Is man’s fate planned, or can we carve a story of our own? Philosophers and religious leaders have asked this question, which is asked even today.
Some believe that a higher power has everything mapped out, while others believe that we have been given a certain amount of freedom to change our lives and make our own choices.
To understand why this two-sided debate exists, we must first look at the two opposing sides of the argument:
What Is Predestination?
Predestination is the doctrine that God has, from all eternity, decided who will be saved and who will not.
Predestination is a part of Calvinism, but not all Calvinists believe in predestination.
Predestination does not mean that people are forced to do what they do. It simply means God knew how people would choose if given the opportunity.
What Is Free Will?
Free will is a theological term used to describe the ability of humans to choose their own destiny.
This means that human beings can make decisions that are not determined by external factors.
What Is the Difference Between Predestination and Free Will?
Predestination means that God knows what will take place ahead and has already made a decision on who will be saved and who will be damned.
In other words, we don’t have any control over our fate. God already writes it.
On the other hand, free will means that we can choose what we want, and if you think about it, this is how most people look at life: they think they can decide their own path.
If you ask someone if they think they’re predestined or free-willed, there’s a good chance they’ll say “both.”
They might say something like: “I believe in both.” Or: “Yes, I believe in free will but also predestined; it’s part of my faith.”
Are We Predestined, or Do We Have Free Will?
The answer to this question is yes and no. We are predestined to spend eternity in heaven; however, we have the free will to choose whether or not we want to accept God’s gift of salvation.
God’s plan for humanity was revealed in the Bible from Adam and Eve onward. Jesus Christ came as the Second Person of the Trinity to fulfill that plan by dying on the cross for our sins and rising from the dead three days later (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The Bible teaches that all people are born into sin because of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12).
This means that everyone has inherited a sinful nature or inclination toward evil (Jeremiah 17:9). Everyone has also inherited physical death (Romans 5:16).
The devil deceived Eve into disobeying God’s commandment not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3).
This resulted in sin entering into humanity through Adam. He had been given dominion over everything on earth except for one thing, the tree of life, which would have given him immortality (Genesis 2:17).
Death was now a part of our existence because it entered through Adam when he disobeyed God’s commandment.
Can Predestination and Free Coexist, and How?
When you look at your surrounding, it all seems so random. You see people doing things with no purpose or meaning and others doing things that look like they’re following a plan.
What if it were possible to know what your future holds? Would you want to know? What if you could move through life without any surprises, learning every step of the way what was going to happen next?
This is exactly what God promises in His Word. He tells us that He has already determined our future, not just our future but also the future of everyone else on earth (Romans 8:29).
He has foreordained everything that happens in our lives down to the smallest detail (Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 46:9-11).
This means that everything that happens in life is part of God’s plan for us from start to finish. It also means that we don’t have free will; we cannot choose what happens to us or direct our paths through life.
Therefore, we are predestined by God in specific ways, but we have the free will to choose what to do on earth.
This can be to obey God or disobey him. It can be to walk on the right path or not. But one thing is everything we do determines how we will be judged.
Can Predestination and Free-Will Benefit Our Christian Faith?
Yes, God is sovereign. He has created us for a purpose, and He has chosen us to be part of His plan.
He also knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Therefore, everything that happens in our lives is according to His will.
But we have free will. We can choose whether or not to follow Him, whether or not we want to listen to His voice and obey Him.
Therefore, some people may fall away from their faith while others grow stronger.
God knows who will fall away from their faith before they are even born, but He still allows them to choose freely.
This means that God is not responsible for those who reject Him because they had every opportunity to accept Him or reject Him as they chose.
Those who accept Christ are saved because of their faith in Christ and because God loved them enough to send His Son (John 3:16).
What Does the Bible Say About Predestination and Free Will?
There is a lot of debate over the issue of predestination and free will. Many people believe that God has already decided their destiny, and they have no choice.
They think that their lives are pre-determined by God’s foreknowledge and that nothing they do can alter this.
The Bible does not teach predestination in this way. God does not pre-plan our lives for us; instead, He gives us choices that we may accept or reject.
In Romans 9:18-24, Paul talks about Jacob and Esau being chosen before birth by God, and yet they still had free will to choose good or evil in their lives:
Which Scholars Are Associated With Predestination and Free Will?
There are many scholars who have written on the subject of predestination and free will. Some of them are:
- St. Augustine
- St. Thomas Aquinas
- John Calvin
- Martin Luther
- John Wesley
Whether you believe in predestination or free will, you must always choose which belief feels right. In other words, you may be presented with certain facts and evidence that support one conclusion or another, but when it comes down to it, you must remain true to your own beliefs and those of your faith.