed, ie verse 13 is just a playing out of God's will. Please notice the words "also" (KJV) in the verse. Verses 4-11 state that you were in Christ before the world began and then you "also" believed and trusted in Him to receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. The plan was in place before the world was formed and we just executed according to plan.
    – alb
    Aug 26 '18 at 20:02
  • Yes, the plan was always that those in Christ would be held blameless. It was the place that was fore-ordained. Those in Christ. But we weren't always blameless, and we have not always been in Christ, as evidenced by the description of when we are included in Christ: we are included in Christ when we hear the Gospel, and believe. Aug 26 '18 at 20:22
  • If you don't mind me asking: what is the difference between being preordained "before" the world was formed (as specified in Ephesians 1:4) and being preordained "after" the world was formed but before the Christian's profession of faith?
    – alb
    Aug 26 '18 at 20:25
  • If it were determined before time began who would be saved and who would not, then the event of Christ coming to this Earth would be irrelevant. In Ephesians 1, "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." Pre-ordained in this sense has to do with receiving and believing the Gospel message. That's different. Aug 26 '18 at 21:07

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