Do election and foreordination molest free will?

Monday Musings for September 02, 2019

Good morning, Musers,

You probably notice that I talk about free will quite a bit — but it’s not my fault! The Bible uses terms like “elect,” “foreordain” and “predestine” — and I have to deal with those. But the Bible also says that we should be evangelical. That is, we are supposed to preach the Gospel… teach, baptize and make disciples. So, which is it? Do we go forth? Or do we let go and let God?

Since the Bible affirms that God has a people known as “the elect” — AND — that we are to be proactive in sharing the Good News, then both are true… and they’re true at the same place and at the same time. So, let me state this plainly: election and free will are not in contradiction with each other — which is an easy thing to say… but how can that be true?

Fortunately, our omnitemporal God is not stuck in time like we are, nor is our omniscient God limited in knowledge. But it’s not so much that God foreknows how we will use our free will to respond to the Father’s drawing (John 6:44) … although that’s also true. God fore-knows because he all-knows… because that’s what omniscience means.

We wouldn’t have this paradox if God did not have the disposition to communicate… but he does… hence the Scripture… hence the creation… hence the soulishness of humankind — and he has deigned to share his eternal purposes with us. But — and for better or for worse — he does this at least partly through the window of election. But election implies a previous act. So, the question is well taken: are we predetermined to receive Christ? And if so, what happens to our free will?

If we are predetermined to be saved, then God “chooses” some (“Elect” simply means “choose” in the Bible..)… but — if that happens without our input — then that selection is arbitrary… and if that’s true, salvation is not voluntary… and we could leave it at that… but I don’t know why God would make the universe under those conditions.

That’s part of what we will explore today… but we’ll need a God’s-eye view to solve this paradox. You see, once in a while, God gives us a view from the top… and sometimes he chooses to ground an action by placing it at a time before time was invented. Lucky us!

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