Free Will, Election & Foreknowledge
Those who affirm the libertarian "free will" of man often teach the doctrine of ELECTION as follows: God, before He created the world, foreknew, from eternity, who would yield to the Spirit, and therefore elected to salvation all those whom He foresaw would do so. In other words, God looks down the corridors of time to see who will believe and then "predestines" them based on the exercise of their autonomous free will to choose Him. In this system of belief the absolute free will of the natural man is necessary to preserve human responsibility. But this concept of foreknowledge ironically ends up destroying itself. There is no person who believes in free will that can consistently believe this theory of foreknowledge, and still go around teaching his views as to God's salvation. Why so? Consider the following:
1. No Libertarian free will theist can consistently say that God foreknew who would be saved and then also teach that God is trying to save every man. Surely if God knows who will be saved and who won't be saved, then how could anyone argue that He is trying to save more? Certainly, it is foolish to assert that God is trying to do something which He knew never could be accomplished. Some embracing the free will or foreseen faith position charge Augustinians that preaching the gospel to the non-elect is mockery since God has not elected them. If there is any validity in that objection, then it equally applies to them as well who preach to those who God knows will never be saved. To the Augustinian, God commands that the Gospel be preached to all, because, when we indiscriminately cast forth the seed of the gospel, the Spirit germinates the seed of those He came to save (1 Thess 1:4, 5 John 6:63-65). People are not saved in a void but under the preaching of the Gospel and the Spirit brings forth life through the word of truth.
2. No Libertarian who embraces the foreseen faith position can consistently say that God foreknew which sinners would be lost and then say it is not within God's will to allow these sinners to be lost. Why did He create them? Let the libertarian freewill theist consider that question. God could have just as easily refrained from creating those that He knew would "freely" choose to go to Hell. He knew where they were going before He created them. Since He went ahead and created them with full knowledge that they would be lost, it is evidently within God's providence that some sinners actually be lost, even in the libertarian scheme. He, therefore, has some purpose in it which human beings cannot fully discern. The libertarian freewill theist can complain against the truth that God chose to allow some men a final destiny of Hell all they want, but it is as much a problem for them as for anyone. As a matter of fact, it is a problem which libertarians must face. If he faces it, he will have to admit either the error of his theology or deny foreknowledge all together. But he might say that God had to create those that perish, even against His will. This would make God subject to Fate.
3. No Libertarian freewiller can consistently say that God foreknew who would be saved and then teach that God punished Christ for the purpose of redeeming every single man that ever lived. Surely we should credit God with having as much sense as a human being. What human being would make a great but useless and needless sacrifice for persons He already knows with certainty would reject Him? Libertarians say that God punished Christ for the sins of those whom He knew would go to Hell. This theory of the atonement--although synergists do not mention this--involves the matter of Christ's suffering exclusively for the purpose of man's salvation--the substitutionary aspect. They fail to have any appreciation for the aspect of propitiation.
4. No Libertarian can consistently say that God foreknew who would be saved and then preach that God the Holy Spirit does all He can do to save every man in the world. The Holy Spirit would be wasting time and effort to endeavor to convert a man who He knew from the beginning would go to Hell. You hear Synergists talk about how the Spirit tries to get men to be saved and if they don't yield to him they will "cross the line" and offend the Spirit so that He will never try to save them again. Bottom line, the Synergist makes a finite creature out of the Divine Godhead. Can God be taken by surprise?
Foreknowledge According to Arminians by Ron Gleason (PCA)
God's Foreknowledge and Free-Will By Stephen Charnock
Foreknowledge and the Free Will of Men by John Frame
Does God Elect Persons Based on Their Foreseen Faith? By John Hendryx
FOREKNOWLEDGE: THERE'S MORE THAN MEETS GOD'S EYE! James Harrison