Monday, April 25, 2011
**In This Issue**
vs. Free Will
- What Does the Bible Say About...?
Welcome to the
Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory. RHG is a co-ministry
with Creation Science Ministries. Feel free to send this to your relatives
Predestination vs. Free Will
"The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed
belong to us and to our children forever..."
- Deuteronomy 29:29
From the beginning of time, thinkers great and small have been perplexed over
the paradox of fate vs. free will, or predestination vs. free choice.
In theological terms, this leads to the
struggle between Calvinism and Arminianism. As
we explore this paradox, we find that examining the value of each position
reveals that the ‘River of Life’ seems to flow between these two extremes, and
that once again, truth requires a careful balance.
At the heart of the controversies between Calvinism and Arminianism is the
emphasis on the sovereignty of God by the Calvinists and the sovereignty (free
will) of man, or human responsibility, by the Arminians.
Calvinism emphasizes that God is in
total control of everything and that nothing can happen that He does not plan
and direct, including man’s salvation. Arminianism teaches that man has free
will and that God will never interrupt, or take that free will away, and that
God has obligated Himself to respect the free moral agency and capacity of free
choice with which He created us.
Both doctrinal positions are reasonable and both have extensive Scriptures to
back them up. The two views are, in my
opinion, both partially right and partially overextended.
A man named Philip Schaff,
a Swiss-born, German-educated
Protestant theologian, and a historian of the
said it this way, "Calvinism emphasized divine sovereignty and free grace;
Arminianism emphasized human responsibility.
Calvinism restricts the saving grace to the elect; Arminianism extends it
to all men on the condition of faith. Both
are right in what they assert; both are wrong in what they deny.
If one important truth is pressed to the
exclusion of another truth of equal importance, it becomes an error, and loses
its hold upon the conscience. The Bible gives us a theology which is more human
than Calvinism and more divine that Arminianism, and more
Christian than either of them."
Certainly, the Bible does teach that God is sovereign, and that believers are
predestined and elected by God to spend eternity with Him.
However, nowhere does the Bible ever
associate election with damnation. Conversely, the Scriptures teach that God
elects for salvation, but that unbelievers are in hell by their own choice.
Every passage of the Bible that deals
with election deals with it in the context of salvation, not damnation. No one
is elect for hell. The only support for
such a view is human logic, not
Biblical revelation (which was taught by John Calvin).
The concept of total depravity is consistent with Scripture.
But the doctrine of limited atonement,
that Jesus did not die for the sins of the whole world, is clearly contrary to
Biblical teaching. The Bible openly
teaches that Jesus died for everyone’s sins, and that everyone is able to be
saved if they will repent and turn to Christ. Limited
atonement is a non-Biblical doctrine.
Election and predestination are Biblical doctrines.
God knows everything and therefore He
cannot be surprised by anything. He is
beyond the constraints of mass, acceleration and gravity, therefore He stands
outside time. He knows, and has known
from “eternity past,” who will exercise their free will to accept Him and who
will reject Him. The former are “the
elect” and the latter are the “non-elect.” Everyone
who is not saved will have only himself to blame: God will not send anyone to
hell because He has chosen him from the beginning of time.
However, many people will choose to go there by exercising their free
will to reject Christ.
On the other hand, no one who is saved will be able to take any of the credit.
Our salvation is entirely God’s work,
and is based completely on the finished work of the Cross.
We were dead in trespasses and sins,
destined for hell, when God in His grace drew us to Himself, convinced us of our
sin and our need for a Savior, and gave us the authority to call Jesus Lord.
Is this grace, this wooing, this
No, we have free will and we can (and
do) resist, even to the damnation of our souls.
But, God does everything short of making us predestined in order to draw
us into His forever family.
What Does the Bible Say About...?
In this section of the
Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.
If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having
it printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to
send your question in an email to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you may call me
anytime by phone at 801.302 -1111.
The question for this issue is, "Is it true that the plagues inflicted by God on
ancient Egypt in the Book of Exodus were all related to the false gods that
Yes, this is true.
a matter of fact, later in the Pentateuch, in a summary
of God’s dealings with the Egyptians, it says
gods also the Lord executed judgments"
The following is a brief summary
of how the plagues tied in with Egypt’s polytheistic religious
River turned to blood.
Nile River was a vital "lifeline," providing water to the arid
nation of Egypt. The Egyptians
actually worshipped the Nile, represented by the god Hapi,
god, Osiris, was thought to have the Nile as his bloodstream.
But they were helpless in keeping the Nile pure when God sent
The goddess of fertility, Heket,
was usually drawn with the body of a woman and the head of a
There was a penalty for
killing or injuring frogs, so when God sent too many, the people
felt they could not destroy them.
the frogs overran the land.
Actually, the Hebrew word
used here indicates any small insect, such as lice
these insects from the dust of the Earth (Exodus 8:16),
represented by the Egyptian god Geb.
it was proven that Geb did not have the control over the land
that was supposed.
the Hebrew word is not specific, but it can refer to any large
swarm of flying insects.
Egyptians worshipped Khepher, a deity appearing like a scarab,
which appeared frequently on their jewelry.
was out of control, as the flying insect population devastated
5. Death of cattle.
The Egyptians believed cattle
were under control of Apis, the bull god, and Hathor, the cow
goddess. With this plague, it
was proven that these false gods could not protect what was
under their supposed domain.
Egyptians worshipped Imhotep, the god of medicine, and Thoth,
the god of healing. They also
believed Sekhmet was a goddess with power over diseases.
gods was also
rendered impotent, as even Pharaoh’s magicians came down with
the boils (Exodus 9:11).
the god who guarded the crops, and Nut, the goddess of weather,
were clearly not in control, as the hail affected the Egyptians
only, and not the children of Israel in Goshen.
the crops remaining from the hail were destroyed by a plague of
locusts, Seth was again proven ineffective.
Egyptians’ chief god was Ra, the god of the sun.
But he was shown to be powerless
when darkness descended upon Egypt for three days.
10. Death of firstborn.
Pharaoh himself was worshipped
as a god, and was thought to be directly descended from Ra.
One of his patron deities, in
turn, was Osiris, who was the god of the dead.
Obviously, they were helpless,
as this last and most devastating
plague affected all the land of Egypt, including the house of
Pharaoh himself (Exodus 12:29).
Plainly, the plagues sent upon Egypt were
not coincidental, or even haphazardly chosen by God.
By selecting these specific
plagues, God was showing Egypt that their belief system was
impotent, and that the God of Israel would show Himself strong
on behalf of His people.
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE
Our Redeemer — the Lord Almighty is
His name — is the Holy One of Israel.
We solicit your prayers and support of this ministry. God Bless.
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