Absolute Predestination

We have many good conversations about predestination. But we seldom define the degree to which predestination affects the universe and all.

At the least it appears many think God imagined the universe before he created it. Let it run its own course without his intervention. And then created what he saw. Making it unchangeable and therefore predestined to happen just as he foresaw it.

Another view, the most extreme says: God created all, including every thought and act of every creature in the universe when he created the universe. That not a grain of sand on the furthest planet shifts position without God who also created its path and movements in the appointed time.

Both extremes depend on God’s perfect knowledge. If God only energizes but doesn’t control all, he then must watch and learn what might or might not happen. And this would mean he is not all knowing as the bible says.

Other theories emerge but the Westminster Confession Chapter 3:1; God's Eternal Decree defines biblical predestination this way.

  1. God, from all eternity, did—by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will—freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass. Yet he ordered all things in such a way that he is not the author of sin, nor does he force his creatures to act against their wills; neither is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

So as I understand, we freely choose for the reasons God created with us, to base our choices on. As we meet up with them at the right time in life.

This resolves free will and divine sovereignty.

Comments

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,934

    Dave,
    VanDyke, defined the doctrine of predestination that God has sovereignly determined the history, life, and destination of all humans, arbitrarily electing some to eternal life and some to eternal condemnation. In short, an individual’s life calling—that is, one’s earthly and eternal destinies—are predetermined by God without the possibility of any change. The individual has no choice as to his or her destiny.

    Let's note there are six verses in the NT in which the verb is used:

    • 1 Co 2:7
    • Eph. 1:1, 5
    • Acts 4:28
    • Rom. 8:29
    • Rom. 8:30

    You seem to be referring to 1 Cor. 2:2-16 (NASB95), in particular, verse 7: "...God predestined before the ages to our glory."

    The noun "predestination" isn't used in the NT. However, the word "predestine" (Gk, proorizo, "decide upon beforehand").

    Violent natural disasters have been a fact of human life. Are you saying, Dave, the following "Top 11 Deadliest Natural Disasters in History" were predestined by God?

    1. The Mediterranean island of Stroggli, for example, is believed to have been completely wiped out by a volcanic eruption and ensuing tsunami that eradicated the entire Minoan civilization around 1500 B.C.
    2. The 1138 Aleppo earthquake--where the death toll of this quake is typically put at about 230,000, but that estimate comes from the 15th century.
    3. The earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. It estimated that the magnitude-7.0 quake and its aftermath killed 230,000 people; in January 2011, officials revised the figure to 316,000.
    4. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami-- A magnitude-9.3 temblor struck undersea off the west coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26, 2004, creating a massive tsunami that killed people in 14 separate countries. The overall death toll is estimated at between 230,000 and 280,000 people. In some places, especially hardest-hit Indonesia.
    5. The 1920 Haiyuan earthquake
    6. The 1976 Tangshan earthquake
    7. The 526 Antioch earthquake
    8. The 1839 India cyclone/1881 Haiphong typhoon
    9. The 1970 Bhola cyclone
    10. The 1556 Shaanxi earthquake
    11. The 1887 Yellow River Flood

    Which of the three of your theories above would explain the "Top 11 Deadliest Natural Disasters in History" on planet earth?

    1. "God imagined the universe before he created it. Let it run its own course without his intervention".
    2. "God created all, including every thought and act of every creature in the universe when he created the universe".
    3. "God, from all eternity, did—by the most wise [wisest] and holy counsel of his own will—freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass".

    What says ye on the matter? CM

    SOURCES:

    -- Leanne VanDyke, “Predestination,” in Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, ed. David Noel Freedman (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 1079, 1080.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,309

    @C_M_ said:
    Dave,
    VanDyke, defined the doctrine of predestination that God has sovereignly determined the history, life, and destination of all humans, arbitrarily electing some to eternal life and some to eternal condemnation. In short, an individual’s life calling—that is, one’s earthly and eternal destinies—are predetermined by God without the possibility of any change. The individual has no choice as to his or her destiny.

    Let's note there are six verses in the NT in which the verb is used:

    • 1 Co 2:7
    • Eph. 1:1, 5
    • Acts 4:28
    • Rom. 8:29
    • Rom. 8:30

    You seem to be referring to 1 Cor. 2:2-16 (NASB95), in particular, verse 7: "...God predestined before the ages to our glory."

    The noun "predestination" isn't used in the NT. However, the word "predestine" (Gk, proorizo, "decide upon beforehand").

    Violent natural disasters have been a fact of human life. Are you saying, Dave, the following "Top 11 Deadliest Natural Disasters in History" were predestined by God?

    1. The Mediterranean island of Stroggli, for example, is believed to have been completely wiped out by a volcanic eruption and ensuing tsunami that eradicated the entire Minoan civilization around 1500 B.C.
    2. The 1138 Aleppo earthquake--where the death toll of this quake is typically put at about 230,000, but that estimate comes from the 15th century.
    3. The earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. It estimated that the magnitude-7.0 quake and its aftermath killed 230,000 people; in January 2011, officials revised the figure to 316,000.
    4. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami-- A magnitude-9.3 temblor struck undersea off the west coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26, 2004, creating a massive tsunami that killed people in 14 separate countries. The overall death toll is estimated at between 230,000 and 280,000 people. In some places, especially hardest-hit Indonesia.
    5. The 1920 Haiyuan earthquake
    6. The 1976 Tangshan earthquake
    7. The 526 Antioch earthquake
    8. The 1839 India cyclone/1881 Haiphong typhoon
    9. The 1970 Bhola cyclone
    10. The 1556 Shaanxi earthquake
    11. The 1887 Yellow River Flood

    Which of the three of your theories above would explain the "Top 11 Deadliest Natural Disasters in History" on planet earth?

    1. "God imagined the universe before he created it. Let it run its own course without his intervention".
    2. "God created all, including every thought and act of every creature in the universe when he created the universe".
    3. "God, from all eternity, did—by the most wise [wisest] and holy counsel of his own will—freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass".

    What says ye on the matter? CM

    SOURCES:

    -- Leanne VanDyke, “Predestination,” in Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, ed. David Noel Freedman (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 1079, 1080.

    Thanks CM, really interesting. I believe God created everything, including the future and all the evils we see. And they unfold through cause and effect relationships throughout time. This includes even our thoughts and actions. But it also includes the New Heavens and Earth that are genuinely good. So when God saw that creation was good, it encompasses everything that is good from His view and not necessarily from our viewpoint.

    As far as free will, it only reacts to the conditions God created and used to form our free choices. So we freely choose what we want and incur the guilt or blessing. But according to the reasons motivating our choices that God used to form our choices.

    God predestined Adam's sin, but Adam sinned because he wanted to according to the reasons that formed his decision.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,622

    @C_M_ said:
    Dave,
    VanDyke, defined the doctrine of predestination that God has sovereignly determined the history, life, and destination of all humans, arbitrarily electing some to eternal life and some to eternal condemnation. In short, an individual’s life calling—that is, one’s earthly and eternal destinies—are predetermined by God without the possibility of any change. The individual has no choice as to his or her destiny.

    I consider this idea to be contrary to Biblical teaching ... the error is in interpreting Biblical texts which speak of "predestined" incorrectly.

    Let's note there are six verses in the NT in which the verb is used:

    • 1 Co 2:7
    • Eph. 1:1, 5
    • Acts 4:28
    • Rom. 8:29
    • Rom. 8:30

    None of these passages speak about God predetermining what people will chose and decide or who will chose Christ and who will reject Christ.

    God has predetermined eternal life for the righteous, condemnation for the unrighteous, but God has not predetermined that Joe is going to believe in Christ (and receive eternal life) whereas Jack is going to refuse to believe in Christ (and be under condemnation)

    In other words, God has predetermined WHAT people based on their own free choice will receive, God has NOT predetermined WHO will chose one or the other.

    An illustration from my own experience: Years ago I predetermined that my children's obedience to a certain matter would have a certain benefit while their disobedience would carry a certain consequence. I predetermined WHAT would follow in either case (obedience or disobedience). I did NOT predetermine that my son would be willing to obey and chose to obey and my daughter would be willing to disobey and chose to disobey. Incidentally, one of them chose one route, the other did chose the other route. And they each received according to their free will choice WHAT had been predetermined.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,309

    @Wolfgang said:

    @C_M_ said:
    Dave,
    VanDyke, defined the doctrine of predestination that God has sovereignly determined the history, life, and destination of all humans, arbitrarily electing some to eternal life and some to eternal condemnation. In short, an individual’s life calling—that is, one’s earthly and eternal destinies—are predetermined by God without the possibility of any change. The individual has no choice as to his or her destiny.

    I consider this idea to be contrary to Biblical teaching ... the error is in interpreting Biblical texts which speak of "predestined" incorrectly.

    Let's note there are six verses in the NT in which the verb is used:

    • 1 Co 2:7
    • Eph. 1:1, 5
    • Acts 4:28
    • Rom. 8:29
    • Rom. 8:30

    None of these passages speak about God predetermining what people will chose and decide or who will chose Christ and who will reject Christ.

    God has predetermined eternal life for the righteous, condemnation for the unrighteous, but God has not predetermined that Joe is going to believe in Christ (and receive eternal life) whereas Jack is going to refuse to believe in Christ (and be under condemnation)

    In other words, God has predetermined WHAT people based on their own free choice will receive, God has NOT predetermined WHO will chose one or the other.

    An illustration from my own experience: Years ago I predetermined that my children's obedience to a certain matter would have a certain benefit while their disobedience would carry a certain consequence. I predetermined WHAT would follow in either case (obedience or disobedience). I did NOT predetermine that my son would be willing to obey and chose to obey and my daughter would be willing to disobey and chose to disobey. Incidentally, one of them chose one route, the other did chose the other route. And they each received according to their free will choice WHAT had been predetermined.

    All things interact. If you remove one molecule the outcome of the universe will not be the same. Had one person in your family tree been different, you would not exist. Perhaps someone like a brother or sister would have existed in your lineage and all would be different from that point on, and you would not be here. If your name was written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, all of your ancestors played a precise part in your birth.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,622

    @Dave_L said:
    All things interact. If you remove one molecule the outcome of the universe will not be the same. Had one person in your family tree been different, you would not exist. Perhaps someone like a brother or sister would have existed in your lineage and all would be different from that point on, and you would not be here.

    Indeed ... but what we can see as we are looking back does not have to mean that it was all predetermined or arranged beforehand to exactly turn out as it then did turn out.

    Today I can look back at that situation I mentioned in my previous post and mention what actually happened and that one of the children received the benefits of believing and obeying while the other reaped the consequences of disbelief and disobedience.

    Now, could the outcome have been different? Of course, it could have been different ... they could have both chosen by their free will decision to obey, they could have both chosen by their free will decision to disobey, they could each have made a different free will choice from the one they did make at the time and the outcome would have been the opposite.

    In none of these scenarios were they forced or not free in their willful choice in any way to make the decision which they ended up making ...

    If your name was written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, all of your ancestors played a precise part in your birth.

    See above ... the difference between the true God and us in this context is that we do not know with certainty the future and thus do not know which free will choice a person is going to make, while God does and thus can declare beforehand what a person will by their free will choice decide, "declare the end from the beginning" so to say.

    This however does NOT mean that everything leading up to a person's decision is all predetermined and could not happen any other way ... actually, would the person by their free choice decide differently, God would have known differently and could have declared differently.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,309

    @Wolfgang said:

    @Dave_L said:
    All things interact. If you remove one molecule the outcome of the universe will not be the same. Had one person in your family tree been different, you would not exist. Perhaps someone like a brother or sister would have existed in your lineage and all would be different from that point on, and you would not be here.

    Indeed ... but what we can see as we are looking back does not have to mean that it was all predetermined or arranged beforehand to exactly turn out as it then did turn out.

    Today I can look back at that situation I mentioned in my previous post and mention what actually happened and that one of the children received the benefits of believing and obeying while the other reaped the consequences of disbelief and disobedience.

    Now, could the outcome have been different? Of course, it could have been different ... they could have both chosen by their free will decision to obey, they could have both chosen by their free will decision to disobey, they could each have made a different free will choice from the one they did make at the time and the outcome would have been the opposite.

    In none of these scenarios were they forced or not free in their willful choice in any way to make the decision which they ended up making ...

    If your name was written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, all of your ancestors played a precise part in your birth.

    See above ... the difference between the true God and us in this context is that we do not know with certainty the future and thus do not know which free will choice a person is going to make, while God does and thus can declare beforehand what a person will by their free will choice decide, "declare the end from the beginning" so to say.

    This however does NOT mean that everything leading up to a person's decision is all predetermined and could not happen any other way ... actually, would the person by their free choice decide differently, God would have known differently and could have declared differently.

    I think it is fascinating that out of millions of sperm and egg cells, each combination producing a different person, and all other offspring determined by each precise combination, you would not exist had one different combination in all of your ancestry been different.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,934

    May I remind you that behind what the two of you are discussing are the two view of predestination:

    I. Jacobus Arminius’ (1560-1609) system summarized in the Remonstrance of 1610:

    1. The decree of salvation applies to all who believe on Christ and who persevere in obedience and faith.
    2. Christ died for all men
    3. The Holy Spirit must help men to do things that are truly good (such as having faith in Christ for salvation).
    4. God's saving grace is not irresistible.
    5. It is possible for those who are Christians to fall from
grace." See "Arminianism," NIDCC, p. 70.

                                           - VS-
      

    II. Francis Gomarus (1563-1641) summarized in the five "heads of doctrine" decided by the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) -- [strict Calvinism]:

    1. Total Depravity
    2. Unconditional Election
    3. Limited Atonement
    4. Irresistible Grace
    5. Perseverance of the saints.

    God predestined the conditions of salvation but did not pre­destine who would comply with those conditions. “It is certainly not said that from all eternity the world has been divided into the predestined and the reprobate. What is said is that everything depends upon whether one is willing or not to believe in Christ and to obey Him”, so said, Schrenk.

    Gentlemen, do you see where you are? CM

    SOURCES:

    -- "Arminianism," NIDCC, p. 70.
    -- See Justo L. Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1974), 3:253. 

    -- Gottlob Schrenk. “eκλεγομαι, eκλογη, eκλεκ ο,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 4:191

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,622

    @C_M_ said:
    May I remind you that behind what the two of you are discussing are the two view of predestination:

    I don't know anything about these theological views ... thus they surely are not behind what I have written. I don't rely on theologies behind what I believe ... I believe what I believe because I have arrived at such position and take responsibility for what I believe rather than relying on theological positions of others :wink:

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,309

    @C_M_ said:
    May I remind you that behind what the two of you are discussing are the two view of predestination:

    I. Jacobus Arminius’ (1560-1609) system summarized in the Remonstrance of 1610:

    1. The decree of salvation applies to all who believe on Christ and who persevere in obedience and faith.
    2. Christ died for all men
    3. The Holy Spirit must help men to do things that are truly good (such as having faith in Christ for salvation).
    4. God's saving grace is not irresistible.
    5. It is possible for those who are Christians to fall from
grace." See "Arminianism," NIDCC, p. 70.

                                           - VS-
      

    II. Francis Gomarus (1563-1641) summarized in the five "heads of doctrine" decided by the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) -- [strict Calvinism]:

    1. Total Depravity
    2. Unconditional Election
    3. Limited Atonement
    4. Irresistible Grace
    5. Perseverance of the saints.

    God predestined the conditions of salvation but did not pre­destine who would comply with those conditions. “It is certainly not said that from all eternity the world has been divided into the predestined and the reprobate. What is said is that everything depends upon whether one is willing or not to believe in Christ and to obey Him”, so said, Schrenk.

    Gentlemen, do you see where you are? CM

    SOURCES:

    -- "Arminianism," NIDCC, p. 70.
    -- See Justo L. Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1974), 3:253. 

    -- Gottlob Schrenk. “eκλεγομαι, eκλογη, eκλεκ ο,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 4:191

    Neither of these views weigh all of scripture on the matter of salvation. Both result in turning the gospel into law, and making salvation a work of self righteousness.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,934

    @Dave_L said:

    Neither of these views weigh all of scripture on the matter of salvation. Both result in turning the gospel into law, and making salvation a work of self righteousness.

    The OP speaks of "Absolute Predestination", are you referring to the man or the earth? The only "Absolute Predestination" is for the salvation of humanity. God's foreknowledge doesn't rob a person of his or her freedom of choice.

    @Wolfgang said:

    @C_M_ said:
    May I remind you that behind what the two of you are discussing are the two view of predestination:

    I don't know anything about these theological views ... thus they surely are not behind what I have written. I don't rely on theologies behind what I believe ... I believe what I believe because I have arrived at such position and take responsibility for what I believe rather than relying on theological positions of others :wink:

    Notwithstanding, is not your conclusion comes close to one of the stated views above? You don't have to "reinvent the wheel" to steak out a position. How you arrive at your conclusion is a "horse of another color." Keep studying. CM

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,309

    @C_M_ said:

    @Dave_L said:

    Neither of these views weigh all of scripture on the matter of salvation. Both result in turning the gospel into law, and making salvation a work of self righteousness.

    The OP speaks of "Absolute Predestination", are you referring to the man or the earth? The only "Absolute Predestination" is for the salvation of humanity. God's foreknowledge doesn't rob a person of his or her freedom of choice.

    @Wolfgang said:

    @C_M_ said:
    May I remind you that behind what the two of you are discussing are the two view of predestination:

    I don't know anything about these theological views ... thus they surely are not behind what I have written. I don't rely on theologies behind what I believe ... I believe what I believe because I have arrived at such position and take responsibility for what I believe rather than relying on theological positions of others :wink:

    Notwithstanding, is not your conclusion comes close to one of the stated views above? You don't have to "reinvent the wheel" to steak out a position. How you arrive at your conclusion is a "horse of another color." Keep studying. CM

    People freely chose for the reasons God uses to control their choices. You always choose for a reason under God's control that he uses to determine your free choice.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,622

    @Dave_L said:
    People freely chose for the reasons God uses to control their choices.

    God does not control people's choices. People are free to chose between choices (reasons), and God does NOT arrange the reasons/choices so that He then controls which choice is made by a person.

    You always choose for a reason under God's control that he uses to determine your free choice.

    This is simply a false statement ... just as I did not control the choices of my children in regards to the things I had predetermined depending on two possibilities, so God does not control or fix people's choices which they make.

    People have their free will choice to select among the reasons, options, possibilities that are before them ... However, the result of their choice may already be determined and controlled and unchangeable.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,309

    @Wolfgang said:

    @Dave_L said:
    People freely chose for the reasons God uses to control their choices.

    God does not control people's choices. People are free to chose between choices (reasons), and God does NOT arrange the reasons/choices so that He then controls which choice is made by a person.

    You always choose for a reason under God's control that he uses to determine your free choice.

    This is simply a false statement ... just as I did not control the choices of my children in regards to the things I had predetermined depending on two possibilities, so God does not control or fix people's choices which they make.

    People have their free will choice to select among the reasons, options, possibilities that are before them ... However, the result of their choice may already be determined and controlled and unchangeable.

    People freely choose all that they choose for the reasons God provides for them to base their choices on. In this he controls you, manipulating you into his planned outcome for you. Paul says he works ALL things after the council of his own will.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,934

    @Dave_L said:

    @C_M_ said: The OP speaks of "Absolute Predestination", are you referring to the man or the earth? The only "Absolute Predestination" is for the salvation of humanity. God's foreknowledge doesn't rob a person of his or her freedom of choice.

    People freely chose for the reasons God uses to control their choices. You always choose for a reason under God's control that he uses to determine your free choice.

    Is the earth "predestined"? It can't choose? CM

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,309

    @C_M_ said:

    @Dave_L said:

    @C_M_ said: The OP speaks of "Absolute Predestination", are you referring to the man or the earth? The only "Absolute Predestination" is for the salvation of humanity. God's foreknowledge doesn't rob a person of his or her freedom of choice.

    People freely chose for the reasons God uses to control their choices. You always choose for a reason under God's control that he uses to determine your free choice.

    Is the earth "predestined"? It can't choose? CM

    Not one grain of sand moves anywhere in the universe without God having caused (created) the movement from eternity.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,934

    @Dave_L said:

    @C_M_ said:

    @Dave_L said:

    @C_M_ said: The OP speaks of "Absolute Predestination", are you referring to the man or the earth? The only "Absolute Predestination" is for the salvation of humanity. God's foreknowledge doesn't rob a person of his or her freedom of choice.

    People freely chose for the reasons God uses to control their choices. You always choose for a reason under God's control that he uses to determine your free choice.

    Is the earth "predestined"? It can't choose? CM

    Not one grain of sand moves anywhere in the universe without God having caused (created) the movement from eternity.

    Says whom? What about earthquakes, mudslides, men building roads, a farmer in the field with a tractor or mule? What about the building of Mount Rushmore? The statement above is to be taken literally or figuratively? Don't you think your "Absolute Predestination" needs to be a rethink? CM

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,309

    @C_M_ said:

    @Dave_L said:

    @C_M_ said:

    @Dave_L said:

    @C_M_ said: The OP speaks of "Absolute Predestination", are you referring to the man or the earth? The only "Absolute Predestination" is for the salvation of humanity. God's foreknowledge doesn't rob a person of his or her freedom of choice.

    People freely chose for the reasons God uses to control their choices. You always choose for a reason under God's control that he uses to determine your free choice.

    Is the earth "predestined"? It can't choose? CM

    Not one grain of sand moves anywhere in the universe without God having caused (created) the movement from eternity.

    Says whom? What about earthquakes, mudslides, men building roads, a farmer in the field with a tractor or mule? What about the building of Mount Rushmore? The statement above is to be taken literally or figuratively? Don't you think your "Absolute Predestination" needs to be a rethink? CM

    God works ALL after the council of his own (not our or anybody else's) will. How can anything cause anything and God remain Omnipotent in any true sense?

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,934

    @Dave_L said: "God works ALL after the council of his own (not our or anybody else's) will. How can anything cause anything and God remain Omnipotent in any true sense"?

    "Absolute Predestination" or "Predestination"? That is the question. ;) CM

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