Predestination and Free Will


#1

How can these coexist?


#2

Predestination is predetermination. I have predetermined that if my child deliberately disobey’s me, I will punish him. Does the fact that I have predetermined this mean that my child has free will, no free choice as to whether they will disobey me or not?

Perhaps you need to be more precise in what you mean by these terms.


#3

I don’t believe in predestination, but many who do use this to support it:

But who indeed are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Will what is made say to its maker,"Why have you created me so?"
Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for a noble purpose and another for an ignoble one?
What if God, wishing to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction? (Romans 9:20-22, NAB)


#4

As for the traditional understanding of predestination, it is taught by the Catholic Church by the Council of Valence III, AD 855:

Council of Valence III, on predestination…

… faithfully we confess the predestination of the elect to life, and the predestination of the impious to death; in the election, moreover, of those who are to be saved,** the mercy of God precedes the merited good.** In the condemnation, however, of those who are to be lost, the evil which they have deserved precedes the just judgment of God. In predestination, however, (we believe) that God has determined only those things which He Himself either in His gratuitous mercy or in His just judgment would do… in regard to evil men, however, we believe that God foreknew their malice, because it is from them,** but that He did not predestine it**, because it is not from Him. (We believe) that God, who sees all things, foreknew and predestined that their evil deserved the punishment which followed, because He is just, in whom as Saint Augustine says, there is concerning all things everywhere so fixed a decree as a certain predestination. " (Denzinger 322)

How is this incompatible with free will?


#5

Check out a film called ‘The Matrix: Reloaded’ and listen carefully to the scene where Neo talks to the Oracle on the park bench. :wink:

Even if certain things are predetermined as you’ll see in 'The Matrix: Revolutions", it is who you are and what you believe that gives meaning and significance to your actions. To determine whether they are rightly or wrongly motivated and which side of the line you fall, you must understand the “Why?” And by knowing thyself, it is that question, that meaning, that you have complete control over. And thus this is where your free will resides. It is you who determines the sort of person you are going to be and that gives meaning to your motivations when you commit any actions and when any given destiny or predetermined event that is out of your control draws near. It is the quality of your soul, your determination, and your honesty to yourself that will matter in the end.

God knows what you’re going to do simply because he knows you better than you know yourself. Being an eternal being outside of time also helps. :smiley:


#6

Romans 9:11-23 NAS95 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” 13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

:shrug:


#7

**A definition is in order . . .

Predestinate is the Greek word Pro’orizo. Pro’orizo means to prebound or predetermine boundary lines in advance. Pro’orizo is a construction of the prefix pro (our prefix “pre”, meaning before) and the Greek word ‘Orizo – to bound or to mark out a boundary, to appoint, decree, specify, declare, determine, limit, ordain

The small mark ‘ before the word ‘Orizo is called a diacritical mark. It has an “h” sound. The word ‘orizo is written “Horizo” and pronounced, “Horidzo”( the “z” is pronounced “dz” in the Greek). This word looks similar to our word “Horizon”. That is because it is exactly our word horizon.

The horizon was a very familiar boundary line to Jewish mind. It was the division or the boundary of light (day) and darkness (night).

Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14). Light is equated with Truth throughout scripture.

Paul said, “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord, walk as children of light. – have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:8,11).

Again, Paul said, “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers – what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:14).

Unbelievers are equated as living in darkness, therefore believers are equated with light – light is always equivalent to Truth.

We are commanded to walk in the light.
**


#8

**First, the citation is not without errors . . . **

and the predestination of the impious to death; . . . (We believe) that God, who sees all things, foreknew and predestined that their evil deserved the punishment which followed, because He is just,

**The vessels of wrath (impious) are not predestinated (pre-bound for the light).

Romans 9:22
What if God willing to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

fitted - Greek: katartizo- to complete thoroughly; fit; frame; arrange; prepare
**

In predestination, however, (we believe) that God has determined only those things which He Himself either in His gratuitous mercy or in His just judgment would do.

**IMHO, what this statement should say is: “In predestination, however, (we believe) that God has determined only those who He Himself either in His gratuitous mercy or in His just judgment had chosen.”

Ephesians 1:4-- He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be Holy and without blame before him in love.

* Chosen--Greek: eklegomai - to select, make choice, from

Before the world began, God has chosen and prearranged the salvation and holy living of only those that belong to him.

All of which, has nothing to do with free-will.

**


#9

The Catholic Church teaches both are true, though it is impossible for man (who is limited) to understand how. The tendency of many has been to take one over the other but that always leads to theological problems.

Two factors I keep in mind are that God is not bound to time like we are on earth and the second issue is that we accept Jesus is FULLY God AND Man though our finite minds cant reconcile that concept. The Predestination vs Free Will is a “both/and” not an “either/or” issue.


#10

Tell me something: If the Indianapolis Colts play any local high school football team and before they play I say that the Colts will win the game how does that Make them play well enough to win or the high school team not play well enough so they will lose?

In other words I have perfect foreknowledge of what will happen.

Since God is infinitely smarter isn’t it reasonable to believe that He could Foreknow much more than we can since he knows everything about the universe and our souls which He created?

Having that knowledge does not predetermine the event that takes place.

If God in His mercy before the world is created says to Himself “I will given Heaven to the people that will choose me and since I have perfect foreknowledge of which ones that will” I will choose to call the The Elect–how does that in any way predetermine what they will choose of absolve them of responsibility for their choices?

Similiarily when the ones that do not choose God are given Hell it is not because he predetermined their fate when He foreknew who the elect were but because even though He did foreknew it–they had the complete power to choose–they choose against Him–God knowing that that is what they will do does not mean that they are absolved of responsibility for the free will that they exercise!

The difference between the Catholic view of predestination and the Calvinist view of predestination is that Catholics maintain that no matter what God does He never impinges on the free will of man. He accomplishes His purposes without ever violating that!–kind of like Captain Picard on Star Trek accomplshes just purpose without violating the prime directive!

Calvinists believe that since God is sovereign that it is OK for Him to violate or Impinge of man’s freedom of will.

Catholics would say that it is OK for God to do whatever He chooses but thaty he is smart enough to accomplish His ends without contradicting Himself in His grant of freedom of will to man.

Freedom of the will + sovereignty.

Only God is big enough to do something that unfathomable.

Catholics believe in that mystery and know that is where the truth lies!


#11

Jerry-Jet,

Excellent post!:thumbsup:


#12

**Q: Who will choose God?

Romans 3:10, 11 There is none righteous, no, not one…there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God

Psalms 39:5 – every man at his best state is altogether vanity

Isaiah 64:7 – there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth (uwr – wake up from the dead) up himself to take hold of thee

Man has no ability or good in himself to be willing to come alive in Christ. Job said that all men drink iniquity like water ( Job 15:16). It is by the will of God and not man that he is caused to come alive in Christ.

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of unclean? Not one.

Proverbs 20:9,12 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?.. The hearing (shama- obedient) ear and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.

James says concerning the new birth:

James 1:18 – of his own will begat he us with the word of truth

The word “will” in this verse is the word boulema, meaning purpose. When man is dead in sin he has no righteous purpose in himself.

John tells us by whose will we receive new birth.

John 1:13 Which were born (spiritually) not of blood, Nor of the “will” of the flesh, nor of the “will” of man, But of God

Man does not determine whether he will be “born again” and become a son of God.

To those who believe they can “accept Christ” by their own, so-called, “free will”, this is one verse that I cannot see how they justify in their minds. The word “will” in this verse is the word Thelema and it means determination. Man does not “determine” his salvation (which is the new birth) by his own will.

Paul says that the physical man is sensual and he cannot “accept Christ”.

I Corinthians 2:14 – the natural (psuchikos – physical, sensual man) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The word “receiveth” in this verse (I Cor. 2:14) is the Greek word dechomai. The word dech is the word ten, from which we get the word decade (ten years) and the word decalogue (ten words/ ten commandments). This word receiveth means to reach out willingly with the ten fingers (a figurative word of speech) and “accept” an offer that has been made. If a man could make the decision to “accept” Christ by some righteous ability that was in him, then he could take credit for the beginning of his salvation.

Philippians 1:6 He that hath “begun” (God the Father) a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

Philippians 2:13 It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure

A: No one.**


#13

well, yeah, God must give undeserved actual graces to a sinner to move him to authentic repentance and faith. But He ain’t gonna force the grace on him. A person can freely say NO to the grace of God. They cannot fully say YES on their own power, no God must HELP them ACCEPT His help, but they can say no. I don’t know if you were implying that there is irresistabe grace? Catholicism condemns that. Even efficaceous grace can be resisted.


#14

Tabcom,

The OP is a Catholic, who I presume is trying to understand Catholic doctrine on the matter, which does teach both predestination and free-will. While I get that you disagree with Catholic doctrine, lest you think yourself infallible, your opinion does not have much edifying value in describing Catholic teaching on the matter.

If it is your intent to re-engage in a debate about the truth of Catholicism with regard to this topic, perhaps we can take up that discussion again here I believe predestination means . . . , so that we don’t simply regurgitate on this thread that which had already been discussed elsewhere.

I’m sure if our OP is interested in your contra-Catholic thesis on predestination and free-will, he can also read the debate linked to above which, in my opinion, shows how some of your expressed views are untenable, taking Scripture passage out of their proper context.


#15

**itsjustdave . . .****Your previous post is well stated, thank you. My participation within this thread was motivated by this statement: **

Predestination is predetermination. I have predetermined that if my child deliberately disobey’s me, I will punish him.

**Any discussion about predestination must begin with what the word means, in its original greek text (see post #7). Catholic doctrine is derived from it.

Now, back to your example of what predestination is. You, the father, setting rules that your child must obey inorder to live within your house. You know he will disobey those rules. You know he will be punished, in a loving manner that is instructive. You also know that at some point he will think differently about he behavior and not break that rule again in the future. But you also know there will be new rules in the future that will have to be corrected. It is a continuous process. That’s Predestination!

When I say there is no free-will. What I mean is your child had no free-will in choosing you as his father. Any free-will he has is limited to what he can do within your household and not be punished for it.**


#16

Predestination and foreknowledge are two different concepts. In the former, God makes things happen. In the latter, He know what will happen.


#17

**
I respectfully submit that foreknowledge is not ‘things’; it is ‘people’.

Also, predestination is not ‘what will happen’; it is putting a boundary around the believers and making them conform to the image of Christ.

Romans 8:29,30- “For whom he did foreknew, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son.”

God “foreknew” his family from the foundation of the world
(Eph. 1:14 – II Thess. 2:13 – II Tim. 1:9).

“Foreknew” is the Greek word proginosko – to know beforehand. It is from the roots

* pro – meaning "before", and
* ginosko – meaning to know intimately or exactly

It also is from the word gnosis – meaning science or knowledge

This is the same word that Jesus uses toward false teachers when he says to them, “I never ‘knew’ you” (Matt. 7:23). He is saying, “Though you claim to be my children saying Lord, Lord, I have never had a personal intimate relationship with you. You are no friend or relative of mine.”

**


#18

Where the Calvinists are wrong on grace is not that only with grace can man turn to God. Catholics agree with this.

The choice is not to Choose God or Not Choose God it is Neutrality of Man’s will versus Resistance to God.

When seen in this light instead of either/or–Man’s freedom of will is not violated because if it is Neutral then God is not impinging on it And man is saved only through God’s grace as Man doesn’t do anything to save himself since his will is in neutral!

Man is stilll able to exercise his free will and resist God and for that gets to go to Hell–not because God predetermines what the man will do–only because God predestines the punishment for people that will make that free choice. Doing that is not predetermining what the person will do!

God achieves everything He wants not because He foreknows a future free choice of man and then that that Causes God to act in this way or that but because God as perfect pure act is incapable of acting in a way where He wouldn’t achieve His purposes.

The scriptures don’t state whether God foreknows and then predestines or predestines then foreknows. God as pure act is capable of doing both simultaneously.

The Calvinist God is a predeterming monster! The true God that Catholics worship is perfectly just and achieves His will without ever reversing the freedom of will that He created man with.


#19

[quote=Jerry-Jet]If God in His mercy before the world is created says to Himself “I will given Heaven to the people that will choose me and since I have perfect foreknowledge of which ones that will” I will choose to call the The Elect–how does that in any way predetermine what they will choose of absolve them of responsibility for their choices?
[/quote]

God’s indictment of man is that none is good, and none seeks God (Rom 3:10ff); how then do you reckon that God could foresee anyone choosing Him?

[quote=Jerry-Jet]Similiarily when the ones that do not choose God are given Hell it is not because he predetermined their fate when He foreknew who the elect were but because even though He did foreknew it–they had the complete power to choose–they choose against Him–God knowing that that is what they will do does not mean that they are absolved of responsibility for the free will that they exercise!
[/quote]

Jesus says that no one has the ability to choose Him, but must be drawn, helkūō, literally, “dragged,” by the Father to Him; how then do you reckon that anyone not “dragged” by the Father would be able to do anything other than “choose against Him?”

[quote=Jerry-Jet]The difference between the Catholic view of predestination and the Calvinist view of predestination is that Catholics maintain that no matter what God does He never impinges on the free will of man.
[/quote]

That is a strawman; when one is dragged, and regenerated by God, he then will freely choose; he does so, because it is God’s will that he do so.

[quote=Jerry-Jet]Calvinists believe that since God is sovereign that it is OK for Him to violate or Impinge of man’s freedom of will.
[/quote]

Another strawman; it is OK for God to violate or impinge upon man’s free-will, because God does what He pleases (Ps 115:3). Read the case of Abimelech in Gen 20; God certainly impinged upon Abimelech’s will; Read of the case of the rulers of the earth in Ps 75:6-8; Read of the case of the host of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth in Dan 4:35; and what of Paul’s will to remain a Jew, and continue persecuting the Church in Acts 9?

[quote=Jerry-Jet]The choice is not to Choose God or Not Choose God it is Neutrality of Man’s will versus Resistance to God.

When seen in this light instead of either/or–Man’s freedom of will is not violated because if it is Neutral then God is not impinging on it And man is saved only through God’s grace as Man doesn’t do anything to save himself since his will is in neutral!
[/quote]

Your reasoning is flawed; go out in the garage, start your car, put it in neutral, and what does it do? Where does it go?

The human will is not neutral, but apart from God is a slave to sin (Jn 8:34); the human condition is never one of neutrality, but one of fulfilling its own selfish desire.

[quote=Jerry-Jet]Man is stilll able to exercise his free will and resist God and for that gets to go to Hell–not because God predetermines what the man will do–only because God predestines the punishment for people that will make that free choice. Doing that is not predetermining what the person will do!
[/quote]

In Rom 9:22, the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction are in the accusative, and the verb is a passive; IOW, they are the passive, direct object of the preparation for destruction.

[quote=Jerry-Jet]The scriptures don’t state whether God foreknows and then predestines or predestines then foreknows. God as pure act is capable of doing both simultaneously.
[/quote]

Romans 8:29

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;Scripture teaches predestination initiated by foreknowledge.

[quote=Jerry-Jet]The Calvinist God is a predeterming monster!
[/quote]

Another strawman.


#20

**sandusky . . . thank you for refuting Jerry-Jet. You just saved me about a half-hour of having to compile a reply myself. ** :slight_smile:


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