Do you actually think that nothing matters because our choices are already predetermined by God?

Email Received:

The idea that we perform as part of a prescribed production in Gods world is idiotic, to say the least. Nowhere in my Bible does it say that we subjects have no choices in this life. Not to mention the stupidity of God who allegedly answers prayer, knowing, watching, listening, or otherwise finding amusement in several thousand years of predestined, prerecorded prayers and messages. This doesn’t make sense on an individual level (golly gee I’m important) or on a global one where souls are less significant. Why go out and be fishers of men if in a more cynical view than Ecclesiastes is not to be taken?

If nothing matters since it’s already been done, why try? You were supposed to “not try”. You are already dead and your life means nothing. Your children didn’t have a choice in obeying a midnight curfew that you put in place since it was predestined by God in this "script" and therefore any lashes you gave were pointless and cruel. Except that they weren’t real or effective. They were painless and pointless expressions of your male ego in your fantasy which again makes no difference. Does God really exist?

This is probably not well thought but more of a quick jab at the notion that nothing matters, since I was supposed to type this email to you.

Ted’s Response:

Nowhere have I stated, nor even implied, that we don't have free will choices to make. Without a doubt, we continually do. There simply is a one-to-one correspondence between what God has predestined for us and what we choose. Mathematically, this is known as an "if and only if" correlation, which means that if one side of the equation is true, the other side also is true.

No one has been able to disprove to me that both predestination and free will are true at the same time and to equal degrees. For instance, consider the following, although there are numerous other examples:

The following are examples of how God is in control of a person's specific decisions, even when he/she feels that there are several options from which to choose. The sequence of a person's choices is predetermined by God.

You seem to be under the assumption that if we are making all the choices that God has foreordained us to make, as I suggest, then He would just sit back being amused and entertained by how boneheaded we are for being utterly clueless to His entire "Script" and the parts we play in it. And if He were a callous, self-aggrandizing God, then that is how it might be. Of course, that is not how He is at all.

Therefore, it is an invalid supposition to believe that what you have described is how He would react if people were following the Script that He has written. In fact, rather than feeling "important," we should be immeasurably meek and subservient to His supreme will in all things. I feel immensely humbled that He would have created me in the first place so that I could be a small part of the events that He has planned out from before the beginning of creation, all of which is His Grand Design. Indeed, He is the "Chicken" who came first, and we are the "eggs" who followed.

Furthermore, I know that I have made countless bad/wrong choices and decisions in my life. I believe that I was predestined to make all of those choices. At the same time, I believe that I have been elected to serve God forever. As such, I trust that one reason why God has determined for me to make bad choices was for me to understand, firsthand, that disobedience toward God displeases Him and has negative consequences. Since I look forward to pleasing Him with all of my choices forevermore, after Jesus returns, then it makes me want to give back to Him my free will, faulty and imperfect as it is, in exchange for a flawless free will, controlled entirely by His perfect righteousness. I long for Him to cause me to make only choices that are good and right when the Kingdom of God is on the earth and forevermore thereafter.

As for witnessing to other people and trying to share the gospel message with them, there is an obvious reason why we should not stop doing that, even with those who give no indication that they can be saved. We do not know which ones God has chosen for eternal life (who also will choose Him because they are predestined to do so) or which ones He has chosen for damnation (who never will choose Him because it is not possible for them to do so), the latter being exemplified in Romans 9:22.

Another reason why it is important to try to bring people to God, even if the result (whether a success or a failure) is already predetermined, is because we learn from what has happened. All of our memories of these and other experiences may last forever; if so, this cumulative knowledge will help us as we gain an increasing understanding and comprehension of our infinite God. We are not merely "robots" or "computers" that God will "deprogram" once He "loses interest" in us. As believers, we will be with Him for eternity.

During God's Kingdom on this present earth during the Millennium, and on the eternal new earth to come following that 1,000-year period, we will look back at how He has laid out everything in an incredibly detailed, meticulous, fine-tuned manner. We always will keep learning and grasping the way He did it and why He did it, for us as individuals and for humanity as a whole. As a result, our understanding of Him will be infinitely deeper and more profound than it would have been if our choices and decisions had originated merely from our own simple, limited minds and hearts. I believe that while we are ruling and reigning with Him (Revelation 2:26,27), the results of the judgments and decisions we make in this life will help us to gain wisdom to make proper judgments and decisions that we will be making in our upcoming eternal life.

We also will look back on the wrong choices we and others have made (which we all were and are destined to make), as well as the negative consequences we have had to deal with as a result of those bad choices. It will become crystal clear to us that even the slightest amount of disobedience to God had to be punished, if only to a minimal extent. We also will understand, in the new heaven and earth to come, why even the tiniest, minuscule bit of sin cannot exist there.

Many believers probably would say that God is able to "look down the corridor of time" and see all future events. I picture it as much more complex than that. I believe that God exists in all dimensions of time—past, present, and future—at once. He is from everlasting past to everlasting future (Psalm 90:2). He knows the future not only because He exists there but, also, because He has caused everything to happen in a unique, precise way, thus having created a unique path for imperfect beings like us to get there.

I do not believe that God simply created the universe and then let everything randomly take place on its own, with little "nudges" here and there to "steer" everything generally in the direction of his prescribed endpoint. I believe that He planned out every detail beforehand. If so, His abilities and powers are infinitely greater and vastly more awesome than most people have even imagined.

Take the book of Revelation, for example. Every event has been predetermined to take place. Every blasphemous word spoken by the first beast (Antichrist), and every deceptive word stated by the second beast (False Prophet), have been pre-programmed for them to say. Every statement by every angel and by every voice from heaven has been foreordained to be uttered. Nothing written in that book will happen even infinitesimally differently than has been written into God's Script from before the foundation of the world.

One verse, in particular, shows two examples of predetermined events:

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)
Firstly, anyone at that future time whose name has not been written in the Lamb's Book of Life will choose to worship the beast. There is nothing they can do about it; they must make that choice, and they knowingly will make that choice. Secondly, it was preordained, from before the creation of the world, for Jesus to be slain for the sins of mankind (which also means that Eve and Adam had to choose to sin, thus sentencing all of mankind to physical death—see first and last Adam). In fact, all of Jesus' words on the cross—such as His words to John, "Here is your mother," and His final words, "It is finished"—were in the Script; He had to choose to speak them because they were predetermined by Father God to be spoken by Him.

It sounds like you might have read my email response, What is your "take" on the biblical book of Ecclesiastes? Another response, Which do you feel is true: God's predestination or our free will? may provide you more details about what I believe about this topic, although it is irrelevant to me whether or not you or anyone else is convinced of my perspective after reading what I have written. People will believe whatever they choose to believe and what it is predestined for them to believe.

As for myself, since I believe that everything from this point forward is predetermined to happen, it definitely helps me not to worry so much about tomorrow (as Jesus commanded) or about calamitous events that inevitably will come upon the world. These events are "set in stone," and I know there is nothing I can do to change them; so there is no point in my "wringing my hands" and worrying about them.

Furthermore, I know that the choices I and others make are real choices that have to be made, so this helps me when things turn out in ways that I had not wanted or expected them to happen. It also helps me when people do hurtful or malicious things toward me, since it is easier for me to forgive them and move on. I have learned that, very frequently, short-term disappointments turn into long-term victories. Therefore, I am glad that God makes things happen His way so as to maximize the knowledge and wisdom that I will receive in every experience.

Children will remember the spankings they were given. (I know that I do, and I deserved them all.) Most will learn that disobedience, for instance failing to meet a midnight curfew, will result in some type of punishment. It may or may not cause them to modify their behavior, depending on how submissive or rebellious they are. Hopefully, they will learn that being obedient to their parents is a good start in learning how to be submissive to God, which correlates to less unpleasant discipline in life. The things we all heed or ignore in our extremely short lives of usually 70 to 100 years are important in teaching us about God in the hereafter, which is of utmost significance and value.

As for those whom God has intended to spend the afterlife away from Him (which they inevitably will choose to do because they will not want for Him to be their eternal Master), then we who are with God for eternity will become more knowledgeable of Him by seeing why these people's ill-fated lives could not have continued on with Him as ours did. Furthermore, we will love Him immeasurably more than we otherwise would have, knowing that we could have been in their boat of destruction; but, instead, He chose us, as objects of His mercy (Romans 9:23), to be with Him, though we have done nothing to deserve it—other than to choose to accept Jesus' blood atonement for our sins.

Indeed, you were predestined to type and send your email to me. At the same time, it would not have happened unless you had chosen to do so.

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