Sunday Walk 38 – Predestination

Rocks, Dirt and Darkness

ου βραδυνει ο κυριος της επαγγελιας ως τινες βραδυτητα ηγουνται αλλα μακροθυμει εις ημας μη βουλομενος τινας απολεσθαι αλλα παντας εις μετανοιαν χωρησαι

2 Peter 3:9 Textus Receptus with various translations

Predestination is God’s plan for us for responsible service as slaves of Jesus and yet children of God (Matthew 6:9, 1 John 3:2). There is nothing more meaningful or fulfilling in one’s life than coming to repentance and accepting that destiny. He wills it for all of us (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4).

However, predestination is overshadowed within some traditions by adding on the notion of predeterminism. These traditions contain conceptions of the nature of God that pit our free will against God’s glory.

Starting at 28:00 for about 13 minutes David Pawson described two views of predestination, the Arminian and the Calvinist (Reformed) views.

David Pawson, Unlocking the New Testament Part 15 – Ephesians

This video is part of Pawson’s introduction to the Bible covering the books from Genesis to Revelation. After going through this series I began to see myself and those around me as living within an historical drama leading to a wedding the significance of which I had not appreciated before. The Christian worldview came to life. It is from within that worldview revealed by the Bible that I now consider issues such as predestination.

In section D6 of Election and Reprobation at Monergism, Wayne Grudem made summary observations that I agree with: “So in a Reformed system God’s highest value is his own glory, and in an Arminian system God’s highest value is the free will of man. These are two distinctly different conceptions of the nature of God….”

Given these two distinctly different conceptions of the nature of God, I ask myself: If God’s highest value were really his own glory, why the crucifixion? If God’s highest value were not the free will of man, how did sin and the resulting evil enter the historical narrative of the Christian worldview as revealed by the Bible?

The Reformed conception of God leaves me with too many unanswered questions. Thankfully there are alternatives to it. For more on these alternatives, Mike Winger provides a biblical argument clarifying what hardening of hearts means and why faith is not a work. He also provides an overview of Calvinism and Arminianism.

What do you think? You are welcome to set me straight or present your own views on predestination in the comments below.

Life Between the Rocks

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

26 thoughts on “Sunday Walk 38 – Predestination”

  1. Hi Frank, although I can definitely see aspects of the Elect and God’s sovereignty, I lean more in the direction of Molinism as per this link: https://cerebralfaith.net/the-case-for-mere-molinis/ This is a very complex subject and I do not have this hammered out in stone yet but I do have a difficult time buying into Calvinism or the different flavours that it contains. I have quite a few links on my “Christian Apologetics” page under “C” for Calvinism if you are interested. Hope this helps. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. God’s wish for us has been told in many ways to people in many cultures. I think our glory to God is a natural response to His love for us. While I would never dissuade anyone from greater study – and I have done some myself- I don’t think God meant our relationship with Him to be hard to understand. Sometimes, I worry that we try too hard to understand God. I hope I haven’t said anything to offen, Frank. That wasn’t my intention.

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  3. Thanks for the Sunday morning insight. My approach is to stick with what the scripture says. Is it possible that predestination and free will are both scriptural concepts? Is it “yes/and” rather than “either/or”?

    Blessings for a stunning day in paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a follow up, here is an example of “yes/and”. It is from the article I published a few weeks ago.

      “If God is choosing who is saved, doesn’t that undermine our free will to choose and believe in Christ? The Bible says that we have the choice—all who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10). The Bible never describes God rejecting anyone who believes in Him or turning away anyone who is seeking Him (Deuteronomy 4:29). Somehow, in the mystery of God, predestination works hand-in-hand with a person being drawn by God (John 6:44) and believing unto salvation (Romans 1:16). God predestines who will be saved, and we must choose Christ in order to be saved. Both facts are equally true. Romans 11:33 proclaims, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”

      Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with both predestination and free will. We are blessed with a predestination and we have a free will to reject that predestined plan for us. However, I don’t think predestination is the same thing as predeterminism. If it were then we have no free will and God would have no righteousness because He would be responsible for the evil in the world. Thank you, Michael!

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      1. “We are blessed with a predestination and we have a free will to reject that predestined plan for us.”

        Can one succeed in rejecting God’s predestination?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I assume that we have enough free will to be responsible. This allows God to be righteous in spite of the existence of evil. Our free will is the way around the problem of evil.

          I reject determinism, compatibilism and theological predeterminism as a worldview presupposition.

          So I would say that yes, we can succeed in rejecting God’s predestination. Predestination is not predetermination. We have enough free will to reject the destiny God prepared in advance for us.

          Do you accept “once saved always saved”?

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      2. Your recent post doesn’t let me respond to it so I’ll respond here.

        It’s impossible that God doesn’t determine all things including choices. (Even the crucifixion was according his predeterminate council.) There’s no way around it.

        If it was true in eternity that you’d freely choose to post me back, then what is the source of that eternal truth? Given that God alone is eternal, that truth must’ve come from his will. Otherwise, he learned the truth, which is a denial of his omniscience and his unique self existence. You’d be left with eternal truths existing alongside God.

        Happy to help you think through this off line.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I increased the levels of the comments. Hopefully that helps.

          I see omniscience as knowing everything there is to know. That does not include knowing what is not knowable but which can be conceptualized such as the simultaneous position and momentum of a quantum particle or what a free agent will do prior to the action of the free agent.

          This allows God to be omniscient and free creatures to be possible. God can make sure things happen as He predicts with his omnipotence. It also allows God to have free will.

          I am not sure what you are referring to with “eternal truths existing alongside God”. There is nothing eternal about the truth of the proposition “I respond to you”. Nor does the proposition “I will respond to you tomorrow” even have a truth value without specifying what date tomorrow is and seeing what happens on that date.

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  4. What is the purpose of repentance if we are all predestined to heaven or hell? Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. Doesn’t that mean the lost has an opportunity to be found? If they didn’t, the death of Christ would be in vain. The Bible speaks more about hell than it does about heaven, and about choosing life or death. I have a few Calvin’s friends, and sometimes we get into it. Thank you for these resources.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Matthew 7;21 Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

    The TRADITIONAL Catholic teaching is not confusion because God is not confusion. God who knows ALL THINGS knows who will, in the end, be in His grace at the moment of their death. Before that, they choose to accept His will or not. Presumption is a sin against the Holy Ghost. Going through life presuming you are saved. Even the devils believed in God.

    The Church teaches that we all have enough grace to save our soul, we are given a little, and when we cooperate with the little, we are given more.
    Luke 12;46 The lord of that servant will come in the day that he hopeth not, and at the hour that he knoweth not, and shall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers. [47] And that servant who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. [48] But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more.

    True story happened to me: For quite a while each morning, I asked God to give every dying person special graces (helps) to save their souls. In my mind, I heard a voice explaining to me, (Everyone receives the help they need during their life, the more I give them, the more responsible they are. Flooding their soul now at the hour of their death, AND KNOWING they will refuse it, will only add extreme pain to their soul in eternity. I show mercy by withholding, thereby lessening their pain and suffering in Hell.
    Believe it or not, this was my answer to my daily prayer.
    After that explanation or insight: When I pray for those dying, I ask that God will have mercy on their dying soul because He knows who will cooperate and who will not. THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS OURS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the answer you received in the last paragraph. The more help or grace they receive the more responsible they are. I hadn’t thought of that before. Mercy can be shown by withholding grace. Thank you, Myrna!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, after I wrote that I was afraid I didn’t explain it well enough.
        There is what Catholics call a Healthy Fear as in “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.”
        [Philippians 2:12]

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Philippians 2:12 makes sense as a healthy fear (and trembling). The opposite seems to be no fear as in “once saved always saved” which David Pawson also doesn’t agree with. I think the Catholic perspective on this is closer to my own (and perhaps Pawson’s as well).

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