Foreknowledge, Free Will, and Judgment
by Nathan Battey
“The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
First, the prophecy of Jesus’ betrayal points to the inspiration of Scripture. Only God could have known that Jesus would be betrayed by one of his closest friends.
Second, man’s free will is upheld in conjunction with the foreknowledge of God. Though God knew Judas would betray Christ, God did not make him betray Christ. Jesus is giving the strongest warning possible to Judas in while he still has the opportunity to change his mind.
Last of all, the doctrine of annihilation is defeated in this passage for the latter end of Judas would be worse than if he had never been born. If Judas had not existed prior to birth, and ceased to exist after death (as annihilationist claim), how could his latter end be worse? Not only is Jesus teaching the reality of hell, He is also teaching degrees of punishment.
Though God knows what will happen in the future, man is still left with a free will to choose good or evil and will face judgment to give account of the decisions he makes. May we recognize the truth of Scripture, walk therein, and remember that we must one day give account before God (Ecc. 12:13-14).