Predestination (Part 1)
By bro Alvin Lin
Do you believe in predestination? Would it surprise you if I told you that the Bible teaches predestination? Before anyone rises up in arms, I would like to clarify that the concept of predestination in the Bible is very different from what denominations teach.
John Calvin, a religious reformer and theologian, stated in his renowned work, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book III, Chapter xxi), "No one who wishes to be thought religious dares outright deny predestination, by which God chooses some for the hope of life, and condemns others to eternal death.… By predestination, we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he has decided in his own mind what he wishes to happen in the case of each individual. "For all men are not created on an equal footing, but for some eternal life is pre-ordained, for others eternal damnation…"
His ideology was subsequently incorporated into the statement of belief of the Presbyterian church, the Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter III), which states, "God, from all eternity, by the wisest and holiest counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordains whatsoever comes to pass… By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life, and others are foreordained to everlasting death. "These angels and men, thus predestined and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished."
Such beliefs have since been adopted by most denominations, which have embraced the key tenets of Calvinism in part or in whole, which can be summarized as follows.
Total Hereditary Depravity: man is naturally and totally sinful (c.f. Eze 18:20)
Unconditional Election: a certain group of people has been predestined by God to be saved (c.f. Act 10:34-35)
Limited Atonement: Christ died only for the chosen elect (c.f. 1Jo 2:2)
Irresistible Grace: God imparts His grace to the elect irresistibly (c.f. Act 7:51)
Perseverance of the Saints: The elect, having received God’s grace, can never fall from salvation (c.f. 2Pe 2:20-22)
What is predestination?
So, what is the biblical view of predestination? To clear certain misconceptions, let us first define and distinguish between the terms predestination and foreknowledge.
The word "predestinate" is from the Greek word "proorizō" which means "to predetermine, decide beforehand." . It is derived from the word "pro", meaning "before", and the word "horizō", meaning "to mark out the boundaries or limits (of any place or thing)." " So, predestination means to mark out a boundary beforehand.
The word "foreknow" is from the Greek word "proginōskō" which means "to have knowledge beforehand." ". It is derived from the word "pro", meaning "before," and the word "ginōskō", meaning "to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of." So, foreknowledge means to have prior knowledge of something before it happens.
But just because God knows beforehand what choices we will make does not mean that our actions are predetermined by Him and we cannot exercise free will. When we sin, we cannot pin the blame on God by claiming that "I can’t help what I do; I was predestined to do it," because the Bible teaches that "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man" (Jas 1:13). Similarly, Jesus foresaw who would betray Him (Joh 6:64), but Judas chose to betray his master with free will (Mat 27:4).