The Fallacy of Predestination - The Oops of Calvinism
The premise of predestination says that before you are out of your mother’s womb you are either eternally saved or you are eternally lost. Your life, decisions and self determination has nothing to do with it. It’s great if you are, and simply unfortunate if you aren’t.
If predestination is true, then the concept of choice is a cruel deception.
If predestination is true then the thought of being a free moral agent is only a pretense, and reaching out to fallen man is simply an exercise in religious recital.
If predestination is true, then why preach the gospel to anyone? We are only stirring up false hope. Why the masquerade unless it is just some misdirected sadistic tease to those who really can’t have it anyway?
Under the doctrine of predestination, the preaching of the gospel is cruel for it dangles a mirage of the river of life in front of those who are dying of thirst but can never partake of its stream.
John Calvin was wrong in his belief about this doctrine. He did many things right, but he was off track here. I have great respect about his beliefs that salvation was gained through faith alone and that he regarded the bible as the only source of religious truth. John Calvin had a logical, razor-sharp mind. His ideas had a profound effect on the direction of the Reformation.
Calvin was born in France and trained as a priest and lawyer. In 1536, Calvin published the Institutes of the Christian Religion. This book told of his religious beliefs. But somewhere during this time he began to entertain the thought of predestination, the idea that God had long ago determined who would gain salvation and who wouldn’t.
To Calvinists, the world was divided into two kinds of people, saints and sinners. A Calvinist tries to live like a saint, believing that only those who were saved could live true Christian lives. The performance of living a Christian life and keeping all of the rules flies in the face of his belief that salvation was gained through faith and grace alone. It is a sharp contradiction and a slippery slope. Galatians talks about that conflict. But that is another story.
There are only two significant passages that address this subject of predestination and that is Romans 8:29-30 and Ephesians 1:3-14. Both of them are taken out of context by the Calvinist doctrine.
29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he also called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”. Ephesians 1 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
These scriptures specifically refer to a people group, not to individual people. What we see here is that God determined that he was going to have a people for himself, a Body. It is preplanned and predestined to happen. But it is misguided to take from these passages to suggest that he had selected “individuals to be saved” and “individuals to be lost”. If predestination is true, then the term, “whosoever” from John 3:16 is a lie.
God determined beforehand that those who believe in Christ will be adopted into his family and conformed to his Son. I believe in predestination as a people group. We are all called, but not as an individual. Individual predestination is misguided. We must individually hear the gospel and believe its message. We must appreciate the true condition of the fallen state of man and the plan of redemption that God provided for us if we will receive His precious gift. While it is true that man cannot come to God except he be drawn, that man still has to exercise his own independent choice to receive God’s invitation.
This brings us to the big question. Does God know all things? Does he know that I am going to be saved or lost at the end of my days? It reminds me of the trick question kids asked in school about God. “Is God so great that he can create a rock that he can’t lift?” We smile at that but it is true that many people want to know what God knows. Does he know before I am born that I will accept him or reject him and thereby seal my eternal destination? And if he does know, doesn’t he share a little of the responsibility for it?
There are two schools of thought. The first is that God gave mankind the power to pro-create after his kind, which is based on the choice and stewardship of the creature and not God. And that God knew in advance, even though he is not responsible for the birth which direction the child would choose. But even in this case, the child is not predestined in either direction.
The second is based on the thought that Jesus knew what was in the heart of all men and thereby knows in advance whether a man will be saved or lost. It is true that He knows if there is or evil in my heart because he can search the heart. But independent choices don’t fall in that context. God will speak to us and has a plan for us. But the level of our creation puts us in an exclusive position. We are made in His image and His likeness. We are created in the God-Class; Psalms 8:5 (NKJV) “For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.” This translation should be “God” and not “Angels”. The angels were not crowned with glory and honor and God did not put all things under their feet. This is speaking of us. We are created in the image of God. We are the Body of Christ.
This puts us in the unique position of making a choice or decision that is creative and unplanned. Something out of the scope of God’s determined will. We can make choices that are in His will and out of His will. 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) said, “It’s not His will that any should parish but that all come to repentance,” but we know that they do parish.
So God doesn’t necessarily know across the board what man will do. He calls the human race to himself, and sends us as believers into the streets to compel the lost to come in. He stands at the door of every heart and knocks. If any man will open, he will come in and make his abode and sup with him. But we, being created in His image, hold the unique position of independent choice.