Wednesday, October 15, 2008



There are two "fore-" verbs in Romans 8:29. There is proegno which is a conjugation of proginosko meaning "to foresee" and there is prowrisen which is a conjugation of proorizo "to predetermine." You are confusing the two. Now, because they mean different things, the passage says "whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate" (KJV) and "whom He foreknew, He also predestined" (NASB) and "whom he foreknew he also predestined" (NRSV) and "those God foreknew he also predestined" (NIV) and "whom he foreknew he also predestined" (ESV).

i) The meaning of proegno isn’t determined by Greek usage, but Hebrew usage. Paul is using a Greek word with a Hebrew connotation.

One doesn’t have to be a Calvinist to see this. All the major commentators appreciate this nuance regardless of their theological commitments, viz. Fitzmyer (Jesuit), Wright (NPP), Cranfield (Barthian), or Witherington (Arminian), to name a few.

As even Ben Witherington admits, “OT references to God knowing someone or his people, that is, to his inclination toward or love for them, sometimes refer to a concept of election (Amos 3:2; Deut 9:24; Exod 33:12,17; Gen 18:19; Deut 34:10), and such passages lie in the background here,” Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Eerdmans 2004), 246-47.

So Witherington, although a doctrinaire Arminian, doesn’t challenge the Calvinist reading on semantic grounds.

It’s a pity when theological opponents can’t even keep up with their own literature.

This is also corroborated by standard lexical reference works. When I say that proegno in Rom 8:29 means “to choose beforehand,” that’s exactly the definition which is supplied by BDAG for Rom 8:29. Cf. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (U of Chicago, 3rd ed., 2000), 866b.

ii) Even on a Calvinist reading, the two verbs are not synonymous. Both verbs carry a deterministic import, but proegno has a covenantal connotation while proorisen has a teleological connotation.

According to your MISINFORMATION, however, the passage ought to be translation "whom he predestined he also predestined" which is just plain asinine.

Not only are you ignorant of basic lexical semantics, you’re equally ignorant of basic syntax. How do these two clauses go together?

Paul uses proegno to establish the divine initiative in salvation. But that leaves open the question, for what did God elect those whom he called according to his purpose (8:28)?

Paul then uses proorisen as part of a purpose-clause to supply the goal of God’s initiative: to reproduce the image of Christ.

Therefore, the second clause advances the argument. This is the train of thought:

Before the foundation of the world, God chose those who are called according to his purpose.

And to what end were they so chosen?

They are predestined to reproduce the image of Christ.

And only those so chosen are predestined to reproduce the image of Christ.

Hence, God is responsible for both the origin and outcome of salvation.

Every translation cited above shows that there was both foreknowledge and predestination, and the predestination was based on the foreknowledge.

Popular translations are no substitute for Greek lexicons or learned commentaries.


  1. "They are predestined to reproduce the image of Christ"

    Please forgive my simpleton question, but what attributes can be associated with this "image"?

    I know: anything exhibited by the writers of Triablogue, as we assume they are among the elect.

    I'm just asking what those attributes are. Paint me a picture of what the "image of Christ" looks like in a human person. How would I recognize a "Christ-like" person?

    I thought I knew, but my ideas were pretty much wiped out by the contributors here.

  2. "How would I recognize a "Christ-like" person? I thought I knew, but my ideas were pretty much wiped out by the contributors here."

    Well, just so you know, of all the contributors I am an effeminate, blue-eyed, blond-haired, long-haired, namby-pamby who wuvs everyone and would never call people white-washed tombs, tell them that their father is the devil, or call them a bunch of snakes. So at least I'm Christ-like, right?

  3. Christians interpret the Old Testament by the New, not the New by the Old. The New is concealed in the Old and the Old is revealed in the New. Calvinism is nothing more than an extension of the ethnic argument of the Jews that Paul is arguing against in Romans. In Romans, Paul is arguing against Jews who say that God arbitrarily chose to save all Jews and damn all Gentiles, and that the sin or even unbelief of the Jews cannot change that (i.e. once saved always saved). Calvinist just take the same WRONG Jewish theory and apply it to individuals rather than nations. But Paul shows that all hinges on God's foreknowledge of faith and election is not arbitrary, not for individuals nor for entire nations as if God would save all the Jews despite their unbelief. All is predicated on faith. And God elected by foreseen faith. Calvinists will do anything to redefine the term prognosis, but it is particularly cheap and stupid to appeal to heretical Jewish racist Judaizing views to try and save your God-hating deterministic accusation that God is the author of your sins. The Jews tried that one on Paul already, and he disproved them. Every passage that seems to teach Calvinism in Romans is a quotation of a Jewish opponent, and you are so blind you have become non-Jews who argue like non-elect Jews.

  4. Logical thinkers interpret Beowulf's remarks in light of exestential voodoo, and not in light of any grammatico-historical reasoning. Which is why other than the lack of substance, I agree with everythign Beowulf said.

    I mean, it's obvious that Beowulf is quoting what Calvinists would say Arminians would say Calvinists would say, and therefore (unless you're as blind as a Jew) he obviously means the exact opposite of what he says.

    Can't you see it?