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Predestination

Christians and non-Christians alike are repelled by the mere thought of “predestination.” A term that simply means God chose a select number of people for salvation. Living in a modern era of fairness, we are repelled by the idea that God chooses certain people over other people. This notion should not be rejected, but in light of God’s justice, ultimately accepted.

In Romans 8:28-30 (NIV), Paul writes to the Romans, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those justified, he also glorified.”

Predestination is made up of two words: pre and destination. Pre comes from the Greek word pro which means “in advance.” Destination is the place we want to get to. It is also important to note that destination encompasses the smaller word destiny. Destiny being what ultimately happens to us.
In the biblical sense, both destination and destiny are final but foreknown. God knew who we were before we were born, before the Earth was created. But our destiny is final; it is either salvation or damnation.

To calm some growing fears, I believe humans have free will, but God understands what we will ultimately choose. So as not to stray from the topic at hand, we must just establish that God is omniscient.

Predestination theorists have two views: prescient and Augustinian. Prescient means to have knowledge of events before they take place. Thus, the prescient view means that God looks down a “corridor of time” and knows who will choose Him. In knowing, He then predestines those people for justification and glorification. The Augustinian view, stemming from St. Augustine, defines predestination as God predestining people to choose Him.

In one sense, the prescient view mixes up the order of Romans 8:30. Instead of predestining and then calling, the prescient view believes that first God knows who will respond to His call and then He predestines them. The prescient view bases God’s decision on the humans’ choice. Augustine’s view, however, sticks to the chain-like order in verse 30. It is with His prior knowledge of people that God predestines them to be called. It is His knowledge of the people themselves rather than their own decision that God predestines.

God’s power should not be easy to swallow. If it were, would God be as great? This topic is polarizing, but why keep ourselves from the knowledge of reasonable discourse? You might be asking yourself, why would God choose certain people regardless of his foreknowledge? For me, the answer comes mainly with faith. But we should also recognize our sinfulness. The sinfulness that damns us to hell. For God to choose certain people at all is nothing but grace. God is just in condemning everyone, and benevolent in picking anyone for salvation.

We don’t deserve anything.

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