Are we predetermined?

(Joseph john la bianco) #1

My name is joe la bianco
My question
Although there are mysteries in the bible , one question that always comes back to me is that the bible teaches us that God is all knowing . as he even knows the number of hairs on our head . with that being said does God know our destiny when we die before we were born ?
If so why would God allow us to be born only to die and be casted into hell ?
Simetimes i think i over think this question and should just follow my faith.
Yet my mind cannot let this go.
Can anyone answer this other than "you have been giving free will "
If my free will gets me into hell , would it be better i was never born …

(Pierre Duranleau) #2

1- The fact that God knows all things, does knot mean that he deprives you of your capacity to chose.
2 - This should of been #1, All attributes of God, are unknowable. In other words, We can’t fully understand what it means to know all things since we are finite.
3- It’s interesting that you mentioned that “there are mysteries in the bible”, the fact that God is omniscient is one of them, this makes any conclusion, like the one you’v made, to be limited by our humanity.

I hope this helps you.

(SeanO) #4

@Jlabianco Regarding Hell, it is not clear that people will suffer eternally for rejecting God. There are three views of what will happen to those who choose to reject God.

The three views of how God handles sin ultimately are:

  1. Eternal torment - some form of eternal suffering or separation from God
  2. Conditionalism - those who reject God are judged and then cease to exist
  3. Universalism - sin is real, but all people will eventually be brought to repentance

Here is a movie I suggest watching that discusses the story of a man who came to believe in conditionalism after being asked to research the concept of Hell in the Bible. He struggles with the same question you are asking about eternal torment.

Predestination or Free Will

A thread on this topic:

(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #5

I have found some articles that I found helpful on this subject:

(Sonya ) #6

Hi Joe,
I agre that the bible can feel mysterious at times. So the question was are we predetermined and I believe that we are. Jeremiah 1:5 before i formed you in the womb i knew you before you were born i set you apart i appointed you as a prophet to the nations. what i gather from this is that God has set up the blueprint of what he has in mind , it tells me that i was created with an intention in mind. Who creates without intention? He set you apart for a purpose with a destiny. So what i have tried to do is spend time in prayer asking what his intentions/purpose he designed for me to complete. I believe he reveals the plan slowly overtime and i think that life will teach you along the way in terms of areas that we are to work on so we can achieve what god had intended. Im a little hard pressed to believe we are born and then just cast into hell. when i think of free will I can choose to have a relationship with God or go about life how i want. have you ever noticed when your life is going in the wrong direction there’s that small voice saying something needs to change this isnt workin?. It is not the same as the voice of condemnation that pretty much tells you your guilty you had that coming your never gonna change I calls them small messages or whispers of God within you …the holy spirit. My question for you is do you think you need to earn salvation?

1 Like
(Matt Western) #7

Hi Sonya,
do you think Jeremiah 1:5 applies to all Christians or was it an account of Jeremiah’s specific call? I read it as the introduction of the book of Jeremiah, and you can see the conversation flow there…

Of course this begs the question; was Jeremiah predetermined? :slight_smile:

Jeremiah Called to Be a Priest

1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.

The Prophet Is Called

4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified[a] you;
I [b]ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then said I:

“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

7 But the Lord said to me:

“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.

9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”

11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” (and the rest of the chapter)

I have thought about this question a long time as it’s troubled me for at least 5 or 6 years now - and I believe that somehow it’s ‘both’ our free will and God’s Sovereignty. I liked John Lennox book ‘Determined to Believe’ as he covers a lot of ground (vessels of wrath, was Pharaoh predetermined when God hardened his heart and a lot of other ground), and I’m now happy to just let it be a mystery.

I wrote a little ‘brain dump’ here if it’s of interest…? Third post down. I certainly don’t pretend to understand it that’s for certain!! But I do have concerns swinging too far towards the Sovereignty of God as it appears to eliminate a genuine response. .

I hope this is a helpful/thought provoking post, not a divisive one as it can be a big area of discussion.

1 Like
(Sonya ) #8

Hi Matthew,
I do believe this applies to all of us. would god be a fair God to choose some and not others. I dont think its all on God we do have free will. So maybe the question is do I choose God or do I follow others? I think in our human/flesh experiences we like to throw the ball back in God court I think that there are many verses that point to his will/purpose for our lives.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 Peter 4:10 " As each has a gift recieved, employ it for one another as good stewards of Gods varied grace.
Ephisians 1:5 He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will"
Ephisians 1:4 enen as he chose us in Him before the foundations of the world,that we should be holy and blameless before him.
To me these all point to the blueprint God had in mind before we arrived. Again who creates without intention?? The problem we come up against or rather i come up against is the battle of the wills. God will vs my will. Now if we really want to know what his will is we heed to his voice. How can we listen to what he is saying if we do what we think is best . This is the work and its hard work. In stillness the little voice (holy spirit) will tell you what to do. the struggle is how much are we willing to listen

(Roger Watkins) #9

Sonya, I believe that God knows everything that will unfold because he is outside of the box.
In other words he is outside of time and space. He looks down on His creation from a position outside of it. Therefore he is not constrained by the laws of the four dimensions in our universe (science is saying that there may be as many as 11 which is another interesting question), length, width height and time. Although He knows all that we will choose to do through our will, I don’t think that means we are predetermined. There is a difference here and it needs to be understood for it is an important question and the distinction between predetermination and foreknowledge must be clear. Sonya, I believe we are predestined, which means God knows what we will choose, and who will believe in him and who won’t.

I’m not sure I understand what you believe here. It seems to me you are saying all our decisions are predetermined for us and that we just have to figure out what they were determined by God to be. You are praying and trying to learn what God’s will has been predetermined for you. If that’s what you’re saying then I must attempt to persuade you that it isn’t true. That doesn’t mean you are mistaken about God knowing all the decisions you will choose to make.

At the center of the argument is the concept of freewill. I believe that freewill is one of the most important characteristics that God has indued us with. It is the reason he placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. He wants us to choose to be in relation with him and to rely on him for our sustenance for our three tripartite aspects of ourselves, our body, soul, and spirit. He wants us to experience love, for God is love. Only if we have freewill is that possible. If we are predetermined we cannot be accountable for our actions for we don’t know what his will for us is. We also can never have justice for it means we don’t have freewill because all is predetermined. We can’t be blamed for the decisions we make for we were powerless to choose for these decisions were all predetermined.

Atheists today are forced to believe in predetermination. It is a doctrine of theirs that is forced upon them by their scientific materialistic beliefs. For if the universe doesn’t have a first cause (God) then it has to explain or be the cause of it’s own existence. Things without minds or intelligence don’t bring about the reason for their own existence. In other words if you look around you at all things that were created something thought of them and choose to bring them into existence. Every building, chair, phone, train, painting, song or piece of literature all had an immaterial beginning by coming into existence in the mind of their creator. That is called a freewill decision. God choose to create the universe. It wasn’t predetermined by the universe itself. If as the atheists like Sam Harris claim, the universe had no first cause, then materials such as our brain chemistry, genetics and the universe itself much predetermine us. We therefore have no free will, for as Richard Dawkins states, we just dance to our brain chemistry firing in our brains and our genetic predispositions.

Why did God put the tree of life in the garden? Because he wanted us to know freewill is the only way we can have a meaningful relationship with him. We must choose to do His will. He will never compel us or control us and force us to do what we don’t want. It’s the only way justice can be given. Love is only possible if we have freewill. He could have made us to be robots but we would never love.

Jesus said something to his disciples when they came back from town with food for him to eat. They saw him talking to a woman at a well in Samaria, and they thought maybe someone else had brought him food because of what he said when he refused their food. Jesus said to them in John 4:32, “I have food to eat that you do not know about”. He then said, " My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work".

All God was saying to Adam when he said you can eat of every tree in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was that Adam had a choice to do or not do God’s will. If he would do God’s will he would be fed and taken care of. God would provide healthy food for Adam and Eve’s bodily sustenance, he would provide life to them with a meaningful identity for their souls, and he would feed their spirit through the relationship of love between them. All three areas of the human (body, soul, and spirit) would be fed by doing God’s will. Just like Jesus told his disciples about the true spiritual food he knew about that they didn’t, doing the father’s will, so we too can do this every day. Whenever we obey God and do not sin by not eating food we aren’t supposed to, we end up doing his will. When we do that he feeds us eternal food…

We all feed our faith, even the unbelievers. God shows us that everything we choose to feed ourselves will affect us spiritually. The foods we eat may cause us to want to fill a hole with them that only doing God’s will can satisfy. The information that we feed on through music, media, TV, reading etc, will also affect our beliefs and our ability to choose to do God’s will. In Romans 12:1-2 Paul tells us to choose to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

What Paul is saying is that we all have a choice. He is urging us. He is saying we will know God’s will through testing. Just like Adam, we will be tested, and when the testing comes through temptation, we must use our freewill to choose wisely through obedience to God. We do know that not sinning is always God’s will. It’s a great start and it has worked for me and it would have worked for Adam too if he and Eve would have been obedient to God and not eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What’s the point of testing if we are predetermined and have no freewill. It is pointless. We are just dancing to our DNA or our brain chemistry. The world we live in would be incoherent if we had no freewill. All evil would be called illness and we would have science be our god. Science would find the cause of our predetermined behavioral problems and either kill us, sterilize us, or give us drugs to control our behaviors.

Jesus came to make us free and to be free indeed. He makes us free to do as we ought to do as sons and daughters of God. There is nothing so amazing as being at rest. We are exactly where we need to be for God to do in us what needs to be done so we can do what he has created us for before the foundation of the world. Jesus ministry started by being led or driven into the wilderness where he became hungry and where he was tempted by Satan to see if he would choose to do his will rather than the father’s will. Food is always a metaphor for doing the will of God or choosing our own will. Every person in the world is presented with countless choices every day with what food to choose to eat. Their choices have consequences and so do ours.

When we choose to obey God something amazing happens. Our spirit’s are fed. We feel full. Paul said be full of The Holy Spirit. Doing God’s will feeds our spirit to be satiated and satisfied which enables us to avoid the temptations which usually come when we are hungry (bodily, soulishly or spiritually), God wants us to be full. He knows when we aren’t that will will choose some type of food to satisfy that hunger. Only choosing God’s will can satisfy this hole. Those who respond to Jesus message like the Samaritan’s at the well find out that truly only Jesus meets all our spiritual hungers.

We are foreknown and predestined, but only because God knows what we will choose. Like Jesus, he never compels us to believe and to be in relationship with him. We don’t know who will choose him so all we can do is his will and he will take care of the rest. We are predetermined just predestined through his foreknowledge.

(Roger Watkins) #10

I meant to say in the last sentence, that we are Not predetermined just predestined through his foreknowledge.

(Sonya ) #11

I have a tendency to use the terms interchangeably…sry if that didnt come across