Romans 8:28-30, Predestination
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
//While this is far too great a topic for a short Dubious Disciple post, and while I consider myself by no stretch of the imagination a theologian, I thought it might be interesting to list a few verses that contribute to the Free Will vs. Predestination debate, and see if they generate any argument.
The above is the primary verse quoted by those who believe God predestined some to be redeemed, others to be lost. But if that isn’t clear enough, here’s a few more New Testament verses:
Ephesians 1:4-5, For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.
Romans 9:15: For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
Acts 13:48, When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
But what about the other side? How about if we’d rather believe we have some semblance of a choice in the matter? Before delving back into the New Testament, let’s start with God’s expectation of obedience throughout the Old Testament, which is easily summarized in this one passage:
Deuteronomy 11:26-28, See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse–the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God.
Will this simple matter of us choosing our own destiny carry forward into the New Testament? Are we in command of our own will? There, it’s not so clear:
Galatians 5:1, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
1 Corinthians 7:37, But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing.
Revelation 22:17, The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
While these verses are encouraging, they only provide hints of free will. None of them directly address the issue of whether or not we are masters of our own destiny. Did God give up on his Free Will experiment after the Old Testament, where his people seemingly couldn’t learn to behave?