Can predestination and free will both exist?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rpniman, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. rpniman

    rpniman
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    I have been struggling with this question and I need help coming to a correct understanding. My father, being a Baptist minister, has always taught a human has free will to answer God's call or to reject it. As I've dug into scripture more on my own I have discovered several points (primarily in John and Romans) that have really planted seeds of confusion in my mind concerning the whole issue.

    First off, I see evidence all through scripture of God's forceful calling of servants (like Moses, Mary, and Paul for example). The scripture also has many references to God being the one that chooses us (John and Romans) for salvation and subsequently service to him. Matthew 22:14 even states, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” which specifically indicates God chooses us, we don't choose God. The Bible also says that the book of life has already been written. This is really convincing evidence to support my understanding of predestination, which I was always taught was not a correct belief.

    However,

    I also remember John 3:16 that states, "...whomever BELIEVES in him.." To me the word believes indicates a clear choice. You have the choice to believe or not believe. Why wouldn't it have been communicated "whoever the Lord MAKES to believe..." if it wasn’t our choice. Also, I Timothy clearly says, "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth." To me this clearly means the Lord has left it up to us to seek salvation and search for the truth. Because if God has already predestined you for salvation, he would not desire all men to be saved because he would have already saw to it that the ones he wanted saved would find salvation.

    I'm very confused because I see evidence for both predestination and free will. My father explains that I'm misunderstanding foreknowledge for predestination, but if it was purely foreknowledge without predestination then that would make God a casual "reader" of the book, not the writer of the book.

    This confusion/lack of understanding is really hindering my growth spiritually because I am totally obsessed with coming to grips with this question. What am I missing?? Is it simply that God has predestined some people and events and others left to their own free will and chance? Thanks for any insight to help me come to an understanding on this subject.

    Sincerely,

    Seeking and Knocking
     
  2. webdog

    webdog
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    I think the problem I am witnessing (and maybe I'm wrong) is your use of predesination really meaning predetermining. Remember, those phrases are time phrases (pre and fore), and God is not bound by time, as He is truly omnipresent (omnitemporal is included in omnipresence). Since God exists in the past, present and future...all at the same time, there truly is not "pre" or "fore" attached to God, but these phrases are used to give us finite beings bound by time the slightest glimpse of God's awesomeness.

    Take a piece of paper, draw a line in the middle of it. At the left write "beginning of creation"...and at the end write "end of time". Imagine that piece of paper is all eternity, and remembering God exists in all places on that piece of paper (omnipresent)...tell me where on that paper God is not present. There truly is no "fore" and "pre" in what God does, or how God does things. He is the great "I Am".
     
  3. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
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    Amen Webdog;........:thumbs:
     
  4. JustChristian

    JustChristian
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    Correct. But we exist in time. Therefore explaining events from our perspective does involve a "pre" and a "post." Besides, I don't believe that we can understand God's ways as you suggest.
     
  5. rpniman

    rpniman
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    Thank you for responding. I'm struggling though to understand how this helps to answer my question? Obviously when God communicated through Paul the idea of predestination he wasn't referring to time relative to his existence. He's referring to the timeline as measured from creation through the final judgement. So when Romans 8:29-30 states, "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." He is obviously communicating the reality of time as it pertains to our being and the creation that we are a part of.

    Again, I do thank you for your response, but you'll have to clarify your statement a little more to help me understand what you are trying to tell me in terms of answering my question about predestination and free will.
     
  6. webdog

    webdog
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    I agree that those phrases are for us in our perspective. We cannot fully understand God, nor did I imply we can understand God fully. Our minds will never wrap around these facts this side of Heaven.
     
  7. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Well , aside from all those fancy-dancy metaphysical , philosophical ruminations -- the Bible uses the sphere of time for our benefit . The Lord did indeed chose His own BEFORE the foundation of the world . Predestination does have the element of predetermination . Just as a lone example try Romans 9:11 : "Yet , before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad -- in order that God's purpose in election might stand : " ( TNIV )
     
  8. webdog

    webdog
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    Yes...but do you believe God can "pre" or "fore" anything existing in all time at the same time? To US He can...but to Him?
     
  9. webdog

    webdog
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    With the foundation of the world came time...so at what "time" did something happen before time was created?

    Christ was also the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (and time)...so when did this actually take place?!?
     
  10. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
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    before the 1st day
     
  11. Amy.G

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    Yep. Before anything. Time, creation, us........:)
     
  12. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
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    Web,

    Listen, I'll give you this man....you have come a ways your your time thing. But...you still don't have it bud.

    The usual understanding of "eternity" is atemporal or timeless existence, that is, existence in which there is no temporal succession or duration. If there is no temporal succession or extension in God's being, then you have a lot of thinking and clarifying to do.

    "Omnitemporal" simply means "existing at all moments of time." It is not the same as "sempiternal," for a sempiternal entity can come into existence at a time and then continue without end, while an omnitemporal entity cannot fail to exist at any time.

    Therefore, to be omnitemporal one has to have time. Do you see the problem? If God is omnitemporal and omnitemporal only, then He was not around till time was made.

    Generally, an entity described as "outside of time" is considered timeless or atemporal, while an entity which is omnitemporal is still a temporal entity. Both are ways of being eternal--the first, timelessly eternal; the second, everlastingly eternal.


    Therefore we must have both.....right? :)
     
  13. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
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    Not to beat a dead horse, but this line thing is NOT how one should view time.

    We get this idea from a "timeline"....but it is not a good view of time and God. In fact it will lead to a bad understanding of God.

    All pictures of God have their problem, for God can never be fully shown. However..I think this is a better view of God and time.

    Take a basketball and spin it on your finger. Your view of the basketball is a omnitemporal view of God in time. Let the ball fall and the space that once held the ball is a atemporal view of God. Time is change. While the ball is spinning change happens. God is there with each change...with each time frame.

    When there is no ball, there is no time and God is atemporal...or no changing
     
  14. menageriekeeper

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    Ya'll quit with the extra temporal talk, you're confusin' folk! :rolleyes:

    Look Rp, it's this away:

    For those he foreknew: What did God know ahead of time? There would be those who would choose to believe

    he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified: This is what God decided to do about those who would follow his ways and the manner in which he would accomplish the plan.

    Ya gotta remember that words foreknew and predestined are used in different contexts; they are not synonyms.
     
  15. Dr. L.T. Ketchum

    Dr. L.T. Ketchum
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    Bible interpretation is like real estate; i.e. location, location, location. In other words; context, context, context!

    Be careful not to take Romans chapter eight out of the context of its teaching on the doctrine of sanctification. It is not talking about the order of salvation, but the order of "the regeneration."


    See the following three studies:
    http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/PDF Files/Romans/Romans 63.pdf
    http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/PDF Files/Romans/Romans 64.pdf
    http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/PDF Files/Romans/Romans 65.pdf

    Predestination does not refer to lost people being predestined to be saved. Predestiniation refers saved people being predestined to glorification.
     
  16. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
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    hello menageriekeeper,

    We need to ask this. What did God want us to think about Himself and time? He clearly uses words in order that we can relate to Him. So when God said foreknew, do you feel he wanted us to think it was before or after? When God used the word predestined before the world was made, do you think God wanted us to believe it was before or after the world was made? If it did not matter, why not just say he "knew and destined us"? Do you think God was trying to trick us? Or maybe mis lead us? Or do you think maybe He wanted us to think it was before the world was made?


    Now....if He wanted us to believe it....menaing it was His will that we believe it was before the world was made, do you think He was telling the truth?
     
  17. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001
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    please make your case.
     
  18. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
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    What did God want us to think about Himself and time?

    Personally, Romans 8 isn't about time. It's about explaining suffering and persecution and why God allows it. It's about giving us the comfort of knowing that God had plan, has a plan, and the plan continues into our future. Time is simply secondary to the purpose of the passage. It is we men who try to put time constraints on a God who tells us plainly that he doesn't view time in the same manner as we.

    He clearly uses words in order that we can relate to Him. So when God said foreknew, do you feel he wanted us to think it was before or after?

    I don't have a problem with the idea that God knew before creation that I would accept His gift.

    When God used the word predestined before the world was made, do you think God wanted us to believe it was before or after the world was made?

    Ah, here is where context play a crucial role. He foreknew first with the subject of the foreknowledge being those would accept salvation. He predestined second, the subject of the predestination being that we would become conformed to the image of Christ. The rest of the passage deals with how it would be accomplished.

    If it did not matter, why not just say he "knew and destined us"? Do you think God was trying to trick us? Or maybe mis lead us? Or do you think maybe He wanted us to think it was before the world was made?

    See the answer to your first question. God wasn't explaining to us the mechinisms of time, but that He was/is in control and will continue to be. Words of comfort, explanations of the accomplishment of suffering, not a treatise on time.
     
  19. willowdee

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    rpniman, I just want you to know you are not alone. I am struggling with some of the same issues. Maybe we should pray for each other?

    Thank you for posting this. It is what I've always believed and what I was always taught. I am beginning to wonder if I'm even a Baptist anymore.

    Dee
     
  20. Michael52

    Michael52
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    It works for me!

    I'm Baptist...I think? :saint:

    Michael52
     

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