The English word “Prognosis” comes from this Greek word and still carries its basic meaning. A prediction of an outcome based upon prior knowledge. Typically used in the medical field, where the prior knowledge of the physician is called upon to determine the best course of action to heal a sickness, injury, or disease.

Paul uses prognosis in his defense before Agrippa, calling upon the Jews who all have a previous knowledge of Paul’s lifestyle as a Pharisee (Acts 26:5). After Peter discusses the new heavens and new earth, he encourages us to be on our guard because we have a prior knowledge that what is now will be totally destroyed (2 Peter 3:17).

When it comes to God and His prior knowledge, this same word is used. God marked off the bounds to be conformed to the image of His son, those He foreknew (Romans 8:29). The foreknowledge goes back to the plan God determined before the creation of the universe, in which He determined to set a specific group aside to be conformed to His Son. This foreknowledge is not looking at the individual, but the council that the Godhead determined to fulfill.

Speaking concerning Israel, Paul explains that God has not rejected the people that He foreknew. Israel was set aside to God as a nation and God will not cast them off but will fulfill His Word to them. Elijah learned this while thinking he was the only one left. No, God had seven thousand men who had not bowed the knee to Baal, even though it appeared that all others had. (Romans 11:2-4).

Prior to the foundations of the universe, God the Father determined that God the Son would be wrapped in flesh and serve as a precious lamb without blemish, through which the Church is purchased (1 Peter 1:20). This foreknowledge does not go back to Christ as a human, for prior to His incarnation, God the Son was not ever wrapped in flesh; rather, it is referring to Christ’s coming according to the foreknowledge of the council of the Godhead that determined it would happen.

We even see God’s foreknowledge in time concerning persecution and how those who are persecuted will be scattered. In Peter’s first letter, he addresses the elect strangers who were scattered according to the foreknowledge of God (1 Peter 1:1-2). There is a major translation issue with this verse that makes it appear Peter is stating that we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God. However, this is only within the translations because a theologian moved the word “elect” out of its order to justify the false belief of predestination. It actually states – Peter an apostle of Jesus Christ to the elect strangers of a scattering of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynian according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…. God’s foreknowledge has to do with their scattering, not election to salvation.

Foreknowledge is based upon a prior experience that provides the knowledge necessary to determine the course or path of an event or circumstance. The only time foreknowledge is used for an individual is with Paul while defending himself before Agrippa, where he called upon the Jews who had a foreknowledge of him. Within the decree of God, He determined certain things would happen, such as salvation coming through God the Son’s sacrifice and a specific group of those saved would be placed as sons in Christ so they could be conformed to the image of His Son. However, Scripture does not state that an individual is foreknown in the sense that God acts according to what He previously knew a person would do; rather, God acts according to the foreknowledge of what He determined to do.