ABOUT KNOWLEDGE OF PREDESTINATION
Predestination is a basic concept of the Abrahamic religions, from which Christianity is one of them.
The doctrine is primarily based on the sovereignty of God. In demonstrating the almightiness and omniscience of an all-powerful Divinity who is in control and knowledge of everything in creation, of all without exception. The God of the Bible, is an almighty Divinity that is never unaware or uncapable of controlling every aspect of Creation. Nothing happens beyond his knowledge, good or bad. Not angels, or humans, or animals, or any other created intelligent being or element is outside his absolute control. GOD is never caught by surprise by anyone or anything at all. (Psalm 139:4; Hebrews 4:13).
That is the prime concern and reason this magnificent doctrine was revealed to humanity, to be aware of the almighty power of our Creator; but it has another side, the actual consequences on the lives of humans, and their eternal destiny.
PREDESTINATION AND FREE WILL
In regards to humanity, the Bible is clear that God knows the names of the people who will be saved (Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:5), and it is said that He chose them by His will. However, this doctrine as a consequence, also implies that there is another lot of not ‘chosen to eternal life’, who are ‘predestined’ to eternal condemnation.
We will not try to explain here in detail, the mechanics of God’s Election. For now, it would be enough to say that God’s election cannot be arbitrary, because to leave for eternal fire some from a pool of humans, having the power to save them, indicates cruelty on the part of the supreme power who does this, and cruelty, which by definition is ‘the deliberate infliction of suffering on other sentient beings without any concern for their feelings’; it is something that is denied by fact, by the teachings of Jesus Christ across the gospels, but specially, in the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’ (Luke 10:25-37).
The God who taught us to be merciful with every human being and to forgive all offences, cannot act with a cruel indifference towards humans created by Him, in full knowledge of their fall, and leave them to be condemned without a fair opportunity for repentance.
Actual free will is what determines God’s Election from eternity, based in his Omniscience; and not capricious decision on the part of God.
But we will study this in depth in another occasion.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF ELECTION
The doctrine of Election, was revealed to humanity, to first glorify God for his power. Then to don’t think we can surprise God with a last-minute decision in order to fool Him. And last, to give us confidence in God’s assurance of our salvation. But what it was never given for, was to provoke ‘Determinism’.
Determinism is a distortion of biblical Predestination.
In true Biblical Predestination, the future is ‘determined’ by our actions taken now, with the only difference that GOD already knew and acted upon an advanced knowledge of our present decisions and actions from eternity.
In ‘Determinism’, the decisions we take now are not a product of our free will, but an automatic reaction to a predestined decision passed upon ourselves by God. In other words, in a determinist life, every decision and action we take, has already been appointed by God, without our consent.
That is not what the biblical doctrine of Predestination is about. But also, neither the confirmed knowledge of our election, either for good or bad.
Who is predestined to eternal life and who is not; whose names are written in the Book of Life and which are not; are not given to us because that would stop the real motor of our election, which are our free decisions and actions we take during our life-time.
When the Bible speaks of the elect to salvation as something actual and knowable like in Acts 13:48; it is the Christian author assigning a positive election, based on the good decisions of those acting according to the Will of God. BUT it is never a final statement in human terms.
We can say that all professing and practicing Christians are ‘elect and called to salvation’. There is in fact a great probability that that may be the case. But who is ‘really’ elected for salvation, can only be known by God, since we must not only believe and act according to God’s will to be counted among the saved, but also persevere like that to the end of our lives.
The same goes for the enemies of Christ. We can say that an unrepentant active enemy of Christianity has been predestined to damnation; but only GOD really knows that, because every evil person has the opportunity to the end of their lives to repent honestly and attain forgiveness from God; and none of us know that will not happen to whom we see as an enemy of God now.
The fact that there are names destined to salvation and others to damnation, and that in reality this cannot be altered, since the election was done in foreknowledge of the actual decisions and actions people will take in their lives; was revealed to humans to cause trust and confidence in God’s power.
BUT to really know WHO is destined to salvation and condemnation, is something that only GOD knows. Only GOD knows the sincerity and truthfulness of the faith of each human, and only God knows his secret decisions and actions, and if they will last faithful to the end or not.
Being conscious that even though our final destiny is written down in Heaven, we must also know that this decision was done by the capability of God knowing our decisions and actions and perseverance in this life, while we are alive. So, we must make the necessary effort to live under God’s will until the end of our lives, in order to confirm that we were elected to eternal life. The decision is ours, not God’s. What is God’s, is the capability to open a way to salvation, and the provision of Grace, in order to make a just decision free from sinful desire, and the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus, which is done entirely by Grace (2Peter 1:10; 3:14).
The same goes for the enemies of God. While there is life, there is hope of repentance and forgiveness in the Name of Jesus.
Nothing is saved, and nothing is loss, until the end, and that, depends on our cooperation with God’s Grace, based on our free will.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”