train tracks

Photo by Mark Kelly

Okay, for the $64,000 question, are our lives predestined? Is everything that happens to us all ready written in stone?

Has God already mapped out our lives and determined what our life will be like? Has He decided, and left us out of the loop, what kind of work we do, and who we will marry? Now you’ll notice I did not say He doesn’t influence or inspire us, but asked if He makes that decision Himself?

Is everything that happens to us already determined? Are some people chosen for salvation and others for damnation?

From Wikipedia:

Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others.

Is that true? Has God willed some of us to eternal life, and others to damnation?

What does the bible say about predestination?

Romans 8:29-30 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

I’m not trying to insult the segment of Christianity that believes in the doctrine of predestination, but I think there are some serious questions that need to be answered. Namely, if everything we do is already predetermined, free will is a fallacy, and we have no control over our lives. This also means we don’t have to accept total responsibility for our actions.

I would like to pose a question that I think will make clear one problem with the doctrine of predestination.

If my life is predetermined, and I give into lust, whose fault is it?

If someone has an abortion, do they have to accept responsibility for that act, or has it been predetermined? What about someone who’s a serial killer or mass murderer? Does God predetermine that someone gets cancer, or any other disease?

I think you will agree those questions strain the doctrine of predestination. But, if God has predetermined everything that’s going to happen, they’re questions that need to be asked.

Let me share my opinion on how predestination works, and how it applies to us.

Let’s say you bought someone a train ticket from New York to California. In doing so, you have predestined them to leave New York and arrive in California in a couple of days. If during the trip they get off the train before California, the trip you have predestined them for has ended. Now, they may decide to continue on at a later day, but that would be their choice.

You have predestined them, but you did not strap them in their seat, and make them ride all the way to California.

It’s the same thing for us with God. He has predestined us for His Kingdom. He has told us He wants us to be there, He has told us all the blessings it holds for us. God loves us and wishes that no one were lost, but you and I have a choice.

We have boarded the train to God’s Kingdom, and God has predestined us to be there. Of course during this life, the train makes many stops. Every time God’s train makes a stop we have a choice. We can become distracted by all the lights, glitz and glitter of the towns the train stops at and get off; or we can stay on, and take the train to its final destination.

We have been predestined to be adopted as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, but we have a choice.

I think it would be foolish to get off the train, but God does give us that free will.

What do you think?

  • Good questions and good thoughts Mike. I am not a fan of predestination as described by Wiki. I have been able to explain it in another way also. God has predestined those who love and follow Him to a life eternally with Him. He had also done the opposite for those who refuse Him. Heaven or Hell…our choice. The plan is predestined; not the man. Also I see Rom.8:29 telling me “we have been predestined to be conformed the image of His Son.” That has nothing to do with salvation per se, but the goal of 8:28. Off base?

    • Mike

      I agree with your description of predestination, it’s the plan, not the man. If God had His way, we would all be in His Kingdom one day. But, again, He’s a loving God, and He gives us a choice. Thanks for your comment.

  • Floyd Samons

    That’s a good analogy. I’m with you on the subject. I also think it’s ridiculous for humans with a created mind to try to think as if our mind was the same as God. Since He’s omnipotent, why wouldn’t He be able to offer salvation to all and yet no the outcome beforehand? However, I like your analogy much better…

    • Mike

      Thanks Floyd! I get a little frustrated when I hear people refusing to accept responsibility for their actions, or blaming God for other peoples. Like when some nut job goes on a shooting rampage and people say it was God’s will, or God was calling them home. God calls us, but He never sends a crazed gunman to escort us. We are predestined for an amazing future with God, but it is up to us to decide if we are going to take Him up on that amazing offer.

  • Mike

    It was my ignorance on how the photo thing works that brought this about. I truly apologize for my mistake. No, stealing anything is wrong, and I have removed the photo. I appreciate your letting me know so I won’t make the same mistake in the future. Again, my deepest apology.