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On Predestination and God being Evil
Posted on 23 August 2017 01:06 PM

Q. Does the Bible teach Predestination or Freedom of Choice?


A. The greek word translated as predestine is "proorizó" [προορίζω]. According to the Strong's concordance, it means to predetermine, foreordain or to determine before. The Doctrine of Predestination has been mostly associated with the teaching of St-Augustine of Hippo and John Calvin.

John Calvin is often credited with teaching the doctrine of "double predestination" which basically states that God has chosen some people to be saved and the others to be lost. Man's choice have no impact in God's decision. The Wesminster Confession of Faith of 1643 puts it this way: "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.”

Calvinists usually do not use the expression “Double Predestination” since it implies that God works to both ensure the salvation of the righteous but also works to ensure the destruction of the wicked. This would imply that God is the minister of sin, since sin is what ultimately causes the sinner to be lost and eventually destroyed. Calvinist do not adhere to this idea, but simply believe that God leaves the sinners to continue in their sinful ways without intervention, which will eventually lead them to their destruction.

However, both of these views comes in direct contradiction with many other Bible verses that explain how God is actively working for the Salvation of all men most particularly the sinner.

12  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13  But go ye and learnwhat that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. {Matthew 9:12-13}

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that anyshould perish, but that all should come to repentance. {2 Peter 3:9}

11  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? {Ezekiel 33:11}

16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. {John 3:16}

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. {1 Timothy 2:4}

Let us see what the Bible teaches then about predestination. The Scripture uses the word "proorizó" six times. Four times it is translated as "predestine", the other times as "determined" and "ordained". In each cases the emphasis of "proorizó" is positive and never refers to damnation or destruction of the wicked.

The first occurrence is in Acts 4:27-28

27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people  of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. {Acts 4:27-28}

In the context of Chapter 4 of Acts, Peter and John and the rest of the Apostles had been arrested for preaching Jesus Christ. After their release they come together praising God, and in v.25, they quote Psalm 2, a very famous Messianic Prophecy that describes the last hours of Christ. What the passage is really establishing is that the fate of Jesus had been prophesied and it could not be altered, changed or modified.

Next we have  1Corinthians 2:6-8

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. {1Corinthians 2:6-8}

Here the Bible teaches us that God had placed His wisdom at our disposal even before the world had even been created. We then come to Ephesians chapter 1 where Paul uses the same "proorizó" word in two different instances this time translated as “predestine”: 

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. {Ephesians 1:3-6}

11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. {Ephesians 1:11-12}

Here we are told that those who have accepted Jesus, have received adoption into God’s family as well as an inheritance, both of which had been established according to the will of God.

So far all 4 instances, do not directly apply to salvation nor condemnation, but rather to what God has placed at our disposal. The last two mention of “proorizó" is found in Romans chapter 8.

29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. {Romans 8:29-30}

This passage may be the closest to come to associating “predestination” to salvation. Here, however, the act of predestination is based on God’s foreknowledge of each man’s destiny. It is important to understand that God’s foreknowledge does not dictate events.  The foreseen events do not happen because they are foreseen: They are foreseen because they will take place. And God’s knowledge of what is to come in no way impacts the fact that man must still make each choices that God has foreseen. 

In God’s sphere the events are set. But in our sphere, because we are deprived of foreknowledge, events are not fixed. As a result we have no clue of what is coming and we must still exercise our freewill and choose. For God, however, He knows the string of events that is to come where He calls us to be conformed to the image of His Son, justified and glorified. We therefore must go on "unto perfection" (Hebrews 6:1), one choice at a time.

 

For more information we recommend the following resources:

The Counter Reformation and New False Doctrines

Esau and Jacob Not Predestined

 

 

Keyword: dispensationalism, John Clavin, Calvinist, Calvinism, Augustine of Hippo, Predestination, foreknowledge, foresee, choice, free will, The Wesminster Confession of Faith, salvation, 

Categories: (difficult Bible text) (dispensationalism)

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