In what seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far away, I was a boy standing with a group of kids waiting for the school bus. My neighbor Pam was standing next to me, and she asked: "Do you believe in predestination?"
When I asked what she meant she said, "Do you believe if you step in front of the bus, if you were predestined to die you would, and if you were predestined to live, you would, and that no matter what you did it wouldn't make any difference?"
What is predestination?
Predestination is the belief that before the creation of the universe God decided the eternal destiny of all angels and people. Therefore how one lives doesn't really matter because our eternal destinies were decided before creation.
Believing that God 'locked in' each person to heaven or hell and they have nothing to say about it, means God's will alone determines all things; human will has nothing to do with it. Prayer is pointless. Prayer fights against God because we pray to change things or people. If we believe all things are predetermined, what is the point?
It is a fatalistic theology, one that removes hope for living. It removes all reasons for living godly lives; If I've been predestined for heaven I can sin however I want because I'll still end up in heaven. The opposite is also true: If I'm predestined for hell, why should I live righteously, why not have fun until I get there?
Just on the basis of those points alone the average person will reject the idea of predestination
Why would prayer be so prominent throughout the Bible if all was predestined and no one had free will in anything?
There should be no 'Great Commission' if man doesn't have any ability to determine his own eternal destiny. Why are we told to witness our faith to others if their destinies were predetermined? And if we are all predestined to heaven or hell with no right of self-determination, why did God give moral absolutes like telling us murder and theft are wrong?
My experience has been those who argue over chapter and verse for predestination, most often have some unresolved guilt or sin or issue past or present they don't want to deal with way down inside. Sometimes it is fear, sometimes it is a lack of faith, sometimes it is a sin they can't overcome.
For some, by defending predestination they are convincing themselves God made them this way. Essentially they are looking for a theological excuse so they don't have to stop their behavior or change, and can stop fighting the urges and temptations. Not always, but quite often things like these have been the case.
Sometimes, overwhelmed by God's grace they can't imagine He is THAT good, THAT loving that He would want THEM.
Why do we have free will?
Romans 8:29-30 is the foundational passage for the doctrine of predestination: "For whom He knew before, He predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son, and those He predestined (predetermined) He justified..."
This verse makes it clear the Lord is very logical. Knowing all things before the creation of the universe, He knew some would take His offer of salvation if He provided it. So He did provide it. That's all this passage says. It doesn't exclude anyone nor infringe on free will because it is all about God the Father's omniscience not us - it merely says He knew everything before creation and therefore made provision for those who would want Him.
Don't we as parents and grandparents do the same for our children? When I was in the elementary grades a mom would often make cupcakes or cookies for the entire class, and send them to school with their own child. With say, 25 children to a class that mom provided cookies she knew her own child would like, and knew before that most of the children in the class would like them too - so she made provision for all the children.
Did her making enough cookies for all prevent a child from eating the cookie provided for them? Did her provision infringe on the free will of each student to eat it then, or save it for recess, or take it home? No. That mom knew ahead of time her child would eat a cookie if she prepared it, and also provided for all in case others would want one.
All it means is who that mom fore-knew, she also did predestine to provide cookies both for her child and the rest.
How free will came about: Creation began in the realm of the Spirit...
Hebrews 11:3 says; "Through faith we understand the worlds were framed by the (Person of) the Word of God. So that the things seen were made of invisible things."
The unseen Spirit realm created the physical, so there are invisible laws that govern the physical universe. Because of this fact the physical creation largely mirrors the unseen realm.
Now imagine a time when none of the physical universe existed. All that existed was the Father, Son, the angels....in the realm of the Spirit. No planets, no stars...just God's light filling everything in the realm of the Spirit/spirit.
All there was, was love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, kindness, meekness, moral uprightness, self-control - the qualities of God. Light only. Love only. Only those things. There was no dark. There was no fear. There was no strife. There was no confusion. No opposing forces to God's light, love, joy. That means our physical universe as we know it today could not exist.
A physical universe requires unseen forces set in opposition to one another. Because the spirit realm had no opposition, any physical universe created could have no opposite forces at work. The unseen created the seen, so at that 'time' there were no 'opposites', there was only love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, kindness, meekness...
Opposite forces in our realm prevents planets from flying off their orbits and into space. In a realm where only the qualities of God exists without opposition, the unseen laws which govern our present universe could not exist. I'm talking about a 'time' where only light exists, there is no darkness. There is only right, there is no wrong. In fact in that realm nothing is known but love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, kindness, patience, moral uprightness, brotherly love. Nothing else but God and His characteristics exist.
When the cherub we call Satan rebelled
Ezekiel 28:12-18 is generally considered a reference to Satan and his place in heaven before he rebelled. He is called a cherub, which is one of the multi-winged angelic beings around the throne seen in The Revelation 4 and called 'burning ones' or seraph in Hebrew for 'burning ones', in Isaiah 6. The passage in Ezekiel says: "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, until iniquity was found in you."
Angels were created with free will, and for a 'time' before time even existed, they served God without opposition for opposition wasn't known at that point. But at some point that cherub decided he wanted to displace the Father from His throne, take control and have a kingdom of his own. The passage above says he was lifted up by his beauty and authority, and a fire from within consumed him as a result of his lust for power - the source for the flames of hell and lake of fire. (The KJV says God will bring a fire from within him, but the Hebrew indicates the fire arose from within him due to his lust for power, possessions, place, and beauty).
The Revelation 12:4 alludes to one third of the angels who went along with him, deciding they did not want the qualities of God - all that love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, kindness, moral uprightness, and so on - it just wasn't for them anymore, they wanted their own kingdom, what was God to do?
The Revelation 12:8 tells us there was 'found nor more place for them in heaven'. Jesus said in Matthew 25:41 there had to be 'a place prepared for the devil and his angels'.
The Father in His great kindness looked for a place in heaven but found none, so prepared a place for all who don't want all that He is: They don't want love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, moral uprightness, and so on. So a place was prepared.
It was at that moment when the God who is Light, who is Love, withdrew to prepare a place without Himself - a place that would naturally be darkness, for they rejected the One who is Light. That place would naturally be a void, an absence of all that is God because that's what they wanted - the one place in that realm with an absence of God's light, the absence of love, joy, peace...and by that nature it is therefore a place of torment. A complete lack of anything that is characteristic of God. But that's what they wanted, so in His grace, He gave them what they wanted.
That was the inception of opposites in the spirit realm. Now there was darkness where there had before been only light. Now there was hate and fear where there had only been love and joy and peace...now if a physical universe were to be created, knowing the physical mirrors the unseen realm, it would have opposites: Light and dark. Gravity and the pull against gravity. Expansion and contraction. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
All those unseen laws that hold tiny molecules together also hold the planets in orbit around the sun. They could only exists after Satan fell, after opposites came into being when he rebelled. Now God could create the universe we have today, and naturally any beings created from the unseen realm, would also have the ability to take part in opposites: To choose God or not.
It was all possible because God in His great mercy and grace, provided a place in the Spirit realm where He withdrew to provide Satan and followers what they wanted - a kingdom without God's love, light, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, kindness....
And we will pick it up there next week...laying the ground work for our physical universe, and our free will...until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org