It doesn’t matter.  Really, it doesn’t.

What I believe about God knowing (and perhaps determining) the future should have no effect on how I live my life.  And yet I am drawn to the question of predetermination.

I should define my terms.  But since I don’t know what I’m even considering, I’ll leave it vague.

Some people are strict.  God is actively involved in each and every activity.  He pushes down each raindrop.  I don’t go that far at all.  I think God has set up physical laws (gravity, the surface tension of water, etc.), and things in the universe follow those laws.  When something happens that’s outside of those laws, that’s a miracle.  I think God does miracles.

Some people believe that God knew from before the creation of the world who would be saved, and they have no choice in the matter.  I agree with the first part of that.  Jeremiah 1:5 says

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart

And I’m not going to try to make the argument that God had a time when He didn’t know everything.  I’m much shakier on the second part – the choice, the free will portion.  I want to think I make my own choices.  It might be dangerous arguing that I don’t make any of my own choices – that takes away all responsibility, and many places the Bible talks about making right choices.  But it also talks about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart.  I’ve heard the argument that God is doing what Pharaoh already did before, but that seems a bit weak.  It’s true – Exodus 8:15, 8:32, and 9:34 have Pharaoh hardening his own heart.  But God against an individual seems lopsided.  And maybe it’s stupidity – why would an individual choose to fight the almighty, infinite God?  All I can say is that like Saul/Paul, some people have scales on their eyes.  Been there, done that.  Bad trip – wouldn’t do it again.

Warren Wiersbe thinks that predestination is for those who have accepted Christ as their savior.  In his Be Right study of Romans, page 94 includes this in his discussion of Romans 8:18-30 (fear of discouragement):

[God’s plan] started in eternity past when He chose us in Christ (Eph 1:4-5).  He predetermined that one day we would be like His Son.  Predestination applies only to saved people. Nowhere are we taught that God predestines people to be eternally condemned.  If they are condemned, it is because of their refusal to trust Christ (John 3:18-21).  Those whom He chose, He called (see 2 Thes 2:13-14); when they responded to His call, He justified them, and He also glorified them.  This means that the believer has already been glorified in Christ (John 17:22)

(verses in the original – links and emphasis  mine)

What triggered all this was my finding of Jude 4

For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

And did this little excursion into predestination change anything, aside from being more definitely uncertain?  Not really.

But you already knew that.  Probably.  I know God knew it.

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