Predestination: Meaning and Application

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Baptist_Pastor/Theologian, Jul 30, 2006.

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  1. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    I have been following some of the discussions on this board and have found there to be a great need for clarifying the meaning of the term predestination and its resulting application to the doctrine of salvation.

    Let me start off by suggesting that the passage that I find that needs to be discussed first is Romans 8:29-30 (ESV):

    8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    In the context of this passage the word for predestined in verse 29 is tied to being "conformed to the image of his Son" as some have suggested; however, in verse 30 it's linked to being called. So in terms of the way this passage would read being predestined means that you are are called and not being predestined would therefore eliminate the calling. Those who are predestined are called to what? First the answer is found in verse 29, to be conformed to the image of his Son or to be born again, as Jesus is the firstborn of many to follow. Verse 30 further explains that those who are called are justified, as result they are saved and therefore as predestined called children of God they can expect with certitude to be glorified. Were it not for the providence of God there is no way to know for certain that one could expect to be glorified, because that is something that occurs in the next life. Yet, according to these verses the called can expect not only to be transformed into the image of Jesus in this life but they may also expect to be glorified in the life to come.

    Of course what would a discussion of predestination be with out touching briefly on Ephesians 1:3-14(ESV):

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined usfor adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making knownto us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

    11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guaranteeof our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,to the praise of his glory.

    Is there a serious Bible student who will disagree that this explicitly teaches that God is directing or decreeing his will in calling the elect?

    Before anyone tries to go and argue that predestination eliminates faith, I want to warn you how absurd a suggestion that would be for you to make. Faith is the result of having be predestined. Also God is the omni-competent chess master of salvation and he is perfectly able to execute his plan without violating the freewill of human beings in the process.

    Also let me warn you that trying to opt out of predestination based on foreknowledge while noble in your attempt to rescue a perceived vital role for the freedom of man does nothing of the sort. If God prior to creation knew something was going to take place and he created with that knowledge then he is in effect decreeing the inevitability of the resulting condition that emanates from his act of creation. IN OTHER WORDS, by having knowledge prior to creation God is effectively decreeing the elect according to his will if he has foreknowledge. Hence, a group of theologians as of late called open theists have argued that God does not know the future, therefore they argue he does not predestine the elect.

    I look forward to your various comments. Please keep it civil....
     
    #1 Baptist_Pastor/Theologian, Jul 30, 2006
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  2. npetreley

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    This is almost exactly the point I made in another thread. It is enough that there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that God elects those He knows in advance will believe of their own free will. That alone should eliminate such false doctrine.

    However, assuming this absurd doctrine was correct, it still puts God in ultimate control over who believes, because God sets up all of the variables that would lead to who believes and who doesn't. All God has to do is change a few of those variables, and suddenly a different set or sub-set of people believe. That is, IF this absurd doctrine was correct, which it clearly is not.
     
  3. Brother Bob

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    Baptist_Pastor/Theologian
    Please explain this part of the Scripture for to me it is talking to a different group of people and a different way of having to hear the word of truth but most importantly "to believe".

    Don't know the version but not KJV;
     
  4. Blammo

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    This thread starts off with an excellent point. I remember npetreley making the very same point on a previous thread. That is why I respect npetreley and carefully consider everything (he/she?) says.

    The point I am referring to is: "If God prior to creation knew something was going to take place and he created with that knowledge then he is in effect decreeing the inevitability of the resulting condition the emanates from his act of creation."

    I can not argue with that. However, doesn't that only prove that God did not have to look into the future to see who would believe? That seems to be something we have all agreed on before. Does God knowing all that would happen prior to creation automatically negate freewill? It seems to only prove that God went ahead with creating all things in spite of what He knew would happen.

    I have many more questions, but I don't want to make anyone write a book. Maybe suggest one? "The Bible", I know, I know...:tongue3:



    Just one more question though: In the following verses, does verse 13, ("in whom ye also trusted"), suggest two different groups of people being discussed?



    Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
    places in Christ:

    Eph 1:4 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:

    Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by
    Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his
    will,

    Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made
    us accepted in the beloved.

    Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
    forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

    Eph 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and
    prudence;

    Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will,
    according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in
    himself:

    Eph 1:10 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:

    Eph 1:11 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:

    Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted
    in Christ.

    Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of
    truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye
    believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
     
  5. npetreley

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    This is refuted by other scripture, however. To say "you meant it for evil but God meant it for good" is not something that happens in spite of God's foreknowledge. To say "God meant it for good" is to say "God planned it to happen this way, and He did so for good."

    Then there are the countless other more specific references to God changing the direction of kings, declaring the end from the beginning (not KNOWING the end from the beginning but declaring it), and so on.


    Edited to add: IMO, this issue goes straight to the heart of trusting God. If things happen in spite of God's intent, then God is not in control of every detail. If God is not in control of every detail, then Joseph would have no reason to trust that God was in control when he was abducted, or falsely accused and imprisoned. He would also have had to say, "You meant it for evil, but God used it for good."

    Finally, note that Jesus says that not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from God's will. It doesn't say apart from His knowledge, but apart from His will. If God's will is in action even when a sparrow falls to the ground, then man is far less important to God than sparrows if God leaves man's eternal destiny in man's own hands.
     
    #5 npetreley, Jul 30, 2006
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  6. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    I do not have a problem with the KJV but prefer the ESV.

    I am not entirely sure what your question is pertaining to but I will offer notes in brackets for each section of the passage you highlighted for consideration.

    13 In him you also, [you as opposed to we in verse 12 contrasts the Jews from the Gentiles, as does 1 John 2:2] when you heard the word of truth [See Romans 10:14-17 for the importance of hearing the gospel], the gospel of your salvation [your salvation is again referring to the Gentile believers], and believed in him [See John 6:65], were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit [See Gal. 4:6], 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory [See Eph. 1:11].
     
  7. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    Let me offer a suggestion for dealing with the foreknowledge of God. If God knew what would happen then some might suggest that he is morally responsible for the evil that entered the world. I do not believe this to be the case. Why? Because God did create humans as free moral agents. Despite what some here believe, God through decreeing the election of some to salvation and others to perdition does not eliminate the capacity of humans to make moral decisions. He just sets up the created order in such a way that his elect will receive salvation. The elect respond to the gospel in faith and the non-elect simply do not have the capacity to believe the gospel no matter how hard they may try. In so choosing to set up the created order in such a way God chose the best of all available alternatives that were available to him. In other words, when it is all said and done, despite the fall, God will have perfectly accomplished his desired objective in creating and there will be none lost to him in the process that were intended for salvation. If God had so chosen he could have set up a created order with or without baptisttheologian altogether, much less with or without a saved one, but for reasons that are beyond me and not due to my merit, God chose to elect me unto salvation. Truly I cannot tell you about nor adequately express in words my gratitude to the Lord for saving me from an eternity apart from him in place called hell. Yet, I was once a sinner, therefore, God elected me out of a common mass of humanity completely united and alike in their reprobation. This subject is deep and I am not sure how deep to go at this point but will offer this much for now...
     
  8. npetreley

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    How could God NOT know what would happen? Are you suggesting that the sin of Adam came as an unplanned surprise?
     
  9. Jarthur001

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    I agree 100% Note what was said a week or 2 ago...

    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=820752&postcount=98

    and...also...this is why I have said this view if taken to the end will lead to supralapsarianism...as shown here.....

    link...
    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=816220&postcount=97
     
  10. Jarthur001

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    Hello Blammo,


    I would understand if you do not want a list of books from me. :) :)

    But...i do have a list. Believe it or not..i would ask you to get at lease one book from the freewill point of view so that you can make sure. But maybe you all ready have this. I can give you a few books like that also.

    But...if you want to just have a quick read with no money..i have a list of links with full books.

    Also Talk to Joseph Botwinick. He seems to have a ton of book links that are all online.

    IMHO...I think most of the better books come from early in the Baptist faith. We have changed a bit though the years. But the books from 100-200 years ago....are unmatched.

    If you don't like the old dead guys...a over all good book that use to be used my many Baptist schools is James Montgomery Boice ......Foundations of Christian Faith

    http://www.reformationalresources.o...Code=RR&Product_Code=B-FCF&Category_Code=BJMB

    Also maybe the best still living today...John Piper...
    http://www.desiringgod.org/library/sermons_index.html

    or you can listen to a 7 year study of romans by piper here...
    http://www.biblicalpreaching.info/sermons.php

    I do not agree with everthing piper says...but he is very very good.

    If you want to just cut to the chase...listen to piper on romans 9.


    For whatever its worth. I'm sitting the rest of this thread out. :)

    It takes to long to keep up with all the post as slow as I type. Besides...we have a few good men (better then I) in this thread leading it.


    In Christ...James
     
    #10 Jarthur001, Jul 31, 2006
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  11. Brother Bob

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    We don't seem to have a problem with John seeing the future as it is happening but when it comes to God seeing all at once there is a problem. If John can see the future happening it certainly is no marvelous thing for God himself to see who believes and who does not from the beginning and knows who to CALL, PREDESTINATE, JUSTIFY and we fall back to agreeing that God can see this part happening GLORIFY.

    If God does know who believes and sees who believes from the beginning then its no great thing for the following to fall into place.

    Romans:8; 29, 30
    29: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
    30: Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.


    Revelation, chapter 21


    1: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
    2: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
    3: And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
    4: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
    5: And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
    6: And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
    7: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
    8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    Eph 1
    10: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times [tells us when this is going to take place, and that is when Jesus died and brought all together in one] he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
    11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, [is what is predestinated, that it would be in Christ and refers back to the fullness of times] being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
    12: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [who first trusted in Christ are the Apostles, not us]
    13: In whom ye also trusted,[Now we get to the Gentiles and we] after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
    [plainly tells us that in order to even become a part of this salvation we must first hear the Gospel and believe.] This part can be overlooked over and over but don't make any difference for it is what God said must happen and all this in the "fullness of time".

    One last thing, if God is a all knowing God and is everywhere and does see us Glorified and does see the end from the beginning and is I am that I am then He sees who believes and knows who to receive this Salvation and who is to not receive it. That is a just and fair God and not one who creates a being just for the pleasure of destroying. What kind of "love" is that?
     
  12. Jarthur001

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    Good point...as well as Daniel, Ezekiel and others.


    However each time this happens it was in a vision by God. Also this was not God looking forward ....it was God showing others. God already knew.
     
  13. webdog

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    ...and how did God already know?
     
  14. npetreley

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    Because He planned it, and it went exactly according to plan, as everything does. It [the Bible] says so, very plainly, again and again. "I [God] am raising up X to do Y, and Z will happen." Or more simply (and I paraphrase from memory), "Do I [God] not say X and it comes to pass?"

    God doesn't know our future because He sees it, He knows because He planned it. He says so.
     
  15. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    Both you and Bob are welcome to continue this debate of did God elect those who believe OR do we believe because God elected us. However, as I have tried to point out this is not as great a distinction as you might imagine.

    Bob, let me ask you a few simple questions and this may take a follow up question or two to further clarify my understanding of your position. But if I am understanding your position correctly then you are suggesting that God had nothing to do with who would believe at the outset in setting up the created order? It seems you are suggesting that people were brought into being without intent on making them believers or non-believers. That God in the beginning randomly set the created order into motion and events unfolded with natural design. Since God is omnipresent he was able to see into the future and see how the events unfolded and therefore knew the ending at the beginning. So based on knowing the way things would actually unfold he then in the historic past looked into the prophetic future and elected those who would believe? One other thing that seems to come out of your comments. It seems you suggesting that Christ elected people groups and not individual persons. Is that correct also?

    Correct me where I am wrong about your view, but if I have it correct then let me make ask you a few questions? If God knew prior to setting the created order into motion who would and would not believe and yet he still set the world into motion, did he not allow that those who would not believe would be destroyed? So for your view of God to be consistent God would have had to create an order where no one would be destroyed. Why? Because you hold to foreknowledge. IF God knows who will and will not believe prior to setting up the created order then he is in effect decreeing the individual persons whom are believers in your view and reprobating the individuals who are not believers. Now the only legitimate question that is in play here in my estimation pertains to the nature of freewill. As I have stated I do not believe that God violates human freewill in accomplishing his decrees.

    BTW, When I say if God knew something, I am employing an assumed answer, which is that he does... I could have just as easily said Since God knew something. My point here is that by God knowing that evil would exist and that the fall would occur that is not grounds for suggesting that he decreed the fall or created evil. God is no more liable for evil than the state you are licensed to drive in is liable for a drunk driver violating the nature of that arrangement. God created a system in which freewill was allow for and as result of freewill the fall occurred. In a similar way the state sets up a system of driving but some violate that system and are held into account. With God, since humans are free moral agents the consequences of their choices are held into account through the final judgment. IN the judgment there will be a restoration of the good that was originally present in the garden. What I am arguing is that despite the worlds less than pristine condition this world is still the best of all available options. Why? Because God is sovereign and omniscient and therefore has perfect judgment in deciding to create the world in the fashion in which he chose to create it.
     
    #15 Baptist_Pastor/Theologian, Jul 31, 2006
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  16. Brother Bob

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    So, he planned what that man would have a right to believe. Do you have any Scripture where man is not going to be given the right to believe?

    Does God let John see but He doesn't?
     
  17. webdog

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    Your thinking leads to hyper calvinism. If He planned all, in the sense you are implying, He has planned every sin, too. No way of getting around that.
     
  18. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    If God knew prior to setting the created order into motion who would and would not believe and yet he still set the world into motion, did he not allow that those who would not believe would be destroyed? So for your view of God to be consistent God would have had to create an order where no one would be destroyed. Why? Because you hold to foreknowledge and you claim that God would not create someone simply in order to destroy them. IF God knows who will and will not believe prior to setting up the created order then he is in effect decreeing to salvation the individual persons whom are believers in your view and reprobating the individuals who are not believers.
     
  19. webdog

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    Is this God's permissive will...or His declarative will. Before you answer, take into consideration all sin.
    He did. Without knowledge of the Law, one is not held accountable for their sin. This applies, then, to every human who has ever been born, as an infant has no knowledge of the Law. Knowledge of breaking God's Law leads to destruction.

    There is no difference whatsoever between calvinism and arminianism in this regards. God doesn't declare salvation...nor does He "look into the future". He's omnipresent. This is in effect the same double predestination that reformers so vehemently oppose.
     
    #19 webdog, Jul 31, 2006
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  20. Brother Bob

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    Baptist_Pastor/Theologian
    So Bob let me ask you a few simple questions and this may take a follow up question or two to further clarify my understanding of your position. But if I am understanding your position correctly then you are suggesting that God had nothing to do with who would believe at the outset in setting up the created order? It seems you are suggesting that people were brought into being without intent on making them believers or non-believers. That God in the beginning randomly set the created order into motion and events unfolded with natural design.
    [Romans, chapter 8
    "18": For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    "19": For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

    "20": For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

    "21": Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. ]
    God in His Sovereignty created man so as to be able to choose according to the above Scripture. He made him subject to vanity [man could choose evil] but not willingly [Was not God’s will that man sin] but by reason of Him [Jesus Christ] subjected the same in Hope [Man could choose good]. In other words God in His Sovereignty gave man a right to choose "good or evil". That is why "whatsoever a man soweth, so shall he reap" If man had not choice in the matter then would make no difference what he soweth.


    Since God is omnipresent he was able to see into the future and see how the events unfolded and therefore knew the ending at the beginning. [God Himself has no time, He created time for man but He don’t have to confine Himself to it but can not only see in the future but be there, such as the "elder shall serve the younger" God was there so He knew. Same is true with believing or disbelieving, God is there so He knows the events are already established and God sees who believes and sets the events in order. ]So based on knowing the way things would actually unfold he then in the historic past looked into the prophetic future and elected those who would believe? One other thing that seems to come out of your comments. It seems you suggesting that Christ elected people groups and not individual persons. Is that correct also? No, He didn’t have to look into the future, He was already there.
    Correct me where I am wrong about your view, but if I have it correct then let me make ask you a few questions? If God knew prior to setting the created order into motion who would and would not believe and yet he still set the world into motion, did he not allow that those who would not believe would be destroyed? So for your view of God to be consistent God would have had to create an order where no one would be destroyed. Why? Because you hold to foreknowledge. IF God knows who will and will not believe prior to setting up the created order then he is in effect decreeing the individual persons whom are believers in your view and reprobating the individuals who are not believers. Now the only legitimate question that is in play here in my estimation pertains to the nature of freewill. As I have stated I do not believe that God violates human freewill in accomplishing his decrees
    [You need to ask different questions now that I have told you how I believe. Before you do though, don’t forget that in the Calvinist belief God is going to let the vast number of mankind go to Hell.]
     
    #20 Brother Bob, Jul 31, 2006
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