Is there such a thing of chance, or is everything predestined?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by JeffM, May 5, 2004.

  1. JeffM

    JeffM
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    I have a terrible fear of flying and over the years, I have been dealing with this fear the best I can which led me to this question:

    Does daily life operate outside of Gods control and he intervenes at his will, or did he preplan everything that happens from before creation?

    I used to have a childlike faith when I prayed before getting on an airplane, now I wonder if I was destined to die in a crash.

    This is a hard concept for me to convey in words, so please bear with me.

    Since I believe that God is the creator of ALL things, including time, and he knows what we are going to do before we do it, then it would come to reason that life just doesn't happen randomly. There cannot be chance, because chance would then be something outside of Gods control, and since there was nothing before creation, then there can't be chance.

    I tend to lean towards the Calvinist side of things where there is predestination. There has to be if God is the creator of ALL things.

    If I recall, Deist believe that God created the world, then let it go like a watch to operate on it's own accord, intervening only according to his will.

    If predestination is true, then how can there be free will? That would mean there is something outside of Gods control...which can't be if he created all things. What about prayer? If everything was written down like a script before the foundations were laid, then how does prayer work? Is it merely something for us to do as an act of faith? Does God change his script in response to prayer or was it all prewritten, including my prayer?

    I asked my Pastor this he tried to explain it the best he could given such an abstract question. He said I shouldn't worry about such things and remember that if I were die in a plane crash, it was in God's will and good ALWAYS comes from Gods will. He then brought up the story of the fellow who died in the hijacked plane over Pennsyvania. His wife wrote LET'S ROLL as a testament to God's will and the book has saved many people.

    I appreciate all attempts to help me understand this concept.

    Jeff
     
  2. Artimaeus

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    You will get compelling arguments from both sides of this issue. The truth is, that even though they are contradictory and completely at odds with each other. The Bible clearly teaches that God is soverign AND man can make choices. Until we have a theological Einstein who can come up with a unification theory we will just have to accept the fact that God is right and the rest of us just can't compete with Him mentally.
     
  3. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Jeff,

    There was a thread last week about "do you believe in luck". I think that question is related to yours. My comments were not too well received there, but I'll try them again here. BTW, we have much in common, I think, on the flight thing. I hate flying but have needed to do a lot of it, and always, every flight, pray very specifically for the flight crew, the airplane, and the air traffic controllers to function properly. God has graciously given me many flights with complete safety, only once did I demand to get off early. :D

    Anyway, I believe that God is sovereign in even the smallest things, such as the flip of a coin.

    Having said that, I also believe that the workings of His sovereignty are FAR beyond our comprehension. Therefore, even under the operation of God's sovereignty, there are things that, from a human perspective, cannot be discerned further than to describe them as chance or "luck". The science of statistics deals with it mathematically, in a valid fashion.

    Still, God is sovereign in all those things, the Bible teaches that. So, my conclusion:

    God is sovererign in all things, and answers the prayers of His children. From a human perspective the appearance and perhaps sometimes even the operation of someevents boils down to chance or luck.

    I cannot fully reconcile all those ideas in my mind, but I think it would be sinful and arrogant to claim to have a position in which I fully undersatnd the mind and workings of God. I simply attempt to accept what I can observe in light of God's Holy Word.

    -PA Jim
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    Since the Bible teaches that God is sovereign and man makes choices, obviously these truths are not contradictory at all.

    Sovereignty DOES NOT mean that God cannot allow human free will in the midst of his eternal plan.
     
  5. Artimaeus

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    [​IMG]

    Point well taken. However, to read most posts on topics like this it would seem that they are all saying that either "A" is true and I am misunderstanding "B" or else "B" is true and I am misunderstanding "A". It is almost never stated that "A" and "B" are true because we have no logical explanation of how that is possible.
     
  6. Bro. James Reed

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    Predestination: the destination of God's children determined before the world began.

    His predestination has only to do with our salvation and means by which to accomplish it.

    Now, his foreknowledge is a different matter. God does indeed know and has always known everything that will ever transpire on the earth and in heaven. Nothing is a surprise to him.

    He does indeed know when each of us will die, but that doesn't mean he necessarily caused it to happen that way.

    I do believe he causes some events to happen for the purpose of attaining his glory, for example he acted upon Pharoah and caused him to harden his heart. However, we are not puppets on a string with God making us perform this or that way in every little thing we do.

    He does act in our lives. I believe he's saved me on a few occassions from losing my life. I guess it was not my time.

    He has ultimate control over everything, but that doesn't mean he does or does not allow some things to happen. And, it also means that everything that does happen, while not expressly commanded to take place a certain way by him, is compelled to happen by the simple fact that he knows it will.

    Short answer, if he knows that you will die in a plane crash then you will, but last time I checked he wasn't telling us when and where we will die.

    I wouldn't let it keep me from flying.
     
  7. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    Psalm 37:23
    The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
     
  8. Paul of Eugene

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    Look, you're worried about flying on airplanes.

    Bottom line: a crash could happen. But you're safer in an airplane than in a car. But that's not much comfort, when you have a gut fear anyway, is it.

    Here's what to do when you HAVE TO FLY.
    Give yourself permission to be afraid. Just as afraid as you want to be. In fact, make a mental note as you fly just how afraid you are. Moniter the fear level as you go along. Kind of like a scientific experiment. Let it be what it is, just moniter what it is.

    Amazingly, you will find you really have very little fear. Works every time.
     
  9. Johnv

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    It all depends on outlook. For example, God created the laws of the universe, and everything in the physical world operated in accordance with the laws of the universe. Now, some will view things that happen within the laws of the universe as being chance (chance to us, maybe, but since God created the laws of the unverse, is it really chance?). Others will view things that happen within the laws of the universe to be predestined (predestined to us, maybe, but since God allows everything to operate within the laws of the universe, is it really predestination?).
     
  10. superdave

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    Your safety is clearly contained in the decreed will of God. He is omniscient and outside the dimension of time, so he does know and has decreed the events that will occur.

    You as a finite human being really should not concern yourself with that other than to accept and rest in the fact that you are never out of God's care, and what he does in your life will always be used by him for your good if you are called out for his purposes and will.

    Your responsibility is to follow those things you know God has commanded you to do, and trust him for the rest of it. Fear is a natural reaction to many situations, but you do at some point have to trust God for the best outcome in your life, and in the lives of others. If the fear of certain things is controlling your life, then there is a problem, but the emotion itself is a natural thing.
     
  11. pinoybaptist

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    There is a verse in the Bible that Absoluters use as their proof text for their doctrine that before God created the world, he predetermined and predestinated everything that will ever happen in time. That he arranged all events, and all conditions that happens whether they be good, bad, or indifferent. That verse is Acts 4:27-28.

    Now, do you believe he predestinated all the sin and wickedness we now see in this world ? Did he create death ? Or was death, and fear , something that came about because of man's own rebellion against his Creator ?

    I agree with what Bro. James Reed said in his post.

    Now, you have a fear of flying. Fear is a negative emotion which was never part of our psyche before becoming totally depraved.

    What do you do about it ?

    Grab every chance you can to fly in an airplane.

    In 1969, the vehicle I was in flew off a 110 foot ravine inclined 27 degrees the bottom of which was a river so black with cyanide from a mining company's tailing pond that trees and foliage on that river's shoreline were all dead. Two huge trees growing perpendicularly off the ravine caught our vehicle 95 feet down.

    No one died. None of us had life-threatening injuries.

    As a result, all fifty passengers on that vehicle, we were all security guards of that mining firm, had this tremendous phobia of high places and zigzags.

    What we did was, as soon as the mining firm repaired that vehicle, (which took longer than our hospital stay) we took it out, everyday for one week, and drove 45 mph on that 20 meter wide zigzag, bumpy road where we had the accident, all 50 of us, in crutches and plaster casts and bandages. Same bunch. Same driver (he escaped serious injuries). The mining firm allowed us to do that, to help us conquer our fears.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    God controls everything. Period. Or he is not God. Sorry.

    That means he controls the rise of wicked Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of judgment on God's own people. Can imagine the Jews thought fate was against them, God forsook them, et al. But He is God.

    And at the crucifixion don't you think the disciples felt the whole world caved in? Bet they could not imagine God's plan involving THAT.

    And the Nazi's in Germany did their worst . . but all in the blessed control of God.

    And the rise of antiChrist and martyrdom of saints in the tribulation to come will probably still see the same question of God's plan.

     
  13. DeafPosttrib

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    "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

    In Christ
    Rev. 22:20 - Amen!
     
  14. Ronald

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    With Almighty God everything is known from beginning to end and also his own have been chosen. Why? How can this be? Because God does not dwell IN time, but rather God dwells outside the laws that govern time and space. To him everything is IN THE PRESENT. Some great preacher once said that our entire universe is like a giant box and God is on the OUTSIDE looking at this box from every angle. So he knows when a new star comes into being and at the same time when one goes out of existence. And so it is with you. He knows when you were born and knows already how many days you will live.

    The same for the plight of the wicked. Sometimes God enters INTO that "box" and visits man. One prime example was when he came down to earth as a man and became the person we know as Jesus. We are so minuscule compared to the giant stars in the universe and yet God so loved our planet he came down to us. God is so great and yet so mysterious at the same time.
     
  15. swaimj

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    God is outside of time. He knows the end from the beginning and he planned the end from the beginning down to the smallest detail (the number of hairs on our head and even when a sparrow falls). The paradoxical truth is that, within the boundaries of time, man can make real decisions that have real consequences. I cannot reconcile these two, but both are clearly taught and portrayed in the scriptures.
     

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