Wednesday, May 10, 2006

to choose or not to choose

i've been involved in a discussion at work centered around the subject of "predestination." i am the only person that holds that God, from eternity past, chose some for salvation and passed over others. i've heard all the typical (and some not so typical) responses:

  • "the God I know and love wouldn't do something as cruel and cold as that."
  • "that wouldn't be fair. that means that some people would be born and would have never had the chance for salvation."
  • "predestination in the Bible means that God looked into the future and saw who would believe."
  • and my personal favorite--"if predestination were true, then there wouldn't be any sense in the Bible saying that angels rejoice when one person is saved. why would they rejoice at something they already know is going to happen?" (note: i wasn't aware that angels were omniscient)
  • "i'm not convinced that God actually knows whether anyone will or won't believe. it's ultimately their decision."

a few people offered Scriptural support for their comments. "for God so loved the WORLD." (john 3:16); "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord wil be saved." (romans 10:13); "God is not willing that any should perish." (2 peter 3:9). most however defended their position with "i believe" or "i think"or "my opinion is."

it's interesting to me that, when asked: "are all men sinners and deserving of hell?", most people answer "yes." additionally, when asked: "if God did nothing to save men from hell, would He be just." again, most answer "yes." but start saving just SOME sinners and the discussion takes on a different tone.

it seems to me that whether you believe in God's choosing some (predestination) or His looking into the future to see who will believe, the outcome for many is the same: people are not saved and they go to hell. God is fully aware of this, and He allows it to happen (this is assuming you believe that God knows everything). for the "unchosen," they are born having never been "elected" and utimately they are not saved. on the other side of the debate, some will not choose God of their own "free will" and ultimately they are not saved.

what i sense from the people that i've been talking to is:

  1. if God doesn't choose you, well then, that's mean.
  2. if you don't choose God, well that's just you're fault and God doesn't get blamed.


Andrew Elston said...

Yeah, those are pretty typical responses I have heard also. A dear brother in Christ (and in-law) said to me concerning a God who would choose some and not others, "I won't worship a God like that."

Thank the Lord for His unmerited mercy on us!

Dan Paden said...

Most people who don't accept predestination, in my experience, are trying to "protect" God from the charge of unfairness. That their notion of what is "fair" might be wrong usually doesn't occur to them.

The dilemma you point out is why some people have moved to open theism (if memory serves, you've commented on A.B. Caneday's blog; he's written on this), the idea that God, in fact, does not know the future. In their mind, this lets God off the hook. Again, it is just the result of man-centered ideas about what is and is not fair.

Nice blog.