My Question: is this a good illustration on predestination?

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well?
I have a question regarding an illustration I heard recently on predestination by Nicky Gumble quoted below. I feel it is a good illustration and one I have never heard before. A good way to explain to others I feel. What are your thoughts about this illustration?

" However, I have found the following illustration helpful. Imagine a room with an arched doorway. The outside of the arch is inscribed with the words, ‘Come to me, all you…’ (v.28). Everyone is invited into the room. When you get into the room, on the inside of the same arch is written, ‘No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ (v.27b).

In other words, free will is a doctrine for everyone. No one can say, ‘I am not going to become a Christian because I have not been chosen.’ The invitation is to all. On the other hand, predestination is a doctrine of assurance for those who are Christians. Once you have accepted the invitation and entered, you can know that God has chosen you and therefore he will not let you go."


@Drumroald Very well indeed :slight_smile: I think it is a beautiful illustration of God’s love for all mankind and His special love for His people. I also think it beautifully illustrates the Bible’s teaching on the topic.

However, I do not think it answers the main question posed by the doctrine of predestination as taught by Calvin: Can the people outside the arch obey the instruction Come to me? Calvin would deny their ability to obey that instruction without God first intervening and giving them the desire to do so. I would disagree.

From the illustration, it is unclear to me whether Nicky Gumbel is saying that all people are able to come to Christ or if he is softening the hard lines of a difficult doctrine for those new to the idea. But I do like the illustration as it is… Thank you for sharing it!


Thanks for the feedback @SeanO. Appreciate it.
In context Nicky was trying to give, I believe more of an intro to the topic. It is such a dense topic and many oppose it. I however see it clearly spoken about in scripture.

I also think that Wayne Grudem gives a clear explanation on the topic.
I just really liked the illustration Nicky gave and I see it more as an invitation to evangelize so that more people will enter through the arched door to know God, because we don’t know who God predestined. I think our role is to lead people to the door, and those who God predestined would enter by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is a difficult topic. And I must admit, it is one I have not heard preached often at all.

Appreciate the feedback.


I think it is a good illustration, but I sense some molanism in there. Perhaps that is why @SeanO thought the analogy begs the question, but I do not want to put words in his mouth.

I think this illustration well mirrors this song because once you have drank you can then see.

I once shared this illustration with John Lennox and he seemed to like it. Imagine people waiting for a bus at a bus stop. When the bus pulls up a person can choose whether or not they would like to enter the bus. This aspect is not predestined. However, the buses destination is predestined. Therefore, if they make a decision to enter the bus, their destiny is predestined by virtue of the buses predestination. Additionally, it is God who sends the bus along which causes the choice to be made available. In this way it is God’s initiative which makes the decision possible, the decision is based on the will of the individual, and the predestination is of a class rather than an individual.

I am sure there are many who will take exception to aspects of this illustration, but, I feel like it has a great explanatory power when taking Scripture as a whole.


Excellent illustration, Joshua. I have long maintained that the four occurrences of the word predestination in the Bible are all describing what those who first trusted in Christ are predestined for - never do they suggest that some lost people are predestined to salvation.

Your illustration perfectly captures the concept - I have every intention of plagiarizing it from you! :wink:

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Hello, Roald @Drumroald Interesting illustration. As I thought about it, though, I found that I like the idea of everyone being invited into the room, but get hung up on the word, “chosen”. Romans 8:29 and 11:2 use the same Greek word for “foreknow”. It’s meaning is God pre-knowing all choices w/o pre-determining or requiring them.
“Predestined”, as in Romans 8:29, Eph. 1:5,11, connotes a pre-setting of boundaries, as before creation.
I have always preferred to view God’s plan of salvation as one for all mankind, determined before the foundation of earth was formed because God knew beforehand that man was going to fall. God, being who He is, knew ahead of time who was going to fall, although He didn’t determine who was going to fall. Nor did He determine who would choose His salvation. The plan of salvation is for all and freely chosen.

So, I have viewed Romans 8:29 as God knowing all of us ahead of time, and His predetermining a plan of salvation was for all of us. (I’m probably repeating myself to make my point clear.)

Jesus was referring to His disciplies whom He was ordaining to be Apostles when He said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.” We, today, are that fruit and can also assume that we are to do the same as the Apostles did = bear much fruit. (John 14:20-23)

I like the example that Joshua @Joshua_Hansen gave. It says that the destination was predetermined and that all are invited. Those on the bus chose to get on. They did not discover that they had been chosen to do so.

The references to Matthew 11:25, 27 must be read in context with the rest of the chapter. Jesus was rebuking the cities who rejected Jesus’ miracles and works, stating that Sodom, as evil as it was, by comparison, would have believed in Jesus. So, Jesus was saying He would reveal Himself only to those who had come to believe (at that time because of His works) —the little children (comparatively speaking). The wise and learned refused to accept Him, so His Truth was hidden from them. It’s the same today. Those who refuse to see won’t see. Those who refuse to hear, won’t hear. It is hidden.

I know believers have their take on predestination and election. I just prefer to see God’s nature being all inclusive, not exclusive. And, that He freely gave us the will to freely choose.

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