Declaring The End from The Beginning

"They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.

They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.

Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure"
 - Isaiah 46:6-10 (KJV, emphasis mine)

Verse 10 is often used to “prove” that God is outside of time and therefore has perfect knowledge of the future. Yet, the text only signifies that God “from the beginning” (indication of time) declares what will happen in “the end” (the future, another indication of time). You can read this as meaning that God, who is outside of time on a certain moment (speaking from a human perspective) states what He will do in the future (again, speaking from a human perspective). The most natural reading, however, seems to me that God simply lives in sequence, just like human beings. The platonic concept that God is outside of time is not necessary, is not a natural reading of the text, and has to be read into the text (eisegesis) to arrive at that conclusion. If I take the context into account (this is always a necessity), then I see that the meaning of verse 10 is simply that God can say that He is going to do something and He can even accomplish this. The idols cannot speak, let alone tell in advance what they will carry out…

God can even carry it out in a certain moment (again, an indication of time) He sovereignly chooses:

"I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass."
- Isaiah 48:3 (KJV, emphasis mine)

He can tell them how much time they still have left:

"But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full."
 - Genesis 15:16 (KJV, emphasis mine)
"And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
 - Jonah 3:4 (KJV, emphasis mine)
"Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation."
- Exodus 32:10 (KJV)

And execute the prophecy:

"Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath."
- Amos 2:9 (KJV)

Or cancel the prophecy:

"And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."
- Jonah 3:10 (KJV)
"And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people."
- Exodus 32:14 (KJV)

Because the future is open.


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