Hi, guys —
It is potentially a very dangerous thing to state that God has predestined any sentient being to think or do anything.
[Note: All quotations are from the Revised Standard Version, which might or might not be entirety accurate.]
24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said: "Sovereign Lord, who did make the heaven and the Earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who by the mouth of our father David, your servant, did say by the Holy Spirit: "Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed" . . . 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
Acts 4:24-26, 28
29 Those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the first-born among many brothers. 30 And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified.
The word: predestined is properly understood in the sense of pre-planned but not involuntarily forced.
Destiny (mentioned by father-under-the-dark-influence-of-the-Chancellor-gone-bad: Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie), is mentioned in various places within the Holy Writ:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless to Him. 5 He destined us in love to be His progeny through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, 12 we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:3-5, 12
9 God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Thessalonians 5:9
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappado'cia, Asia, and Bithyn'ia, 2 chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with His blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 20 He [Christ Jesus] was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.
1 Peter 1:1-2, 20
The beings predestined are, of course, not lower life forms (be they apes and other mammals such as dogs and cats, birds, reptiles, insects, etc.) which [not who] operate merely on an obviously-completely-predictable-to-Ultimate-Intelligence, mind-boggling variety of combinations of non-morality,non-moral-emotion, myriad instinctual, and generally-survival-oriented responses to a plethora of changing environmental stimuli.
What (or better yet: who) are morality-perceptive beings such as angels and demons and humans.
4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying: 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
That does not mean that God forced Jeremiah (who the Lord pre-consecrated and appointed) to choose to fulfill his mission as the Lord's prophet. Jeremiah could have chosen to say No! but instead (for whatever cause) Jeremiah instead said: Yes! to complete God's intentions for (and not against) Him.
Note the voluntary assent (instead of voluntary dissent) in the following two Bible passages:
57 They said: "We will call the maiden, and ask her." 58 And they called Rebekah, and said to her: "Will you go with this man?" She said; "I will go."
14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.
Also, note the voluntary refusal in the following passages:
10 And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie with her or to be with her.
22 And Reuben answered them: "Did I not tell you not to sin against the lad? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood."
15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his [own] heart, and would not listen to them; as the LORD had said.
23 But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his men together, and went out against Israel to the wilderness, and came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
13 If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be [willing] to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the LORD speaks, that will I speak.
25 If a person sins against a person, God will mediate for them; but if a person sins against the LORD, who can intercede for them?" But they would not listen to the voice of their father,because it was the will of the LORD to slay them.
1 Samuel 2:25
[Incidentally, when the Text states that God hardened their heart, keep in mind that they themselves hardened their own heart first, and therefore they (not the Lord) are to blame and are at fault.]
1 After these things King Ahasu-érus promoted Haman the Ag'agite, the son of Hammeda'tha, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. 2 And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and did obeisance to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mor'decai did not bow down or do obeisance. 3 Then the king's servants who were at the king's gate said to Mor'decai: "Why do you transgress the king's command?" 4 And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mor'decai's words would avail, because he had told them that he was a Jew.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
41 And demons also came out of many, shouting: "You are the Son of God!" But He rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ.
The reason that the phrase predestined is dicey is that [Divine] force is implied with and frequently (but wrongly) ingrained into that word.
It must be clearly understood and accepted that the LORD — whatever the capacity and means the Creator has and uses to predict (or prophesy about) the future choices and and thus future of free-willed beings as to His Divine foreknowledge — has indicted in Scripture that He will not (not that He couldn't) force any being with a moral choice to do, or not do not, what He would like them to do but allows them to choose what they wish to.
33 Will [God] then make requital to suit you, because you reject it? For you must choose, and not I; therefore declare what you know.
Don't get me wrong. Free-willed sentient beings (be they angelic or demonic, or human) can think and do only what their Creator has given them the [environmental, potential] ability and opportunities to think and do. Such creatures cannot think nor do anything beyond those God-given resources which He has innately and initially endowed them with.
6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and His Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. 7 Who is like Me? Let him proclaim it, let him declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be."
Such Sovereign-Creator-operated playing field prevents any free-willed creature from boasting about his or her presumed capacity to do something God never expected me to do. But exactly how the Creator can and does exercise impeccable foreknowledge about their thoughts and actions is a mystery, and largely beyond the realm of any free-willed, created being to infallibly predict and decide how any other free-willed being is assuredly and with absolute certainty going to make any decision on whatever topic.
- Logically, if a person sees a tree, he or she rather predictably will go around it instead of deliberately running into it.
- If they have diarrhea, they rather predictably head for a rest room with a toilet inside.
- If they see a campfire, they rather predictably will not roast their hand therein.
So their actions are largely predictable.
But humans (in fortunate contrast to the always-reliable Creator) frequently do not do what is logically predictable nor benevolent:
32 God has consigned all humans to disobedience, that He may have mercy upon all.
45 so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven, because He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
10 To this end we labor and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all persons, especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:10
22 But the Scripture consigned all things to sin, that what was promised to faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
7 To you therefore who believe, He is precious, but for those who do not believe: "The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,"8 and " A stone that will make humans stumble, a rock that will make them fall"; they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
1 Peter 2:7-8
Being that God (i.e. the Creator) has established immutable phenomena and forces of nature within which His free-willed, sentient creatures think and act, He provides the potential or path for each and every one of those free-willed beings to do what each one decides or chooses to do, and in that way He predestines them to do whatever they themselves can, might, and do choose to do or think.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me, 6 that all may know, from the rising of the Sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the LORD, who do all these things. 8 Shower, heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the LORD have created it. 9 Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! Does the clay say to him who fashions it: "What are you making"? or "Your work has no handles"? 10 Woe to him who says to a father: "What are you begetting?" or to a woman: "With what are you in travail?" 11 Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "Will you question me about my children, or command me regarding the work of my hands? 12 I made the earth, and created mankind upon it; it was my hands which stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
10 And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of His call, 12 she was told: "The elder will serve the younger." 13 As it is written: "[My comment: God-fearing] Jacob I loved, but [My comment: faithless and irreligious] Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15For He says to Moses: "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So it depends not upon human will or exertion, but upon God's mercy. . . . 18 So then He has mercy upon whomever He wills, and He hardens the heart of whomever He wills. 19 You will say to me then: "Why does he still find fault, because who can resist His will?" 20 But who are you, a human, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder: "Why have you made me thus?" 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?
Romans 9:10-16, 18-21
Even though only God the Creator Himself knows what a person will ultimately decide about Him — whether that being will be for or instead against Him (and thus end up either in Heaven or instead in Hell) — that does not mean that God's chosen saints are themselves completely unaware or ignorant of the current for-or-against status of, not merely themselves, but other beings:
64 . . . But there are some of you that do not believe.” Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
11 For He knew who was to betray him; that was why He said: "You are not all clean."
5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.
1 Corinthians 4:5
Genuine Christians can presently discern who is on God's side contrasted with who is on Satan's side, including ourselves:
16 "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16
11 He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin [My comment:are all of One] That is why He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
3 And by this we may be sure that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 5 but whoever keeps His word, in them truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in Him: 6 they who say that they reside in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know everything.
1 John 2:3, 5-6, 20
18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts to Him.24 All who keep His commandments stays in Him, and He in them. And by this we know that he resides in us, by the Spirit who He has given us.
1 John 3:18-19, 24
6 We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 13 By this we know that we reside in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His own Spirit.
1 John 4:6, 13
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments.
1 John 5:2
The two-fold test of words and actions determines who is on the broad and easy road to destruction compared to who is on the difficult and narrow path to life:
37 by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
9 if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
46 "Why do you call me: 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
20 The kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.
1 Corinthians 4:20
24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
16 They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. And our reaction to those opposed to the truth of the Law and Gospel is swift, non-relenting, and non-compromising:
17 Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. 19 . . . do not associate with one who speaks foolishly.
Proverbs 14:7, 20:19
22 If any one has no love for the Lord, let them be accursed . . .
1 Corinthians 16:22
10 As for a person who is factious, after admonishing them once or twice, have nothing more to do with them, 11 knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; they are self-condemned.
9 Any one who goes ahead and does not stay in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; they who stay in the doctrine have both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive them into the house or give them any greeting; 11 because whoever who greets them shares their wicked work.
2 John 1:9-11
It is comforting to realize that even Satan cannot (whether pre-planned or opportunistically and circumstantially) choose to think nor do what is outside the boundaries of what God the Creator allows:
12 And the LORD said to Satan: "Hey, all that [Job] has is in your power; only upon himself do not put out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
6 And the LORD said to Satan: "Behold, [Job] is in your power; only spare his life."
Again, how the Lord conveys to His spokesmen what the future will definitively be, is not known although that does not mean that such prediction (either sometimes, often, or always) fails:
12 And God saw the Earth, and hey, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the Earth. 13 And God said to Noah: "I have determined to make an end of all flesh because the Earth is filled with violence through them; hey, I will destroy them with the Earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and set the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 because, hey, I will bring a flood of waters upon the Earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the Earth shall die. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.
21 1 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year."
6 Then God said to him [Abimelech] in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this [taken in Sarah to be your wife] in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her [Sarah].
18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now.
1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab: "As the LORD the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."
1 Kings 17:1
17 Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the Earth. James 18 Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the Earth brought forth its fruit.
15 And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hanani'ah: "Listen, Hanani'ah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the LORD: Hey, I will remove you from the face of the Earth. This very year you shall die,because you have uttered rebellion against the LORD.'" 17 In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hanani'ah died.
9 But Peter said to her: "How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Listen up! the feet of those that have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
Daniel Roy Bloomquist