Predestination – A Definition
Predestination is defined as the act of predestinating, which is an action of God -- who is eternal and foreordains what comes to pass on earth. This idea is repugnant to some. The idea that an entity has the right to ordain what happens on earth is something that man in his natural state has rebelled against from the dawn of time. However, the Old Testament starts with, "In the beginning, God..." This is an unambiguous statement. God existed before, continues to exist and will always exist (Revelation 1:4). God has the sovereign right of creation over the earth and man and He makes no apologies for saying, "Thus saith the LORD!" This statement does not require man's understanding or acceptance to be true.
The truth of predestination is wrapped up in the very character of God.
- God is sovereign, which means that He has absolute authority over all that He has created and He has created "all things" (Genesis 1:1).
- God is omniscient, meaning that He has all knowledge and without Him no knowledge exists (Job 37:16).
- God is omnipresent, giving Him the ability to be everywhere at one time (Psalm 139:1-12).
- God is omnipotent, which means that God is all-powerful with a determination to carry out His purpose and plan throughout time into eternity (1 Chronicles 29:11).
Predestination – A Distinction
When we look at the idea of predestination, it is necessary to make a distinction between two different decreed events. The first includes events that are divinely caused (caused by God), such as the salvation of the elect. The second of decreed events are divinely permitted (permitted or allowed by God).
God does not predetermine the evil acts of men, nor does God cause them. Rather, these permitted acts mean that God knows beforehand how people will react in each circumstance. He allows people to make autonomous decisions, the choice to do good or evil. God’s foreknowledge of the evil that people perpetrate onto others caused Him to create within humans the ability to overcome that evil. And the good that people are capable of was predetermined by God to be blessed when doing good was chosen. These blessings enable humans to win over evil, while fulfilling God’s total plan.
Predestination – A Decree
Predestination is the decree of God by which certain souls are foreordained to salvation -- called the elect. Again, this is a concept that many see as somehow unfair. However, all of the attributes of God allow Him to know history in advance. Therefore, it can be said that we are "preordained" or elected by pre-knowledge because time has no rule over God. But, didn't God give man volition (exercising one’s own will)? The answer to that is yes, however, since God is all knowing He already knows the outcome of the choices men will make and He uses those choices to bring about His purpose.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory” (Romans 8:28-30).
God has made salvation possible for anyone who wants it. He already knows who will accept His plan of salvation. This does not negate man's choice; rather it is confirmation of God's grace that some do choose salvation. Predestination means to mark out or determine before hand. Predestination may raise some intellectual problems, but that is because man tries to wrap his finite mind around an infinite God. However, those who accept the gift of salvation become the “elect” of God.
”Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago” (Ephesians 1:11).
“But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
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