Discovering Truth

with Keiran & Eraina Mckenzie

Big Question: Predestined Freewill? 15.09

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Are we Robots or Freewill beings?

 Does God know our future choices? (Thando Mlalazi)

 

If God knows our future choices, does that mean we’re “predestined” to act a certain way? or even controlled?

This question has been pondered by many. Some argue that “free-will” is only possible if our choices are hidden from the almighty. They quote Gen 6:6  ‘And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart’, and argue that this scripture as well as others, prove God as “reactive”, therefore caught unaware.

However, others believe that God knows everything, including our future choices without necessarily interfering with our free will. These say “God is not bound by time and space, so he doesn’t experience time-events in a chronological way like we do”. Verses like Gen 1:1 show God as beyond time and space, and Mat 19:26 shows God’s awesome ability to do the impossible,  ‘with God all things are possible.

…What do you think? How does God provide free-will?

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4 comments on “Big Question: Predestined Freewill? 15.09

  1. Ayden
    September 20, 2010

    This question is too deep! I live in Geneva, the home of Calvin. Calvin was a reformer who first came up with the idea of predestination (or Calvinism, as its sometimes referred to). There are many (really, many) verses in the Bible that support both ways of thinking, so it has remained a ‘grey area’ in Christian doctrine for years.

    And its not something that can go away easily – big questions that impact on our personal salvation can arise. Why did Jesus pick Judas, knowing that Judas would eventually betray him, and hang himself? Was Judas unwittingly a ‘guinea pig’ in the grand plan of salvation, used only to lead Jesus to His death? If so, then what does Judas get out of it? Seems a pretty rough deal for him, don’t you think?

    Then there’s me. Am I unwittingly working for God, only to be later ‘cast aside’ for the benefit of God’s purposes? What’s the point in making choices to serve him if He already has my outcome – if i actually have no control over my own destiny? (I don’t actually think this way, but i know its how where people arrive to following Calvinism).

    Or is life like a modern video game. Video games of old used to always end the same way, no matter how many times you made bad choices or ‘died’. Nowadays, videos games often have multiple ending scenarios, which you play out depending on the choices you made earlier in the game. I personally favour this way of thinking. That every choice I make today affects the path i take tomorrow, and in the process, taking me closer to or further from GOD, and that finally, on judgement day, my choices will take me to ‘everlasting damnation’ or onto ‘everlasting life’.

    I prefer this way of think because I feel I have the power to choose. That power, that option, motivates me to ‘depart from that which is evil and cling to that which is good’. I have the knowledge that I can appreciate GOD’s amazing gift of salvation everyday by choosing to live for Him.

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  2. theomusicologist
    February 25, 2011

    I think that this is a question of monumental importance and one which very few people have managed to think through properly – for no other reason than that there are some tools required to think in certain planes – and not everyone has had access to the kind of education which makes that easy.

    At the same time, the Holy Spirit can, does and will inspire many, many people who have never managed to get the same type of formal education as some other people. Sio it is not about ‘education.’ It is about being willing to follow God where He leads – and God can empower an uneducated person to achieve the kinds of heights that would not be possible otherwise.

    These are preliminary comments to the main thrust of what I am about to say: God is not an object of knowledge. Salvation is neither art nor science; those are human disciplines. God transcends all of humanity by definition, so everything we make a theological statement, we need to recognise that a statement is not an argument, and so no-one should necessarily believe a statement. But when a person presents an argument, that argument must be based on coherent premises, and a defense may be required.

    The idea of humanity possessing free will is not an idea that God needs us to defend for Him. It is a choice that we make depending on the picture of God that we develop through the study of His Word.

    It was in fact the legendary Roman Catholic scholar Augustine who first taught the doctrine of predestination – LONG before Calvin. As I type this, I recognise that I have no time right now to do justice to this response. So I will in fact pledge to return to this blog and finish off this answer – as soon as possible. And I will continue right from where I leave off and link the two together.

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  3. Deb Hanson
    June 13, 2012

    I see God as a father figure to all his children, and just as a parent might want a certain path for their child, and guide, support and even redirect their child, so God does too with us.

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  4. Thando
    August 2, 2012

    Interesting views and yes the things God has given us have object lessons for us as demonstrated by Deb Hanson’s view on an interaction within a family and sometimes these scenarios help us see beyond the expression of language. And yes Calvin could be called the father of predestination; however because he was a reformer, doesn’t mean he was right.
    God definitely knows what we will do but that doesn’t mean he forces us to do so. His knowledge doesn’t absolve us of choice. Consider this scripture (Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee). I like to point out that iniquity wasn’t placed in him but found.
    How about this one (Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;) Joshua believes it was up to the people to decide.
    Another scripture (Job1:12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.) The devil wasn’t forced into a direction but was allowed to do what he wanted to do to begin with. Great examples of choice and there are thousands more.
    How about this one (2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.)

    There are many like this one which show that we have a choice to make and God will deal with us according to that choice. It is clear to me that we are not robots and predestination isn’t so. Does this make God an unsympathetic God? Does His Knowledge of everything usurp our choices? A resounding No.

    Does our sovereignty negate God’s foreknowledge? A resounding NO. In Human thinking these things have to be mutually exclusive for the simple reason that we find God’s judgement not inline with ours, so we panel beat His character in order to fit Him in the boxes we’ve made. We put ourselves in the place of God and say, this and that should be different in so doing we find God wanting. Do we even understand sin and the best way to deal with it? What manner of judgement can we formulate?

    Finally, consider what you did today. how much it wasn’t up to you? Even more impressive consider how many choices you made (thousands). In an average day a decision to go to the market or mall is affected by infinite variables. imagine you decided to go shopping tomorrow. what are some of the variables?

    You need to be alive
    The time you wake up
    The weather
    Forgetting a wallet
    road works
    diversions
    traffic lights
    accident
    running tummy
    cold
    clean clothes

    Now imagine how much more we didn’t list, and this impacts on only one decision, now multiply that by the number of decisions and then the number of people. How impressive is it that our God can take those infinite choices, varying infinitely and give us a finite outcome. To compute the variation of choices and then actions and then the coherence of those actions will need an infinite number of computers, computing at infinite Gigahertz. But He who inhabits eternity makes child’s play of it. It’s a wonder that thrills my soul, the wonder that He loves me.

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itstruth@live.co.uk
Keiran & Eraina attends the Community of Hope Seventh day Adventist church most Sabbaths (Saturday) unless we have been asked to do something at another church. We would love you to join us anytime:
9:45am Sabbath school
11:30am - Main service
1:45pm - Lunch/soup provided &; friendship.
4:00pm - Afternoon programme

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