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Predestination: Good News or Bad?

• Greg Boyd

Predestination has long been a confusing and controversial issue in Christian theology.

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Predestination has long been a confusing and controversial issue in Christian theology. Some believe that all of our actions are the working out of a Divine blueprint for the world and that only certain individuals were predestined to be saved. The theory (called Calvinism) raises many theological problems. Why would a loving God create some people just to send them to hell? How can God be considered all good if everything, including all that’s evil, is a part of His plan for the world? How can God get angry at our sin if He’s the one who programmed us to do it in the first place? Why would the Bible emphasize the need to evangelize all nations if some people will automatically believe and others never will? Why would God get so frustrated by our waywardness (as in Hosea) if it is just another part of His plan?

The Bible consistently portrays human beings as free moral agents, able to choose whether to do right or to do wrong, and able choose saving faith.

The biggest problem with Calvinism is that it rejects the idea of God as being the God of universal love. Ezekiel 33:11, Peter 3:9, and l John 2:1 tell us the opposite.

The lst century Jewish mindset probably would have taken Ephesians 1:5 to refer to corporate election instead of individual predestination.

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Focus Scripture:

  • Ephesians 1:4-5

    4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

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