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[Taken from the New Mind Papers  by Walter R. Dolen
 Copyright 1977-2003 by Walter R. Dolen and/or BeComingOne Church]

NM9: Freewill 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.

 Audio Intro

Many Predestination Scriptures: Most Still Believe in Free Will

nm206 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.

nm207 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

nm208 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
  • "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." [Acts 15:18]
  • "God makes all things." [Eccl 11:5]

nm209 God can and does predestinate all things because He is all knowing (Pss 147:5; 1John 3:20), because he is all powerful (Gen 17:1; Rev 1:8, 4:8, 15:3), and because he creates all (2Chr 20:6; Qoh 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

nm210 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; Isa 33:22; Jas 4:12), 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 (Gen 9:6; Rev 13:10).

Do we have Free Will?

No Power or Knowledge to Choose Good

nm211 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?:

  • "Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: 'Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With you own eyes you saw those great trials, those miraculous signs and great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear."' (Deut 29:2-4, NIV)

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.

nm212 Does mankind in this old age have the freewill to do good?

  • "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom 8:7-8, NKJV).

Good Spirit Has the Power to Choose Good

nm213 It is only when mankind gets the New Mind (the Spirit) that he understands and is able to choose the good:

  • "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants ... that you may live" (Deut 30:6, NKJV).
  • "In him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ" (Col 2:11).
  • "For we are the circumcision, who worship God in Spirit . . ." (Phil 3:3).
  • "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1Cor 2:13-14).

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

nm214 There are some reasons for mankind and angelkind not having the power or freedom to choose good over evil:

nm215

  • Lack of Spirit. Adam and Eve did not have the New Mind and therefore did not have the ability of obeying God (see "Old Mind Paper" [NM 21]). It is through the Spirit of God (the New Mind) that mankind is given the gifts of goodness (Gal 5:22-23). It is through the first sinner, Satan & his lie (Gen 3:4; John 8:44), that sin entered the world through the willingness of man (Gen 3:4-12; Rom 5:12).

nm216

  • Lack of Knowledge. Mankind and angelkind at the beginning did not have the knowledge of good and evil. It was only after mankind ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil that mankind and angelkind began to know about evil, and thus were, also in a manner, learning about good (see "Old Mind Paper" [NM 20], "Reason Why" paper [NM 20], and the God Papers [GP 7]). So in part and in one sense, the ignorance of both Satan and mankind led to the first sin.

nm217

  • God Created With Limitations. But it was God's power that made all, with its limitations and abilities. And all that we are, or all that we have, comes from outside of us: "For what makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?" (1Cor 4:7) The lack of positive goodness on Satan and mankind's part was because God did not give Satan or mankind his own Good Spirit.

Freewill v. Happiness

nm218 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." (NM20)

Evil a Mistake?

nm219 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 "Old 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

nm220 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

nm221 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

nm222 But Satan went against Job to test him with trials to see if he would still love God (Job 1:6-12). After a great loss to his sheep, camels, servants, and sons and daughters (Job 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" (Job 1:20-21).

nm223 To continue from the book of Job:

  • Again a day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah. And Satan also came among them to present himself before Jehovah. And Jehovah said to Satan, From where have you come? And Satan answered Jehovah and said, "From going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it." And Jehovah said to Satan, "have you set your heart on My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, fearing God, and turning away from evil? And he is still holding to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him for nothing." And Satan answered Jehovah and said, "Skin for skin. Yea, all that a man has he will give for his life. Put out Your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face." And Jehovah said to Satan, "Behold, He is in your hand; but save his life." And Satan went out from the presence of Jehovah. And he struck Job with bad burning ulcers from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. And he [Job] took a broken piece of pottery with which to scrape himself. And he sat down among the ashes. And his wife said to him, "Are you still holding fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Indeed shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:1-10).

nm224 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).

nm225 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 Job 3).

Charge: Job Suffered Because He Sinned

nm226 In chapter 's friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar gave discourses that suggested that Job's suffering was only because Job had sinned against God:

  • Consider now: who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it (Job 4:7-8).
  • Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty (Job 5:17).
  • When your [Job's] children sinned against him [God], he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. [Job's children were destroyed by a natural disaster (Job 1:5,18)]
  • If you are pure and upright, even now he [God] will rouse himself on your behalf (Job 8:4,6).
  • You [Job] say to God, My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight ... If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent ... [then] you will surely forget your trouble ... Life will be brighter than noonday (Job 11:4,14,16-17).
  • All his days the wicked man suffers torment (Job 15:20).
  • The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out (Job 18:5).
  • A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters on the day of God's wrath. Such is the fate God allots the wicked (Job 20:28-29).
  • Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you? Is not your [Job] wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? (Job 22:4-5)
  • Submit to God and be at peace with him in this way prosperity will come to you (Job 22:21).
  • Evil, a Mistake? How then can a man be righteous before God? (Job 25:4)

Job answered these charges: 'I am blameless'

nm227

  • Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong (Job 6:24).
  • If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O Watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? (Job 7:20)
  • How then can I dispute with him [God]? ... though I were innocent, I could not answer him (Job 9:14-15).
  • Although I am blameless ... (Job 9:21)
  • I loathe my very life ... I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me. Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked? (Job 10:1-3)
  • Though you know that I am not guilty . . . (Job 10:7)..
  • If I sinned ... If I am guilty - woe to me (Job 10:14-15).
  • Now that I have prepared my case, I know I will be vindicated. Can anyone bring charges against me? If so, I will be silent and die (Job 13:18-19).
  • How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin (Job 13:23).
  • My face is red with weeping, deep shadows ring my eyes; yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure (Job 16:16-17).
  • Though I cry, 'I've been wronged!' I get no response (Job 19:7).
  • I have kept to his way without turning aside (Job 23:11).
  • As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul (Job 27:1). [Here Job accuses God of denying him justice.]
  • I will never admit you [his friends] are in the right; til I die, I will no way deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness ... (Job 27:5-6).
  • ...He will know that I am blameless (Job 31:6).
  • Job runs through his list of his righteousness (see Job 31).
  • But the text says, "So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes" (Job 32:1).

Charge: Job Is Saying God Is Unjust

nm228 Elihu, who had listened to the exchanges between Job and his three friends, answered correctly Job's cries:

  • Job says, "I am innocent, but God denies me justice. Although I am right, I am considered a liar; although I am guiltless, his arrow inflects an incurable wound" (Job 34:5-6).
  • For he says, "It profits a man nothing when he tries to please God" (Job 34:9).
  • Therefore, O man of heart, listen to me; far be it from God to commit iniquity; and the Almighty, to do wrong. For He repays man's work to him; and according to a man's way. Surely God will not do wickedly, nor will the Almighty pervert justice (Job 34:10-12).
  • He punishes them for their wickedness ... . They cause the cry of the poor to come before him ... But if he [God] remains silent, who can condemn him (Job 34:26,28-29).
  • Job speaks without knowledge, his words lack insight, Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man. To his sins he adds rebellion (Job 34:35-37).
  • Yet you ask him. "What profit it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?" (Job 35:3)
  • He [God] does not answer when men cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked (Job 35:12).
  • So Job opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he [Job] multiplies words (Job 36:16).
  • God is mighty, but does not despise men; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose (Job 36:5).
  • The godless in heart harbors resentment (Job 36:13).
  • How great is God - beyond our understanding (Job 36:26).
  • In his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress (Job 37:23).

God Answers Job

nm229 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:

  • Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? (Job 40:8)

Job Repents

nm230 Job's reply to God:

  • I know that you [God] can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, "Who is this [Job] that obscures my counsel without knowledge?" Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know (Job 42:2-3).
  • My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6).
Job's Self-Righteousness

nm231 Job was declared righteous before his hard testing by Satan (Job 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:

  • "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips" (Job 2:10).
  •  
Job a Prostitute?

nm232 Furthermore, besides Job's self-righteousness, he acted like a prostitute:

  • What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning? (Job 34:9, 35:3)

nm233 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 35:3). Satan's testing merely brought out the evil in Job.

nm234 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; Pss 115:3; Isa 46:9-11, 55:11).

Way to Wisdom and Knowledge

nm235 Although the book of Job does not reveal the purpose of God allowing evil and suffering it says something that implies the answer:

  • There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined .... But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth .... It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighted in silver .... Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? .... God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells .... He [God] looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. And he said to man, the fear of the Lord - that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding (Job 28:1,12-13,15,20,23,27-28, see Hebrew for verse 28 "Lord" = Adonay # 136, which is in a plural form)..

nm236 Notice there is wisdom in the FEAR of the Lord [Lord] 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]).

nm237 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.

nm238 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 ; 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).

nm239 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

nm240

nm241 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)

nm242 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?

nm243 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].


What does the bible mean by "faith"?  Once you are saved can you loose your salvation? Is there any proof that you are a Christian? Click "next" to continue.

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Index 
NM1  New Mind & Christianity
NM2  Church of God
NM3 Repentance
NM4  Baptism
NM5  Begotton, Born
NM6  Body, Soul, & Spirit
NM7  Age Paper
NM8  Predestination
NM9  Free Will v. Predestination
NM10  Proof Paper
NM11  "Reward" for Christians
NM12  According to Works
NM13 All Saved?
NM14  Does all mean all?
NM15  1000 Years
NM16  Times & Seasons
NM17  Freedom & Law
NM18  Other Papers
NM19  Plan of Creation
NM20  Reason Why
NM21  Old Mind
NM22  Spirit of man given by God
NM23  Judging
NM24  Last Judgment
NM25  Kingdom of God

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