We are all flawed beings attempting to understand a deeply unfathomable God. We have our boxes, we have our tight Theological ideals…but in the end issues like predestination are as deeply mysterious as our God is. I think [I’m pretty sure] God did this on purpose. He left Himself so mysterious so we, His creation would have to seek to know the answers. We would have to be on our faces, on our knees and in the Word to come to some type of understanding.
Imagine your on your first date with that cute girl. She ends up telling you everything about herself, flaws and all right there. She takes 4 hours to list out all the things she is good at and bad at. She tells you her quirks, what makes her tick and what ticks her off. You leave the date and all the mystery is gone…all the fun of seeking out who she is…gone.
God is relational so he did NOT reveal himself all in one shot. In fact, no matter how long we live and how deep we go…we will NEVER end up scratching the surface of our God! OK, sorry…Predestination, right.
What does the Bible say about this issue?
Well, it says A TON.
On the Arminian side, we have Scriptures that speak to God’s desire for all to be saved. Mark argues that reading these simply at face value is why Arminians come to this view. Mark states that most Calvinists read these a bit deeper than do Arminians and see the words “all”, “world” and “all people” as descriptive of “The Elect”. I love reading Mark Driscolls books and I listen to every sermon of his…yet I wish he would’ve wrote more on dismissing these verses. I will list them.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 (English Standard Version)
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 (English Standard Version)
9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
John 3:16-17 (English Standard Version)
16″For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
1 John 2:1-2 (English Standard Version)
1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
This last verse (1 John 2:1-2) Mark doesn’t even mention. How could Christ be the Propitiation for the whole world? 1 John was a letter to believers, or if you will “The Elect”. For John to say “…and not for ours only but also for the sins of the WHOLE world” seems pretty indicative of a gift that is for all, but not chosen by all.
Another widely debated Arminian vs. Calvanist passage is 1 Peter 3:17-19. When you read a passage from different translations, you can see the camp which the translators lean towards. For example, the ESV in 1 Peter 3:17-19 says: “17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit”
While the NIV says:
“It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit”
The ESV leads you to read that the death was One death for sins, while the NIV leads one to think it was once for all sins, for all people.
However, the 1 John 2:1-2 passage is the one that really has me perplexed.
I think Christ dying for the whole world, rather than for a select few makes more sense. The depth of heart-warming feelings I feel at being “a Chosen One” doesn’t counter-react the depth of pain my heart feels at thinking “They didn’t even have a chance”.
Mark explains himself well as to why his passion for evangelsim is intact, whilst still being a strong believing Calvanist, yet I feel that the Church was meant to go out and call Disciples to their Husband Jesus. The people can choose or not.
I know that the majority of Calvanist would say its ludacrous for sinners to choose God, because we as sinners have nothing good within us, nothing good to reach out for good. Yet, I believe that God touches our hearts, warms our hearts and we can give into this or not. That warming of the heart I believe happens to all, yet most choose not to give into it.
Again, I am not ready to deny the idea of Predestination outright. These are my honest thoughts, my gut-feelings AFTER studying the Word and reading ideals on both sides. That’s why I will now list out the Biblical stance of the Calvanist side. Here are the verses that go along with this Theological view:
Romans 8:29-30 (English Standard Version)
29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Romans 8:33 (English Standard Version)
33Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
1 Corinthians 1:27-28 (English Standard Version)
27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
Acts 13:17 (English Standard Version)
17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it.
Ephesians 1:3-12 (English Standard Version)
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will,according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan forthe fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
There are several others, including the Biggest string found in Romans 9:1-11:36. Others include: Phil. 1:29; 1 Thess.1:4-5; Col. 3:12; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 2:4; 1 Peter 2:9 and 2 Peter 1:10.
These verses are bold and they are many. I will go deeper into them next post. I’ve given a lot of food for thought and my brain is still thinking through these particular verses. The evidence for Predestination within the realm of how much Biblical content there is FOR it is hard to deny. I know I said this was going to be “more Pro Predestination” in nature…but my true colors I think have shone through 🙂