If God predestines everything, does He predestine sin? Can one of His elect fall into binding sin and still be elect? Would God cause one of His children to be bound by sin for His greater glory?
I already know that by answering doctrinal questions about predestination and election, I’m bound to make at least a few people angry, confused, despondent, or all the above. So as I like to do with these sorts of things, let’s ask a series of questions.
Does God predestine everything? Yes.
Do we still have free will? Yes.
Does God “cause” us to sin? Never.
Does He “author” our sin? Yes.
Is there a difference? Yes.
Do we still choose to sin? Yes.
Can an elect become a non-elect? No, or the elect was never elect.
Can a non-elect become an elect? No, or the non-elect was never non-elect.
Does God destine people to Hell? Not sure. I’ll humble myself and say God does whatever He wants, and it would be righteous.
Can we with our limited finite three lb. brains determine who is elect or not? No.
So I can’t sneak out of evangelizing if I think this dude is non-elect? No.
Can God cause someone to be bound by sin for His glory? Again, God can do whatever He wants, righteously.
Does the person still choose to be bound? Yes.
Now let’s allow the Bible to speak for itself (which it will do anyway).
Exhibit A) Romans 9, the most confusing chapter in the Bible. Francis Chan in Erasing Hell pretty much says you can read the Bible pretty normally and then there was Romans 9. Read it for yourself, slowly, and in context.
Exhibit B) 1 John 2:19, which makes a case for permanent election and validates non-election.
Exhibit C) Ephesians 1:4-6, 11, which uses the word predestine.
Exhibit D) Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26-29, which indicates a sinner’s free will to reject salvation.
Exhibit E) In Exodus, it’s mentioned that God hardens Pharaoh’s heart nine times and Pharaoh hardens his own heart seven times.
I’m not trying to be cute with you by lobbing questions and verses. What I am saying is that I’m not stupid enough to be that smart. God predestines, we choose.
God authors the story, so while you could say God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, it would be just as right to say Pharaoh hardened his own heart. If you’re writing a novel and your protagonist Jim killed the antagonist Fred, then Jim killed Fred. But it’s also true that you the writer killed Fred. Still, it doesn’t remove the actuality (of the fictional story) that Jim did it.
I’m sure a Calvinist-Spurgeonist Reformed wonder-kid wearing a cape embroidered with the 95 Theses can explain this one endlessly, way better than me, and make me feel like a moron for even writing about it. Correct doctrine at the expense of people-loving, God-fearing hearts: that’s how these discussions end up going if I step into that dungeon. So no thanks. I only concede that both must be true: God predestines, we choose. How does that work? Fortunately God is God, and I’m not.