Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:3-10
I wanted to spend another day on these verses. Is everything preordained or do we have free choice, predestination or free will? Most things in the Bible are straightforward, however there are some things that seem to us to be contradictions. Because our finite minds have trouble grasping these difficult teachings we tend to be either or in our thinking. When we come down on one side or the other we risk the possibility of moving from orthodox Christianity to heresy. As an example, the doctrine of the trinity is, I think impossible for us mortals to entirely grasp. Just how can three personalities exist in one being? Yet when one reads the Bible we see that God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are all God and we are taught in God’s Word that there is only one God. We see both the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses fall into this heresy as they split God into three separate beings.
Now in most instances we find that the predestination versus free will camps are not heretical they too can move in the direction, particularly when they make God’s actions dependent on man’s free will. Still we set up a false dilemma when we make this decision either/or. We commit the fallacy of the excluded middle. This is when the choice is not the extremes but there exists a choice in the middle. In this case both are true. God has predestines us and we have freely chosen to follow Him. How do I know this? It is because the Bible teaches that both are true.
I don’t need to completely understand this concept to believe they are both true. All I need to do is remember that God is not a God of contradictions but a God of truth. Just because I cannot fully understand every teaching in the Bible does not mean I throw out the parts I don’t like. I accept that my finite mind has its limitations and choose to believe God’s word. The Bible has many hard teachings. We need to accept them. The Bible is not a buffet line where we get to chose just what we like. We need to accept it all.
Have a blessed day,