As you may already have read, the article on Predestination is where you should directly begin. I’m not going to be comprehensively defining the term predestination in this article (although I’ll cover it a little). What I’d like to do is write out my own personal beliefs on the subject of double predestination, which is the idea that God not only ordains and elects individuals for Heaven, but also elects and destines individuals for Hell as well. Do I believe this? Continue reading.
Disclaimer: * If you are easily angered or even offended by those who profess to believe the Bible to be God’s complete and perfect Word, then please read carefully. I am not here to offend, but to help those who are simply curious to a point of view that may be the right one. Hopefully, and prayerfully, it is. And I’m going to use a few passages of Scripture to help us understand a little more about this issue.
Predestination is littered throughout the New Testament in many different forms. You have terms like ordained, chosen, destined, predestined, elect, election, elected, and many others. Election is thus defined as “an act of God before creation in which He chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of His sovereign good pleasure” (Grudem’s Systematic Theology, pg. 670). It basically refers to God’s planning and foreordaining a certain people to become His children and to be ultimately conformed into the image of Christ. Here are a few passages to describe this:
- Romans 8:29 “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son”
- Ephesians 1:4-5 “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will”
- Ephesians 1:11 “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
- 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 “For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
- John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
- John 10:26 “but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.”
- John 11:51-52 “not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”
- John 8:47 “Whoever is of God hears the words of god. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
- John 6:44; 65 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day…This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
But what most people do not tend to mention is the other side of the coin: hardening or hating the non-elect. There are plenty of places where God literally says that He hates somebody, hardens a person’s heart, or even rejects people who continue in their unbelief. Which brings us to the dilemma of double predestination.
What I want to make clear first is that we, as human sinners, should never place our own interpretation into the Scriptures (eisegesis) because we simply do not understand them or even do not like what they teach at times. We must use methods of exegesis, which are taking what the Author says and interpreting it by what the Author meant it to say.
Okay, so here we go. There are two different ways you can look at double predestination. One, the idea that God Himself actively makes people go to Hell. And two, the notion that God purely backs away from an individual and the result ends in somebody becoming more and more corrupt. Take these verses to decide if you believe either:
- Romans 9:11-13 “Thought they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of His call, she was told, ‘The elder will serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
- Romans 11:7 “Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened.”
- 1 Peter 2:8 “They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”
- Romans 11:25 “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
- Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”
And then there are all of the instances where God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Most people will pipe up here and say, “No, no, no. Pharaoh hardened his own heart.” Right here you’ll have to count and really study the times that this happened. Here are the numbers:
1. Amount of verses where Pharaoh directly hardens his own heart = 3
2. Amount of verses where it’s declared that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened = 6
3. Amount of verses directly declaring that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart = 7
Right here is where you’ll have to make a decision. Do you believe that God is proactively keeping people from believing (hardening their hearts), or do you believe that men are, by nature, sinful, thus hardening their own hearts? The Bible seems to point to the fact that God is active in keeping people (or certain individuals) from believing in Him.
And here’s where I currently stand. Because I fear the Lord and I want to be true to what God’s Word teaches, I believe that God is active in keeping people from Him while also being active in saving His elect. And you’ll have to find out exactly how I believe that by reading Part II of this article.
Part II Contents
- What I comprehensively believe about double predestination
- Verses that may scare you
- Evangelism and missions
- Romans 9
- Verses to dig deeper for better understanding