Predestination or Foreordination?
NCW 33, April 1996 (Part II)
Q. Paul talks about predestination in his letters to the Romans and Ephesians (Rom.8:29-30; Eph.1:5,11). What is predestination?
Predestination may be defined traditionally in two different ways: "(1) It is the theory or doctrine that God has decreed from eternity that part of mankind shall have eternal bliss and part eternal punishment; or (2) Destiny -- the doctrine that God has decreed everything that comes to pass" (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English, 1974, p.655).
To put it another way, predestination (to either salvation or damnation) is the doctrine that a man's fate is determined by God through no acts of their own. This doctrine New Covenant Christians utterly reject because it denies human free agency.
It would be more accurate to say that God, being omniscient (all-knowing), is able to foretell who will be saved and who will not on the basis of the choices men make as free agents. This knowledge He never reveals save in a general sense so as not to deny this agency. Therefore it is proper for Paul to say that "He chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will" (Eph.1:4-5, NIV).
Or to put it even more clearly: "For those God foreknew are also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son...And those he predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified" (Rom.8:29-30, NIV).
We believe, in common with our acceptance of the doctrine of pre-existence that we received special callings before we were incarnated into this mortal sphere, as the prophet Jeremiah did (Jer.1:5). We also believe that we entered into special covenants or agreements with God to do certain things whilst on earth and this explains why we are sometimes so strongly led in certain directions in our mortal probation. This doctrine we call foreordination.
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