Predestination Introduction Video
Here’s an assignment we had to do recently for Systematic Theology. It was for a discussion board so space was limited. I did my best to be concise on such a dense topic.
Is God’s grace in salvation (conviction, call, illumination, enablement, etc.) resistible or irresistible? Give your response to this question in light of your understanding of predestination and election.
I currently believe God’s grace is resistable and I think of predestination and election as an empty set. While I don’t think that my position is indefeasable I also don’t think it’s unfounded. For me, it seems to be supported by scripture, philosophically sound, and well equiped to handle objections to its validity.
Since whole books have been written on the topic space will not allow me to go too far into detail on all three points so I’ll just touch on each one. Also, I won’t be able to both make a case on the positive aspects of my view and the negative aspects of other views. So, I’ll mainly stick with the coherence of my own view. Finally, I have a great respect for the deep thoughts contained within the other views and the people who developed them even when I disagree.
I have to start with the related question that asks whether I really have a choice or not. I’ll do that by submitting that I believe it was possible for God to create a world with no free will and, by default irresistible grace, but that He chose not to by His own sovereign will. After making that choice, because He can not contradict Himself, He voluntarily limited His future choices. So, God could have chosen to create a world where He knew the future exhaustively, and by default, contained no free will, but He didn’t. It’s the mixing of these two that is unintelligible. A world where God knows my future free action is a square triangle.
If I truly have a choice to serve or not serve God, God can’t know my choice before I make it. For, if He knows I will not choose Him, and He can never be wrong, I never really had a choice to choose Him. This often brings the rebuttal that knowledge is not causal. So, let’s take a quick look at knowledge. It’s true that we never observe knowledge as causal in this world. I submit that the reason for that is that our knowledge is very different from God’s knowledge. When we know things we could be wrong. However, when God knows things He is never wrong. While I’m undecided as of right now on whether or not God’s knowledge is directly causal, at a minimum I side with William Lane Craig’s view that God’s knowledge is at least indirectly causal (Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views pg. 205). For me, this is a terra incognita that I’m just now beginning to explore.
I also reject the idea that this means I think God’s knowledge is incomplete or imperfect. God’s knowledge is perfect. He knows everything there is to know. I just think He freely chose to not know so that I may have a free choice to love Him (which I do).
Finally, scripture seems to indicate that at least part of the future is open to our own choices. God changes His mind and is surprised by human choices. (Jer 19:5, 26:3, etc.) So, in the end, scripture reads like it’s revealing a God who knows some of the future (such as things He’s fully in control of without needing to consider the free choices of humans) and a God who doesn’t seem to know for certain other aspects of the future.
For some more great reading on this topic, please click here.
Well, my time is up.
For John F.’s blog on an alternative view of predestination, click here.
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