We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

What’s the significance of Acts 17:26-27?

This passage is frequently cited by determinists, for Paul here states that God “marked out” the “appointed times in history and the boundaries” of nations (Ac. 17:26). This doesn’t entail omni-control on God’s part, however. It only entails that God is involved in setting temporal and geographical parameters around nations. Moreover, nothing suggests that God does this unilaterally or from all eternity. As humans make decisions, God responds to them in ways that delimit the length and scope of nations.

What’s particularly interesting for our purposes, however, is the reason Paul says God does this: because he is, at all times, working among people “so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us” (vs. 27, emphasis added). God clearly works in people’s lives hoping that they will reach out for him and find him. But this implies that whether or not people reach out for God is not a pre-settled certainty. Insofar as the future is left up to the wills of free agents, it is open and known by God as such.

Category:
Tags: ,
Topics:
Verse:

Related Reading

What is the significance of Judges 10:13–16?

The Israelites cry out to God because of their oppression from foreign rulers. The Lord refuses to deliver them because they have abandoned him (vs. 13–14). The Israelites repented, put away their foreign gods and worshipped the Lord. The Lord “also could no longer bear to see Israel suffer” (vs. 16). Hence the Lord changed…

Topics:

How do you respond to 2 Samuel 16:10?

David says of Shimei’s cursing him, “If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” Some compatibilists cite this text to suggest that David regarded evil deeds, including cursing, as taking place in accordance with the sovereign will of God. If we accept…

How can you put your trust in a God who’s not in control of everything?

Question: I read your book Is God to Blame? and found it to be very compelling. It’s rocking my world. But I’m also finding I’m now having trouble trusting God like I used to. I used to believe that God ordained or at least foreknew all that was going to happen. Now I’m questioning this, and I’m wondering…

How do you respond to Isaiah 46:9–11?

The Lord says, “I am God, and there is none other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention.’” To distinguish himself from the dead idols Israel was…

Free Will: Is it a coherent concept?

Greg is going to be spending the next several blogs talking about the idea of free will. In this first reflection, he discusses whether it is coherent to speak of a decision that is not determined or exhaustively caused.

How do you respond to Ephesians 1:4-5?

Question: Ephesians 1 refers to believers as predestined before the foundation of the world. How do you reconcile this with your view that free actions of people (like choosing to believe in Christ) can’t be predestined or even foreknown ahead of time? Answer: It took three hundred years before anyone in Church history interpreted the…