Predestination Demystified

CONTENT
  • Calvinists & Arminians

  • Bible Verses that Point to: "People didn't care about God; He had to do it all"

  • Bible Verses about Predestination

  • Bible Verses that point to a Loving God Not Trying to Confuse Us

  • The Explanation That Clarifies It All

 

On this page, I point out all the Biblical references that confirm the following:

  • Are we predestined?  Yes

    • It means God foresaw our free-will decision and helped it grow.​

  • Predestined for God's unknown mysterious reasons?  No   

    • God foreknew 1st, destined 2nd, all done in His realm before creation; He's outside our time dimension.

    • We are now living-out our lives in our time-space continuum, that God foresaw.

  • Was it our free-will decision? Yes​

    • He did not make the decision for us! He just foresaw it.

Calvinists & Arminians

Calvinist and Arminian Christians have a lot in common, but they strongly disagree on one aspect of the Bible:

  • Calvinist: God predestined us to salvation, or to hell, for His mysterious reasons, before creation. We have no say.

  • Arminian: We have the free-will to choose God's grace or reject it. It's our call.

On this page I provide a thorough view with a different perspective, addressing both sides of the subject, complete with Bible references. This subject has actually been viciously debated for years. The usual sticky points in these debates can be summarized as follows:

Calvinists

Predestination verses in the Bible are very clear that God predestined us before creation. And that any action on our part would be considered "works" towards our own salvation, contradicting to predestination. God is in complete control, including the choice for our eternal destination.

Predestination verses were identified and discussed years before John Calvin, but Calvin around the 16th century brought it back to the forefront. And a new church was born. Many Calvinist scholars wrote detailed books about the subject. The Calvinist / reformed-Calvinist church encourages their members to read those books instead of the Bible.

The Predestination subject is so debated that there are different sub-interpretation views within the same subject. But in this link we will keep it focused on the main original view as defined here.

Arminians

We have free-will to choose to accept or reject God's grace of salvation through Christ. And that the predestination references are actually clarified in other parts of the Bible, as God predestined us based on foreknowledge.

God foreknew those who decided to choose His grace by faith. Then He predestined them based on this knowledge. God is "I AM"; He sits outside of our time/space continuum. He can see eternity past and eternity future from where He sits.

The concept of "God is in complete control of everything, including deciding our eternal destiny, mysteriously picking and choosing from the humans to grant them salvation", is completely misunderstood and unbiblical! 

There are some Arminian denominations, example Catholic and Greek Orthodox, that take things in the wrong direction with their unbiblical conditions, purgatory, Mary, and saints' canonizations. These are false doctrines - see my pages on Mary the Mother of God? and Time to Leave the Churches.

Bible Verses that Point to: "People didn't care about God; He had to do it all"

Psalms 53:1-3

God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Isaiah 63:5

I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled that no one assisted. So My arm brought Me salvation, and My own wrath upheld Me. 

​So God, seeing this, decided to provide salvation using His own Self, without help from people. He did this for all people, not selectively.  The above verses are from the Old Testament before Christ. After Christ, God presented His salvation plan through Jesus' death on the cross for people to simply accept it and become saved. In other words, He made it much easier for people to reconcile with Him. It is a different era ushered by God. The above verses became fulfilled by Jesus. 

Bible Verses about Predestination

Ephesian 1:4-5

For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.

Romans 11:7-8

What Israel was seeking, it failed to obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see, and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 

Matthew 13:10-14

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

“In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.

Notes: Terms like "predestined... for His good pleasure", "the non-elect were hardened by God", "God gave them eyes that can't see, ears that can't hear...", and "God gave them a spirit of stupor", can sound like God is doing mysterious picking and choosing. And this is exactly what Calvinist theologians dwelled on. But look below; detailed elaborating explanations from the Bible clearly demystifying the above! God Himself provides the explanation!!

Bible Verses that point to a Loving God Not Trying to Confuse Us

Arminian is the dominant view in the Bible. Everywhere I look in the Scripture I see a loving God clearly asking all people on earth to seek Him and love Him, and then He will love them back. Nowhere did I find anything hinting that God is trying to trick us into thinking it's our decision when in reality it's actually His!! 

 

Here are some example references:

James 4:8

Come near to God and he will come near to you.

Proverbs 8:17

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

2 Chronicles 15:2

... The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

2 Chronicles 15:15

All Judah ... sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.

2 Chronicles 24:20 

... “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, He has forsaken you.’”

Matthew 28:17-20

... Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Notes: Jesus said teach everybody on earth. Actually related to this last reference above, when the Calvinist church is asked: "Why bother preach to people when God already decided?" They answer: "We preach because God asked us to, for His mysterious reasons. We just obey and preach to everyone".

Romans 10:17

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

But the Calvinist doctrine explains this as, God selectively made some people hear the word and develop this faith. The theme of this Calvinist explanation is applied throughout thousands of Bible references that are addressed to "everyone", "the whole world", etc. Usually changed to "selectively-everyone", "selectively the whole world", etc.

Let's put this in a different perspective. God created humans with free-will, example Adam & Eve who made the choice to eat from the tree. But God didn't let His creation's free-will destroy them. He provided His redemption plan through Christ, and made it known to all people in the scripture. Then let them in their free-will choose to become interested in Him, or not. God has the ability to foresee people's choices on His drawing-board before creation. Then predestine / help-along those who expressed interest. Look at the undisputable Bible references below on this very key point.

In the same way, we ourselves, created in God's image, don't bring children into this world and abandon some of them. We help them along on the right path until they grow up. And we don't do that selectively; we don't choose 2 of our babies, help them grow on the right path, and throw the 3rd baby over a cliff! 

The scripture explains how God chose and predestined people; nothing mysterious about it. We are the ones to accept His grace or reject it. God being outside our time dimension, foresaw our saying yes all the way back to before creation. And the "for His pleasure" is not that we'll be providing amusement or entertainment to Him. It is the pleasure He has in creating, and particularly creating humans and the resulting meaningful relationship with them, which was the main purpose of His creation in the first place.

Verses Contradicting to Mysterious Predestination:

Romans 11:2

God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. 

Romans 8:29 

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son 

References that say we should mature spiritually or risk becoming unsaved:

More evidence it's our call.

John 15:1

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit 

Luke 13:6-9

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

Notes: God gives people a chance to truly seek Him, or be cut down, as in become spiritually dead, which leads to becoming unsaved and sent to hell after death. So how does this fit in the Calvinist doctrine? It is very clear it is against it. "Fruit" here means spiritual growth. So, similar to the "talents" parable below, bear fruit or risk becoming rejected by God. It is clear from this parable that God is waiting on our proper action in our lifetime, or else "cut the fig tree". This parable says the ball is in our court now; so, it's our action next to choose to do the right thing, or not.

Why would God bother giving us all these detailed parables like the one above and the one below, that are pro-Arminian view? To confuse us? He's too loving for that. He clearly describes us having free will to make the right choices or else suffer consequences. What makes it difficult to understand is that He's outside of time, and we are in it. 

The Explanation That Clarifies It All

 
Here's one parable that explains how God makes Predestination decisions:

Matthew 25:14-30

First note, Jesus had started out in Matthew 25:1 saying "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like..."  So "it" in the first sentence below refers to the "kingdom of heaven".

“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘  Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ “The man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ 

“The man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “His master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned.

“‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Notes: This is one example from the Bible of how God foreknew the people He Predestined. "Talent" here is knowledge of God, and multiplying talents is spiritual growth. They all started on relatively equal ground, with an amount of knowledge of God. The servant who did not multiply his talent in the parable, was called "evil & lazy", and was cast out - "became rejected by God". It was a result of the servant free-will action of not multiplying the talents. God didn't make him lazy. And here's the biggest key part from this parable:

"For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

  • This part: "For to everyone who has, more will be given" means, for some people who chose to grow their knowledge of God by seeking God in the scripture and mature spiritually, God revealed more of Himself to them. These servants decided to multiply their talents on their own, by choice. God did not make them do it, as clearly stated in the parable. This is why they were predestined to salvation, not mysteriously predestined.

  • This part: "But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him."  means, some people with also a God-given amount of faith decided to ignore it. It was their free choice to ignore it. God did not make them ignore it. Otherwise why would He give them any faith in the first place? So God decided to take away what they knew about Him, and replaced it with "eyes that can't see and ears that can't hear". In other words, He knew they were hopeless, and knowing the ending He did not let it drag on throughout their life, He ended it early (spiritually). So with God's foreknowledge before-creation, their destination was decided. 

"And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  explains how God rejected those that were not Predestined to salvation, and instead were cast to Hell. As clear from the parable, it was based on their free-will action! God did not make them choose what to do! The servant made his own wrong decisions and failed. 

It is very clear from this parable that God is making destination-decisions based on these people's choice behavior. God did not have to wait for time to pass to see our spiritual decisions. He sits outside of time; He saw it already before creation, and acted based on that. God does provide explanations throughout the Bible about how predestination is done. It is not a God-mysterious choice.

This was not a one-off parable from Matthew. Luke 19:11-27 has a very similar parable. And the rest of the new-testament is full of similarly supporting parables. Note, from our life on earth perspective, these events above unfold in real time for us. But for God, He foresaw them and positioned people to grow in their chosen direction before the creation of the world.

So what does all this mean to us?

  • Are we predestined?  Yes

    • It means God foresaw our free-will decision and helped it grow - revealed more of Himself to us.

  • Predestined for mysterious reasons?  No 

    • God foresaw 1st, destined 2nd, all done in His realm before creation; He's outside our time dimension.​

    • Those who accepted His Grace for salvation, God revealed more of Himself to them.

    • Those who ignored His offer, God destined them to hell, and took away any knowledge of Him they had. They live-out their lives completely spiritually-deprived; incapable of having faith. This is why we should not argue with people. The moment we sense their mental block we move on, as in Matthew 10:14.

  • Was it our free-will decision? Yes

    • God did not make the decision for us! He only foresaw it.

    • We are now living-out our lives in our time-space continuum, which God knew all about before creation.

    • It's a lifelong process of maturing with God (multiplying talents as in the parable above). And God in return growing our wisdom.

Is it an Unconditional Predestination?

No, it's not Unconditional. It is a Conditional covenant with God.  But not the foolish conditions some churches imposed over the years. God makes His decisions outside of time - eternity past/future visible to Him. But deals with us inside the time continuum we're in. Here are examples of God's conditional covenants with people, from the Bible:

Jews: They were God's chosen people only if... Example: 

Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine. Exodus 19:5 

Christians: We belong to Jesus only if... Example:

[Jesus:] “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. John 14:15-16

And,

James 4:8

Come near to God and he will come near to you.

And the opposite is true; move away from God and He will move away from you. It is our decision, our free-will.

There is no before and after for God. Which is a concept that may be difficult for most people to comprehend. Then the likes of Calvin and their followers took advantage of this niche to rob the innocent lost sheep; rob them both financially and spiritually. People will follow, and will donate to that church. And the book-authors will profit from selling their books. It's a business!  It is acceptable to receive donations but only when teaching the correct word of God in the Bible, not when misleading people!!

Of course Calvinist people love the idea of belonging to this exclusive club of God - as in, "Yay we don't have to do anything; God mysteriously elected and predestined us!" Sorry to inform you. You've been misled. Misled by the Calvinist church, and by their highly respected Calvinist book authors. You should have been seeking God in the Bible, instead of drowning in these Calvinist books, looking up big words in the dictionary for the rest of your life.

The subject of "Elect" and "Predestination" should have been left alone, as presented in the Bible. It was a big mistake to go build a whole theology around it and confuse people. As you can see on his page, it's complicated to explain to people, just as God is not a simple God to figure-out. God in His infinite wisdom decided to only give us some hints about it. It should have been left as hints. As it stands today, we have millions of people confused, and their children are likely to become lost / Atheists because, "why bother, God already decided. I don't see myself in it; Atheism is so cool."

What then should the Calvinist & Arminian people do?

Do:

  • Pray The Lord's Prayer daily. This is what Jesus commanded. Look at my explanation of the Lord's Prayer is Severely Misunderstood. If you're not doing this, then you're not predestined. Regularly attending a Calvinist church doesn't ensure predestination - It ensures the opposite. Praying the Lord's Prayer daily ensures that you're predestined. And maturing spiritually by seeking God in the Bible ensures you don't become un-predestined!

  • Be loyal to God, not to churches, humans, ancestors, or false doctrines.

  • Get on the right path with God and watch your life transform in amazing ways; God's blessings will pour out on you. But as you stand today, believing the "mysterious predestination doctrine" as in "we don't have a say and don't know how God Elects people", you are on the wrong path in God's eyes. You don't know God, and therefore unless you change your ways, you are at risk of becoming spiritually dead / rejected by God. But God desperately wants you to see clearly and reconcile with Him.

Don't:

  • Don't become a Baptist or Evangelical, or a Catholic. You don't have to become anything other than a "Christian". God never intended for us to have contradicting denominations.

  • Don't trust any church. 

  • Don't learn Christianity by watching movies about the Bible. Movie makers are profit-focused, not God-focused.

  • Don't read any books about Christianity. Stop reading the Calvinist books, and read the Bible instead.

Related Reading

Time to Leave the Churches

Read the Bible & Research Online

The Lord's Prayer is Severely Misunderstood

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