POSTED - 5/12/2001
What is predestination?
- R. C. Sproul
When the Bible speaks of predestination, it speaks of God's sovereign involvement in certain things before they happen. He chooses in advance certain things to take place. For example, he predestined creation. Before God created the world, he decided to do it.
Usually when people think of predestination, they think about whether or not somebody was hit by an automobile on a given day because God had decided ahead of time that that should happen on that day.
Theologically, the principal issue of predestination in the Bible has to do with God selecting people for salvation beforehand. The Bible clearly does teach that somehow God chooses people for salvation before they're even born. Virtually every Christian church believes that, because this concept is so clearly taught in Scripture.
Paul refers to Jacob and Esau. Before they were even born, before they had done any good or evil, God decreed in advance that the elder would serve the younger: "Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated." The point there is that God had chosen certain benefits for one of those two before they were even born.
The real debate is, On what basis does God predestine? We know that he predestines, but why does he predestine, and what is the basis for his choices? Many Christians believe that God knows in advance what people are going to do, what choices they're going to make, and what activities they're going to be involved in. As he looks through the corridor of time and knows what choices you will make, for example, he knows that you will hear the gospel. He knows whether you will say yes or no. If he knows that you are going to say yes, then he chooses you for salvation on the basis of his prior knowledge. I don't hold that position. I think that God does this sovereignly, not arbitrarily, not whimsically. The only basis I see for predestination in the Bible is the good pleasure of his own will. The only other reason is to honor his only begotten Son. The reason for his selection is not in me and not in you and not in some foreseen good or evil, but in his own sovereignty.
Back to Top :: Printer Friendly