Let’s apply Two-Stage understanding to the important biblical account of Abraham and Sarah, which is accepted by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
God told Abraham and Sarah that they were to have a son in a year “and you will call him Isaac… whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year” (Genesis 17:19,21). In this case Isaac was not yet conceived on Earth and it would be a full year before he was born. But Isaac existed in Heaven already, certainly in the innovative planning of God, and his name (meaning laughter) had even been chosen for him by God, just as God “knew” Jeremiah before his birth. Perhaps Isaac’s name was chosen by Father God to reflect the joy of this elderly couple having their own son at last; or to remind Sarah that she had laughed at the unlikely prospect of bearing a child at an advanced age?
What is more, we see that through Isaac, God promised to make Abraham a “father of many nations” and said: “I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you” (Genesis 17:6). This is astonishing, because it was hundreds of years before these “kings” appeared in Abraham’s line.
So here we have another example of God “calling forth the generations (of people to come) from the beginning” (Isaiah 41:4). Abraham’s descendants down the centuries would be people not yet in existence on our planet, but who had already been planned and perhaps even named in Heaven by God.
It would seem that a specific plan of God in Heaven constitutes a definitive, creative act of God, regardless of when it is formulated—or when we learn of it—or experience it on Earth.
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