Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shaking Things Up

On my missions trip almost every night we debated something in relation to the bible. One of the hardest and most confusing topics was Predestination Vs. Freewill.

By predestination, we go by the definition that an individual does not make their own decisions, big or small, but that every decision is already decided upon whether by spiritual or cosmic forces. Predestination is not solely a Christian doctrine, but it is most often associated with Calvinism. There are many other denominations and theologians who believe in the doctrine of predestination, or the reformed doctrine of predestination, but it is often associated with Calvinistic schools of thought.

In order to fulfill His prophecies, God must predestine history to a certain degree. The Bible clearly indicates that God predestined redemptive history, specifically, the coming of the Messiah. Jesus clearly indicated that His coming was planned, including His death:
But He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose." (Luke 4:43)
"Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. (John 12:27)

Free will is the theological idea that all actions by individuals are not controlled or forcefully coerced by a Deity or higher power, but that individuals have the right to choose right or wrong and make every day choices in the direction their path will take (although this doesn't mean that the decisions can't be heavily influenced). The Christian philosophy of free will is often also referred to as Arminianism, based on the thoughts and writings of Jacobus Arminius, a 16th and 17th century Dutch pastor and theologian. This is not a completely correct assumption, as Calvinism and Arminianism have a lot in common, but disagree mainly over predestination and free will.

It's probably one of the most confusing issues ever.. No joke.

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