Did God predetermine every detail of every person's life, including whether he or she would be saved?
[Darris McNeely] One of the fascinating questions from the Bible, or about the Bible, is, “Does the Bible teach the subject of predestination?” – the idea that we are saved or lost at our birth, and without any determination on our part, without essentially any choice on our part. Now this is a topic that has been debated theologically by a lot of people, a lot of different religions. There have been whole religious ideas based upon the idea that you don’t have a choice, that you’re born one way or the other, in terms of your determined fate – either to be saved, or to be damned for eternity.
Up front, let’s state the Bible does not teach that we will – we have no choice in this matter and that it’s already been determined. God is not that kind of God. God is our Father and God gives us choice, and that’s something we must always remember.
Think about this: you and I as parents, with our children – as we come to know our children, we generally have an idea, in many ways, as to how they’re going to be once we get to know their character, their temperament, and their personality. But we will never know their full choice in every issue that might be presented before them. We might know if they’re a little bit sly, or scrupulously honest. But every child has a choice and it will often surprise a parent. It’s that way with God. God knows the basic course of human nature. He knows what mankind is like, but God still gives each human being choice, and He allows us that opportunity in the moment to choose good and evil, to choose right or wrong. It’s a fundamental freedom that God gives us and that we find back in the book of Genesis – at the very beginning story there, where Adam and Eve were created. They were given a choice between two trees – the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And He basically told them what to do, but He left the choice up to them. And they chose the knowledge from the Tree of Good and Evil.
But that sets the course of how God deals with man. He always gives choice. There’s a wonderful scripture in Deuteronomy 30:19 Deuteronomy 30:19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:
American King James Version×, as God is talking to Israel – I know we’ve used this verse many times on our Dailys and Beyond Today writings. He says to Israel through Moses, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore,” it says, “choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
This is the choice that He gave to Israel. It’s really the choice before each one of us. God did not determine the outcome for Israel, the nation that He had chosen to make a covenant relationship with. He gave them the opportunity to choose. At times they chose wisely, and at times they chose poorly. The story of Israel ended on a down note because they chose to disobey God, and they went into captivity. The same way God works with us today in the faith.
Christ said, at one point, “for every idle word that men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.” In other words, our speech and how we choose to speak and relate in that way. The apostle Paul in Romans 14:10 Romans 14:10But why do you judge your brother? or why do you set at nothing your brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
American King James Version×says, “Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you set at nothing your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” God will judge us based on the decisions we make, the choices that we make. This is a very important point to understand when it comes to this subject of predestination. God gives us choice. In part 2 of this Daily, we’ll go a little deeper into the question and come to a biblical answer as to whether God or the Bible teaches predestination.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.