Etikettarkiv | forced

Why did God create us, despite knowing we would mess up?

A parable about a party invitation for ALL

Some christians feel it’s strange that God would let his son die for people He knows ahead of time will never believe in him, and that’s why they prefer to believe that Jesus only died for SOME people who will DEFINITELY be saved because they are specifically PRE-CHOSEN to be the lucky ELECT. But I don’t find dying for ALL people despite knowing the risks/results involved is a paradox at all. What about those who DO choose to believe in him? They will be heirs to the kingdom, and the thing is that ALL are given this opportunity so no one is left out or is unfairly treated. God is totally fair and merciful to all!

Most young couples are aware of the risk that some of their future children might not turn out as obedient and morally upright human beings,  but they are willing to take this risk since children (and not robots) are a great blessing and a good company. Even if a married couple would be told that two of their ten not yet born children will end up as unbelievers, they will likely decide to have their children anyway. At least THEY (the parents) don’t force their children to become unbelievers. They might bring them up in a wonderful christian home and teach them all things about Christ and the Bible and how to be good moral people. If they still one day reject this teaching and become wicked individuals, then THEY (the children) are to be blamed and not the parents.

(We also have ”Open theism” as a possible factor, where God indeed knows ”all things” but only what is ”knowable”. Read more here. )

I’d like to compare God’s salvation offer to everyone with a party invitation even if it’s not a perfect analogy.

Let’s say I decide to have a party in my house. Of course I’m entitled to set up the rules and conditions myself, and I don’t need to ask anyone for advice or permission how to run things since I’m ”sovereign” over my own house  (sovereign is a word which is not in the KJV Bible but still…). I decide to invite EVERYONE in my entire neighborhood, and to use a RSVP (respondez s’il vous plait) on my invitation cards. I also PROMOTE my party and tell everyone that they would miss out big time if they will not come. My party is totally free of any costs, but I still have conditions. The following conditions/restrictions apply:

  • Had I not decided to have this party, there would not be a party. I personally initiated a ”drawing” or ”calling”.
  • All are invited but ONLY those who REPLY as per the RSVP may actually come
  • And out of those who reply affirmatively as per the RVSP, only those who SHOW UP at my party will be let in!
  • And those who have replied affirmatively and showed up must also be acceptably DRESSED to be let in.

(Maybe I could add that they must also BEHAVE during the entire duration of the party so they won’t disturb and ruin the party for the others, but when we will end up at the big wedding party in heaven all troublemakers will already be sorted out. It’s a good thing that ”sinners” are not welcomed to the big wedding party or else it would not be a pleasant time for the others.)

Even though I have all those conditions, the party is still totally FREE OF CHARGE. The guests could not do anything themselves to be invited to my party. Nothing we believe or do can ever merit salvation. We don’t deserve to be saved, but our Lord has enabled salvation to all of us in our totally lost state.

I could of course have arranged things differently…

I could make personal  invitations to CERTAIN people in my neighborhood and FORCE them to come to my party which I make MANDATORY for those I invite. I could also REFUSE to allow anyone else to come to my party EVEN THOUGH I have PLENTY OF ROOM, food, beverages, entertainment, etc for EVERYONE in the entire neighborhood.

The thing is though that I PREFER to invite ALL and to let THEM make up their mind if they want to come or not.  That means that whosoever wills can come and it would bring me much happiness to know that people have used their own minds when accepting my invitation. I would not feel good about having people around me who have no other choice but to be there whether they like to or not. God has created us in his image, and we are able to reason and make options depending on various circumstances.  God has also created LIMITATIONS to our free will. We simply can’t fly to March and back just because we have this desire and will. 

Is my party a total failure because all who were invited did not come? Can we say I was totally helpless and in the hands of the people I invited? Did someone make the rules instead of me? Did someone thwart my plans? Did I lose control? Did something happen unexpectedly which I didn’t think of? Did I not calculate the risks properly? Did I treat someone unfairly? Am I a wicked person because I did not force people to come? Should we feel sorry for those who did not come despite that they knew the truth about it? Am I illogical in my behavior? Did I at any time resort to Plan B?

Of course not! We would all have a great time at my party, and I would feel good about knowing that I made sure that ALL had a fair chance to come. I wouldn’t even want people at my party unless THEY had a sincere desire to come and to get to know me.Why is it out of the question that our sovereign Lord created us with the ability to accept/reject him and obey/disobey?

Compare also with the analogy of the wedding party in Matthew 22. Note that those who were bidden to come chose to NOT come, and those who did choose to come were called ”chosen”. Notice that no one is forced to do anything. Both good and bad were called but they were all required to wear WEDDING CLOTHES in order to be acceptable to the wedding party. We must repent from our sins and be holy and righteous and dressed in white undefiled garments. 

1. And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,And sent forth his servants TO CALL THEM THAT WERE BIDDEN to the wedding: and they would not come.Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14 For many are called, but few are chosen. 

Annonser

Judas was not predestined to betray Jesus, Acts 4:28

Judas acted against God’s will when he betrayed Jesus

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel DETERMINED BEFORE to be done. (Acts 4:26-28)

The above are words from a prayer by Peter and John, and these verses are sometimes used as an attempt to support the idea that God predestines all things, including predestination of individuals to do ”evil” (and that this in effect doesn’t make it ”evil” since God is always good). The sacrifice of Christ is a holy and acceptable offering to God and he didn’t force anyone to kill Jesus. This unique event cannot be used as a blanket statement throughout the entire scriptures to show that God causes people to do whatever they are busy doing including SINNING.

What was ”determined before” to be done? It was the death of Jesus (the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world)! However, it does not say that God predestined anyone to make this goal come true. Peter and John expressed in their prayer that people came to do what was determined, but  it doesn’t say that God predestined/caused/forced anyone to betray and kill Jesus, because then God would be the only reason for their sin.  (You’re not guilty of something if God is the one who made you do it.) Jesus is said to have laid down his own life and we can trust his words. There was certainly no shortage of people who wanted to kill Jesus, so God did not have to bother about predestining anyone to harm him. They went after Jesus on their own accord, and this was known from the foundation of the world. It wouldn’t be hard for the Father to remove his protective hands over Jesus and let someone with the desire to kill him be successful in his attempt, and Judas was  apparently first in line to betray him which eventually lead to his death. If Judas was predestined to betray Jesus, he would end up in heaven and not hell.

 John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

We can read that what happened was FOREKNOWN by God, but foreknowledge is not predestination. We can read that WICKED HANDS had crucified and slayed Jesus. If God predestined people to slay Jesus, then it would have been GODLY hands who slayed him. Those are wicked who do things contrary to God’s will.  By using an event for something good doesn’t mean that God caused it to happen.

 Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and FOREKNOWLEDGE of God, YE have taken, and BY WICKED HANDS have crucified and slain? 

We can see that it was not GOD who placed the desire to harm Jesus inside Judas but SATAN.

Joh. 13:And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him 

Jesus asked his Father to forgive those who harmed him, but if they were predestined to do so, then what is there to forgive? Why asking the Father to forgive people for doing exactly what he caused them to do?! If Judas OBEYED the Father by betraying Jesus which he was CAUSED to do, then shouldn’t Judas be rewarded instead of punished for what he did? Instead we can read that it would have been better for Judas had he never been born.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Fatherforgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots

Jesus was delivered into the hands of SINFUL men, so we are not talking about innocent people who only did what they were predestined to do by God. THEY chose to sin, and we know that God doesn’t even TEMPT people. Much less force people to sin.  There is no darkness in God.

Lukas 24:7Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

The Apostle Paul ”determined to sail by Ephesus” (Acts 20:16). Does that mean that the sailors on the vessel that he determined to sail on were acting under Paul’s compulsion or control? No. Paul determined to sail on a certain vessel to a certain location, but that does not mean that the vessel he determined to sail on was under his causation. When Paul sailed to Ephesus, he could say that what occurred was what was ”determined before to be done” instead of something which occurred by surprise or accident. But the occurrence of what was determined before to be done did not exclude the freedom of those who participated in its occurrence. In the same way, God determined the crucifixion of Christ, but that does not mean that those who participated in His crucifixion and contributed to it were not free in what they did. What they did to Christ was not a surprise to God. What they did was what God had ”determined before to be done”. In order to accomplish His purpose of slaying the Lord, God delivered Christ into the hands of those who already wanted to kill him by their free choice.

There certainly was no shortage of people who wanted to kill Jesus because of the way that He preached. Jesus said that ”the world” ”hateth” him, ”because I testify of it, that the works thereof are EVIL” (Jn. 7:7). But the enemies of Christ were unable to kill him as long as the Father was protecting him (Matt. 4:6; Lk. 4:11; Jn. 7:30; 10:31; 10:39). The Bible says ”Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (Jn. 7:30).

God determined to deliver Jesus unto wicked men and God foreknew what they would do to Jesus if He did. This is because the Father knew the hostility and hatred that was already freely in their hearts. God was able to incorporate their voluntary wickedness into His plans and even turn it around and use it for good. This, it seems, God also did with Joseph’s brothers (Gen. 50:20). But this does not mean that God caused their wickedness. It is one thing to say that God ”worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11), and it is quite another thing to say, ”God CAUSES all things after the counsel of his own will”. God can work with the free will choices of men to accomplish His purposes without causing all the choices of men.

Pilate said, ”I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee” (Jn. 19:10). Pilate certainly was conscious of possessing free will. He was aware of the fact that what he was doing, he was doing by his own free volition. Responsibility or accountability presupposes free will. Men will be judged according to the free choices of their wills. Since these men were responsible for taking Jesus and for killing him, though God had determined that Jesus should be delivered unto them and slain, they still took Him and killed him by their own free choice. The Bible goes on to say

”Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:36-37)

Apparently, Peter’s audience had not taken his previous words about the determinate counsel of God to mean that they had no free will in the matter or that they were only acting under the control of God. Otherwise, they could not have been pricked in their hearts for their action or have seen any reason why they needed to be saved for acting in such a way. But they were pricked in their hearts and sought for a way of salvation because they internally knew that what they had done was caused freely by their own wills and, therefore, they were rightly responsible and accountable for it.