If everything is predestined, then how can God judge?


(Pam Reilly ) #1

Hi everyone,

My kids struggle with the issue that everything is predestined then how can God judge gay people?

Thoughts?


(SeanO) #2

@Pammer That is a very understandable struggle. I can see three basic objections that could make me feel the way your kids feel:

  1. What makes sexual sin wrong in the first place - it doesn’t hurt anyone does it?
  2. How can people be held accountable if they had no choice?
  3. Eternal punishment seems so severe for making a mistake in this life

I’ve tried to provide some useful Connect threads below to help you think through each of these very legitimate questions.

My conversation starter type answer for your kids would be: The Bible says that we each choose to walk in God’s Light or to walk in the darkness. That is a choice each person makes in response to the evidence for God that is all around us. Romans 1 says that God’s invisible power and divine nature are evident even in the stars and forests and animals all around us. Throughout the Bible God is patient with people who reject Him - giving them hundreds of years to repent, even protecting Cain, who was a murderer, with a special mark. God even sent His own Son to die so that we could choose the Light rather than the darkness. Consider this passage from Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 33:11 - Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

Ever since the Garden of Eden, God has given us a choice to love and honor Him or to define good and evil for ourselves. And when we choose to do things our way, it leads to death. That’s not what God wants for any of us, but it is our choice.

At this point I suspect the kids would have more questions that would require some of the resources below. Hope you find some of this material helpful in talking with your kids. May the Lord Jesus grant them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowledge of Him :slight_smile:

Why is Sexual Sin Wrong in the First Place?

Here are some threads that discuss what can be wrong with something that does not hurt other people.

Free Will and Predestination

Some threads dealing with whether or not fate / predestination means that we have no choice in our lives.

The Nature of God’s Judgment

This thread has some great links to other threads that discuss things like:

  • God will judge each person according to the knowledge they possess - God sees the heart and knows each person’s inward motives
  • When we think of ‘hell’ we often think of fire and torment, but in the Bible it is not clear exactly how God deals with unbelievers on the Day of Judgment. It is clear that judgment is real, but the nature of that judgment could be annihilation - people cease to exist or something both just / merciful that we have not considered.

(Anthony Costello ) #3

@Pammer

Pam, just for clarification, do your kids think that God couldn’t predestine someone who is “gay” to be saved? It seems obvious that all kinds of sinners are predestined to be saved, otherwise no one would wind up in heaven.

Just curious about how they are using the term “predestined?”

in Christ,
Anthony


(Matthew Mingus) #4

Hello Pam,

I have heard this issue raised in many conversations that I have had with people and one thing that really helped me was to look at it in a certain way. Predestination is not really a concept that works for the world, or for God. If God had merely created a predestined world then there would really be no free will and thus, we kind of go more toward the side of just being a bunch of robots. This does not make sense when we think of God and his creation.

Picture yourself with a friend in New York City. As you pass the Empire State Building, you decide that you want to go to the top of the building and see the city. You take the elevator up, but your friend decides to take a cab back to your hotel and meet you later. You reach the top of the building and look out over the city, and as you do you see your friend getting in a cab and starting to head down the street. You look ahead and see that there is a huge traffic jam a few blocks ahead. Neither your friend or the cab driver can see this yet because they are down on the ground. You call your friend and warn them to tell the cab driver to take the next left to avoid this traffic jam, or they will be stuck for a very long time waiting. What will your friend do?

This scenario paints an interesting picture. You can, in some sense, see the future that your friend is heading toward because of your perspective. You have not caused this traffic jam, nor have you set your friend in motion toward it. Simply this is just a situation that, because of the world we live in, has occurred and is about to affect your friend. When we think of God, I see it somewhat being the same. He can see what will occur in our lives, but that does not mean that He has predetermined that it will happen. Rather, we live in a sinful world and reap its effects in our daily lives. Simply put, God can just see this because of His perspective. Sometimes He may even try to warn us of a terrible situation that we are headed toward in order to give us a choice. But ultimately that decision is up to us to make. Your friend may heed your warning and turn left, or they may say you do not know what you are talking about and continue forward.

This helped me in some of the explanation for this issue. This world is predestined in that we know how it is going to end. God will come and judge the world for its sinfulness. However, right now we are free to make our choices. Our lives are not predestined and the fact that God can see what will occur does not mean that He makes it occur. We must make our own decisions and choose whether or not to follow Christ. But ultimately the choice that we make will be judged by God.

I certainly hope that this helps clear up that question for you and thank you for sharing your question with us. If you have anything else you would like to ask please continue to share it with us. God bless you Pam and thank you.

Matthew Mingus


(Brittany Bowman) #5

Please know I’m praying for you and your kids. It’s a crazy time to be a young person for Christ, but your kids are blessed to have you both allowing them to ask questions and helping them seek answers. There is a wonderful resource list on this thread already. Only you know your kids’ specific situation; however, if they are asking these questions from hearts that seek to make Christianity more palatable, I wanted to add some encouragement from someone who had that position for a long time.

I took this approach forgetting three key thoughts:

  1. God’s commands are intended to bring us to a higher quality of life and to show us a greater value. Kids today are yearning to build their identity, and as religion, home life, cultural traditions, etc. disintegrate, they create it themselves. How value-bestowing to tell them it’s more than a label they give themselves, but rather an alignment with the one true God. Abdu Murray’s book Saving Truth really helped me. This frame actually made my friends more interested in Christianity, not opposed to it like I thought would happen.

  2. Such a perspective misses the point of grace, and how we all need it. This article by Jo Vitale is really neat. https://www.rzim.org/read/rzim-global/do-we-make-our-own-meaning-in-life Perhaps you could help your kids plan how to reach their unsaved friends and even invite them over to your home to help these kinds of conversations happen?

  3. When I ignored a passage of Scripture because it was unpalatable, I didn’t realize my trust in all of Scripture would eventually unravel. Since Scripture says all scripture is Spirit-inspired, saying one part was wrong ultimately meant I was discarding the whole thing without realizing it. Additionally, if I did so because I wanted Scripture to be more palatable, I was placing the responsibility of saving the lost on my own efforts/interpretations without even realizing it. When those efforts failed, I wasn’t prepared for the guilt I would feel. When we present the Gospel, we do so as obedient servants, not as someone who can determine someone’s final fate- that’s up to their own free will and the Spirit’s power.

All of this is completely off base if your kids aren’t taking this position to more easily win their friends to Christ. However, if they are, I just wanted to share what helped me. We all know it isn’t a cake-walk to be a young Christian today, but know I’m cheering for your family!