PREDESTINATION OR FREEWILL?
Countless times I have been involved in debates challenging the two sides of the coin, and pitching them up against each other. But is there an end, ever? This sort of debate has ravaged the minds of bible scholars for what seems like all time. Is there a definite answer we can all go by? Do Christians necessarily have to be separated, and guided by the extremes of both assertions?
I have walked along the paths of trying to find a place of balance; I have tended to contribute this argument: "The fates and end of man are predestined, in that God is fully aware and conscious of their ends. But that does not mean that man didn't have a part to play, otherwise, God would not have any just bases for judging men. The fact that God is well aware of the conclusion of matters, never influenced the choices people made that led them there".
There is necessarily predestination-in that the end of things is fully known to God, who the Bible quite plainly says, "declares the end from the beginning" (Isaiah 46:9-10). And there is necessarily freewill-in that the consequences of the actions of men cannot be isolated from the paths they choose. We all go down a certain path because we choose to (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Let me quote a piece from an article I read recently:
"In the first few pages of the book Packer says both things are true, but our little minds can't reconcile them. I can only go so far in trying to explain it, but it has a lot to do with the fact that we're so time bound and can't see beyond where we are in that sequence."
Here, Scott Stanley, the writer of the article, discusses the input of J.I. Packer in his [Packer's] book, 'Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God' on the matter in question.
To our earthly time-bound and sequenced perception of time, and its cause-and-effect principles, it seems rather intractable, even for some the most knowledgeable scholars, to reconcile the two. But in order to understand the parody, we need to understand this: God's ways are far removed from ours, His thinking is infinitely beyond ours. Having gulped that down, we will then know this: there is a reconciliation of the two, but how that happens is not fully understood by us, nor can probably ever be.
What then do we take from here? In matters involve choice, and its consequences, especially concerning our destination for eternity, it is important to grasp these:
1) We are fully responsible for our actions, and God will hold us accountable
2) We need to make others aware of this, mainly those we will attempt to lead to Christ and
3) The Ancient of Days remains sovereign, and it is His grace, and the conviction and calling of His Holy Spirit, that brings people to repentance and a change of heart (John 6:44, Colossians 1:13)
Sigh. This answer suits me. What about you?