Westminster Confession, Chapter 3, Paragraph 2
2-Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
That first statement is quite interesting. It reminds me of a philosophy book I read that spoke of God not only knowing all things in this world, but knowing all things that may have happened in possible worlds, had God made things different than he did. The scripture reference that the confession notes is Matthew 11:21.
Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
God knows all possible outcomes if situations or circumstances were different.
The second statement is probably written so that the writers could separate themselves from the Armenians who often say that God looks down the corridors of time and foresees what you will freely choose; and in that way he is omniscient.
(Questions for the kids)
- Can you think of a possible world in which all things were different then they are in this world? Tell me about it.
- Do you think God knows all possible things that would exist in your make believe world?
- What is the problem with saying that God looks down the corridors of time and forsees what humans will freely do, and then makes choices based upon our free decisions?