Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 27, 2015

An Invitational on the subject of Predestination in regards of God and the Christian faith (Nathan Wech Section 8 P1/2)

A topic I have always found interesting and overall just fun to talk about with friends and others is the topic of Predestination. Now after doing some research on this topic, before I made this post, I discovered just how broad of a topic it can be. So, for times sake and to keep this conversation on one track, I will be exploring what predestination is and the different arguments over it in regards to Christianity. I decided the best way to go about this would be to make it an invitational. Where I explain the different viewpoints briefly and leave you with a few questions. Then in the next post I will expose my position on it and explain why I believe it to be right. This way, there is no bias and you can feel free to share your own opinions. So, without further gilding the lily, and no more ado, let us begin.

Predestination when broken apart means, pre- before and destination- destiny. So in its literal form, Predestination is the belief that events are bound to happen and there is no recourse in changing them.  So when it comes to how this relates to Christianity we take a look at Predestination in regards to the salvation or damnation on the soul. To better understand the argument, I find it necessary to explain the background a bit. So let's cover that first and then move on into the main course.

Both in the Old and New Testament it mentions Gods omniscience (all-knowing). For example, Psalms 139:1-3, "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways" and then again in the New Testament in 1 John 3:20, "Whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything". This is where the argument of Predestination stems from, "if God is all-knowing, then doesn't that mean he already knows who is going to Hell or not before they are even born?"

One response to this logic is the stance commonly referred to as Determinism. According to this belief, God has his chosen elect people who will receive salvation. Essentially meaning that no person chooses to accept Gods salvation. But instead, God chooses who will accept salvation according to his divine purpose. A popular verse cited on this is John 15:16 where Jesus says, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you". What they are arguing is that since God is omnipresent, meaning time has no hold on him, he is in all and sees all, nothing he does is an act of reaction to mans free will. He has already determined before the dawn of man who will have the Holy Spirit inside of them. As a result, those who He has chosen to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them will accept that salvation and bear those fruits of the Spirit. This is a reference to Galatians 5:22-23 where the apostle Paul explains, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law". If you are bearing these fruits, then according Determinism, you are one of the chosen elect. But if you are not, then that is evidence you are not one of the chosen.

Now on the other hand, the other belief is that of Free Will. According to this belief, God has given man the free will to choose if he will accept salvation or not. This belief stands on the idea that your destiny is all decided by yourself and that, if you so chose to, you could "change your stars". If you wanted to devote your life to serving God and accept Jesus Christ as your savior; and in doing so accept Gods forgiveness and salvation, you could. But if you chose to live however you wanted and hold no moral regard to yourself and in essence reject Gods salvation, you could. Where you spend eternity is completely up to you. Those who stand by this belief will argue that God gave Adam and Eve the option to choose whether they ate from the tree of the knowledge or not. And that it was by their own free will that they ate from it. Another verse commonly quoted is John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life". The argument there is that it is up to you to believe and that in itself is the free will to decide on your own.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fully explaining both of these viewpoints. So now that I have briefly explained both sides of this topic, what are your opinions? What side do you favor and why?

1 comment:

  1. If you ask me: predestination is totally deflating and dispiriting. It's even worse than philosophical determinism, because it attributes our powerlessness to the specific design of an intelligent creator being.