Does God predestine some people to heaven and hell?


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What does the word predestine mean? Predestination is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God and that He willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others.

According to the Bible, God foresaw, and thus foreknew, each generation of men that would come upon the stage of this world’s action, He coupled immediately with His foreknowledge the decision to predestine them all to be saved. For God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Eze. 33:11). “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

Divine foreknowledge and divine predestination in no way exclude human liberty. No Bible writer, suggests that God does predestine certain men to be saved and certain others to be lost, regardless of their own choice in the matter. Having foreknowledge of what choices people would make is far different from predetermining it. God does predestine each person that has ever been born, to go to Heaven. But, He also gives us the FREE WILL to choose to be saved or lost. God, being all-knowing, knows what we will choose. He does not get in the way of our decisions and predestines our lives.

The doctrine that God predestines humans denies a fundamental teaching of the Bible—that we have freedom of choice and that God holds us accountable for the choices we make. In the Old Testament, God appealed to Israel to make right choices and then held them accountable for the choices they made “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).  God didn’t predetermine or predestine the outcome.

In the New Testament, we see the same principle of accountability to choices, Christ said: “For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36). God will have us answer for our actions “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Also Paul says, “for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10). Again God does not predestine our choices.

While Salvation is offered freely to all, sadly, not all accept the gospel invitation “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14; 20:16). Salvation is not forced upon us against our will.

Some use Romans 8:29 as a basis for their belief in predestination “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  But the purpose of this verse seems to be a practical one. Paul is simply trying to comfort and assure the afflicted people of God that their salvation rests in His hands and that it is in process of being accomplished in accordance with His eternal and changeless purpose for them.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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