A question was posted on a forum I frequent. “One must affirm that “PREDESTINATION” is a foregone conclusion. If so, how would that speak to GOODNESS and FAIRNESS of GOD?
May I be so bold as to declare that this may be a case of the proverbial placing of the cart before the horse? Shouldn’t we start with what God has revealed about Himself as established truth, and then work backwords towards a fuller understanding of seeming contradictions from that foundation?
God is indeed GOOD – ALL the time; His FAIRNESS is indisputable because He is GOOD. The two go hand in hand. If He can be proven unfair, then He is not good. If he isn’t good, what quality would provide fairness?
My understanding is that God is not confined to our time/space continuum. Although He is Omnipresent (everywhere) He still distinguishes between being “WITH” an individual (close, but not inside) and “IN” an individual (literally inside).
“The Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him: but ye know Him; for he dwells WITH you, and shall be IN you” – Jn. 14:17.
Notice the verbiage clearly and consistently refers to the Spirit using the masculine pronoun – HIM. This indicates that the Spirit of Truth (God the Holy Spirit) is a PERSON, not just some force emitting from God. That He is called here the “Spirit of Truth” makes this title synonymous with “Spirit of Christ” Who claimed to be TRUTH.
“Jesus said unto him, I am the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me” – Jn. 14:6.
The relevance is that God can be everywhere, but chooses NOT to invade an individual’s personal space (as dwelling within) unless and until such an individual invites HIM to come “IN”, thereby initiating the miracle of spiritual birth.
Jesus is designated as giving these two invitations of personal revelation:
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come IN to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” – Rev. 3:20.
“He that loves me shall be also loved of my Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest Myself to him” – Jn. 14:21.
I understand from this that God is working “WITH” people around the world, wooing them into a proper understanding of God that will hopefully result in His personal revelation to them followed by the Holy Spirit taking up residency IN them.
When a person accepts God’s plan of salvation, they become eligible to be born again. The Holy Spirit formerly being merely “WITH” them on the outside, now takes up permanent residency “IN” them. They are then alive unto God, having received spiritual birth.
Jesus said additionally regarding this expereince, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may ABIDE with you FOREVER; even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him: but you know Him; for he dwells WITH you, and shall be IN you . . . the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you ALL things, and bring ALL things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” Jn. 14:16, 17, 26.
Many try to comprehend the mysteries of God which are NOT to be received by the world, but ONLY the true believer. This theological concept requires faith in ABSOLUTE GRACE. There is no way one can conjure it up or become eligible any other way.
Scriptural examples can be found where individuals have wrongly assumed that other ways may qualify them.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? I will profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity“ – Mt. 7: 22, 23.
“When Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money. saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said unto him, ‘Thy money perish with thee, because you have thought that the Gift of God may be purchased with money; you have neither part nor lot in this matter: for your heart is not right in the sight of God’” – Ac. 8:18-21.
Beyond the confines of our physical realm’s time and space, God has declared everything as already done, because He knows it will be done. Scripture alludes to His foreknowledge in many places, especially regarding the mission of Christ “who verily was foreordained BEFORE the foundation of the world, but manifest in these last times for you” – 1Pt. 1:20.
True believers also are included in God’s foreknowledge “according as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world” – Eph. 1:4.
Again, it is outside of the realm of our comprehension regarding time and space. It is hard for us to imagine the vastness of the universe and then consider that God is greater than that. Then to consider that the Creator humbled Himself, came to our planet, invading our time and space, and became one of us is beyond belief – unless and until the Holy Spirit reveals it.
“His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature: for by Him were ALL things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: ALL things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before ALL things, and by Him ALL things consist” – Col. 1:14-17.
In order to reliably promise eternal life, GOD has to be ETERNAL.
An architect can draw up plans and the image of what is to be can be viewed before the actual construction begins. But in order to guarantee the completion of the project the contractors must have complete ability, authority, and possession of ALL the necessary tools and supplies and the skilled workers to perform the task.
But it is impossible for them to guarantee what they cannot control. Inclement weather may delay their schedule; fire could destroy their resources; natural disasters are not under their control. So their word can only be as reliable as their limitations allow.
But God’s word is ENTIRELY reliable. It is TRUTH, it is LIFE. God can promise according to His limitless capabilities, being Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.
His ability to predestinate is an aspect of His Omnipresence. We tend to think of presence in terms of physical places. But God is also present in dimensions beyond our comprehension – spiritual places yet to be discovered by man. In such spiritual dimensions God is present at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end – all at the same time.
When God replied to Moses question, “Whom shall I say sent me”? God answered, “I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you” – Ex. 3:13, 14.
Biblical scholars agree regarding the etymology of this expression. “I AM” means literally “ever-present, always in existence”. It is a unique expression that can only be properly applied to God because it is in the perpetual present tense.
It is from that perpetual presence that God knows EVERYTHING. Knowing from that heavenly perspective who will or won’t accept salvation, He does not have to interfere with free-will, but He already knows the outcome. He doesn’t cause it, He merely knows it = Omniscience.
The attribute of omnipotence is also absolutely unique to God. “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” – Rev. 19:6. God alone, being all powerful is able to control ALL things.
His omnipotence allows Him to determine what will happen BEFORE it happens. While this is impossible for man, “with God ALL things are possible” – Mt. 19:26; Mk. 10:27; 14:36.
God predestines all who will accept Christ to eternal life – [Ro. 8:29]. Scripture also says specifically of the names not found to be included in the “Book of Life”: “the names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world”. – Rev. 17.
Man’s ability to rightly predict an outcome lacks the necessary attributes of God towards predestination. However, man can conduct a lottery and assure that the winner will be given the proceeds of a designated amount. He can “predestinate” that a winner will be named who will receive the appropriate award. But he cannot determine precisely who the winner will be (assuming the lottery isn’t fraudulently fixed). Man can rightly promise only that the proceeds are predestined to be awarded.
Man’s ability to predestinate is further limited by his personal experiential knowledge. Familiarity with a ball and its similarity to other globes, added to the natural law of gravity, man can rightly predestnate that the ball will roll off the edge of a plane when directed downward. Of course, any interference beyond man’s control, may stop the ball before that happens!
Hopefully, such examples of the limitations of man compared to God’s limitless abilities, provide an ample illustration of the necessary elements involved in secured predestination.
To fully comprehend these concepts one must also understand that Scripture is multi-dimensional. An initial surface reading will provide a story of characters who lived ages ago. A deeper research into scripture begins to reveal the spiritual nature of the text. It is not merely a historical account of ages past, it has contemporary relevance.
An even greater search under the anointing of the Holy Spirit includes you in the story, and although the final chapter was written more than 2000 years ago, the story has not ended, it is eternal.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” – Mt.24:35; Mk. 13:31; Lk. 21:33.
Personal revelation and spiritual insight can only result from a personal experience with GOD Almighty available within the pages of scripture, when an individual is so enlightened by the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit. But even under such anointing, there are limits to human comprehension regarding ALL the things of God.
Oh, the mysteries of God! “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” – Ps. 145:3.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” – Ro. 11:33.
God has revealed much about Himself to us, but there is much more that is yet to be revealed. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” – Isa.64:4; 1Cor. 2:9.
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” – Jn. 20: 30, 31.
Finally, consider again the warning Jesus gave recorded in Matthew 7:22, 23.
He said there that, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not” (done this and that), to whom He shall respond: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity“.
From their perspective, the persons to whom Jesus was speaking had yet to determine their eternal destiny. Should they understand and rightly apply His warning, they would come to KNOW Jesus and inherit eternal life.
But from God’s perspective of ominiscience He already knew who would and wouldn’t heed the warning. While the individuals at that time did NOT know, and their free-will decisions sealed their fates, God ALWAYS knew, yet provides man with free-will and the power to decide.
Likewise, the event Jesus was referring to He had ALREADY predestined to occur. There will be MANY who will give those excuses in “THAT DAY“, for IT has been predestined.
Perhaps the most popular statement of predestination is “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that [predestination] whosoever believes in Him shall not persih, but inherit eternal life” – Jn. 3:16.
Thank God He has shared with us enough to be predestined by Him to eternal life!
What we must embrace by grace is the saving faith that declares, “God’s Word says it, I believe it, and that settles it”.