Predestination vs. Free Choice

 I've been doing some thinking, praying, talking, and searching the Bible on the topic of pre-destination vs. free choice.

 I haven't been able to find any references to God giving us the choice in all of this, but I have found/been directed to so many different verses that talk about how we were all choosen before the begining of time, and how God has designed us to be here for His will, whatever that may be.

 Please, if you are of the 'free choice' mind frame, I'd love to hear where you get the basis for your beliefs, so point me in the direction of verses that support your belief.  And if you are a 'predestiner', :o), Let me know of some verses that support your beliefs and how you've come to the conclusion of your thoughts.

 Start Chatting!!



Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I would add this thought.

I have always tried to reconcile this issue in my own mind as one of two "perspectives."

-- From God's perspective, we are indeed predestined and selected by Him, wooed to salvation.
-- From our perspective, we are "choosing" to follow Him through our own choice and volition, once He has wooed us.

My friend has done a much more scholarly review of the topic here:

Free Will

Hi Stephanie
If our will is free, then are we able to choose outside God's will ?
If yes, God's sovereignty must be less than "God over all things". I believe God is Sovereign over all and in all and so, free will is then a misnomer.
Richard Burton


Good Point Richard!!
Thanks for sharing... :o)


Right now the ladies in my church are going through the book of Isaiah and looking at the ways that the Lord has saved His people over the years. You may be thinking, 'why is she talking about Isaiah in the chat about predestination vs. free choice?' I'll explain myself.

In Isaiah 10:5-15, he talks about God's perspective on Assyria and what Assyria's perspective on Assyria is. God choose this country to be huge and to take over all of these smaller countries and towns, and the king of Assyria thinks that it is all of his own doing.

Ellen, our leader, drew our attention to a New Testament passage that clears up a lot of things:

Romans 9:14-26 (NKJV)

(14)What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid! (15)For He saith to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (16)So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God who showeth mercy. (17)For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, "Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth." (18)Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will, He hardeneth. (19)Thou wilt say then unto me, "Why doth He yet find fault, for who hath resisted His will?" (20)But nay, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, "Why hast thou made me thus?" (21)Hath not the potter power over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor? (22)What if God, choosing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; (23)and this, that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, whom He had prepared before unto glory, (24)even us whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (25)As He saith also in Hosea: "I will call them `My people,' who were not My people, and `her beloved' who was not beloved." (26)And, "It shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, `Ye are not My people,' there shall they be called the children of the living God."

So to sum up what I've come to realize again through these verses all I can say is "God is God". He chooses to use whomever He wants to for whatever reason He wants to, whether or not it makes sense to us. Questions? comments? rebutles? Feel free to share.

So does that mean...

So does that mean (looking at verse 21) that God uses sinners/"vessels of wrath fitted for destruction" to show His power to His saints? When I say uses I mean doing bad things to them "longsuffering." So God could be using the suffering of my neighbor as a way to show me His power? Or the bad behavior of my kids to teach me a lesson?

Do you think God would go as far as to kill someone (even a baby) to teach someone about His glory?

Just some thoughts...


Well, (here's where I would put your name, but you didn't sign it... :o)

As humans, it is hard for us to believe that a 'loving God' would do such a thing as to have someone die in order for us to learn more about His Glory, but yes, I do believe that God uses everything that happens for His Glory. Whether we as humans can comprehend them or not.

David and I were just listening to John MacArthur Jr. this morning, and he was talking about God being Just. He quoted James Usher who wrote that the source of God's Justice is "His own free will and nothing else: for whatsoever He wills is just, and because He wills it therefore it is just; not because it is just, therefore He wills it" (not word for word but close) In other words, 'A thing is just because God wills it. He does not will it because it is just by human standards--He sets the standard.' (John MacArthur Jr.)

Thanks for your comments that make me think, who ever you are!! :o) (dialog is great!!)

just on the side

i can't answer the free will thing right now because i am still really looking into it more... but as for the just because he wills it thing... i have heard this arguement before and i have concluded that God has the standard contained within his character and essence... so in a way both answers are right... but if you say... If he wills to do sin, then it is just... FALSE God cannot sin so that doesn't hold up.. and if that were true then god could truely never sin because whatever he does would be right, so it doesn't matter what he does... then you could say that Jesus didn't have to be held to any earthly standard because him being 100% God would make whatever he did on earth not sin... so he could have raped and pillaged, but because He was God, it was just.

Could Jesus sin...?

I believe Jesus could sin, that was the point in Him coming down to earth. God can not, He is perfect. Jesus had to come to earth and live in the flesh and overcome sin. We also must remember what sin is, sin is disobeying God. So when Jesus came to earth He was subject to God's law. If Jesus was not able to sin than His perfect life would have no significance.

The need for the law came from the sin of man, not of God. Sin was not part of creation, it is of both man and Satan (not of God). So if God is in control of all things than He must be in control of sin right? Yes, He is not the author of sin, but He is in control. God expresses His power and love by demonstrating the power He has over sin (through His Son). So does God "make" us sin? No, that is us and Satan again, but He is always in control.

I really didn't mean to say so much...

What David is saying here seems to lead towards free choice. Jesus had to have the choice to sin, so that he could overcome sin. He was sinless because he chose to obey the Father and not give in to Satan's temptations--not because the Father predestined him not to sin. However, it is clear that Jesus came to earth with a purpose--to remain sinless so that he might be the perfect sacrifice for us. That implies foreordination.

I know that predestination and foreordination are sometimes used interchangeably, but I think predestination means that the course of the world/a persons life is set ahead of time and our choices make no difference. I think foreordination means that before the creation God ordained (set apart, designated) people for certain jobs to fulfill His work on earth...but once here, they have the choice to fulfill the work.

I have so many thoughts about this right now, let's see if I can straighten some of them out. I do believe in free choice, because I do believe my choices matter. (If I have no choice then giving my life to God has no was not freely given). I don't believe in predestination, because I believe in free choice ;) And I do believe in foreordination, because I believe God has special work for people in this life (especially looking at his prophets like Abraham and David and Isaiah etc.). Oh, and yeah, God does know all the choices we will make--He knows everything, but they are still our choices.

Okay, I know that last paragraph was some circular reasoning and no support, and I know Stephanie is asking for support so let me see what I can find :)

Deut 11
26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse- 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

---"If you obey...if you disobey" Either/or, we have a choice.

Josh 24
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

---"choose for yourselves"

Jeremiah 1
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew [a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

---Set apart and appointed...Seems like the person will still have to choose to live a righteous life and heed God's call in order to become a prophet. Or in terms of our lives, I feel like God has some work for me to do here on earth (um, not as a prophetess I'm pretty sure, but maybe as a light to someones life or to help raise up my children in a good home), but if I make poor choices then I am not in a place to fulfill His will for me.

Acts 2
23This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

---They're talking about Jesus obviously, and those wicked men did work unknowingly to God's glory when then crucified Christ. I think God knew they would do that and he let Satan warp their hearts, but I don't think God predestined them to be wicked...

Okay, those are my thoughts. Sorry so long :) I can't do anything short anymore after 4 yrs as an English major. Ugh. There are some verses that give me trouble and don't "fit" my theory...such as Acts 17:26.

I really liked hearing everyones ideas. Dialog is good :)


That is a lot to think about! although I'm not quite sure about it, like I said I'll have to think about it. and along with my thinking do some research on it.

Thanks for Sharing!!
(Especially the references!!)

Can you say in your heart

Can you say in your heart that there is something that you can do that God cannot do? If so is God still God?

Ephesians 1:5
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

He adopted us according to His will, not His will and my will.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

One might argue that choosing God is a work.

And yet Scripture tells us that there must be some response ...
Acts 16:29-31
29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

Romans 10:9-10
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

I believe that both predestination (the word is used in scripture) and free will (in concept) are both clear in Scripture. I cannot explain it, but they must somehow work together...