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William

Is Predestination Morally Right?

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THE JUSTICE OF ELECTION

 

The difficulty that most people have with the doctrines of election and predestination is not the lack of Biblical passages dealing with the subject. The Old and New Testaments are replete with statements that God had chosen and elected and predestined.

 

The problem that most have with this doctrine is how we deal with all of the implications which this doctrine raises. Chief among these difficulties is the question of the justice of divine election. How is God to be considered as just and righteous if He arbitrarily sends some people to hell and allows others into heaven.

 

The theological term for this question is THEODICY. It comes from a joining of two Greek words.

 

Theos is the word for "God."

Dike is the word for "righteous."

 

THE QUESTION PRESENTED

 

What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! (Romans 9:14).

 

Notice the question. Is there any injustice with God? It is the justice and the righteousness of God which is being questioned here. This question arises from the previous verses. Is God just in choosing Isaac and not Ishmael? Is God just in choosing to love Jacob and hate Esau? Is God just in choosing Israel to be His chosen people and in not choosing another of the nations of the world? Is God just in choosing some to be saved and not choosing others?

 

A similar question will be raised in verse 19 when Paul asks the question, "If God has determined our actions, then how can He find fault in us and judge us?"

 

Before we look at the answer to these questions, I want you to notice something. These two objections which Paul brings up would never have arisen if we were not meant to understand that the choice of election rests with God. If Paul had been teaching that God merely looks down the corridors of time to see what men will choose and then elects them on the basis of their own decision, then there would be no basis for the question of whether God is just in choosing certain men.

 

The very fact that God’s justice in election is questioned in this passage points to the fact that election originates and is based only in God. Paul’s doctrine of election raises this objection. I would suggest that any view concerning election which does not give rise to this question is an improper view of election. If we come to a proper view of election, then this objection concerning God’s justice will always arise.

 

How do we answer the question? Is God unjust? Paul retorts, "May it never be! Absolutely not!" But if God is absolutely just and righteous, then why is He able to choose some and not choose others? Why isn’t this unrighteous? The answer is found in the following verses.

 

THE SOVEREIGN MERCY OF GOD

 

For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." (Romans 9:15).

 

The answer is seen in the sovereign mercy of God. It is because God is God. He is absolutely free to act according to the attributes of His own character. Paul illustrates this principle with a quote from the Old Testament.

 

He takes us back to the Sinai Desert. Moses has been on Mount Sinai for forty days. While he is on the mountain, the people of Israel turn away from God to worship a golden calf. As a result, God judges the Israelites and decrees that they shall not be permitted to enter into the Promised Land. It is in this context that God proclaims the principle of His sovereign mercy.

 

And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." (Exodus 33:19).

 

Moses has been pleading for the forgiveness of the people. God responds by declaring that He is free to decide toward whom He shall be merciful.

 

There is a principle here. It is that the doctrine of election is based upon the mercy of God. For God to choose some to salvation is for Him to show mercy toward those individuals.

 

God showed that kind of mercy toward Israel. Israel was not given mercy because of her faith. She was not given mercy because she was more righteous than the surrounding nations. Israel’s mercy did not come from any quality that Israel possessed. It was the mercy of God.

 

God is not under any obligation to show mercy to anyone. Prayer does not even obligate God to show mercy. Nothing can dictate to God toward whom He must show mercy. There is no injustice in this. Neither is there any injustice in God’s withholding mercy from those whom He has not chosen.

 

If ten people owed me money and I chose to forgive the debt of three of them, bust still required the other seven to pay their debt, I would not be unjust. In the same way, there is no injustice in God being merciful to some and not being merciful to others.

 

You might protest that this is unfair. To do so, you would be implying that God is under some obligation to treat all men equally. This is not true. God is not obligated to treat all men equally and He does not treat all men equally.

 

Some men have IQ’s of 130 while others are lower in intelligence. Some are born into wealthy homes while some are poor by birth. Some have very long life spans while some die very young in life. Some have great athletic ability while some are 97 pound weaklings. It has been said that if all men are created equal, then some are more equal than others. We are not treated equally by God. God is not obligated to treat anyone equally and there is no injustice in this.

 

THE BASIS OF ELECTION

 

In verse 16, Paul draws a conclusion from the fact that God is sovereign in the bestowal of His mercy. The conclusion is introduced by the words "so then." The conclusion concerns the basis of God’s election.

 

So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (Romans 9:16).

 

God’s election is not based upon the will of man. God did not look down the corridors of time to see what man will choose and then grant mercy on the basis of what man’s decision would be. Election is not based upon what man wills.

 

Election does NOT depend upon...The Man who Wills

The Man who Runs

Emphasis upon the decision of man

Emphasis upon the actions of man

 

Neither is election based upon what man does. It is not based upon any of his good works, his morality, his ethics, or anything else that he does. It is not even based upon man’s faith. God is completely free to show mercy on whomever He chooses to show mercy.

 

Paul now goes on to illustrate this point in the story of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt who was judged by God at the exodus.

 

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." (Romans 9:17).

 

You remember the story. Pharaoh was the king of Egypt. He was the sovereign of the mightiest kingdom on the face of the earth. His armies had marched all the way to the Euphrates River. But the Lord says that HE is the one who raised up Pharaoh. HE is the one who placed Pharaoh on the throne of Egypt.

 

This is astounding when we realize that Pharaoh’s program was the subjugation of the people of God. He resorted to infanticide to bring this about. He had Hebrew male children put to death (mandatory post-birth abortions). He was directly opposed to God. And yet, it was God who had chosen Pharaoh and who had placed him on the throne of Egypt. God chose to raise up Pharaoh, to harden his heart, and then to bring him to ruin so that God might be glorified.

 

Here is Paul’s point. It is not Pharaoh who wills or Pharaoh who runs, but God! This brings us to a new conclusion. It is presented in verse 18. So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. (Romans 9:18).

 

Paul’s new conclusion is again introduced by the phrase "so then." It is a conclusion based upon the two previous illustrations of Israel and of Pharaoh.

 

1. God has mercy on whom He desires.

 

We have already seen this principle in the case of Israel. Paul quoted Exodus 33:19 to show that God is not obligated to show mercy to anyone. He is free to bestow His mercy on whom He desires.

 

2. God hardens whom He desires.

 

This conclusion is based upon the case of Pharaoh to which Paul has just referred. It is often argued that Pharaoh hardened his own heart and that God was not the initiator of this hardening process.

 

"Pharaoh was responsible for the hardening of his heart even though that hardening process was foreknown and foretold by God." (William Evens, Great Doctrines of the Bible, Moody).

 

We can turn to passages in Exodus which say both that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and also that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. It is frequently maintained that God did not harden Pharaoh’s heart until he had first hardened his own heart. Thus the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is not seen to be God’s initial doing, but Pharaoh’s.

 

This passage teaches just the opposite. Paul makes it very clear that Pharaoh’s decision to harden his own heart ultimately came from God.

 

The whole point that Paul is making is that God works and chooses and hardens and has mercy according to His own will. He is the instigator of His plan. This is confirmed in the Old Testament account when the Lord revealed His plan to Moses.

 

And the Lord said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I WILL HARDEN HIS HEART so that he will not let the people go." (Exodus 4:21).

 

God told Moses that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart. For us to maintain that God was only a secondary source of this hardening process would be to attribute the actions of God to Pharaoh.

 

The fact that it was God who was the initiator of this hardening process is evidenced by the objection that Paul raises concerning God’s righteous judgment of Pharaoh.

 

 

 

THE QUESTION OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT

 

You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" (Romans 9:19).

 

There is a difference between the question which is asked in verse 14 and the question which is asked here.

 

Verse 14"What shall we say, then?"

First Person ("we"): This is a question raised by Christians

There is no injustice with God, is there?

This question is answered from the Old Testament.

Verse 19"You will say to me then..."

Second Person ("you"): This is a question of unbelief

Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?

 

The questioner is rebuked from the Old Testament.Here is the question which Paul raises. How can God hold men responsible for their disobedience when it is God who hardens their hearts? How can God judge Pharaoh for sinning when Pharaoh is acting according to God’s divine plan? If God is responsible for hardening Pharaoh’s heart, and if it is impossible for Pharaoh to resist the will of God, then how can God judge him for what he has done? Why does God still find fault with Pharaoh?

 

This is a very relevant question. We could ask, "If it is God who has chosen certain men to believe and to be saved, and if he has hardened other men against the gospel, then how can He direct his wrath and anger and condemnation against those who are hardened?"

 

The usual response of a Christian when he is presented with this objection is to back off and explain that God has merely chosen men on the basis of what He knew they would believe. By doing so, the well_meaning Christian is seeking to "take God off the hook" so that He will not be seen to be responsible for sin. However, to do so is to take God down off His throne and to treat Him as a creature instead of recognizing Him as the sovereign Creator.

 

Paul takes a very different approach to this question. We can describe his approach both in the negative as well as in the positive.

 

1. Paul does not back off of what he has taught.

 

He does not try to soften his teaching nor does he feel the need to clarify or defend what he has previously taught with regard to election.

 

Don’t miss this! The question is only valid if the premise is valid. The premise of the question is that God is sovereign, and that He does choose to save some but not others. If the premise was wrong, then Paul would have corrected it here and now. But he does not correct the premise. This further confirms that Paul is teaching the doctrine of individual election.

 

2. Paul indicts the questioner for talking back to God.

 

The question and the questioner are out of order. It is a question which man has no right to ask.

 

3. Paul answers the charge of injustice with an Old Testament illustration.

 

 

 

THE ILLUSTRATION OF THE POTTER AND THE CLAY

 

On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? (Romans 9:20-21).

 

The charge was that God could not find fault with sinners if it is He who has mercy and if it He who hardens. Paul does not argue the charge. He does not try to defend God. God needs no defense. God is not on trial. It is man who is on trial. And it is the height of human arrogance for a man to try to pass judgment upon the righteousness of God.

 

Paul does not answer the charge. Instead he repels the charge. He proclaims that the objection is out of order. He states that it is not a valid objection. He proclaims that man has no right to make a charge against God. For a man to try to judge God is for him to claim that his standard of justice is higher than God’s standard.

 

Paul illustrates this by using a familiar Old Testament example. It is the example of a potter and his clay. The same illustration is used several times.

 

You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, that what is made should say to its maker, "He did not make me"; or what is formed say to him who formed it, "He had no understanding"? (Isaiah 29:16).

 

Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker - an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, "What are you doing?" Or the thing you are making say, "He has no hands"? 10 Woe to him who says to a father, "What are you begetting?" Or to a woman, "To what are you giving birth?" (Isaiah 45:9-10).

 

But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and all of us are the work of Thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8).

 

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 6 "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the Lord. "Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel." (Jeremiah 18:3-6).

 

The illustration is of a potter sitting at his wheel. He takes a portion of clay from his pile and he fashions a beautiful vase to be sold at the market for a vast sum. Then from that same lump of clay, he might take another portion of clay and mold a basin to be used by a farmer for feeding his pigs.

 

No one would ever think of charging the potter with injustice because he had not given equal treatment to both lumps of clay. No one can question the potter’s right to do with the lump of clay as he will.

 

The principle is the same here. As the sovereign Creator, God can do anything with His creation that He desires. He is free to act as He chooses.

 

Now we admit that man is not the same as clay. Man has emotions and feelings and he is an intelligent creature. But he is still a creature. He was created.

 

Thus God is free to make from that lump a Moses who will lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God is also free to make from that same lump a Pharaoh who will be used in spite of himself to glorify his Creator.

 

VESSELS OF MERCY AND VESSELS OF WRATH

 

Paul has just given us the illustration of the potter. In that illustration, he suggested that there are two kinds of pots -- one for honorable use and one for dishonorable use. Now he takes that illustration one step further.

 

1. Vessels of Wrath.

 

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? (Romans 9:22).

 

This verse opens with a conditional clause. It is a first class condition. It assumes the truth of the statement which it proceeds. We could translate it "since." This is not merely a possible hypothesis, but an established fact.

 

From the lump of humanity there are some who have been designed as "vessels of wrath." These vessels of wrath have been prepared for the purpose of destruction. We call this the doctrine of reprobation. Their destiny is destruction.

 

At the same time, Paul does not specifically say that God created them to BE vessels of wrath, but only that he endured those vessels. The point is that, although God’s plan has included the sinful acts of men, we should not take this to mean that God has actively CAUSED men to sin. To take such a position would be to make God the author of sin, a position against which the Bible is clearly opposed.

 

2. Vessels of Mercy.

 

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. (Romans 9:22-24).

 

Why would God allow vessels of wrath? Verse 23 tells us the reason. This verse tells us why the sinner continually goes through this life without divine judgment being poured out on him. It tells us why God allows sin to continue in the world. It is so that God might make known the riches of His glory upon the vessels of mercy which He also created.

 

It is for our benefit. It is so that He might save us from the ver worst and then freely give to us the very best so that, in the end, He might be glorified. Peter says it this way:

 

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).

 

This verse says that God wishes for all to come to repentance. Notice to whom the "all" refers. It is to the same group toward whom God is patient. It refers to "YOU."

 

Peter is speaking to believers. He is speaking to those who are among the elect. He is speaking to those who have been chosen by God. This election has been manifested by the fact that these have come to faith in Jesus Christ. In effect, Peter is saying that God is being patient toward those whom He has chosen because He is not willing that any of them should perish.

 

Peter concludes that he wants believers to regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation (2 Peter 3:15). When we look at the patience of the Lord and realize that He is withholding His judgment of sin, we are not to think that God does not care about sin. Rather, the continuance of sin and suffering in the world is for our benefit and our salvation. If God had stopped all sin and all suffering 100 years ago, we would not have been saved. The fact that He has not done so is a sign of our salvation.

 

Paul says the same thing here in Romans. He says that God is enduring "with much PATIENCE vessels of wrath." (9:22). This is why Christ has not yet returned. He is withholding His judgment until all whom He has chosen are saved so that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

There will be no objects of mercy who will be lost. God knows those who are His even before they know Him. And He has promised not to lose any.

 

THE TESTIMONY OF THE PROPHETS

 

If it is true that there are none of God’s chosen people who will be lost, then how do we explain the case of Israel? After all, Israel is God’s chosen people. Yet there are many of the Jews who rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

 

Paul has already given a partial answer in verse 6 when he said that "they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel." Now he goes on to show that this was in accordance with the promises of the Old Testament.

 

1. The Promise of the Salvation of the Gentiles.

 

As He says also in Hosea, "I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ and her who was not beloved, ‘Beloved.’" 26 And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they shall be called sons of the living God." (Roman 9:25-26).

 

Paul quotes from two separate passages in the book of Hosea (Hosea 2:23 and 1:10). His purpose is to show that God promised in the Old Testament to make those who were "not God’s people" to become "God’s people."

 

Unbelieving Gentiles

Those who were not My people

Her who was not beloved

You are not my people

 

Believing Gentiles

My People

Beloved

Sons of the Living God

 

Hosea wrote in a day of apostasy. The 10 tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel had rebelled against God. Because of their rebellion, the Lord said that He would reject them. Those who had been considered to be His people would no longer be His people. But with this message of judgment also came a message of grace. There was hope for the future. Although Israel would be taken away into captivity and scattered among the Gentile nations, God would gather from among those same Gentile nations a people for Himself. Those who were "not God’s people" would become "His people." Though they had sinned and had become "non-Israelites," they could repent and return and become the people of God.

 

2. The Promise of the Preservation of the Jews.

 

Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; 28 for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly."

 

And just as Isaiah foretold, "Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, we would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah." (Romans 9:27-29).

 

Paul now turns to Isaiah. This passage promises that there shall always be a remnant. This is a promise of hope. It is a promise that, even though not all Israel is Israel and even though those who are not God’s people are going to become God’s people, there shall continue to be a remnant of Israel who shall be Israel. Apart from the grace of God, Israel would have degenerated to the moral depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

Do you see the principle? Man without God always degenerates. It is only by God’s gracious election that some men are saved.

 

3. The Promise of Israel’s Failure leading to Gentile Victory.

 

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.

 

Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed." (Roman 9:30-33).

 

Paul now presents a general contrast between Jews and Gentiles as they relate to the righteousness of God.

 

GentilesDid not pursue righteousness

Attained the righteousness which is by faithJewsPursued a law of righteousness

Did not arrive at that law because they did not pursue it by faithThe righteousness which the Gentiles attained is the one which Paul set forth in Romans 3 -- the righteousness which is imputed through faith in Christ.

 

The irony is that the Gentiles were not all that concerned with righteousness in the first place. It was the Jews whose very culture consisted of a search for righteousness. The problem is that they could never manage to attain that for which they sought.

 

It seems a bit unfair. The Gentiles stumble onto righteousness with no effort at all. Where did the Jews go wrong? The answer is seen in verse 32. They stumbled. The cause of their stumbling was a stone.

 

Paul combines Isaiah 8:14 with Isaiah 28:16, both of which speak of a "stone of stumbling." For those who trust in Jesus as the Messiah, they find Him to be their rock of salvation. But to those who reject Him, He is a stone of stumbling.

 

What kind of a "stone" is Jesus to you? Is He the rock of your salvation, or is He a stone of offense? Is Jesus the basis of your stumbling or the source of your salvation?

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Is Predestination Morally Right? That's the wrong question.

 

The question to ask is, "Is it morally right for God to create people to spend eternity with himself?" Most definitely yes.

 

What of the other people God made? What about them? They're not made for eternity. Why is God morally wrong to not give eternity to people he owes nothing to, in the first place, and to those same people who don't love God and therefor don't want to spend eternity with God.

 

 

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From a "Free Will" point of view, the question is a good one to ask. They may not like the answer, but the question is directed right at their thoughts. He is God and we are His creation. That is enough. However, He gives us more of an answer than that, as was posted in the OP. Further, He says that we can know right now that we are going to live with the Lord through eternity, that we don't have to wait to know for sure. How we know for sure is by doing what Jesus commands in the Bible. Produce good fruit. The wheat and the tares. The wheat are always wheat, the tares always tares. He created all things, including those things that do evil, so that He may show His mercy on whom He will in spite of our sinful nature which can never obtain mercy except by the work of God, per the OP.

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God is good, God is just. God created us to love and adore him. He gave us a free will , because love without free will is not love. Love requires sacrifice. Heaven is being with God and loving him. Therefore God will not force a person, who loves him not, into heaven, because, if forced, the person does not love him. God is not obligated to show mercy, but because he is infinitely good he does. Predestination - as you describe it - is not just and therefore not true. This is because God is just. Mt 10:22 – he who endures to the end will be saved. Mt 24:13 – he who perseveres to the end will be saved. Mk 8:35 – he who loses his life for my sake will save it. Gal 5:4 – “you have fallen from grace”. These passages show that working to follow Christ is needed, because you need to love God in heaven, and forced love is not love at all.

Edited by Irish_Catholic

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God is good, God is just. God created us to love and adore him. He gave us a free will , because love without free will is not love. Love requires sacrifice. Heaven is being with God and loving him. Therefore God will not force a person, who loves him not, into heaven, because, if forced, the person does not love him. God is not obligated to show mercy, but because he is infinitely good he does. Predestination is not just and therefore not true. This is because God is just. Mt 10:22 – he who endures to the end will be saved. Mt 24:13 – he who perseveres to the end will be saved. Mk 8:35 – he who loses his life for my sake will save it. Gal 5:4 – “you have fallen from grace”. These passages show that working to follow Christ is needed, because you need to love God in heaven, and forced love is not love at all.

 

But would any man have any desire to pursue God (at all), let alone persevere until the end without the draw of God's seductive love calling us to himself?

 

In my personal experience, the answer was 'no'.

I can't answer for your heart.

 

Thus I found predestination to be both claimed by Scripture, and essential for drawing ME to him.

Without predestination, I am left with the reality that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" and "no one seeks after Him, no not one." We become Pharisees or Jehovah's Witness, desperately striving to earn what cannot be bought.

 

It required the new heart FIRST, and only then was love even possible.

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@William

Thank you.

That was a thorough discussion.

I still don't LIKE some of the answers, but I have them and I have the verses to support them.

That makes it my problem to suck it up and deal with it, because God will not be changing Scripture to satisfy my opinions.

 

(God deliberately creating a people for the purpose of destruction and saying 'who are you to question me' ... while logically valid, still feels pretty harsh ... back to my point of discomfort with Monergism.)

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(God deliberately creating a people for the purpose of destruction and saying 'who are you to question me' ... while logically valid, still feels pretty harsh ... back to my point of discomfort with Monergism.)

 

I notice our Reformed church keeps a box of tissues outside the sanctuary. I always thought the box was there for tears of joy. Isn't it interesting how different people react to proper theology?

 

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]n19585[/ATTACH]

 

In all seriousness, as you know Arthur, some have viewed double predestination as a matter of equal causation, where God is equally responsible for causing the reprobate not to believe as He is for causing the elect to believe. We call this a positive-positive view of predestination.

 

The positive-positive view of predestination teaches that God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to work grace in their hearts and bring them to faith. Likewise, the case of the reprobates, He works evil in the hearts of the reprobate and actively prevents them from coming to faith. This view has often been called "Hyper-Calvinism" because it goes beyond the view of Calvin, Luther, and other Reformers.

 

The Reformed view of double predestination follows a positive-negative schema. In the case of the elect, God intervenes to positively and actively work grace in their souls and bring to saving faith. He unilaterally regenerates the elect and insures their salvation. In the case of the reprobate He does not work evil in them or prevent them to faith. Rather, He passes over them, leaving them to their own sinful devices. In this view there is no symmetry of divine action. God's activity is asymmetrical between the elect and the reprobate. There is, however, a kind of equal ultimacy. The reprobate, who are passed over by God, are ultimately doomed, and their damnation is as certain and sure as the ultimate salvation of the elect.

 

The problem is linked to biblical statements, such as those regarding God's hardening of Pharaoh's heart. That the bible says God hardened Pharaoh's heart is beyond dispute. The question remains, how did God harden Pharaoh? Luther argued for a passive rather than an active hardening. That is, God did not create fresh evil in Pharaoh's heart. There was already enough evil present in Pharaoh's heart to incline him to resist the will of God at every turn. All God ever has to do to harden anybody is to remove His restraining grace from them and give them over to their own evil impulses.

 

A must see brief sermon clip:

 

 

God bless,

William

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Is Predestination Morally Right? That's the wrong question.

 

The question to ask is, "Is it morally right for God to create people to spend eternity with himself?" Most definitely yes.

 

What of the other people God made? What about them? They're not made for eternity. Why is God morally wrong to not give eternity to people he owes nothing to, in the first place, and to those same people who don't love God and therefor don't want to spend eternity with God.

 

 

Would that Cornelius were still a contributing member.

I believe that he and I would have stood shoulder to shoulder in this matter.

To perish back to the dust from which man originated became the default destiny of man once "the soul that sinned surely died", at which point his spirit returned to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7) to await the second resurrection and the second 'death'.

There is no injustice in the fulfilment of that default process.

It was God's sovereign right to create an alternative in the form of the Tree of Live, and to set a guard over it in order to preserve it for those to whom he would choose to be its beneficiaries.

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I notice our Reformed church keeps a box of tissues outside the sanctuary. I always thought the box was there for tears of joy. Isn't it interesting how different people react to proper theology?

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]n19585[/ATTACH]

 

 

In all seriousness, as you know Arthur, some have viewed double predestination as a matter of equal causation, where God is equally responsible for causing the reprobate not to believe as He is for causing the elect to believe. We call this a positive-positive view of predestination.

 

The positive-positive view of predestination teaches that God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to work grace in their hearts and bring them to faith. Likewise, the case of the reprobates, He works evil in the hearts of the reprobate and actively prevents them from coming to faith. This view has often been called "Hyper-Calvinism" because it goes beyond the view of Calvin, Luther, and other Reformers.

 

The Reformed view of double predestination follows a positive-negative schema. In the case of the elect, God intervenes to positively and actively work grace in their souls and bring to saving faith. He unilaterally regenerates the elect and insures their salvation. In the case of the reprobate He does not work evil in them or prevent them to faith. Rather, He passes over them, leaving them to their own sinful devices. In this view there is no symmetry of divine action. God's activity is asymmetrical between the elect and the reprobate. There is, however, a kind of equal ultimacy. The reprobate, who are passed over by God, are ultimately doomed, and their damnation is as certain and sure as the ultimate salvation of the elect.

 

The problem is linked to biblical statements, such as those regarding God's hardening of Pharaoh's heart. That the bible says God hardened Pharaoh's heart is beyond dispute. The question remains, how did God harden Pharaoh? Luther argued for a passive rather than an active hardening. That is, God did not create fresh evil in Pharaoh's heart. There was already enough evil present in Pharaoh's heart to incline him to resist the will of God at every turn. All God ever has to do to harden anybody is to remove His restraining grace from them and give them over to their own evil impulses.

 

A must see brief sermon clip:

 

 

God bless,

William

 

Greetings William,

We've spilled more than a few electrons on this topic. ;)

Let's see if I can communicate using your new terms (new to me, anyway).

 

My heart and mind embrace the positive-negative view of predestination. For damnation, God just needs to remove His restraining grace and our fallen nature is more than adequate for the job. Spurgeon had some really good quotes on this in his 'Morning and Evening'.

 

The part that BOTHERS me is my inability to disprove the positive-positive view from scripture. Any verse that might defend against "Hyper-Calvinism" can probably be used to defend Armineanism and the counter to Armineanism for that verse is the support for "Hyper-Calvinism". I do not believe that "Hyper-Calvinism" has a strong case. It gnaws at the basic character of God and Paul's defense "who are you to question?" really only makes that worse.

 

I am opposed to any theology that paints God as a loan shark shaking down his people for his cut off the top (as some tend to preach tithes ... "Will a man rob God?"), and I am opposed to any view of God as a mean drunk ready to take out a belt "How dare you ask me that, I'll teach you some respect, boy!" (as Paul's non-defense reads in the face of "Hyper-Calvinism").

 

I am motivated by a desire to give a defense and an honest account of my beliefs. I know what my heart says about who Jesus is, I just need to be ready to defend my heart with logic and scripture.

 

[i have no sound at my current computer, so I'll watch the clip later when I can get to my iPad.]

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God did not predestine anyone to hell. Going to hell is caused be man being unrepentant. Grace is necessary for salvation, but man is damned by his own freewill. 1 Tim 2:4 – God wills all men to be saved.

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God did not predestine anyone to hell. Going to hell is caused be man being unrepentant. Grace is necessary for salvation, but man is damned by his own freewill. 1 Tim 2:4 – God wills all men to be saved.

 

Can you repent of your own strength?

If so, then have you not earned some of the credit for your salvation?

If not, then is it not God who has given you the faith necessary to repent and withheld that faith from those who have not repented?

 

 

Let me make it even simpler.

If God wills ALL MEN to be saved, why are some saved and some not saved?

(Human works?)

 

 

Eph 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

 

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Can you repent of your own strength?

If so, then have you not earned some of the credit for your salvation?

If not, then is it not God who has given you the faith necessary to repent and withheld that faith from those who have not repented?

 

 

Let me make it even simpler.

If God wills ALL MEN to be saved, why are some saved and some not saved?

(Human works?)

 

 

Eph 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

 

We are actually going into the doctrine of Total Depravity, @Irish_Catholic: https://www.christforums.org/forum/christian-community/reformed-theology/5903-total-depravity-verse-list

 

@atpollard Here's another resource on double predestination from the Reformed perspective: https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/qna/double.html

 

God bless,

William

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God deliberately creating a people for the purpose of destruction and saying 'who are you to question me' ... while logically valid, still feels pretty harsh ... back to my point of discomfort with Monergism.)
God didn't create people for destruction.
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
This is what God made man for. Adam and Eve for a while were to be sort of the representatives of God on earth but that changed when Adam sinned. His sin doomed all his descendents but God chose to have mercy on some but not because any of them deserved to be saved.

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God didn't create people for destruction. This is what God made man for. Adam and Eve for a while were to be sort of the representatives of God on earth but that changed when Adam sinned. His sin doomed all his descendents but God chose to have mercy on some but not because any of them deserved to be saved.

I stand on a pier surrounded by water with thousands of people who can't swim ... drowning. I throw a rope and pull some to the pier. Meanwhile, others drown. I am not responsible for any of the people being in the water, but my act of throwing a rope to one and not another places some responsibility for who lives and who dies on me.

 

The difference between me and God is I could not have saved all of them, but God could and chose not to. This is not an accusation, but an inescapable conclusion from God being Omnipotent, Omnicient and Omnipresent. To "let God off the hook" with some excuse is to attack one of his OMNI attributes and render him not God but just a god (small g).

 

Thus it is a philosophical issue that must be struggled with.

 

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But people do have a choice to do what's right, don't they? Free will. That's what makes all the difference. Before His crucifixion, Jesus said once He was raised, He would draw ALL MEN to Him.

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
All. Not the elect. Not the chosen few.
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
“He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
If it were not possible for all wicked people to turn from their ways so they could live, God wouldn't have said that to Ezekiel. So no one really has an excuse for failing to live the way God desires them to.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
While every can choose to do whatever they please, if you were chosen to do the work of God, you have to do it. Take Jeremiah as an example:
The word of the Lord came to me, saying,“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Can we therefore say God was unfair in setting Jeremiah apart as prophet long before he was born? Or Cyrus as the liberator of the Jews long before he was born? While God has the ability to save everyone, the LORD also is the God of Justice. Humans deserve their punishment — death. If everyone was saved would God still be Just if all the criminals were let of the hook? Remember Nebuchadnezzar's punishment?
The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men . . .
He'd exalted himself and had to be punished. What of everyone else who doesn't obey the commandments of the King? The holy ones want justice don't they? But God can grant a pardon to a few of the miscreants, can't He?
"And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds
Our deeds. God doesn't make us do anything.

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But people do have a choice to do what's right, don't they? Free will. That's what makes all the difference. Before His crucifixion, Jesus said once He was raised, He would draw ALL MEN to Him. All. Not the elect. Not the chosen few. If it were not possible for all wicked people to turn from their ways so they could live, God wouldn't have said that to Ezekiel. So no one really has an excuse for failing to live the way God desires them to. While every can choose to do whatever they please, if you were chosen to do the work of God, you have to do it. Take Jeremiah as an example: Can we therefore say God was unfair in setting Jeremiah apart as prophet long before he was born? Or Cyrus as the liberator of the Jews long before he was born? While God has the ability to save everyone, the LORD also is the God of Justice. Humans deserve their punishment — death. If everyone was saved would God still be Just if all the criminals were let of the hook? Remember Nebuchadnezzar's punishment? He'd exalted himself and had to be punished. What of everyone else who doesn't obey the commandments of the King? The holy ones want justice don't they? But God can grant a pardon to a few of the miscreants, can't He? Our deeds. God doesn't make us do anything.

If Romans is to be believed, and I think it is, then all have a choice to do right, but none have the ability to do right.

 

Turning back to my Drowning People analogy ... there are two views debated for centuries.

 

THE FIRST VIEW:

A multitude struggles drowning in a sea of sin. Jesus calls from the pier and as men struggle to the edge of the pier, Jesus reaches into the water and draws the drowning man to the safety of the pier. Safe from drowning in the ocean of the world of sin.

 

THE SECOND VIEW:

A multitude floats dead in a sea of sin. There is no life within them. They are powerless to struggle towards the pier. Their soul might want to struggle towards the pier, but their body has no life in it. Jesus draws the lifeless corpses from the water onto the pier and breathes life into them. A life they never had before.

 

In the first view, the credit (glory) for the work of salvation must rightly be shared between the man whose strength pulled him to the pier and Jesus, whose strength lifted him out of the ocean of sin. In the second view, all of the credit (glory) belongs to Jesus, because the dead man was able to contribute nothing. You must search the full body of scripture and decide which view you will embrace and why. My heart longs for the first view, because it appeals to my human nature and sense of fairness. I am saved because I said yes and deserve to be saved and the lost are lost because they said no and deserve to be lost. Unfortunately, scripture does not support the longings of my human heart. Scripture speaks of a soverign God who will not share his glory, and who acts for reasons that are found 100% within Him and have nothing to do with me ... except God loved me. Before the foundation of the earth.

 

So I accept and embrace the second view because it fits scripture better.

 

Look back at those verses you quoted. To whom were they spoken? Were they delivered to the unsaved masses, or to God's faithful? That will tell you who the pronouns refer to. Do not pluck verses out of context. See them in their context and see the heart of God.

 

It is not God's wish that any of those whom God has loved from eternity past should be lost, but every last one that he had predestined (which God clearly claims he has done) would be gathered into the fold before God calls the world finished and pours out his judgement. That is what that verse is about.

 

To infer that God desires many to be saved who somehow resist God's call and remain damned, mocks God's Sovereignty and makes a liar of verses that claim His word will not return void, but will accomplish what he set it out to do.

Edited by atpollard
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While God has the ability to save everyone, the LORD also is the God of Justice. Humans deserve their punishment — death. If everyone was saved would God still be Just if all the criminals were let of the hook?

 

Hi Smithee, the answer to your question in bold above is "yes", God would still be "just" if He saved everyone. In fact, if God could be considered "unjust" for saving ALL of the wicked (i.e. Romans 4:5), then He would also need to be considered unjust for saving ANY of the wicked, don't you think?

 

IOW, if the "basis" for God's gracious choice to save us (i.e. 2 Corinthians 5:21) cannot be considered "just" for saving EVERYONE, then it would be equally unjust for ANY (or even, for just ONE) to be saved in this manner.

 

Yours in Christ,

David

 

 

"To the one who does not work, but believes in

Him who justifies the wicked, his faith

is credited as righteousness"

Romans 4:5

 

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Hi Smithee, the answer to your question in bold above is "yes", God would still be "just" if He saved everyone. In fact, if God could be considered "unjust" for saving ALL of the wicked (i.e. Romans 4:5), then He would also need to be considered unjust for saving ANY of the wicked, don't you think?

 

IOW, if the "basis" for God's gracious choice to save us (i.e. 2 Corinthians 5:21) cannot be considered "just" for saving EVERYONE, then it would be equally unjust for ANY (or even, for just ONE) to be saved in this manner.

 

Yours in Christ,

David

"To the one who does not work, but believes in

Him who justifies the wicked, his faith

is credited as righteousness"

Romans 4:5

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, all of this is moot because God told us that He's 'not' going to save everyone, rather, that He's chosen to save the "Elect" only (and that it is these ordained/appointed ones alone who will choose to believe .. i.e. Acts 13:48).

 

Yours and His,

David

 

 

 

 

 

 

"As many as had been appointed to eternal life believed"

Acts 13:48b

 

 

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I believe none are predestined to hell per the verse pointed out that none of us are meant to perish. If we die before the "age of accountability", i believe we are in. Some may be predestined to greatness. Or are they? They made choices. Adam and Eve had a choice. And we know someone else would have shortly after had they not eaten the forbidden fruit. Judas had a choice. Pharaoh had several choices. Moses had a choice. He didn't get to the promise land. The Apostles had choices. Were they predestined to be crucified? They didn't have to be, they could have run. Only One was predestined; our LORD JESUS CHRIST. He had to die. I had a choice (still do), knew better and yet rejected it, but by the grace of GOD was given another chance to get right. Thank you LORD! Had i died before making that choice, let's just say eternity would be hell with my thoughts alone.

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God told us that He's 'not' going to save everyone

 

Couldn't agree more. Spent some time compiling a response on this subject: https://www.christforums.org/forum/cult-groups-movements/heresy-hill/universalism/1860-is-the-atonement-of-christ-unlimited?p=1866#post1866

 

God bless,

William

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Just for fun, I did a quick search for this "Free Will" in the ESV Bible.

Focusing on verses containing "free" & "will" in the New Testament, here is what I came up with ...

 

 

Jhn 8:32

and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

 

Jhn 8:33

They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free'?”

 

Jhn 8:36

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

 

Rom 5:17

For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

 

Rom 7:3

Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

 

Rom 8:21

that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

 

Eph 6:8

knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.

 

Heb 13:5

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

 

... What I see is a lot of freedom that is a gift from God.

What I do not see is any reference to an innate human freedom of will.

I offer Saul/Paul as an example ... Where was the pleading of God for Saul to accept the gift of Grace and Paul's choice to accept or reject the call of God?

 

I would welcome some correction from scripture supporting this notion that we are free to choose or reject the grace offered by God, because I am just not seeing it presented in the Bible.

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Just for fun, I did a quick search for this "Free Will" in the ESV Bible.

Focusing on verses containing "free" & "will" in the New Testament, here is what I came up with ...

 

 

Jhn 8:32

and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

 

Jhn 8:33

They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free'?”

 

Jhn 8:36

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

 

Rom 5:17

For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

 

Rom 7:3

Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

 

Rom 8:21

that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

 

Eph 6:8

knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.

 

Heb 13:5

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

 

... What I see is a lot of freedom that is a gift from God.

What I do not see is any reference to an innate human freedom of will.

I offer Saul/Paul as an example ... Where was the pleading of God for Saul to accept the gift of Grace and Paul's choice to accept or reject the call of God?

 

I would welcome some correction from scripture supporting this notion that we are free to choose or reject the grace offered by God, because I am just not seeing it presented in the Bible.

 

The word "free will" is indeed in the Bible in relation to OT freewill offerings.

 

But no, man's will in bound by sin and completely unable to choose God. That's why God does all the work in salvation.

 

 

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The word "free will" is indeed in the Bible in relation to OT freewill offerings.

 

It is. I think the Lutheran book of Concord uses such language to distinguish between a free will offering or one being compelled by the law. The natural man or unbelieving man does "good" in the sight and standards of other men, but this a far cry from making a claim that rejects the necessity of regeneration, and man's works in the presence and relation of a Holy God. This is why it is so important to clarify what one means by "free will", whether they mean autonomous or libertarian will, or simply having a choice. 99 percent of the people I ever spark dialogue with only mean, by free will, that man has a choice - to which I agree. However, if our goal is to deepen our understanding of the Sovereignty of God and man's depravity we need entice our brethren to think through free will presuppositions. Such things as charity or contributions etc are done by unbelievers too, whether towards Government or God. Really, when I read passages such as Exodus 35 and 36 I come to the realization that a working society without God can exists, because in those passages a stiff necked and rebellious people had voluntarily done things that the law had not required for Israel's sake. This also, like the Israelites, is the case with the Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians 9:8-11, the same free will offers are spoken of, though I am drawn to the motivation and intent of people's works without compulsion or regeneration. Now-a-days it only takes a brief moment to turn on the television and hear the message of so many televangelist, and the distortion they teach to motivate people in sowing a seed without compulsion.

 

God bless,

William

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If you or rather your soul was anointed before the earth was....... to do God's work I suppose you are Predestined............in the real sense...but one can feel predestined I suppose unto the works of God since Jesus placed his Holy Spirit in each of us to feed with his holy words of truth so that we might grow unto perfection.. But all the people in the Bible who were anointed for such work of God, did much much more than talking, as well as feats that we can't do 2day. Jonah was CALLED......is that the same thing in your mind as Predestination since we were given the authority to name a thing.

 

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Well when you want to get down the morals and ethics of certain belief systems, and the more philosophical discussions, perhaps lousy Sunday afternoons is not the best time for me. You might think that Sundays would be the day, given that I do go to church, but the truth is after that I just like to relax and be pretty dumb for the rest of the day until Monday hits. That said, though, it is certainly an interesting question, and one that you can really argue either way. I would say that you can be moral in any belief system that you follow, in as much as you wish to be. Thanks for sharing.

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