Staff & Sling

Joseph E. Hébert, Ph.D.

98119 N 3745 Rd
Okemah, OK  74859
918 623 3078


"Predestination" is a word that most Christians shy away from. And I understand why. In their minds if God predestines to Heaven those who get to Heaven, then He, by omission, predestines the rest to Hell. In the minds of many this is a dilemma, a contradiction to what they believe is true of God, and so they simply ignore the matter altogether, perhaps hoping it will someday just go away.

But God's Word speaks plainly about predestination, and it is a mistake to ignore what God's Word tells us when it calls into question our own understanding, our own beliefs. Many will find themselves in Hell because they rejected the Word of God in lieu of their own beliefs and understanding. So lets you and I begin by choosing not to make that mistake.

Lets instead seek understanding of God's Word. Let's seek to know the truth, our beliefs notwithstanding. Lets trust that God was true when He told us

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7: 7)


If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1: 5)

So, toward that end, there is no better place to start than by asking the question plainly, "Does God predestine anybody to Hell?" And it doesn't take much searching in scripture to find the answer. Of course not.

Matthew 18: 11 - 14 tells us plainly that it is not the will of God that anyone should perish. We find the same thing stated plainly in II Peter 3: 9, that God is not willing that anyone should perish. Note that these verses do not say that none will perish. These verses only state that none will perish because of God's will, which is to say by His choice.

Indeed, this is precisely why so many find this topic perplexing, because they know what these verses say. But scriptures do tell us that we, those who are saved, are predestined.

The Greek word BD@@D4.T (proorizo) appears 4 times in scripture and is translated "predestine" in each case. Twice we find it in Romans 8, and twice again in Ephesians 1. So lets look at these passages and learn what we can.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8: 29, 30; emphasis added)

This passage is unambiguous. We are predestined. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus so that He (Jesus) can be only the first of many brethren.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Ephesians 1: 3 - 11; emphasis added)

And this passage is equally plain. He chose us before the foundations of the world, predestined us to be His adopted children, according to His will, according to His purpose. Before He even laid the foundations of this universe, He already predestined us in accordance with His will.

Well, if nothing else we can certainly understand how some might find this a dilemma. But wait. Go back and consider the very beginning, the very first phrase, of Romans 8: 29. Just who is it that God predestines? Those He foreknew.

Do you remember I began this article by noting that the dilemma to so many is in their own understanding?  Our understanding is limited by our perspective, our experience. We live in a universe where time is a constant that goes in one direction only. We can imagine traveling in time, but all of our experience is dictated by the relentless progression of time, and causality.

But for God this is not so. God exists in a world where time is different. He is not bound by the linear progression of time. He is not bound by the same rules of causality as you and I. Consider an analogy.

In my home we have a timeline on the wall. It is a teaching aid for our children. We can stand before that timeline and see all of history (in an albeit highly abridged context). From our single vantage point we can see at once Adam and Eve, the Great Flood, David's rule, Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, all from our single perspective. This is similar to the way God sees our history, except He isn't limited to only those events which we've already experienced. God literally knows the ending from the beginning because He can see it all at once.

Therefore, it is rather misleading at best to try and attribute a time to any of God's actions, since He (from His external vantage) can at once act in our time and any other. Now the manifestations of His actions are made evident to us in time, but they are by no means so restricted in God's realm.

Now bearing this picture in mind, think of God standing over a table on which He has laid out all of this Universe's history. He at once sees the beginning and the end and everything in between. So of course He knows from before the foundations of the world just who would eventually choose salvation, who would choose Jesus as their Lord and Savior, who would surrender themselves a living sacrifice in submission to His will, and who wouldn't. And these are the people He predestined, the ones that He foreknew would choose Jesus.

No, God did not predestine anyone to Hell. But He did give everyone a choice. And what's more, He did predestine to completion those that He already knew would make the right choice (according to His will). Do you understand now? He didn't predestine us to make that choice, but only that His work would be completed in those of us that do.

In other words, He doesn't predestine anyone to either salvation or condemnation. He doesn't predestine us to salvation, but to the fulfillment of salvation for those who so choose.

So now do you understand? "Predestination" is not a doctrine of God's cruelty to the lost. It's a doctrine of His eternal assurance to the saved.

Matthew 18:
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

II Peter 3: 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.