FREE-DESTINATION, GRACE, AND PRE-WILL:
Comparison and Reimagining of Pre-destination and Free Will
The argument between whether man has free will or, if all men are predestined by God in all that they do, is an old as the ages argument amongst scholars and men of faith. Since the beginning of recorded history man has argued which premise is true, free will or pre-destination. This paper will examine and compare the accepted understanding of free will and pre-destination and attempt to reimagine those concepts looking directly at scripture to discover the Biblical stance on free will and pre-destination. This comparison is an age-old conflict and this conflict, “cuts to the heart of the nature of God and the nature of humans.” To accomplish this reimagining this paper will introduce the new concepts of free-destination and pre-will.
For the purposes of this paper free will is described as mans ability to make every choice in his life that determines action, reason, and thought. Free will is one hundred percent reliable on mans ability to determine the course and purpose of his own life. Predestination will be described in this paper as the exact opposite. Predestined men have no ability to make choices and every action, reason, and thought are predetermined by God and prescribed in eternity. For the purposes of this paper free will and predestination are polar opposites in every way.
It is evident with just a quick reading of the New Testament that pre-destination plays a major role in God’s world. The Bible is clear in Romans 8 that pre-destination occurs to some extent in our world. Romans 8:29-30 states, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” These verses show clear evidence that God uses predestination in our world. God has foreknowledge of people, he pre-destined their lives, and he pre-destines their glory in the afterlife. Ephesians 1:5 says that we have been predestined unto adoption as sons through Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:7 says that God predestined his wisdom before the ages. Acts 4:28 states that man has a predestined purpose that is supposed to occur, and Ephesians 1:11 says that we have been predestined to an inheritance.
Without question scripture reveals that pre-destination plays a part in the kingdom of God. God has pre-destined our world, the only question is how much has God used pre-destination in our world. Is everything predestined, or is just a select minority of creation predestined? The pre-destination of a segment of creation would fall better under the description of “election”.
Election is described as the predestination of an individual or group of individuals for the purposes of this paper. This election is a foreknowledge and foreordainment of these persons for a particular role, title, relationship, or eternal inheritance. Election is a unique concept to the New Testament, but it builds upon the preordination of the Old Testament. Election is evidenced in scripture in God’s relationship to both individuals and groups of individuals. God’s “chosen” people were the Israelites. In essence God’s use of election is God’s ability to have his preselected favorites amongst his creation. There is a glaring example of God playing favorites in the story of Jacob and Esau. Malachi 1:2-3 states that God loved Jacob but hated Esau as his enemy. This story is an obvious story of God choosing to elect Jacob to a greater purpose and the same time electing Esau to be His enemy.
Evidence of God’s election can also be seen in other places of scripture. In Jeremiah 1:5 God tells Jeremiah that before Jeremiah was born God had already ordained, elected him, to be a prophet. Matthew 24:31 says that when Christ returns the angels will collect the elect from the four winds. Throughout the Old and New Testaments there is ample evidence of God using election and preordainment in creation.
There are the types of election, foresight election, corporate, election, and individual election. Foresight election states that God looked through time and elected those he saw would choose to follow Him. Corporate election states that through Christ all people were elected, and individual election states that God elects whom He chooses without any foreseen merit. In Romans 9:16-18 the Bible makes it clear that God’s justice, mercy and compassion are based on His desires and what He wants to do, and they do not depend on Human desire or effort. Based on the aforementioned Jacob and Esau account in scripture, and the understanding of Romans 9, this paper will use the definition of individual election as the basis of understanding election.