Three Views of Predestination

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by KenH, Apr 29, 2003.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    From: www.modernreformation.org/mr98/novdec/mr98063views.html

    Three Views on Predestination

    Predestination is a doctrine which has occupied an uneasy place in the history of the church. Few have attempted to construct their theological system on the edifice of predestination. As most scholars now recognize, not even Calvin made it the central dogma from which all other doctrines derive.1 If predestination generates uncomfortable questions, it also invites theologians to grapple with the most profound implications of a religion which proclaims a sovereign God. Taken seriously, it forces one to consider the ultimate questions of meaning, existence and salvation. How one understands the relationship between God and humanity is fundamentally affected by one's acceptance or rejection of predestination. Without necessarily occupying the center, a strong doctrine of predestination is like a pebble dropped in a pond; it creates ripples throughout the entire theological system.

    Properly understood, the doctrine of predestination has to do with the exercise of God's will in eternity past with regard to the eternal future of each member of the human race. Generally, this doctrine has two component parts, election and reprobation, or the divine choosing and rejecting. In the broad scope of church history, especially since Augustine, advocates of predestination fall into three general categories. First, there are those who take a non-Augustinian view and advocate a conditional predestination, that is, the divine will to elect or to reprobate is contingent upon the foreseen deeds of humans. If God foresees that a person will respond favorably to the Gospel, then he predestines them to salvation. On the other hand, if God foresees that an individual will reject the Gospel, then God rejects or reprobates them to eternal punishment. In both cases, God's will is conditioned by what a man wills.

    The second category, which might be viewed as semi-Augustinian, includes those who construe election in a different light than reprobation. Election is regarded as unconditional, that is, God elects some to salvation from his sheer mercy without regard to foreseen works or to anything outside himself. In contrast, reprobation is viewed as conditional and thus depends upon foreseen rejection of the Gospel by sinners. This is also called single predestination. One important variation of this view is simply to ignore the question of reprobation as being beyond human comprehension or as liable to create undue consternation, while affirming the positive idea of election.

    The third category may be designated Augustinianism, and it adopts a full unconditional double predestination. God elects some to eternal salvation and reprobates others to eternal damnation without regard to foreseen deeds. The fundamental idea in double predestination is that both election and reprobation issue from the divine will and nothing else. Within each of these three general categories, there have been many variations and different nuances, but most of the theological expressions of this doctrine throughout church history can be placed in one of these three categories.

    Notes
    1. Richard Muller, Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 1-13.


    For the record, I believe the Bible teaches the middle view - single predestination. - Ken
     
  2. Eladar

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    If God chooses who is going to be saved and who is going to hell before they are born, then why does God need to judge us?

    If we are being judged based on how God chooses to make us act, then there is no judgement at all. There would be no need for the Gospel at all.

    God's ways are beyond our understanding, so I suppose it could be true. Yet it seems to me that God may work in a way that we don't understand. In other words, it is possible that all the definitions of predestination are wrong. [​IMG]
     
  3. ScottEmerson

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    If reprobation is conditional and depends on the foreseen rejection of the Gospel by sinners, how is this also "God's will [being] conditioned by what a man wills."

    Does it not make sense that the middle one is illogical then?
     
  4. Eladar

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    It would be logical if God's will would be that man had the choice to make. Just by making the choice man would be carrying out God's will.
     
  5. KenH

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    No. Salvation and damnation are not synmmetrical. They can't be because man has a sin nature as a result of The Fall in the Garden of Eden which tilts the "playing field" toward damnation from the get-go.

    If God had done nothing to redeem mankind, all of us would end up being damned. Therefore, damnation requires no pro-active action on God's part. But salvation obviously does require pro-active action on God's part.

    I hope this helps.
     
  6. KenH

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    Interesting thought. So you believe that when a person ordinarily choses to sin, he is carrying out God's will. Very interesting.
     
  7. Eladar

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    I hope I'm understanding your argument:


    And yet by choosing who will be saved God is also choosing who is not going to be saved.

    If I were to say that everyone is going to be killed, except for the ones I choose and I have the ability to choose all, I am choosing to to take and who to leave all at once. They can't be seperate choices. By not choosing, I am choosing.
     
  8. KenH

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    Agreed, except bear in mind that the One deciding whom He will save is not responsible for those who are not saved. If He did nothing, they would still not be saved.

    God chose Abraham to father His Old Testament physical nation of Israel. He didn't choose any of the other millions of people He could have chosen. By your definition, God's not choosing always means He is choosing.

    God is God, and as you say, we are not privy to understanding all His ways. [​IMG]
     
  9. Eladar

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    Yes, God chose Abraham for His purposes, but in doing so God did not choose for everyone else to be damned.
     
  10. Larry in Tennessee

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    God chose Abraham to father the lineage through which His Son would enter the world. It had nothing to do with eternal rejection.

    It is without question that if God has "elected" some for eternal salvation, then, by default, he has "elected" everyone else for eternal damnation, through no fault of their own. I say no fault of their own because they were never given the opportunity to repent.

    The Calvinist view makes no sense. God will throw the eternal book at some, who were never given a chance at repentance, while others will be let off completely, because God chose to show them mercy, even though ALL are equally guilty before Him.

    ALL have sinned and come short of God's glory. And Jesus died so that ALL would have the opportunity to repent and come to know Him.

    Love in Christ,
    Larry
     
  11. KenH

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    1) Sure it does. I wouldn't dare call myself a believer in the doctrines of God's amazing grace if I did not believe that the Bible taught that salvation is 100% the work of God's free grace.

    2) Anyone who hears the gospel command to repent and believe has a chance. But remember, salvation is not based on democratic ideas. If it were, then everyone would have to have the same mental capabilities, grow up in the identical evironment, etc. to make it "fair". Life isn't fair.
     
  12. Larry in Tennessee

    Larry in Tennessee
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    Of course salvation is 100% the work of God's free grace. That work was carried out on the cross, when our Lord cried out "It is finished"

    Not according to Calvinism. A person is either chosen or they are not. This is what dosen't make sense to me. I'm not trying to argue. It really dosen't make sense. Why would He choose to save me, and not the neighbor down the street? We are both equally guilty before a Holy God. According to "effective grace", if he had been chosen, he would have repented. So why would He not draw all men unto salvation, when it is well within His power to do so? This is what dosen't make sense. Why would he concede ANY part of His creation to the enemy?

    Love in Christ,
    Larry
     
  13. just-want-peace

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    Now this one floors me!

    IF he (un-believer) has a "chance", then what determines whether the final verdict of this "chance" is in his (un-believer) favor or not? Does he have the option of accepting the Gospel or rejecting it?

    IF YES, then he's exercising his free will to ACCEPT God's provision.

    IF NO, then under what criteria do you say "HE HAS A CHANCE"?

    Personally, I'd never heard the Calvinist/Armenian arguments before coming to this board, so I certainly did not come with any pre-concieved notions, BUT I have since come to the conclusion that neither side has a total grasp of the truth! So what is the truth? Simply put, I don't know in total, but there are passages that are pro-Calvinist as well as pro-Armenian. Therefore I don't think either side can claim a win. I personally just chalk it up to the fact that I do not understand EVERYTHING in God's word, but I accept by faith that He's giving me perfect truth.

    The old story of three blind men feeling an elephant and describing it comes to mind.

    Of course the moral is that if you refuse to accept any except your own little minute understanding, you're going to be in for a rude awakening when comes that face-to-face meeting with the Master.

    I would suggest we all remember that discussion is fine, but let's keep it on a non-personal level and remember that He is observing all this with the pride so prevalent in many posts. [​IMG]

    The preceding comment was not refering to this thread, but many of the others I've read along these lines have been anything but Christian dialog!
     
  14. KenH

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    I totally agree. [​IMG]
     

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