Predestination vs Free Will
Many Christians see predestination and free will as opposite ends of a straight line where you cannot reconcile both of them being true at the same time. Yet the bible speaks of both of them being true.
Some people think predestination means that some people were created to go to hell or heaven and that they have no choice in the matter. They will quote Ephesians 1:4 which says “For He choose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” But this interpretation is at variance with other biblical passages. Romans 8:29 says “For those who God foreknew, He also predestined…” This means that because God knows everything, He knew before He created the universe, that some people would accept Him and others would reject Him. Some people would say that if God is all powerful, He could convince anybody to accept Him. While this is theoretically possible, it’s not actually possible. No matter how much convincing or how much proof some people have, they will NEVER accept Him. Do you know someone who is NEVER wrong? No matter how much proof you give them, they will never believe you or admit that they’re wrong. This is the kind of person who will reject God no matter what proof of His existence you give them.
Now, wouldn’t we want the world in which the most people would accept Jesus? Yes, we would! And that, my friend, is the world we live in. There is no better world where the most people would accept Jesus than the one we’re living in.
So God, knowing that some people would accept Him, creates circumstances in their life that would bring them to make a decision for Jesus. In that sense, He “maps” out a destiny for me where I will accept Him at some point in my life. By giving me a set of circumstances that bring me to invite Him into my life, He “predestines” my life. It is still my free choice to invite Him into my life, but He has worked out all of the circumstances for me to do this. So predestination does NOT force me to accept Him. This preserves free will and predestination. As you can see, the biblical definition of predestination is different than the popular or worldly definition, which leaves no place in it for free choice.
Now let’s answer some questions;
1) Does this mean that He determines where I will be born? While we cannot say for sure, it may be. Having an old girlfriend break up with me, left me in a state of despair and depression. God knew the exact experience that I would need to accept Jesus into my heart. That experience of going to my brother’s church couldn’t have happened at most churches. For a detailed description of this experience, my youtube channel, “My Life”, episodes 7, 8 & 9, starting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buG9LH3jVv0&list=PLU33waUXbTNvVY8QRRIO9Mo1p-K77bKza&index=7
Might it have happened under different circumstances? It may or may not have. But these circumstances provided the BEST experience for me.
2) What happens to the person who will never believe in Jesus? Does God still give them every single chance to believe in Him? Yes, He does! Why? Because God is merciful and fair. The person who rejects Jesus will have had every single chance to accept Him. Noah preached for over 100 years and saw no converts at all. But God still had him preach to those people so they would be without excuse. Read Romans 1:19-20 & 2:14-16 & Ephesians 4:18 & Psalm 14:1
3) What about people who are born in different cultures or countries? How can they freely choose Jesus if they never hear about Him? There are two answers to this question.
One, that’s why we have missionaries who go to these areas and tell people about Jesus. Read Romans 10:14-15 and Matthew 28:19-20.
Two, If a person wants to really know the true God, He will reveal Himself to them somehow. Read Deuteronomy 4:29 & Proverbs 8:17 & Matthew 7:7.
Helen Keller was blind and deaf. When she could communicate with people, a minister told her about Jesus. Her response was “So that’s His name. I’ve known Him for sometime. I just didn’t know His name.”
What are some examples of free choice or free will in the bible? Read about
Adam and Eve in Genesis 3
Romans 1:16 & 10:13
John 3:16 & 11:25
1st Timothy 2:4
With a correct biblical definition of predestination and free will, we can see how both of them can be true at the same time.
In His Wonderful Name,