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FAQ: Freewill vs. Predestination

This Freewill vs. Predestination question is another that doesn't qualify as a frequently asked question, but I like the subject. I hope it's of interest to you as well.

Decoding Nicea is a captivating look at the true story of the Council of Nicea

I really did get asked the question once, and it was phrased this way:

Don't we have a choice of what to do with our lives? If prophecies about Christ were written in advance, then did Christ have a choice?

starsNASA image, public domain

David Servant has a couple really excellent articles on this (God's Regrets and The Luck That Saves Us).

God knew in advance what Christ would do, so he was able to write about it. Certain things God has control of, and he can predict it because he makes it happen. If he decides there will be a tornado tomorrow, then it's going to happen, no matter who likes it or doesn't. That is God in direct control.

But there are also things that God just knows. He doesn't necessarily control those things. He wants us to have choices. He made us free beings.

However, being God, he knows what some of those choices will be. I know that if right now you went to my wife and offered to give her some cocaine to snort, she would say no. I'm not making that choice for her, but I could write it down as certain. That's what would happen.

If I can know some things in that way, then how much more can God, who created a hundred billion galaxies with a hundred billion stars each, know?

I believe Jesus had choices. Others didn't have so much choice. When God wanted to glorify his name by removing Israel from Egypt, he hardened Pharaoh's heart. Pharaoh was destined for judgment.

That may not seem very fair, but God's God, and he gets to do what he wants. In the end, God is a loving and fair God. He will not be found guilty or merciless in anything he did, not even with Pharaoh.

Some people want to believe God is like that with everyone, hardening or not hardening them based on whatever whim he had before they were born. I don't believe that, and I believe it's a horrible thing to say about God. Yes, that happened with Pharaoh for a specific purpose, but that is not the way God is. He puts choices in front of us, and even if he knows in advance what those choices will be, that doesn't mean he made the choices for us.

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