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How do you respond to Acts 2:23?

Peter preaches to the crowd on the day of Pentecost, “[T]his man [Jesus], handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law.”

Jesus’ death was certainly planned and foreknown by God, as the previously discussed verses have repeatedly demonstrated. While the verse specifies that the “handing over” was part of God’s “definite plan,” it does not teach that any particular individual who participated in this event was determined or foreknown by God. God may predestine and/or foreknow an event which he plans to accomplish without predestining and/or foreknowing which individuals will carry out this event. He would simply have to know that “at the right time” there would be people, including several key religious and political figures, who would under the right conditions act this way toward his Son.

Some people have a difficult time fathoming how a group event could be predicted without predicting exactly which individuals will participate in it. But consider that despite their limited knowledge, advertisers, insurance agents and sociologists routinely predict group behavior with remarkable accuracy while being completely incapable of predicting individual behavior. One can, for example, quite accurately predict the percentage of drivers within a given age group who will get involved in a car accident within the next year. But one cannot predict which individuals will comprise this group. Group behavior is very predictable and consistent. Individual behavior is generally less predictable and often deviates from previous patterns.

Why then should we consider God’s ability to predestine and foreknow an event, while not predestining or foreknowing which individuals will carry out this event, to be a difficult matter for him? I submit that an omniscient Creator who eternally knows all possibilities, who sovereignly influences all things, and who perfectly knows each human’s heart, would have no trouble whatsoever accomplishing this.

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