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Free Will or Predestination?

A friend asked me to read RC Sproul's book, Chosen by God.

 

The book attempts to convince the reader that God chose predestination as part of His plan to create His eternal family. I can agree with most of the book. However, there are caveats each time he tries to cement his argument for predestination. Here is an example from the last chapter of the book.

 

"The Bible, we have seen, affirms the reality of human choices in the same events where it affirms God's work of predestination (see Genesis 50:15-21; Acts 2:22-24). True, we cannot understand fully how these truths fit together, but our lack of understanding does not mean the reality of our choices and divine predestination are therefore incompatible. All this lack of understanding reveals is the deficiency of our knowledge and the degree to which sin impacts our ability to think God's thoughts after him (see Romans 1:18-32)."

 

This is a grand admission. Throughout the book, the argument is that God predestined everything. And whenever verses are used to defend this position, the use seems twisted to support the argument.

 

Today, we will look at a possible explanation that reconciles the author's problems with the compatibility of the two concepts.

 

God creates by planning first, as we do since we are created in His image. No one builds a plane, bridge, or computer without planning first. So, God imagined all possible outcomes of His giving humans free will. Then, He added the times He would need to intervene to get the final results He wanted. The Bible calls this the expected end.

 

This leaves God with infinite possible outcomes, so how does He choose the line of creation He will use? Being a God of love, He looks for the lines that provide the least amount of pain and suffering, with the minimal amount of His interference. This is the line He created, and we are living. It includes all the things we have chosen to do based on the free will He has given us, the constraints of love, and His necessary involvement, like the flood. This is the line that produces the eternal family He desires.

 

So, we can understand the life we are living is the one we chose in His imagination, and it is predestined because He saw it and then created it.

 

An example of this thinking could help. A pastor included this example in a sermon he gave; my apologies for not remembering the pastor. The example goes like this, "a man was watching his favorite football team play an important game. Near the end of the game, his team was driving for the winning touchdown but fumbled the ball, and the game seemed lost. However, the other team mishandled the next snap and also fumbled, allowing his team to recover the ball. They scored on the next plan and won the game. Later that evening, the man was able to watch a replay of the game. Everything that happened in the game happened in the replay. The difference was that the man was no longer upset when his team fumbled. Instead, he was excited to see the miracle game-winning touchdown."

 

We are living this replay. We are choosing to do everything God has already seen in this life. What makes it predestination is the fact He chose this version of creation, the one that produces the expected end He has promised us in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

 

So, is it free will we are living or God's predestination? Both!

 

God has placed us in unique places throughout this world. This blog is about sharing His Word; please share it with those you believe would be blessed by hearing it. Bless you! If you want to receive the weekly blog, email us at bill@reasoningwithgod.com. If you want to read past blogs, go to https://www.reasoningwithgod.com/blog.

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