Calvinists who maintain that God is timeless or eternal (in the sense of being above time) sometimes point to Revelation for evidence. They consistently state throughout their sermons that all events are forever happening at all times in God’s mind. Christ is forever crucified, being crucified, in God’s frame of reference. They point to Revelation 13:8 as support for this:
Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
When these Calvinists use this verse as evidence, it gives Biblically literate Christians a chance to expose willful denial of scriptures. The first question that needs to be asked of these Christians is “can this verse grammatically mean something else than the Lamb is slain and is slain from the foundation of the world.” If this is denied, it tells the questioner that the Calvinist does not care about the scriptures and correct interpretation, but instead, just tries to reaffirm non-Biblical beliefs. This verse is particularly useful for this because it allows evidential proof of this fact.
Grammatically, the various prepositional phrases can be separated and rearranged in this verse. Does “from the foundation of the world” modify “written”, “book” , “slain” or even “dwell”. The English is ambiguous. The Greek is more so. Perhaps a better translation would be:
Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the slain Lamb.
In this sense, the point of this verse is that the names were never written, ever, in the Book of Life. Which Book of Life? The one regarding salvation (the slain Lamb). Calvinists can attempt to say that this is an improper translation and instead that there is a random verse in Revelation which tangentially alludes to metaphysical greek platonic concepts, but then the Calvinist needs to then explain Revelation 17:8:
Rev 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Here is the exact same phrase “from the foundation of the world” coupled with “book of life” and these are recorded by the same Biblical author to boot. What does “from the foundation of the world” modify? It is obvious that this verse is about names never being written in the book of life, but then wouldn’t Revelation 13:8 be the same? The slain Lamb, then would be a descriptive of “book of life” and has no direct relation to “from the foundation of the world”. Christ has not always been slain. Christ is not always being slain. That is pagan nonsense.
Chances are that a Calvinist exposed to these truths will again in the future use Revelation 13:8 to support “timelessness”. To those who force their theology on the Bible, the Bible’s teaching will always be secondary.
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