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(c) Copyright 1971-2016 by Walter R. Dolen


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NM 9: Free Will versus Predestination



God Predestinates All Things

Free Will

Free Will v. Happiness

Self-righteousness and Free Will

Job Seemed Upright

God Answers Job

Way to Wisdom and Knowledge

God Does All



NM9 Abstract

If there is predestination, how can there be free will? Or, if there is free will, how can there be predestination? We learned about predestination in NM8. There is ample scripture that tells us that God in some way is all powerful and is our creator. Knowing this, in this paper we will learn that true free will is impossible when you have a creator who made us and is making us into what he wishes us to be. We will also study the book of Job in order to better understand this subject.



Many Predestination Scriptures: Most Still Believe in Free Will

nm205 >> Many refuse to believe in predestination even though the scripture clearly teaches that the God has predestinated everything to be as it was, as it is, and as it will be. They believe in "free will." In this paper we will contrast the "free will" scriptures and arguments against the predestination scriptures.

nm206 >> In the paper, "Predestination: Called and Chosen" [NM 8], we saw many of the predestination scriptures. Some are chosen to mercy; some are chosen even to wrath. Christians were chosen and predestinated for good while others were chosen for wrath and evil. There is a reason for this.



God Predestinates All Things

nm207 >> God in someway has predestinated, chosen, elected, ordained, set apart beforehand, or set in motion before the cosmos, before good, before evil, before law, and thus before sin:

God Predestinates: Summary

nm208 >> God can and does predestinate all things because He is all knowing (1John 3:20; Psa 147:5), because he is all powerful (Gen 17:1; Rev 1:8; 4:8; 15:3), and because he creates all (Eccl 11:5; 2Chron 20:6; Eccl 11:5). God has even in some sense created evil (Isa 45:7; see God Papers). But God has promised that before the end he will make all that is crooked or dark - straight or light (Isa 42:16; 1Cor 15:24-28; see "All Saved Paper" [NM 13]). God will make the lamb live with the wolf (Isa 11:6, spiritual meaning, see God Papers). The answer to the paradox of the God creating evil, yet being Good, is explained in the God Papers. There is an answer to this.

Free Will

nm209 >> But what about "free will"? Much of the "free will" doctrine comes from the Greeks and other ancients. In the truest sense of the word, no one is free, except God. It is God's will that will be done over and above all others' will (Isa 46:10-11; Acts 15:18). Since from the beginning God has through his power created all things with the laws concerning these things (Eccl 11:5; James 4:12; Isa 33:22), then all are limited by these laws. We have physical limitations. We can only run so fast, climb so high, or live so long. We have mental limitations. We can only think or concentrate on one thing at a time, while God can think on a million, a billion, a trillion ... things at one time. His mind is not limited like ours. There is some freedom within these laws. God could have limited our minds and ability so as to make it impossible for us to sin. But God gave us the apparent "freedom" to choose to sin (Gen 2:16-17; Deut 30:19-20). But if we choose sin, then there are evil results for this sin (Gen 2:17; Deut 28:15ff). And if we "choose" not to sin then there will be certain "rewards" (Deut 28:1-2ff). God judges solely by our ways or behavior (Ezek 18:20, 25, 30). If mankind kills those of mankind, then some of mankind will be killed (Rev 13:10; Gen 9:6).

Do we have Free Will?

No Power or Knowledge to Choose Good

nm210 >> But do we have free-will? Did Israel have free-will? Do we have the power to choose not to sin? Did Israel have the power or freedom to choose not to sin?:

Israel, in fact, did not have the mind to understand. Mankind cannot please God (Rom 8:7-8). They cannot understand or please God because they do not have the power of the Spirit to see, and thus do not truly have the freedom to choose. Israel and mankind are blind. They have been limited. They cannot see the truth.

nm211 >> Does mankind in this old age have the freewill to do good?

Good Spirit Has the Power to Choose Good

nm212 >> It is only when mankind gets the New Mind (the Spirit) that he understands and is able to choose the good:

Those with the circumcised heart, the true circumcision of Christ, that is, the Spirit, can see and choose the good things of the Spirit of God.

Reasons For No Real Freedom to Choose Good

nm213 >> There are some reasons for mankind and angelkind not having the power or freedom to choose good over evil:

nm214 >>

nm215 >>

nm216 >>

Freewill v. Happiness

nm217 >> But if God at first gave mankind and angelkind (specifically Satan) his goodness, then how would we come to appreciate the goodness, how would we understand good, if we had never lived in an evil place? If God had given us goodness and the environment of paradise (peace and harmony) at first with immortal life, we would never have been happy. In order to be happy, in order to know good, in order to know peace, in order to know harmony, in order to know pleasure, in order to know life, we MUST first know unhappiness, evil, war, disharmony, pain and death. The very basic Law of Knowledge tells us that (see "Reason Why" paper [NM 20] and the God Papers [GP 7]). God has no pleasure in our present evil (Heb 10:8), He, of course, did not want or desire the evil period (sacrifice), but he knew that we first must suffer in order to know the Good and to be able to enjoy paradise. God by creating evil (Isa 45:7), in a sense through Satan, was creating good, because according to the Law of Knowledge:

"Particularly, in the case of opposite qualities (good and evil) you must know both qualities to know either: you must compare each with the other to know either." (NM19)

Evil a Mistake?

nm218 >> Since God is all powerful, He is in the last analysis responsible for evil. God did not make a mistake when he allowed evil through Satan. God created all and He knew what would happen when he created the universe and all that was in it. God at some time did create the angel Satan, although at first Satan did not appear as the evil Satan until God stated a law (see "Other Mind Paper" [NM 21]). Satan has not gone beyond what he was allowed to do (note Job 1:12; 2:6; see below). Satan's evil came about because he lacked the knowledge of good and evil and because he did not have the good Spirit. See and read all of the God Papers carefully to understand the paradox of God's goodness and his creating of evil through Satan. In this age for certain we can say that Satan is the power behind evil, and that God is the power behind good, but in a sense it is the God who has created evil (Isa 45:7), by predestinating evil before creation, before law (as we know it), and before sin (as we know it).

Self-righteousness and Freewill

nm219 >> Those who do not believe in the Biblical doctrine of Predestination are in reality saying that their "good" behavior is because they are somehow doing this "good" through their own striving and thus are "qualifying" for or "earning" a reward - the kingdom of God (heaven, paradise, eternity, etc.). They are being good, thus will reap their just reward. They say or imply that their witnessing, or tithing, or going to church, or giving to the poor, or eating the right foods, or believing in the right doctrines are their means to their reward - God's Kingdom or paradise. They think (at least subconsciously) that they deserve God's good reward because of their apparent good behavior. They are being righteous through their own efforts: they are self-righteous. Let's study Job and his self-righteousness to understand why self-righteousness is wrong and to understand its connection to the freewill doctrine.

Job

Job Seemed Upright

nm220 >> Job was a rich man from the land of Uz. "And this man was perfect and upright, and fearing God, and turning away from evil" (Job 1:1).

Satan against Job

nm221 >> But Satan went against Job to test him with trials to see if he would still love God (1:6-12). After a great loss to his sheep, camels, servants, and sons and daughters (1:13-19), "Job rose up and tore his robe, and shaved his head. And he fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, I came naked out of my mother's womb, and naked I shall return. Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away. Blessed be the name of Jehovah. In all this Job did not sin, nor charge wrong to God" (1:20-21).

nm222 >> To continue from the book of Job:

nm223 >> Then three of Job's friends came to him after hearing about his troubles: "They sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was" (Job 2:11-13).

nm224 >> But after this Job "cursed the day of his birth" (Job 3:1). "why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? ... I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil" (Job 3:11, 26; see 3:1-26).

Charge: Job Suffered Because He Sinned

nm225 >> In chapter 4 to 36 Job's friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar gave discourses that suggested that Job's suffering was only because Job had sinned against God:

Job answered these charges: 'I am blameless'

nm226 >>

Charge: Job Is Saying God Is Unjust

nm227 >> Elihu, who had listened to the exchanges between Job and his three friends, answered correctly Job's cries:

God Answers Job

nm228 >> After this Jehovah answered Job "out of a whirlwind" stating some of his great power (see Job 38:1-40:7; and see Job 40:9-42:1) and then adding:

Job Repents

nm229 >> Job's reply to God:

Job's Self-Righteousness

nm230 >> Job was declared righteous before his hard testing by Satan (1:1). Sometime after Job's friends mourned with him, and after Satan tested Job the second time, Job did not recognize God's all mightiness - that it is God who, in the truest sense, gives and takes away (Although, immediately after the second testing by Satan, Job did verbally recognize this. - Job 2:10). According to the text, Job did not do any wrong until sometime after Satan tested him for the second time. And because Job had done no wrong before Satan's testing, Job thought that he was being punished unjustly and was challenging God to prove or show his sin. Job incorrectly thought like his friends, that only those who did wrong suffered in this present life ("Only those who do wrong do not have expensive cars, houses, goods. Those who are righteous have physical rewards in this life."). But suffering comes in this life to the righteous as well as the unrighteous (see below). Therefore Job in declaring his own righteousness was projecting his own self-righteousness, and thus denying God's all mightiness. Everything that man is comes from God. And everything that man gains or suffers comes from God:

Job a Prostitute?

nm231 >> Furthermore, besides Job's self-righteousness, he acted like a prostitute:

nm232 >> If you are righteous, if you are of the good, you do not behave honorably for rewards - for profit or gain - you behave honorably because you are righteous, because you are of the good and hate all evil. If you hate evil you do not want any part of it even if you are apparently not physically rewarded for good. (Christ is an example: He never sinned, but died because of His good behavior, without any apparent reward before His death.) In the truest sense of the word, Job was not righteous, when he acted apparently righteously before his testing by Satan, because afterward he showed his real color - his prostitute mind: "Where is my reward for being good" (cf. Job 34:9; Job 35:3). Satan's testing merely brought out the evil in Job.

nm233 >> But Job finally saw God and understood that God does all things (Job 42:2-6). There is a reason for evil and suffering even though it might not be understood by most men in this age (Job 36:26). God does all things (Job 12:10-25; 42:2). God is just (Job 34:10; 37:23). If God allows evil it is for a just and noble purpose (Job 4:8-9; 11:7; 37:23; Rom 8:28; see "Reason Why" paper [NM 20] and the God Papers). Satan does not interfere with God's purpose, for Satan can only do what God allows (Job 42:2; 1:12; 2:6; Isa 46:9-11; 55:11; Psa 115:3).

Way to Wisdom and Knowledge

nm234 >> Although the book of Job does not reveal the purpose of God allowing evil and suffering it says something that implies the answer:

nm235 >> Notice there is wisdom in the fear of the Lord (Job 28:28) or the fear of the Lord (Prov 1:7) and to shun evil is understanding (see Prov 1:7). When you fear the Lord, who does all things, even in someway creating and predestinating evil, then there is wisdom. And when you shun evil or hate evil there is understanding. But you must know evil to shun it or hate it. The only way you can know evil is to learn about it. The only way to learn about evil is to live in a time of evil. Thus, God saw the great worth of wisdom (wisdom is the fear of the Lord & to shun or hate evil - Prov 8:13), thus He created evil (Isa 45:7) by predestination before creation and sin through Satan (Job 1:7-12; 2:2-7) so that mankind could learn to hate evil and thus obtain wisdom and understanding. Therefore, God allowed man to take from the tree of knowledge of good and evil for a higher purpose (see "Reason Why" paper [NM 20] and the God Papers [GP 7]).

nm236 >> False common thinking. Job and his friend projected the common thinking that only the evil ones are supposed to suffer, and that if you do good you will be rewarded in this life or age. Their thinking says that there is profit for being good in this age.

nm237 >> Both the good and the evil suffer. But scripture clearly shows those with good behavior also suffer (note Christ's human life; see Hebrews chapter 11; Rom 8:17; 1Pet 3:14, 17; 4:1; etc.). Of course, the evil ones are also suffering for their sins and the spiritual evil ones will suffer in the 1000 years (Job 15:20; 31:3; note "Thousand Years and Beyond Paper" [NM 15]). Those who do good suffer because they live in an evil environment. The world is under the influence of the evil mind - the other-mind. Therefore and thereby, the whole creation is now suffering (Rom 8:22).

nm238 >> But the common mistaken thinking of Job and his friends, is the kind of thinking that ignores the many predestination scriptures and ignores the many scriptures that clearly indicate that the God does all and gives all. We have looked at some of the predestination scriptures, now let us look at the scriptures that indicate that the God does all.

God Does All

nm239 >>

  • grace (Rom 11:5-6; 15:15)
  • salvation (Tit 3:5-7)

nm240 >> In summary, anything that you are (whether you are good or evil) is from outside of you:

  • "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1Cor 4:7)

nm241 >> We receive all from God, even our good works are from God's predestination - he gave us our ability to do good (the Spirit), he gave us the physical body in order to do this good, he gave us a place (the earth) to do good, he gave us the physical energy to do good, and he gave us a time of evil so that there could be good, for without evil there could never have been good because evil and good are comparative qualities (see "Reason Why" paper [NM 20] and the God Papers [GP 7]). What, then, is there to boast about?

nm242 >> See the "Proof Paper" [NM 10] to understand why Christians run the race, why they continue to try to do good even though they were predestinated. When you are predestinated to evil, you do not know it. When you are predestinated to good, your good works are your proof, but God gives you the power. When you are predestinated for good, you do good essentially because you hate evil and love the good, and because you have no desire for evil, not for some kind of reward you may receive for good behavior.

See also "Reward for Christians Paper" [NM 11] and "According to Works Paper" [NM 12].

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(c) Copyright 1971-2016 by Walter R. Dolen


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