Predestination -v- Free will

Ephesians 1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace, Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will....

Following the publishing of The Two Greatest Objections to Christianity Refuted a couple of my brethren have raised the issues of free will verses predestination in Christian doctrine.

Has God given us free will to decide whether to believe in Christ or not?

Or are we predestined to salvation?

I'm going to try and put some perspective into the matter and see whether we can make any sense.

Hell fire damnation stands at one end of the spectrum, universal salvation stands at the other, between is very little ground of compromise, and both stances raise seemingly unfathomable questions.

Let us look at predestination...

Ephesians 1 makes a perfectly clear statement that we ARE predestined..."According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world"....and if this is correct, then obviously we had no option in the matter, God CHOSE US, which is great news.... unless you want to believe that we chose Him and submitted our will to His.

This is not some random decision of Gods, for it continues..."being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will...."

God has considered our 'case' and decided that we should be predestinated.

Now setting a destination, in our existence, is not equal to reaching the destination.

We have all set off somewhere only to find that circumstances beyond our control has meant that we ended up somewhere else, or never arrived at all to the destination we had started out for.

You may change your mind about where you wish to go, and in the forums we have excellent examples of this, with some of the atheists who try to dismiss the existence of God....atheists who have at some point in their lives had a belief in God, but who have lost or abandoned that belief due to circumstances which made them reject the whole notion of there even being a God to accept or reject.

Are they simply folk who God did not predestine, or are they those who were predestined, yet exercised their free will to reject the concept totally?

God tells us in 1 Timothy 2....

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

God tells us that he desires 'all men to be saved' so is God unable to do this?

Or does it indicate that God respects our decisions, that He accepts that despite the fact that He desires ALL men to be saved, He also recognises that forcing them to be saved would be the action of a perverse God, not a loving God?

Predestination leads us to the inevitable conclusion that 'universal salvation' may be the reality we live with.

That no matter what we do, in the end God will win our affections and lead us to desiring to spend eternity with Him.

Obviously if God desires to, He can make His promise irresistible to all mankind....someone stated the other night in the forums, that they could not see why God did not simply show Himself to all humanity, whereupon all argument and discussion would cease and all would fall at His feet to worship.

Well God WILL make Himself known to ALL at some point, for everyone will stand before God in judgement, some to salvation and their rewards, others to damnation and their penalty, or so the traditional church holds will happen.

But the ONLY evidence we have available to us on this earth was given to us two thousand years ago, and we were told then that...

Matthew 12:38-50

.... Master, we would see a sign from thee.

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

God has not changed His opinion, we have seen all the signs and wonders we can expect to witness from God.



Predestination therefore was Gods plan for our lives, plans to bless our existence, but God allowing us free will was the random card that we all hold that determines whether Gods PREdetermination for us will be completed, or whether we will have to settle for something less.

Adam and Eve (or early mankind if you are squeamish at taking the bible literally) were offered choices, to eat from the Tree of Life, or to eat from the Tree of Good and Evil, they chose wrongly, and subsequently had to accept penalties that limited their lifespan, and made their lives harder than they needed to be.

We face the same choices in our lives.

We are born with a predestined propensity for rebellion, not predestined by God, but predestined by our birth into flawed humanity.

Most everyone who has ever lived will chose the wrong road at some point in their lives, and keep riding that wrong route until something wakens their awareness that they are heading in the wrong direction. Even then most folk will carry on down that road until they hit a brick wall.

This is why so many folk come to faith in Christ AFTER their lives have imploded, and why those smug atheists all cite us as failures finding religion as a prop.

They are right, we were dumb enough to carry on in non belief even though we were losing big time to whatever was draining our life energies, and heading to damnation here on earth, without even considering our eternal destiny.

Atheists tend to be blinded to this, which is not surprising because their 'rational' rejection of the supernatural aspect of God enables their master, Satan, to deceive them fully with their atheist desires.

Satan is a good paymaster, you can do whatever you want and succeed, as long as it is not showing any interest in Christ. Satan will allow you to feel like a real winner and superior to those pesky 'believers' with their fantasy fairy god.

Why not, after all he owns your butt, and will have eternity to enjoy his treasure if he can only keep you separated from God for a comparatively small amount of time.

Which brings us to Hell.

God wants everyone saved, but has chosen to allow us the privilege of choosing our own destiny, which is where we come into the equasion.

God has needed, in His infinite mercy, to accommodate those who really and truly refuse His offer of eternity with Him.

Now most atheists believe in nothing, so the concept that they may continue with their existence after physical death is alien to them. The concept of annihilation however is accepted.

I followed that path for a long while, content to believe that I would simply cease to exist, then as I experienced more supernatural events, it required me to change the opinion to one where I died, then became 'one with the universe' which I saw as the combined 'energies' of all humanity, a sort of co equal force where I would have no personality, yet still be a part of the 'life-force'.

Many pantheists hold this viewpoint, and again, Satan has no problem with allowing this, after all, it's wrong and it keeps them away from Christ... no loss to him there.

The mere consideration of a conscious eternity creates too many problems for atheistic 'rational' minds to contemplate, and their master makes good and sure that they are steered well clear of those problems.

But they are eternal beings, we all are, whether we wish to be or not.

So God will need to create somewhere where He is not present, but they are.

Take a look around the world at those places where God is not present because they have chosen to follow their own paths, it's not pretty....Rwanda and Haiti spring to mind....maybe that would be hell, because in that environment there would be no rules, no commandments to break, no restrain on your free will and no Holy Spirit to limit anyone's inhumanity to others.

A perfect atheist paradise, I don't think.

Try rational thought processes with Idi Amin or Stalin, or Pol Pot and Hitler, with every serial killer, rapist, child molester and pervert that has ever died.... I think you will be quickly wishing that you could be annihilated, but you are stuck there for eternity, knowing that you actually chose to be there, by default.

You want to know whether the rest of the universe is occupied, well God has lots of space to fill with those who reject His Grace in favour of their own wisdom.

So what's my take on the whole thing?

I seem to be predestined to spend eternity with God, which is good to know, but I spent forty one years avoiding the issue and living for myself.

Forty one years is a long time to be selfish, and you get set in your ways when you live like that. I had managed to create my own reality, and to be truthful it was pretty good, I was a happy sinner and had no problem with what I did wrong, for I always knew when I was in error, just accepted that this was the case and got on with my life.

I never had doubts, because I did know right from wrong, so when I did wrong I never tried to self justify my guilt away and in this manner I never had to feel uneasy, I simply shrugged and moved on.

But one day, on my 40th birthday I hit a brick wall in my 'philosophy', and sat alone, sober and isolated in my villa in Spain wondering what this was all about.

My son was the catalyst for my pondering, he was two years old and his birth had stirred in me emotions that I had never allowed to surface.

I finally cared for someone else more than myself.

That was strange and uncomfortable, yet oddly totally acceptable.

In a fit of pique I stood in an olive grove that adjoined my property and raised a fist to the sky, challenging God to make Himself known to me IF He existed.

That's when God started to show His plans for my life, plans that I had never considered and did not really want anyway, but which I could not ignore indicated that SOMETHING other than me was out there and making contact with me.

As I had drifted into the clutches of Satan by my actions, he also started to make moves on my life, and slowly I realised that there was a choice to be made.... step up to the plate and take what Satan was tempting me with, or see what God had to offer me.

I decided to read Gods bible and rip it apart, to expose all the conflicts and errors in it, and finally put this imposter out of my life.

I guess I saw God and Satan as coequals, and Satan told me a lot more that I found attractive.

"Why do you have so many rules" I enquired of God, and He seemed to smile and say, "At least you know my rules, what's your contract with Satan look like" and I realised that I had a relationship with a powerful spiritual entity, yet had no idea what his rules were, except that I knew that his 'mantra' was "Do as you will is the extent of the law"

Now that sounds great, but remember it's a two way street, and if I could do as I wished, then so could he, and he seemed to have some bizarre concepts of fun, that I found kinda scary, even when I was enjoying his playmates.

So I chose to explore Gods word more, which led to Christ, which led to my defection from Satan's team to Gods team, which 17 years later has brought me here speaking to you.

Was my free will trodden down, no way, I just realised that Gods rule book did tell me exactly what was permissible and showed me what was advantageous in any given circumstance.

I accepted early on that the best policy was to submit my authority over my life to Christ, and in that way I would be guided through the complexities that had previously confounded me, into 'pastures green and pleasant'.

I have not kept to that path all the time, but then again most of the character God introduces us to in His word have not, indeed the ONLY sinless, perfect man was Christ, and He will always be the ONLY perfect man that has ever lived.

Atheists love to point out our 'sins', even when they declare that they are sinless! - but there is one vital difference between those who have chosen to follow Gods predestined course for their lives and those who are their own god, or choose no god at all....

My God has forgiven me for my sins, past, present and future, because I have surrendered my will to His will.

He does not require me to be perfect, He just expects that I will stop trying to pretend that I am.

So YES our lives are predetermined by God, but YES we do have the free will right to chose not to accept the eternal blessings that God predetermines are ours for the taking.

We have free will to accept a lesser life and a unpredictable eternity.

Which is why God stated that a fool says there is no God.

Like the old slave trader sung, I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.


Now concerning eternal damnation, for I only briefly gave an opinion on this vital subject.

It's entirely possible that God will send Christ to every mortal passing over into eternity to offer salvation at the point of death.

God is not in time, we view time as linear, God is outside of time entirely, and God can do with time that which He wishes, so if He desired, He could suspend time and make one second, or one thousandth of a second, last for as long as He wished, and certainly you could see your life 'flash' before your eyes at the point of death, and many have reported this happening.

In this instance, you could get down on your spiritual knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and theoretically be saved at that point.

Scripture tells me that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, and shows that God reserves the right to pay us whatever He wishes, no matter whether we have laboured for a day or one hour, and why would He tell us that if it had no significance?

So maybe God gives us that last chance to be sure that we really do not want to be with Him for eternity.

But frankly, it's not a bet that I would make, especially as you have been exposed to the truth whilst you have lived.

It's also questionable whether the arrogance that has declared there is no God, will allow the humility that would be required to confess and believe at that point, added to which Satan will be hovering awaiting delivery of your soul for his pleasure.

The Bible states;

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;

A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:

And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. (Deuteronomy 11 26:28)

Chose wisely, please do not allow your choice to be made by default.

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Comments 30 comments

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Nice hub Aquasilver. I do have friends who do not beieve in a spiritual world and they do not belong to Satan. They also practice the Golden Rule that is the ABSOLUTE LAW above laws and would never commit atrocities that some proclaimed Christians would and do. Don't mean to detract "much". I do know some of the most gentle people, who love one another, and they don't buy into hatred. When I try to appeal to the hearts of some professed Christians - it is more like dealing with Satan. Actions and often in-actions are better than words. Sorry for the intrusion. Thanks.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Hi Micky, You are never an intrusion, and I understand what you are saying, but when I say that atheists belong to Satan, I'm NOT saying they are active or voluntary Satanists, I'm stating what to me is a law of the earth, we all are born as citizens of the earth, the 'boss' of this earth for those who 'dwell' here is Satan, so by default, we all belong to Satan from birth, until we change our residency status.

I revoked my citizenship of earth and became a citizen of the kingdom of Heaven, temporarily on assignation here on earth, but that's the limit of my occupancy. I'm a denizen, not a citizen of earth.

Living by the 'Golden Rule' is a good thing, but it has no bearing on ones residency or citizenship status, we all belong to Satan until we change our status to belonging to Christ.

John


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Aquasilver, John my brother, this is a marvellous hub that has plagued me for years and years, and still I am no closer to finding an answer to my number one pet peeve of a question.

I believe that My Father God, pre-determined the path He desires me to follow, and I am trying my hardest to please Him each and every second of every day.

I believe that God My Father permits me the priviledge of free will, the freedom to choose whether I wish to follow the path of His choosing or my own.

That said, I am still left with one painfully gnawing question, a question that will stay with me, until I am face to face with God and can ask him.

Why oh why, knowing the devious nature of Lucifer,did my Father God permit Lucifer to talk him into permitting man to have "Free Will" the right to choose. Sin would not exist, and we as well as God would have the love that we want, without having to make a choice. I HATE FREE WILL!!

Sorry for venting my frustration but this is the one thing in my walk with God, that I simply don't wish to have and don't need.

Brother Dave.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Hi Dave,

Nobody 'talked God' into anything, God decided it all by Himself, it was and is part of the plan.

If you hate free will, then surrender it to God, then you will not need to worry about it.

Christ ONLY did His Fathers will, we can choose to do the same thing, now I know that's easier said than done, but start with denying yourself (your will) on small things, then let God work on upwards.

Get hold of any book by Smith Wigglesworth, he held to 'Only Believe' and that's what he did, from the time he came to faith he never read anything other than the bible. I don't agree with him on all things, but then he was alive in a time when he could manage 100% trust and faith in Gods word.

If it was in the bible, he believed it, and he kept at it until he saw it proven in his and others lives.

Another contemporary man of God to read is Joseph Hedgecock:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/My-Sheep-H...

He works on the belief that if we obey Christ's commands, we will be victorious.

The answer is simple, the application more difficult, it's easier to apply when you remove the levels of authority between you and Christ, we ARE a Holy Priesthood, we need no other intercessors than Christ Himself.

John

http://www.solm.org/web_int/


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

John I know and understand what you are saying but don't you think it would make life much more easier and simpler if we didn't have to think about getting with God's program, we just sorta glided into it because it was the natural thing to do.

Lucifer I believe, for the lack of a better word, tricked God into the application of "Free Will" by pointing out to God, after he created man that if God desired love from man, then man must have the right and ability to refuse. To say that God planned it like you have just stated, means that God the instant he created man already knew that man would sin and that Jesus would have to go through what he went through to redeem us. This would mean that God deliberately goofed to WHAT? prove a point to Jesus, punish Jesus for something Na Na Na ! that makes no sense. For the the lack of a better word, Lucifer managed to trick or con God into creating free will, thus forcing man to have to choose whether or not he would obey and love God rather than doing it out of blind obedience.

Brother Dave.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Dave I could possibly accept that Lucifer knew the law sufficiently to pose the question to God that He must instigate free will or God would be a uncaring God.

But there is no possible way that God could be tricked, and to believe that is to question Gods omnipotence and omniscience, which is just not on the table.

God DID plan it all from the start, knew every action in the whole of history as it would play out, and CAME DOWN TO EARTH HIMSELF as our sacrifice to the law.

Maybe you are just not desperate enough yet to forsake all in favour of Gods will?

I came to faith at 41 years of age, were you by any chance a 'cradle Christian'?

John


gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 6 years ago from North Texas

Kind of a brave hub. I don't like to dwell on this subject too much, but I like your take, John.

I've got relatives who do ponder and dissect this question to the extreme. It's good to know, but not good to obsess about. I also go to a church where the pastor believes all the five points of Calvinism, but does not expect that all his elders, much less his congregants, will agree with him on all points.

Keep on hubbing. Be blessed today.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

I'm fortunate that I have scant knowledge of any church fathers positions on things, I have only what I perceive from scripture and logical assumption.

I never joined the 'church', I joined the body of Christ, which often is found in churches, but not exclusively, for there are always some 'outside the camp' and that also is Gods planned design.

By what I have written, did I perchance agree with Calvin and his 5 points?


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

I think part of the mystery is found in one's name being "blotted out of the Lamb's book of Life". Perhaps everyone's names are written in it and by choice, rejection of the Lamb, his/her name is then removed. Check out the scriptures: Ex 32:32-33; Deut 29:20; Ps 69:28; Rev 3:5

The Bible says it's appointed unto men to die once, after this the judgment (Heb 9:27). I don't think we get another chance after physical death. We are to view this world as people dying each day, spreading the gospel with urgency!

Eph 2:8 says it's by grace we are saved through faith, and the definition of faith is found in Heb 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". Jesus told Thomas in John 20:29 "Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed".


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

John I am 62 years old. I have been a Christian/Catholic all of my life. Since I was a teen some 47 years now, I have studied the Christian beliefs, while still singing for God as a Catholic for the one and only simple reason, I love the Music of the Catholic church it allows me to sing in about 7 different languages and in as many music forms.

My walk with God is "PURE CHRISTIAN" I refuse to buy into all of the Catholic Rituals, like confession to a priest. Only God himself is able to forgive sin. Over 40 years ago I re-dedicated myself to Christ and Christ alone.

I am "Born anew" as a devout Christian, I sing for The Lord in the Catholic Church only because I love the selection of music and only for that reason. No I am not some brain-washed Catholic. My thoughts are strictly my own. My religious teaching comes from reading The Holy Bible and discovering for myself what it means in my life.

When I use the word trick or con, it is for lack of a better word to apply. But I feel that God's desire for man to love Him came into play somehow in a discussion with Lucifer, thus causing God to enact free will rather than blind obedience and love. Satan would see this as forcing man's love, and then could accuse God.

John don't you see, by saying that God fore-saw and knowingly planned for Adam's sinning,that man was going to disobey,says that God didn't care much about Jesus, His son, because what sort of person starts a plan in motion, knowing that it is going to fail, knowing that it was going to give so much grief pain and suffering to Jesus, His Son like it did.

What does this say for a loving caring God? No John, unless God is some sort of a prankster who likes to cause grief for others, then we have to see that Lucifer, somehow managed to manipulate things so that God would enact "Free Will". That's the only explanation I can see here.

Brother Dave.

Calvin is so far off the wall, nobody in their right mind would agree with him. I have read some of his work, and nobody I know could ever sound as ludicrous as he sounds. NO absolutely NO.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Living the Golden Rule insures your citizenship in God's kingdom and in the eyes of Jesus. It is His law above all laws. If it gets more complicated than that- then check out rule # 1. It's that Golden Rule! The Golden Rule dictates what your "free will" is! If all countries were ruled by this yard stick this world would be rid of Satan. What is Satan? Self wants and desires? Whatever you can define it to be -forget it. I guess folks want complexity in their lives. Good luck with that.


gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 6 years ago from North Texas

John,

You'd probably agree with the first point of Calvinism (but maybe not much more) which is Total Depravity (because of the fall of Adam, humans ever since have been born into the slavery of sin). For convenience, people put his points into the acronym TULIP

(Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints).

Supposedly, one falls into the Arminian view or the Calvinist view. After I was saved, I continued in the Baptist church in which I was reared, and to be honest, I never could see that the Southern Baptists quite fit into either camp. Anyway, as they say in Texas, "I don't have a dog in this hunt." Bye.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

OK, I seem to have ruffled some feathers, my apologies to all of you!

Between Dave, Micky and gracenotes I see three differing positions, we all find a position that we can live with, and so we should, for the essence is that we work out our 'salvation' and we do that by being Bereans and reading the word of God.

I'll take a night to reflect on the three statements above, and see what transpires.

I can only express what I have found for myself, but lets explore the three positions and see if we cannot find common ground.

Stay Blessed,

john


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

BTW... I'm no scholar or scribe and I'm open to correction as long as it's based on scripture.

I decided first off that scripture was the defining aspect of my walk. Peoples opinions are interesting and I hear what people say, but unless it lines up with scripture, that's all they are.

I do not dismiss anyone who holds views that are unscriptural, I just don't want to go any route that takes me away from what scripture states.

I stand 100% on the fact that the bible we have is the word God wants us to have, I don't need other books, or hidden meanings, all I need is a dictionary to 'interpret' Gods word clearly


gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 6 years ago from North Texas

You sure didn't ruffle my feathers. The views expressed in your hub are very thoughtful to me, when actually, I haven't tried to work out an explanation (and I don't want to). I am interested in hearing how a believer tackles such a difficult concept as outlined in your thesis, and yours seems to me an exceptional effort. Peace.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada

Thank you aguasilver for your thoughtful and succinctly put position on this thorny issue. I have just graduated from Bible College...well 1 year ago...and no one had put forth such a clear, unbiased (except to hold true to the Word) treatise.

This is a question I have struggled with for many years. I too have come back time and again to Ephesians 1 and find comfort and solace there. God planned it...laid it out for me...I have the choice to agree and confess my sin and need for Him and I do. I can see my sin, I know the wrongs I have done both knowingly out of selfishness and unknowingly out of ignorance. But when I get to it, it's all sin and sin against God. Bottom line. It all boils down to rebellion. And I want no more of that. My allegiance is to God and His Son. I know that He has and is the best for me. If I never fully understand His reasons why it had to happen the way it did...well, that is why He is God and I am not. He is the one who is the beginning and the end. It is why He knows from the start to the finish. God has a plan and a purpose much bigger than I and what I may be able to understand. I trust Him with my life and the life of those around me.

I would wish...or pray...that all would put down their bias thoughts for just a moment...and truly just open themselves to look at this without prejudice for their own ego's or skin. Took me a long time to do this and I am glad God helped me, empowered me to do this and gave me a moment to see the truth. After that (and here I see for the first time because of this hub and its presentation) I had to make my choice. Do I take God for who and what He is or do I hang on to my own way and opinions. And if I hang on to my opinions...I really need to ask whose opinion am I actually holding, mine or Satan's. Something worth giving consideration.

Thanks John have really appreciated your thoughts and presentation.

(ah...sorry I rambled on a bit...my comment a hub in itself... sheepish grin)

Blessings

UlrikeGrace


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Ulrike, your comments are welcomed, and I am content that you have gleaned something from this hub.

John


Sanctus Vesania profile image

Sanctus Vesania 6 years ago

Hi John,

As it is, I still can't believe that the idea of free will is some sort of marvelous gift. Look at it this way;

A pagan makes a choice to worship a different god(s) than the Christian God, and they have made the choice to go to the paradise of their gods. This is what they want.

Do they get that? According to mainstream Christianity, no, instead they get to burn in Hell for all eternity, because they made the wrong choice.

There are some who choose to believe that they'll be reincarnated, but does this happen?

No, instead they get to look forward to a place of torment that would make the concentration camps look like Disney World.

Atheists believe that everyone will be annihilated, but according to Christians this won't happen. Instead, they'll be in complete agony and torment for all eternity.

So, when a choice is essentially 'Choose Christ and gain an eternal life of bliss, or choose something besides Christ, and be tormented for all eternity' I ask: Where is the FREE will in that?

Here's another way to look at it. A certain article I once read was denouncing "A Divine Revelation of Hell" as a hoax. One part stated;

'Question: If a soul sees hell, as Baxter describes, is filled with fear, and runs to her Jesus, will that soul say, “Thank you for saving me, Jesus”? Or will that soul say, “Whew, that was close! Good thing I made the right decision!”? In other words, is it self-salvation or Christ salvation? And what kind of gratitude can someone possibly have when threatened into decision? Does this sound like true salvation? We don’t think so!'

Thank God Jesus saved me.

Whew! That was close! Thank God that I made the right decision.

One is pure Christ salvation. The other one is man salvation with help from Christ.

Finally, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The concept of FREE will is an idol of the heart. An idol that most Christians don't want to give up, because THEY want to be in control of their own lives. THEY want to be in the driver's seat, while Jesus sits in the back. THEY want to make their own way, and only come to Jesus when they need His help.

Some might say that I see myself as a robot, or puppet. This is not true. I have simply realized that I belong to God, that without Him I have nothing, and I am nothing. I have realized that it is the Godhead who make all things possible. My heart may lean towards something, but it is God who directs my footsteps.


TLMinut profile image

TLMinut 6 years ago

Dave's objections remind me of a scene with one of my boys when he was 16 or so. Some things were happening and I told him I wanted to take him and wrap him in a huge bubble so that no one could ever hurt him in any way. His response was:

No, Mom! Don't you see? I want to do it myself, I want to experience it all and see what I can do. I WANT things to be hard so I can figure it out on my own.

---------

The whole free will thing, letting things be horrible is like Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes (also my youngest son) who complains that only terrible things build character. They both (Calvin and my son) rail against the idea that fun doesn't build character and make them better people.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Hi Sanctus, you are late! - I was expecting you in much earlier! ;o)

And as usual you raise some very valid points, but then you should for it is something that you have thought long and hard about, and reached your conclusions, whereas for me it is an issue I attempt to understand still.

The first issue that you raise, that of the pagan or pantheist showed me instantly that my focus had missed their point.... what does happen to those who sought another god and found out that John 14:6 is the truth and Christ was the ONLY way to God?

By traditional Christian doctrines they are hell bound, for making the wrong choice.

I see the possibility for error that presents, when (say) a Buddhist like Hokey could live a life of blessing to others and service to mankind, and yet still 'miss the mark'... or indeed the fate of Mahatma Gandhi, who outshone most Christians in his devotion to peace, and whose life followed Christ's in so many ways... many ways more than mine does?

I need to address this, the hub needs revision, for I have made no provision for them in this system, and like God, I must make provision for them.

You may note that I have not created a Hell in my exposition, merely a place where those who refuse God's invitation can coexist with themselves, which I surmise would be hell as God would not be present in that place, and no constrains would exist, except their own desires.

But clearly that would not suffice for all other religious folk, unless God creates multiple places for those who chose wrongly.... then you start to approach the old joke about the chap newly arrived in Heaven who finds an impossibly high brick wall blocking his path... "What's this", he asks St Peter...."Oh that's where the Catholic's are" St Peter replies, "they like to think they are alone".

No wonder most of us never think about such things, but accept the church fathers summation that all roads lead to hell, except via Christ!

But if we remove 'free will' and assume that whether you want to or not, you end up in eternity with God, then atheists are distinctly persecuted, and Mark Knowles will actually have been committed to hell, having to bunk down besides me for eternity, and the pantheists are kinda correct, because all roads did lead to God, just not the god they thought they were seeking, and then again they have cause for complaint, because God will have ignored their desires and given them an eternal life they never necessarily sought, or stopped them living recurrent lives that they did seek.

Like Dave said, it would be much simpler if God had just said, you love me and want to worship me, and hard wired that into his original design....

Oh, but wait a minute, HE DID DO THAT.... This was His intention in the Garden, He did create a perfect world for us to live in, and He did offer us a perfected eternal life.... and we chose not to live it... and He allowed us that choice, of that there is no doubt.

So the conundrum continues and we find that having reached the exit we have returned to where we came in...

More thought required, must do better, as my teachers always seemed to note on my essays at school...

More later!

John


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/A-Biblical

After this hub one of two in the comments section I set up a ball with the goal dead center and entrance at any portion of this sphere heading toward the center, A.M. Warner described it as a tree, so I mentally to that to the tree of life. We all are moving towards it from a different angle and get a different view. I suggest as we near it we become in "range" of one another to describe our views and truths of what we see, all slightly different but the same. Check it out and let me know if it makes sense to you as it seemingly does to me.

Dusty


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

Aquasilver

I don't think that you will be happy with my comment

I see the Old Testament and the New Testament as unrelated documents. Neither one of them are self authenticating and neither one has any divine or even supernatural evidence.

There were millions of people that lived and died before there was a New Testament and a Christ and a Holy Ghost. They didn't or shouldn't have need Christ, as they believed in God directly.

If those believers were not wrong in serving their God directly, then it should still be valid today.

If the bibles were truly divine documents, then everyone should have the same interpretation of them. Then free will would come into play, whether they would follow it or not. Free will shouldn't have included making thousands of interpretations, after all it doesn't seem to work that well for the interpretation of the US Constitution

The whole purpose of life and our existence would be meaningless if it was predetermined.

The free will aspect compares to the voluntary Income Tax System. In both cases it is contolled by fear and retribution, rather than love or patriotism.

One of the reasons that I created the hub, God, Creator, and or Other Forces was to get an unbiased view from other people on how they see these choices.

There must be a reason why humans have a very intelligent mind, and faith doesn't utilize that intelligence because Faith doesn't have any question, it has a book of answers.

my opinion...


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

OpinionDuck (if I may, aguasilver), you said "The whole purpose of life and our existence would be meaningful if it was predetermined." This very hub inspired me to write two about predestination: 1) The Book of Life and 2) And the Books were Opened. Everyone is predestined with their names written in the Lamb's Book of Life because Jesus was predestined to and died for the sins of the whole world. However, those who reject Christ Jesus have their names blotted out of the Book of Life. That pretty much sums it up.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

OD said:"I don't think that you will be happy with my comment"

OD, I'm happy about all comments, shows that people are reading, and I write to be read, so the fact that you disagree with me is of no accord, I mainly write for those who have faith, but lack clarity or trust.

My ideal reader is someone who has never had their faith challenged, I think we need to challenge what folk believe, or it has no worth.

OD said:"I see the Old Testament and the New Testament as unrelated documents. Neither one of them are self authenticating and neither one has any divine or even supernatural evidence."

Like I said earlier, if you have never had that 'Holy Spirit' encounter, I can see how you can get to this point of view, but for those of us who HAVE had that Holy Spirit encounter, there remains no doubt or confusion.

Taste and see, the Lord is good.

OD said:"There were millions of people that lived and died before there was a New Testament and a Christ and a Holy Ghost. They didn't or shouldn't have need Christ, as they believed in God directly.

If those believers were not wrong in serving their God directly, then it should still be valid today."

Those folk who lived before Christ were under the old covenant, by which they will be judged, and either found righteous (under the law) or not.

But even in the old covenant times there were those who had Holy Spirit encounters, though admittedly these were few in number, but yet many did recognise the evidence of Christ, which is written right through all the old testament books.

The whole point is that Christ was sent to provide a BETTER way to salvation in God.

OD said:"If the bibles were truly divine documents, then everyone should have the same interpretation of them."

Why?.... I use several translations from modern ones like the Message, to Greek Hebrew study bibles, Amplified....why not, they all bring the same message in differing words adapted to the audience they are aimed at, God is very strategic in His marketing focus.

The 'interpretation' does matter, but not in the way you think.

I only study with KJV, but when I write I normally quote from a bible that the reader may find easier to understand.

Besides, all bibles are nothing more than books to those who have not asked God to give them discernment and understanding, then they become all powerful tools to guide you through life and give you exactly the right words to say in whatever circumstance.

Each verse is interactive with the others, and speaks to believers differently at various times, I have read verses five or ten years ago which gave me one understanding only to find that in different times the understanding was deeper in the same verse, reflecting God's ability to convey to us exactly what is required for each occassion.

OD said:"I don't think that you will be happy with my comment"

OD, I'm happy about all comments, shows that people are reading, and I write to be read, so the fact that you disagree with me is of no accord, I mainly write for those who have faith, but lack clarity or trust.

My ideal reader is someone who has never had their faith challenged, I think we need to challenge what folk believe, or it has no worth.

OD said:"I see the Old Testament and the New Testament as unrelated documents. Neither one of them are self authenticating and neither one has any divine or even supernatural evidence."

Like I said earlier, if you have never had that 'Holy Spirit' encounter, I can see how you can get to this point of view, but for those of us who HAVE had that Holy Spirit encounter, there remains no doubt or confusion.

Taste and see, the Lord is good.

OD said:"There were millions of people that lived and died before there was a New Testament and a Christ and a Holy Ghost. They didn't or shouldn't have need Christ, as they believed in God directly.

If those believers were not wrong in serving their God directly, then it should still be valid today."

Those folk who lived before Christ were under the old covenant, by which they will be judged, and either found righteous (under the law) or not.

But even in the old covenant times there were those who had Holy Spirit encounters, though admittedly these were few in number, but yet many did recognise the evidence of Christ, which is written right through all the old testament books.

The whole point is that Christ was sent to provide a BETTER way to salvation in God.

OD said:"I don't think that you will be happy with my comment"

OD, I'm happy about all comments, shows that people are reading, and I write to be read, so the fact that you disagree with me is of no accord, I mainly write for those who have faith, but lack clarity or trust.

My ideal reader is someone who has never had their faith challenged, I think we need to challenge what folk believe, or it has no worth.

OD said:"I see the Old Testament and the New Testament as unrelated documents. Neither one of them are self authenticating and neither one has any divine or even supernatural evidence."

Like I said earlier, if you have never had that 'Holy Spirit' encounter, I can see how you can get to this point of view, but for those of us who HAVE had that Holy Spirit encounter, there remains no doubt or confusion.

Taste and see, the Lord is good.

OD said:"There were millions of people that lived and died before there was a New Testament and a Christ and a Holy Ghost. They didn't or shouldn't have need Christ, as they believed in God directly.

If those believers were not wrong in serving their God directly, then it should still be valid today."

Those folk who lived before Christ were under the old covenant, by which they will be judged, and either found righteous (under the law) or not.

But even in the old covenant times there were those who had Holy Spirit encounters, though admittedly these were few in number, but yet many did recognise the evidence of Christ, which is written right through all the old testament books.

The whole point is that Christ was sent to provide a BETTER way to salvation in God.

OD said:"The whole purpose of life and our existence would be meaningless if it was predetermined."

Which is presumably why God gave us free will, to make it more varied and to give us something to want to hold onto. Believers 'die'when they come to faith, not physically, certainly not spiritually, but they die to the world, and come alive to God and eternity. Believers no longer cling desperately to life, they are comfortable with death, for death has lost it's sting, when you know that you simply pass from life back into eternal life.

OD said:"I don't think that you will be happy with my comment"

OD, I'm happy about all comments, shows that people are reading, and I write to be read, so the fact that you disagree with me is of no accord, I mainly write for those who have faith, but lack clarity or trust.

My ideal reader is someone who has never had their faith challenged, I think we need to challenge what folk believe, or it has no worth.

OD said:"I see the Old Testament and the New Testament as unrelated documents. Neither one of them are self authenticating and neither one has any divine or even supernatural evidence."

Like I said earlier, if you have never had that 'Holy Spirit' encounter, I can see how you can get to this point of view, but for those of us who HAVE had that Holy Spirit encounter, there remains no doubt or confusion.

Taste and see, the Lord is good.

OD said:"There were millions of people that lived and died before there was a New Testament and a Christ and a Holy Ghost. They didn't or shouldn't have need Christ, as they believed in God directly.

If those believers were not wrong in serving their God directly, then it should still be valid today."

Those folk who lived before Christ were under the old covenant, by which they will be judged, and either found righteous (under the law) or not.

But even in the old covenant times there were those who had Holy Spirit encounters, though admittedly these were few in number, but yet many did recognise the evidence of Christ, which is written right through all the old testament books.

The whole point is that Chris


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

Aquasilver

I havehad a problem with hubpages, where I didn't think it sent my comment, so I did it again and again. Then all of them come on the same comment.

Anyway, thanks for the comment.

However, the core of your response is a circular argument. If I believed, I would be a believer, and if I was a believer, then I would believe.

Neither of the "covenants" have really changed the people. Evil is dominant in human beings as depicted in history. There has been no improvement in them since AD.

I gave the US Constitution as an example of how different interpretations change the meaning of the original document. The same is true of the Bible(s).

To me religion and God are not necessarily one in the same. The leaders of the religions, including the Catholic Church have not demonstrated any real connection to a God or divinity. Most religions are run the same as any government.

The concept of an angry and vengeful God is not my idea of a loving God.

You have your belief, and I am not trying to change it, but for me to change my belief, I need more than words written thousands of years ago by mere humans.

The story and belief in Santa Claus was no less powerful than the God in the Bible. No one questioned Santa Clause and how he was able to go all around te world in one night. Then one day we find out the truth, it was just a story.

People today still don't respect the Ten Commandments, it is of course just words because we don't have the evidence of the tablets created by God.

People obey the law more when they see the police looking at them, or even just the mere presence of police, likewise people would obey a God that they can see, better than an invisible spirit.

BTW, I had an interesting thought about Easter. I find it strange that the politically correct have taken or are trying to take God out of Christmas (Xmas) to simply Happy Holidays. At the same time, there has been no effort to chang Easter. I find this strange.

Surprise, but I don't agree with taking Christ out of Christmas. Nor do I want to eradicate the word God from money or other places, where it has been used in this country.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Hi OD,

"However, the core of your response is a circular argument. If I believed, I would be a believer, and if I was a believer, then I would believe."

Conversely so is your arguement, you require proof, but are unprepared to follow the path that leads to it until you have been given the proof.

It's like a poker player who wants to see what I have but refuses to raise my hand to see it.

I spent 41 years refuting and disputing the gospel, before I came to a point where I had to take the leap of faith that allowed God to communicate with me, and then from that point onward, I was hearing from God, slowly at first, then with each month that passed, as I read more scripture, more was revealed.

Remember that God requires our submission to Him BEFORE He shows His face to us.

If your intellect refuses to allow you to accept that fact, then your rebellion is at the most basic there is, yet just as deadly as any staunch atheist may express.

You, like many other folk, confuse Churchianity with Christianity, and the two are quite different and diverse.

Most denominations will ONLY accept what their 'church fathers'have decreed is correct doctrine, and too often what they hang their hat on is not the words of Christ, or even the rest of the scriptures.

Unfortunately once the Roman Empire adopted Christ as their main god, they managed to constraint the search for Gods will for 1200 years, and in that time created Christ into their own image.

The Luther protestation only managed to reject SOME of the error that had crept into the 'Church'.... all the other denominations since have likewise refused to start from the pure words of Christ, and instead adopted their own doctrines.

So all the existing mainstream church organisation are in error to some degree, but despite that, God honours the parts that He may and still hides His remnant within the 'body of Churchianity'.... we still exist, have always and will always until Christ returns.

"The story and belief in Santa Claus was no less powerful than the God in the Bible. No one questioned Santa Clause and how he was able to go all around te world in one night. Then one day we find out the truth, it was just a story."

One vital difference, Santa was based on fact but amended for commercial reasons by Coca Cola, and more relevant, you were believing the lie when you were a child. Adults don't have that confusion, we know Santa was a lie, and more worryingly, we know our parents lied to us.

"People today still don't respect the Ten Commandments, it is of course just words because we don't have the evidence of the tablets created by God."

I would say that we more likely do not know where God has hidden them, however the commandments stand alone, our legal systems are based upon them, your moral code has been influenced by them, and as a set of principals they still stand alone as the best way to run your life.

In those commandments, God expressed succinctly the basic rules that will ensure our security.

Got to eat now...

John


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

John

I guess we don't have any common agreement here

thanks for the try


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

OD, you may like to ponder the fact that you don't have any common agreement with many others as well. Admittedly life and eternity is not a popularity contest, but normally when one makes a contentious or alternative opinion, there will be some fellow travellers.

The believers who have commented here are mostly (as far as a I know from experience) those who have Holy Spirit relationships with God through Christ.

So asking them for proof that you will not accept in faith is a non starter, and as you refuse to trust yourself to faith, then there really is nowhere to go.

May God richly bless you with a full revelation of His Spirit.

John


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago

John, this Hub is absolutely brilliant! I had never equated predestination with the idea of a destiny, a destiny we can refuse or miss. You explicated that superbly! Well done!

"I finally cared for someone else more than myself."

What a powerful testimony, Brother.

"He does not require me to be perfect, He just expects that I will stop trying to pretend that I am."

Amen, my friend.

Your article is fabulously edifying. Somehow, I had missed it before. I am sure glad I was led to it today.

Thank you.

James


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 3 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Thanks James,

The good thing about older articles being read, is I get to read them myself again! and normally find I wrote them for me.

John

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