Is free choice really free or does predestination or God’s foreknowledge force us to certain actions
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|If God exists, why is there evil in the world? What is evil? Where did evil come from? Why doesn’t God intervene and stop all evil? How can physical evils such as earthquakes, tornadoes and cancer be explained? Is there a good reason for the existence of hell on which even some atheists would agree? What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 8, Cat. No. EVL
Keywords: Free Choice, Predestination, Free will, 1 Peter 1:2, Romans 8:29
- Ankerberg: Let me throw in, people are really free, they get to make these big choices, okay? Sideline: predestination, foreknowledge, and free choice. Is it really free? People want to know. Define those for us.
- Geisler: Well, predestination means that God simply determines the end from the beginning, as Isaiah said. [Isa. 46:10] He knows in advance exactly how things are going to go. He knows exactly who is going to be in Heaven; exactly who’s going to be in Hell and everything in between.
- Free will means that they had the ability to do otherwise. They made a free choice. They could have done otherwise. They weren’t forced to do it. It was an uncoerced act. Can they be reconciled? Yes, because God knew for sure. That means it’s determined, because if He knows something for sure, it has to happen. If it didn’t happen, He would have been wrong and then He wouldn’t have been all knowing. But if He is all knowing and He knows it’s going to happen, it has to happen. So it’s determined. But He knew for sure that they were freely going to do it. So, it was determined from the standpoint of His foreknowledge; free from the standpoint of their choice.
- For example, my wife tapes my favorite football team when I’m on the road. On Sunday I come home and the game is all taped. Now, everything in that game is determined. The score is determined. Every time I play the video it comes out the same – score is the same; every play is the same. See, everything is determined. But, every play was freely chosen. They chose to be on that team. They chose that play. They chose to go around, over, tackle. So it’s determined, but it’s free.
- You say, “Well, that’s looking backwards.” But God can look forward with the same ability we look backward. So, He can see free choices in the future. They are determined from the standpoint of His knowledge, free from the standpoint of our choice. 1 Peter 1:2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God.” Romans 8:29: “Whom he foreknew, he did predestine.”
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Use Judas. You use Judas as an illustration.
- Geisler: Good illustration. God knew that Judas was going to betray Christ. So, if you take the logic this way: God knew Judas would betray Christ. True. If God knew Judas was going to betray Christ, then Judas must betray Christ. True. Otherwise, God would have been wrong. Therefore, Judas wasn’t free. False. Because He knew that Judas would freely betray Christ. Even the Westminster Confession – Calvinistic confession – says that there are secondary causes, and that all things do not follow from necessary order of causes, some are free. So, if God knew for sure that Judas would freely betray Christ, Judas was responsible for his free choice; God is responsible for His foreknowledge.