Can one drive a car without understanding the mechanics of the combustion engine or the complexities of an automatic gearbox or the intricacies of the electronic systems that control our modern vehicles?
Can one be a christian without understanding the nitty gritty of justification, sanctification, predestination, consecration, incarnation and many other unbelievably complex terms?
So, if you don’t want to dive in under the hood on this one, please feel free to ignore my ramblings…
I worship with a group of Presbyterians. Presbyterians follow Calvin’s teaching in general. Predestination has been causing me some discomfort, so I thought it would be good to get some clarification.
There is an amazing amount of literature and debate surrounding the subject of Predestination. I don’t want to earn a doctorate on the subject. I just want a simple (if possible) idea of what Calvin’s take on the subject is. This is what I found…
In summary, John Calvin defended a strong doctrine of predestination whereby God determined before all creation those who would obtain eternal life, and those who would receive eternal death. In both salvation and condemnation the key purpose of predestination is satisfied, that the glory of God might be shown. According to Calvin, God’s predestination is solely the result of his will, independent of external reasons, and so is ultimately mysterious to humanity. For this reason, Calvin advocated that inquiry into predestination be restricted to the bounds of scripture. Calvin repelled claims that predestination makes God unjust, arguing that all of sinful humanity deserves punishment—and so none are condemned unjustly—and that since God’s mysterious will is righteous, we can affirm that predestination is just.
Simple? I dunno!
I found these two articles helpful in understanding the subject.
… and this is how Mark Driscoll explained it to his children when they asked…
I tell them that Adam as our first father voted on everyone’s behalf that we would all go to hell when he committed the original human sin (Romans 5:12-21). And we have each likewise voted for hell by also choosing to sin (Romans 3:23). So, God does not have to save anyone from hell, as he is under no obligation. But if there is to be salvation, someone has to choose it, and there are only three options:
1). Satan and demons could choose who goes to heaven and hell, but if they did, we would all go to hell and no one would go to heaven.
2). Each individual person could choose whether or not they would go to heaven or hell. If this were the case, everyone would be going to hell because the Bible is clear in Romans 3:11 that “no one understands; no one seeks for God.” The Bible also teaches that those who are saved were not saved because they were seeking God. Quoting Isaiah 65:1 in Romans 10:20, God says, “Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, ‘I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.’”
3). God chooses whom he will save in his loving grace. Since we are not just undeserving but actually ill-deserving enemies of God, it’s amazing that God would save anyone. And if God is the one who chooses who will be saved, we can trust that even when it comes to difficult cases such as children who died in their mother’s womb before they could hear the gospel, babies who died before they could understand the gospel, those with limited mental ability to fully comprehend the gospel, and people who have never heard the gospel, God does is right and best. Because heaven is God’s home, he has the right to decide who lives there forever with him. Since we are saved by grace, which is a gift that God gives, he has the right to give it as he determines is best. And, we need to trust him to do what is right and best.