Answered by a Bible Believer
Question 2 -
Problems with Predestination
Predestination, the doctrine that God has from all eternity decreed the salvation and damnation of each soul and that humankind is only acting out a predetermined scenario written by God is taught throughout the Bible.
The doctrine that “God has from all eternity decreed the salvation and damnation of each soul that humankind is only acting out a predetermined scenario written by God” is called Calvinism not “predestination,” and it is taught nowhere in the Bible! The Bible does teach “predestination”, but only the predestining of a soul to be in heaven AFTER that soul has CHOSEN to believe the Gospel. When the Bible uses the words “predestinate” or “predestinated” it is never referring to God’s fixing of people’s salvation/damnation before their birth, nor does it ever refer to humankind acting out a predetermined scenario written by God.
The very concept of a God who foreordains man to sin, destines him to Hell before he is born, determines ALL his actions, denies him access to salvation and then punishes him by burning him forever in the Lake of Fire is repugnant to anyone with even the slightest sense of justice and fairness, including many devout Christians. It also means man has no free will and as a consequence no moral responsibility. Predestination means that God created the majority of his creation simply to torture them forever. This issue highlights THE most serious contradiction in biblical theology-free will versus determinism. How do you harmonize God's sovereignty and man's free will? In an effort to solve this problem some Christians say that predestination simply means that God knows ahead of time who will trust him. But this is not what the Bible teaches. God does NOT just know ahead of time. He determines it. He fixes it. It is his idea. God decides who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell; individual human beings have no choice in the matter. How can man be justifiably held accountable when EVERYTHING, including his eternal destiny is completely out of his control?
Brian is still discussing a doctrine that’s nowhere to be found in the Bible (Calvinism). The fact is that the whole of Scripture presents man as having complete free will, moral responsibility, and choice of action. It also, most importantly, presents man as having the complete power to decide whether to believe on Jesus (and obtain salvation) or not believe (and be damned). This should be crystal clear to anyone who’s read any substantial part of its 66 books for themselves. There are countless numbers of verses found throughout the Bible that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wants all to be saved, that Jesus purchased redemption for the whole world and that man has the absolute freedom to choose to believe or not to believe (see the list). Brian himself presents a long list of Bible verses and passages below in an attempt to prove the exact opposite, namely that Calvinism IS Biblical (and thus that the God of the Bible is unjust). As we shall see, (unless by illusory misapplication and misinterpretation) none of the verses he lists prove anything of the sort.
The following verses show that God makes the decisions about people's destiny without the consent, cooperation or resistance of those involved; those who are predestined play no active part in God's decree:
Remember that. These verses are supposed to show that 1. God makes the decisions about people’s destiny without the consent, cooperation or resistance of those involved; and that 2. We “play no active part”. Our responses are in this colour.
1 - Ephesians1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of him who worketh ALL THINGS after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL". God works everything after his own will!
Bible-Believer: Just because a verse uses the word “predestinated”, Brian has a panic attack. If one honestly examines the verse they’ll see that all it teaches is that “we” (Christians) are NOW predestined to obtain a heavenly “inheritance” not that we were predestined randomly before we were born. We have been predestined to heaven only since and because we believed the Gospel just like the rest of the New Testament says. Paul explains WHEN (at what point) we are predestinated to go to heaven and the reason WHY we are predestined to go there in the next sentence. He says “AFTER that ye BELIEVED, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph 1:13), not before we are born and at random.
This verse is a million miles away from
discussing any kind of determination of people’s salvation without their
involvement. And, of course God works everything after his own
will, this just means He does (works) whatever He wants to (after His own will).
God’s will is to predestine those that are “willing” to believe the Gospel (John
6:40) to heaven after they’ve believed.
2 - Ephesians 2:10 "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath BEFORE ORDAINED that we should walk in them". To ordain is to prearrange unalterably, not merely command.
Even if to “ordain” does mean to
“prearrange unalterably,” (see no.46) the thing that is being ordained in this
verse is not human salvation but “good works”. God set aside (chose) a list of
good works that He wanted followers of Christ to walk in before there ever was a
Christian, that’s what the verse says. It doesn’t say God unalterably
prearranges a Christian’s salvation. Neither does it say that He programmes
Christians like robots into living a life of good works, otherwise Paul wouldn’t
have needed to ENCOURAGE and COMMAND the Ephesians to carry out these good works
in the very same book! (Eph 4:28-32 etc.).
Daniel 11:36 "That which is DETERMINED shall be done". God determined
it + it will be done=predestination.
Bible-Believer: See the WHOLE verse and the surrounding CONTEXT. This verse is specifically referring to God’s plan for the destruction of the Antichrist (not a plan for every little thing that happens in the universe, or a plan for who gets saved and who gets damned). Obviously God’s will “shall be done” in THIS instance because He won’t allow the devil to run riot forever. But this verse has nothing to do with God’s will for human beings, God does not determine us to do what He wants us to do. His will for us is frustrated BY US all the time (see Hosea 7:1 “When I WOULD have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered,” Isaiah 1:4 etc).
4 - John 17:9 "I pray for them: I pray NOT FOR THE WORLD; (so much for loving the whole world – John 3:16) but for them WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME: for they are thine",
Well, Jesus prayed this prayer just before He died for the whole “WORLD” on
Calvary (see John 6:51,
“the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the
world.” See also
1John 2:2). In this specific instance Jesus happened
to be just praying for His apostles (which God “gave Him” for aid in His
mission) and not everybody in the world. But that obviously doesn’t imply that
the apostles are the only ones that are saved or that will be saved.
5 - Rom.l:6 "Among whom are ye also the CALLED of Jesus Christ".
The “Among whom” is “along-with
‘ALL’ the nations of the world” (see 1:5). Paul is just pointing out that the
Romans are included in Jesus Christ’s calling of ALL NATIONS to believe the
Gospel. He’s clearly not saying that they are the ONLY ones that could believe
and be saved!
6 - Isaiah 65:9 "Mine elect shall inherit it".
The elect in this case are the remnant
of Israel that have “sought” the Lord (see the next verse) not pre-determinedly
chosen ones! God elects them to be the inheritors of His holy mountain because
of THEIR preceding faithfulness (their own involvement), which will be in
contrast to those that forsook the Lord in Isaiah’s day (see verse 11).
7 - 1 Thess.5:9 "For God hath not APPOINTED US TO WRATH, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ". Others however are appointed to wrath…
Bible-Believer: The “us” in this verse are born-again Christians who have already trusted Christ. Obviously God has appointed US to go to heaven (salvation – Luke 21:18) instead of Hell BECAUSE we believed the Gospel. Where does the verse say that Christians were appointed without doing anything, in accordance with some pre-determined scenario? IT DOESN’T. Others are appointed to wrath because they are not saved (John 3:36), just like every Christian was appointed to wrath before they were saved. Ever heard of cancelling an appointment (Eph 2:12-13)?
8 - Ezek.20:25-26 "I [God] gave them also statutes that were NOT GOOD, and judgemants whereby they SHOULD NOT live".
The verse is speaking about how God gave
up on the Jews after they rejected HIS statutes and judgments (verse 24) and let
them live according to the rules of their pagan religions without His
intervention (this He describes as “giving them” the pagan statutes and
judgments indirectly – see Rom 1:26, 28 for similar wording). This verse is
definitely not saying that GOD’S actual laws were not good and this is easy to
see by anyone who actually reads the above verse in its context - see Ezek 20:24
and compare 20:26 with Lev 18:21.
9 - 1 Peter 2:8 "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were APPOINTED",
Bible-Believer: This is taken out of context to give a completely different picture of what the Bible is saying. These people weren’t just arbitrarily appointed before time to stumble at the word. God appointed them to stumble at the word only because of their own continual “DISOBEDIENCE” (see the previous verse!).
10 - Prov.16:4 "The LORD hath made ALL things for himself, yea, EVEN THE WICKED FOR THE DAY OF EVIL".
Bible-Believer: God created everything for His own pleasure (Rev 4:11), so even the wicked were created to serve a good purpose. Obviously when God creates a person, He knows beforehand how they will turn out (whether they will choose to be righteous or choose to be wicked). Creating a person that He knows will worship and serve Him is obviously a pleasure for God. But creating a person that He knows will choose to rebel against Him is also a pleasure for God because such a person will provide Him with the opportunity to demonstrate His justice on the day of evil (the day of disaster) when He recompenses the unjust. Note that this verse does not say that God chose who would be wicked and who wouldn’t be before He created them (see the conclusion below for issues regarding foreknowledge); neither does it say that God made wicked people what they are. All this verse is saying is that whatever path people are going to choose, righteousness or wickedness, God will create them and use them for His pleasure however way He can.
11 - 2 Thess.2:11-12 "GOD SHALL SEND them STRONG DELUSION, THAT THEY SHOULD BELIEVE A LIE THAT THEY MIGHT ALL BE DAMNED". If God wants everyone to be saved (2 Peter 2:9) then why is he purposefully deluding them so that he can send them to Hell? That’s determinism (Dan.11:36).
Bible-Believer: Brian cuts off the ending of this passage to help his argument, 1Thess 2:12 doesn’t end with “that they might all be damned”, it ends with “that they might all be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness”. Before they are going to be sent “delusion”, these people will have already rejected the truth because they had pleasure in sin. The previous verses explain clearly (see 2Thess 2:10), that God only deluded them because they (by their own choice) “received not the love of the truth” when He gave them the chance to be saved. He didn’t just delude them arbitrarily, for the fun of it. This doesn’t contradict His will for everybody to be saved.
12 - Rom.11 :7-8 "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for: BUT THE ELECTION OBTAINED IT, AND THE REST WERE BLINDED (according as it is written, GOD HATH GIVEN THEM A SPIRIT OF SLUMBER, EYES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE AND EARS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT HEAR) unto this day". Israel was given salvation through election of God, even though they weren’t even looking for it, and everyone else was blinded specifically so that they could not be saved! Yet the Bible tells us God wants everyone to be saved! This verse also gives lie to Acts 10:34 which states that God doesn’t have favourites; if Israel was chosen and everyone else was blinded then God does have favourites! Is it any wonder Jesus referred to non-Jews as dogs (Matt.15:26)?!?
Bible-Believer: Brian’s interpretation of the above passage is too far out for us to even try and correct. The WHOLE passage (elect and non-elect) is only speaking about Jews/Israelites. Firstly the “election” refers to those Jews who were saved by God’s grace (see 11:5-6). Being saved by God’s grace involves first choosing to believe on Jesus Christ as explained by Paul throughout the book of Romans – see 3:22-28 for example. The word “election” has never implied any kind of random fatalism apart from in Calvinist thought. Election takes place because someone voluntarily believes in Christ (see no.22); nowhere does the Bible say that election is a random thing. Secondly, similarly to the situation in 2Thess 2:10-12, God blinds the people here only AFTER they have by their own choice already rejected all their chances to be saved and have gone completely astray. The “rest” (non elect) are those Jews who chose not to believe in Jesus and assisted in His murder, even after much pleading with them (Matt 23:36-37). Like in no.11 above, Paul is talking about God’s blinding of Christ rejecters AFTER they have persistently chosen to reject Him (compare Rom 11:9-10 with Psalm 69:20-24), not the blinding of random people before they’ve ever done anything.
13 - Rom.8:29-30 "Whom he did FOREKNOW he did also PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of his son...Moreover whom he did PREDESTINATE, them he also CALLED…". The prefix “pre” in predestination means before “before” i.e., before they chose to obey the gospel.
Bible-Believer: The WHOLE of these two verses read, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
This passage is an ‘out of time’
overview of a believer’s salvation history without the mention of the believer’s
actual new birth or his death. Firstly, God foreknows the believer, as He does
everybody else, and knows in advance that the believer will believe the Gospel
(see no.15 and no.22). AFTER the believer believes and chooses to get saved, God
then predestinates (appoints) the believer’s body to “conform to the image” of
Jesus’ perfect body (which happens when the believer dies – 8:21-23, Phil 3:21).
The passage does not say that God predestinates the believer to believe the
Gospel and be saved, it says that God predestinates the believer to inherit a
perfect body in heaven, something he won’t inherit until the end of his life
Though foreknowledge and predestination to the image of Christ are mentioned together, the passage does not say that predestination to the image of Christ takes place because of God’s foreknowledge or that it takes place before the believer is born. The events of this passage (foreknowledge, predestination to conform to Christ, calling, justification, and glorification) are independent of each other and take place at different times. The only event that happens before the believer’s new birth is God’s foreknowledge. Predestination to conform to Christ, just like calling, justification, and glorification takes place after a person chooses to obey the Gospel. After God’s predestination of the believer, He calls him (gives him a vocation) to be a saint (Rom 1:7), God gives a Christian a mission, a purpose (a calling) and so on. God then “justifies” him by his faith, and lastly “glorifies” him in heaven after he dies (see the rest of verse 30). That’s the overview of a person’s salvation.
The prefix “pre” in predestination does indeed mean “before” but it refers to “before” Christians get to their destination (pre-DESTINE), where they will be conformed to Christ’s image. NOT “before they chose to obey the Gospel”. Paul definitely did not believe that salvation came without a person’s involvement and their own decision to believe (Rom 1:14-18, 2:4-5) nor that salvation is only for a random few (see 5:18 where Paul says the free gift of salvation is open to “all men”).
14 - Psalms 37:23 "The steps of a good man are ORDERED BY THE LORD",
So what? For a good man’s life to
be under the guidance of the Lord he had to first CHOOSE to be a good man.
15 - 1 Peter 1:20 "Who verily was FOREORDAINED, BEFORE the foundation of the world",
Bible-Believer: Oh please! This verse is not even talking about men; it’s talking about Jesus Christ, who was chosen to shed His blood before the world began (SEE THE CONTEXT).
16 - Matt.22:14 "Few are CHOSEN".
Bible-Believer: See verses 11-13. Few ARE chosen because FEW fulfil the requirements to attend the marriage supper of the lamb, the requirement of complete faith in Jesus alone (Rom 3:22, Rom 9:31-32). Many are called (God calls ALL nations - Rom 1:5) but few are chosen by God (He only chooses those who have been born again - Matt 7:13-14). This is clearly not a case of God choosing people based on His arbitrary will without them taking any part in the matter. He chooses them on the basis of what they trust/believe (Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned”). Jesus said FEW would choose to take the narrow path (Matt 7:13-14) but He still told the apostles to preach the Gospel to EVERY creature (Matt 28:19, Mark 16:15), showing there’s nothing fixed or determined about the matter.
17 - 2 Tim.l:9 "Who hath saved us, and CALLED US, with an holy calling, not according to our works but according to HIS OWN PURPOSE and grace, which was given us [Christians, not everyone] in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN".
Bible-Believer: This “calling” (which Brian seems to think implies predetermined salvation) clearly takes place AFTER God has “saved us” according to the very same verse. The verse has no Calvinist doctrine whatsoever. God saves a person according to His grace (and not our works) in order to fulfil His purpose/plan, which is to have Himself and mankind reconciled. The purpose and grace that was given Paul and other believers “in Christ Jesus before the world began” was not exclusive to them but also given to the rest of the world. God’s purpose of redemption and the grace involved in it is for “ALL MEN” according to the whole New Testament, see 1Tim 2:4, 1John 4:14 and Rom 5:18 for example. When Paul says that grace was given “us” in Christ Jesus before the world began, he clearly doesn’t mean it wasn’t given to the rest of the world too, just like when he says that Jesus gave his life for “ME” (Gal 2:20) he doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t give His life for everybody else (John 6:51)!
18 - 2 Thess.2:13 "We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because GOD HATH FROM THE BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION",
Bible-Believer: God chose these particular Thessalonians (those referred to as “you” in the verse) to salvation because they, unlike many others in the city, believed the truth (see the WHOLE verse) when it came to Thessalonica. This is in contrast to those who won’t obtain salvation because they won’t believe (verse 12). There is no hint of God arbitrarily choosing without people’s own involvement. “From the beginning” isn’t from the beginning of time; it is from the beginning of God’s calling of the Gentiles (Acts 13:47), Paul’s mission, and his time with the Thessalonians (see 1Thess 2:1-13 and Acts 17:1-4, which deal with Paul’s entrance into Thessalonica and the response of faith by these Thessalonians).
19 - Job 23:14 "For he [God] performeth the thing that is APPOINTED FOR ME; and many such things are with him".
Bible-Believer: God does appoint things for people’s lives but the nature of these appointments are dependent on how people act and behave towards Him. Job’s trial wouldn’t have been “appointed” if JOB hadn’t decided to live righteously and incur God’s testing (see Job ch.1).
20 - Psalm 65:4 "Blessed is the man whom THOU CHOOSEST, and CAUSEST to approach unto you".
The verse is simply speaking about men
that are picked out of the crowd by God because they are the ones that He is
most pleased with. God brings these men into (“causest to approach”) His
presence because of their purity of heart (see a parallel passage in Psalm
24:3-5). There’s not a hint of determinism to be found here!
21 - John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU AND ORDAINED YOU".
Here Jesus is talking to His apostles,
whom HE personally chose to be His disciples at the beginning of His ministry
(Matt 4:19, Matt 9:9, John 1:43 etc.). It wasn’t the apostle’s choice to be
apostles, that’s why Jesus said “I have ordained you”.
22 - 1 Peter 1:2 "ELECT according to the foreknowledge of God the Father",
Exactly, Christians are “elect according
to God’s FOREKNOWLEDGE” (i.e., elect because they freely chose to believe on
Jesus Christ, and God the Father KNEW THEY WOULD before they chose to believe on
Him).” They are NOT “elect according to His arbitrary, determined, fixed,
unalterable decree, without their consent, cooperation or any involvement of
theirs at all.”
23 - Acts 22:14 "The God of our fathers hath CHOSEN THEE".
Now we’ve reached the stage where just
because a verse says “chosen” Brian thinks it means “randomly determinedly and
unalterably determined before the world began”! God especially chose PAUL for
the role of bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles and so chose to make His will
known to him (see the whole verse). What does choosing someone for a task have
anything to do with the issue of predestination or determinism?
24 - John 15:19 "I have CHOSEN you out of the world",
Again Jesus is talking to the apostles,
whom HE personally chose at the beginning of His ministry to come out from the
world, follow Him and be His disciples.
Acts 2:47 "The Lord added to the church daily such as SHOULD be saved"
Bible-Believer: Acts 2:47 is Luke’s brief account of what God was going to do in the Jerusalem church after the events he described in the rest of the chapter. “Such as should be saved” in this instance merely means “such as were to be saved (after the story of Acts ch.2)”, not “such as were predestined to get saved”. All this verse is saying is that God was to add to the church every day those Jews that would (from the point of Acts ch.2 onwards) come to place of repentance and faith in Jesus (“be saved”).
26 - John 6:44 "No man can come to me, except THE FATHER which hath sent me DRAW HIM",
Yes, no man can come to Jesus without
the Father drawing Him. However, nowhere does this verse say or imply that the
Father ARBITRARILY picks a few people here and there to draw to Jesus Christ.
Those people that have responded to the light God has already given them, and
have sought Him and the true way of Salvation (Jer 29:13), will be pointed to
the Son so they can obtain Salvation. Those that don’t care about God or finding
the true way to Salvation will not be drawn. After all, why try to reel in a
fish that hasn’t bitten the hook yet?
27 - Eph.l :4-5 "According as he hath CHOSEN us in him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD ...Having PREDESTINED us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ himself, according to the good pleasure of HIS WILL". Those who are “in him” i.e., Christians, were “chosen” before the world was, according to God’s will not theirs.
Bible-Believer: This looks very Calvinistic indeed, but only because Brian cuts out the beginning of the sentence (it begins in verse 3), and emphasises a connection between “before the foundation of the world” and “having predestinated” that isn’t there, by cutting out “that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” between the two phrases. It is simply impossible to see what Paul is saying by the way the passage is set out by Brian above. The WHOLE sentence reads:
“(v.3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (v.4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (v.5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (v.6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Eph 1:3-6).
Regarding verse 4, Christians WERE
chosen in Jesus before the world was, but only because God had foreknowledge of
their decision to believe in Jesus before the world was (see 1Peter 1:2 and
no.22 above). Because God is in the past, present and future (Psalm 90:2) He is
able to choose people in Christ before the world began based on THEIR own
decision to believe. The verse never expresses the idea of God’s choice
being “without the consent, cooperation or resistance of those involved.”
And of course God chose Christians in accordance with His will. His will is that, “every one which seeth the Son, and (out of THEIR OWN free will) believeth on him, may have everlasting life…” (John 6:40). God’s will is to choose those whom He knows will choose Him!
Verse 5 is where Brian really tries to confuse us, by making it seem that “having predestined us unto the adoption of children” is a follow on from “before the foundation of the world,” thus making it look like the Christian’s predestination to the adoption of children took place before the foundation of the world too (along with God’s choosing of us). Our choosing clearly did take place before the world, however the statement “having predestined us unto the adoption of children,” as we see from looking at the whole passage, is not a follow on from “before the foundation of the world” but a follow on from verse 3 where Paul says, God has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”. The whole of verse 4 is a side note between verse 3 and verse 5. The point Paul is making in Eph 1:3-5 is that God has NOW blessed us Christians with all spiritual blessings in heaven - according as He chose us before the world began to live holily - having NOW (since we believed) predestined us to receive the greatest spiritual blessing when we get to heaven, being adopted by Him. This full adoption of children by Jesus Christ takes place at the end of a Christian’s life (Rom 8:23). It doesn’t refer to salvation.
28 - 1 Cor.l:24 "Unto them which are CALLED",
This calling is indeed the call to
salvation. It is related
to the “drawing” of John 6:44 (see no.26). This isn’t a random calling but a
calling that is entirely dependent on how humble a person is in response to
God’s leading (see verse 26). People like these Christians were called to Jesus
Christ for salvation because their response to the light that God gives every
man (John 1:9) during the course of his life, was good, unlike the wise, mighty
and noble of 1Cor 1:26. The latter (“uncalled”) group reject any light God gives
them and choose to be lofty, wise in their own eyes and willingly ignorant, how
can God call them to salvation????
29 - Heb.9:15 "They which ARE CALLED might receive the promise of eternal inheritance ".
“They which are called” in this instance
is referring to those Hebrews under the “first testament” that followed the
blood sacrificial system faithfully (see the whole of Heb 9:15). For this reason
they were afterward “called” (invited) to be beneficiaries of the blood of
Christ in the New Testament and obtain what they’d been promised, full
redemption of transgressions (Heb 9:15) and an eternal inheritance. No
30 - Prov.16:33 "The lot is cast into the lap; but the WHOLE DISPOSING THEREOF IS OF THE LORD". Not even the throw of the die is left open to chance. God “micro-manages” everything according to his own will (Eph 1:11) not ours!
Brian is jumping to conclusions way too
fast, the verse is speaking specifically about the casting of lots among the
Israelites not every single thing that goes on in the universe. In the Old
Testament, God specifically manipulated the outcome when it came to casting of
lots in order for His people to make right decisions in important situations
(see Josh 18:6-10, 1Sam 14:42-43, Jonah 1:7) that’s all, no micro-management, no
31 - Acts 2:39 "The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord your God SHALL CALL".
The “promise” spoken of in this verse is
that “IF you repent you will receive the Holy Ghost” (verse 38). Peter is merely
saying that this promise is to as many that God will cause to hear it (and thus
“call” to act upon it) whether now or in the generations to come. Those that
“God shall call” in this verse could not possibly refer to people that are
pre-determinedly chosen to salvation, because Peter says the same promise that
will be unto those that “God shall call” in the future is the promise that’s
“unto YOU” now (bear in mind Peter is here speaking to unbelieving Jews of whom
some didn’t get saved).
32 - Jude 4. "Who were before of old ORDAINED to this CONDEMNATION". If ordained means to “order” why would God order people to Hell, when he supposedly wants everyone saved (2 Peter 3:9). God ordains some to eternal life and others to condemnation, predestination.
When Jude says that certain men have
crept in unawares, who were “before of old” ordained to this condemnation, he is
saying that the kinds of men that were creeping in unawares into churches were
the same kinds of men that were chosen (ordained) to be condemned by God
throughout history (before of old). See the next three verses. Throughout
history God has been condemning men like these, in the form of unbelievers in
Egypt, fallen angels and Sodomites (Jude 1:5-7). The point Jude is making is
that, these kinds of men were ordained to be condemned throughout history and so
they would be chosen to be condemned once again in the first century. The actual
men that creep in unawares have, by their own choice, inherited God’s ancient
judgment on people that have behaved in a similar way throughout the Bible. Jude
is not saying that these men were chosen by God to go be condemned before they
did anything or before they were born.
Jude 22-23 puts the nail in the coffin
for such a Calvinistic interpretation, by claiming that Christians can “SAVE”
these same men from “the fire”, thus ruling out the notion that God has
unalterably determined these particular men to go to hell.
33 - John 17:6 "The men which THOU GAVEST ME out of the world". John 17:24 "Whom THOU hast GIVEN me ".
Jesus here is referring to His apostles
whom Jesus chose and God the Father gave to Him at the beginning of His
ministry. Just because God gave something to someone doesn’t imply any kind of
34 - John 17:11-12 "Holy Father, keep through thine own name THOSE WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, those that thou GAVEST me I have kept".
See no.33 above.
35 - John 6:65 "NO man can come unto me, except it were GIVEN UNTO HIM OF MY FATHER".
36 - John 12:40 "He [God] hath BLINDED THEIR EYES, and HARDENED their heart; that they SHOULD NOT SEE with their eyes nor understand with their heart and be converted".
The “[God]” in the above verse is, of
course, Brian’s own insertion. The “he” at the beginning of this verse
doesn’t refer to “God”. The verse ends with the phrase “and I should heal them”,
the “I” is clearly referring to God. By this phrase we know that God is speaking
in the first person in this verse and wouldn’t have used the term “he” if He
(God) was the one doing the blinding, He would’ve said “I have blinded their
eyes…” Secondly John 12:40 is referring to the incident in Isaiah 6:10 (compare
the two texts) where God tells ISAIAH to make Israel’s “ears heavy, and shut
their eyes”. He doesn’t say that He (God) Himself will do it as part of some
kind of deterministic game. It’s true that at that stage God had given some
people so many chances He didn’t care about them refusing to repent anymore. But
the point is that it was Isaiah that made the people CHOOSE TO SHUT THEIR OWN
EYES (Jesus explains this clearly when He speaks of the same prophecy in Matt
13:14-15) by warning them of the disasters to come. Jesus did the same with the
Jews of His day. Isaiah and Jesus didn’t purposely make everybody shut their
eyes but indirectly caused them to do so by preaching to them things they (the
Jews) didn’t want to hear or know about.
37 - 1 Peter 3:9 "Ye are there unto CALLED, that ye should inherit a blessing".
The verse (see the whole thing) is
dealing with the act of rendering good for evil; Christians are given a duty, a
mission (“called”) to carry this out so that they may receive a blessing for it.
Once again it has nothing to do with the free will vs. determinism issue
38 - Rev.17:8 "Whose names were not written in the Book of Life FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD".
See the whole of the verse. The
people that are spoken about in this verse are the prophesied rejects of 2Thess
2:11-12, whom we have already dealt with in no.11 above. These people will have
already rejected their chance to be saved so that when the Antichrist shows up
God will blind them into following him (the Antichrist). For this reason they
will loose all hope of being saved and will be BLOTTED OUT of the book of life
(see no.39 below). The verse is not saying that their names were absent from the
book of life from the beginning of the world. The term “from the foundation of
the world” only refers to the “book of life” itself not its contents (names that
were not written). “From the foundation of the world” is merely part of the
title of the book, this can be seen from the parallel passage in Rev 13:8 where
the book of life is given its full title as “the book of life of the Lamb slain
from the foundation of the world.” Both verses are only saying that these
people’s names AT THE TIME OF THE ANTICHRIST will not be in the book of life.
They tell us the book of life is from the beginning, but they don’t tell us how
long their names haven’t been in it.
39 - Rev.20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire".
If it were the case that those who are
going to end up in the Lake of Fire have been absent from the book of life all
along (this is what Brian is trying to say in no.38 above and no.39 here), it
should also be the case that those that are going to end up in heaven have been
written in the book from the beginning and will be written there forever, that
would be true fatalistic Calvinism. This is not the case however, people that
are written in the book of life can be blotted out (Rev 3:5, Rev 22:19), showing
clearly that it is not an unalterable decree of who gets saved and who doesn’t;
there’s clearly nothing deterministic about it. The book of life is “of the
Lamb” (Rev 3:5), who was slain for the WHOLE WORLD (John 1:29). Therefore
everybody has their name in the book of life until God rejects them (as in Rev
13:8 and 17:8) or until they die without accepting Christ’s offering. People
don’t go to the Lake of Fire because their names were NEVER written in the book
of life, the Bible clearly states that they go there because their names have
been removed (see Rev 22:19). God wrote everyone’s name in the book of life from
the beginning, He created New Jerusalem with a part in it for everybody who ever
lived (Rev 22:19, 21:16), and He created the Lake of Fire only for the devil and
his angels (Matt 25:41). Clearly, nothing was set in stone for any human being’s
40 - 1 Thess.l:4 "Knowing, brethren beloved, your ELECTION of God".
See no.22, there’s no determinism
involved. The fact is God elects people only because of THEIR decision to
believe on Jesus Christ.
41 - Mark 13:20 "But for the elect's sake whom he [God] hath CHOSEN".
See no.22, the elect and the chosen are
those that God elected and chose because of THEIR decision to believe, not
people He elected and chose at random.
42 - Rom.9:18 "Therefore hath he MERCY on whom he will have mercy and whom he will HARDENETH".
Nowhere does this verse say that
the direction of God’s will is independent of our involvement or actions,
like Brian is claiming. His “will” is to grant mercy to believers and those who
deserve mercy (2Tim 1:16, 1Tim 1:13 Gal 6:16), and His “will” is to harden the
hearts of those that have chosen to reject Him over and over again (like
Pharaoh) in order to seal their fate of ending up in hell, a fate they initially
43 - Mark 4:11-12 "Unto YOU it is given to KNOW the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are WITHOUT, all things are done in parables: that seeing they may not see, and not perceive; and hearing they may not hear and understand: lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them ".
GOD was not behind the blinding of
those that were “without” in this incident, they had purposely blinded
themselves from understanding the truth. Jesus was speaking in parables to these
Jews because they did not want to hear the truth anyhow.
In the recording of the same incident in
Matthew ch.13, Jesus makes it plain that these people have shut their own eyes
and blocked their own ears. He said that their “…ears are dull of hearing, and
THEIR EYES THEY HAVE CLOSED; lest at any time they should see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be
converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt 13:15). They were seeing and not
understanding, and hearing and not perceiving BY CHOICE. They didn’t seek the
meaning of the parables, because they didn’t want to be converted and gain
forgiveness of sins. The apostles sought to understand the parables and so were
given the interpretation (Mark 4:10, 13-14).
44 - Prov.20:24 "Man's goings ARE OF THE LORD, how can a man then understand his own way?”
Obviously things that happen in people’s
lives are of the Lord, but the situations God puts in individual people’s lives
are dependant on how the individuals themselves have freely behaved and acted.
Nobody said that God never involves Himself in people’s affairs and lives, but
that’s not determinism or fatalism.
45 - Matt.25:34 "Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come O blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared FOR YOU, from THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD".
God prepared a kingdom from the
foundation of the world for WHOSOEVER (Rom 10:13) would choose to believe.
Nowhere does it say that He randomly determined who would choose to believe and
who would choose to reject Him.
46 - Acts 13:48 "When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE believed".
People are clearly ordained to eternal
life in this verse, but where does it say that they were ordained “without their
consent and cooperation, or without playing any active part?” – Nowhere. Where
does the verse say that they were predestined randomly to eternal life before
they were born? – Nowhere. Obviously, as we have explained in no.26 and no.28
above, men only come to Jesus and
thus Salvation, by being drawn or called by God the Father (John 6:44). People
that respond to the light God gives them in their lives, and have sought for the
truth will be drawn to Jesus Christ and ordained (chosen) by God to believe on
Him to receive eternal life.
Paul explains this issue further in Rom 2:6-8. God’s decision to guide (or not guide) people to eternal life (belief in Jesus Christ) was based on the choices the people themselves had made before they heard the Gospel. Paul says in Rom 2:6-8: “them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality” (like these Gentiles in Acts 13:48) are drawn to Jesus Christ, and “them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” are not drawn to believe or inherit “eternal life”. Salvation is still by God’s grace alone however (Rom 3:20-22). Despite the fact that all those ordained to eternal life believed in this instance, they still could’ve rejected God’s drawing. Biblical ordination isn’t unalterable destiny fixing (as Brian claims). If to ordain meant to “prearrange unalterably” human beings wouldn’t have the power to “ordain” anything, but they obviously do (1Kings 12:33, 2Kings 23:5, 2Chron 11:15, Heb 5:1).
47 - John 17:2 "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast GIVEN HIM".
God the Father gave those Jews that
truly sought Him over to Jesus Christ so that they could receive eternal life
(see John 8:42 etc.). It’s pretty difficult to see any kind of destiny fixing in
48 - Matt.24:31 "He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather HIS ELECT from the four winds".
See no.22. The angels will gather those
people that have FREELY chosen to believe on Jesus Christ (the elect).
49 - Prov.16:9 "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps".
This verse is actually one of the many
proof texts for Biblical free will! It shows clearly that a MAN’S OWN HEART
(rather than “the Lord”) formulates his desires, wants, decisions, plans and his
WILL (“whosoever WILL, let him take the water of life freely” – Rev 22:17). If
deterministic salvation/damnation was true, GOD would have to determine some
men’s desires to get saved and other men’s desires to reject Christ, a concept
thoroughly refuted by this verse. It only takes common sense to know that
sometimes our desires and plans are satisfied in life (that’s when God lets it
be) while other times they are not (that’s when God doesn’t allow it – directs
our lives otherwise). God has the power to disappoint our plans or allow them to
come to pass; you don’t have to be a Calvinist to believe that.
50 - Rom.9:21-23 “Hath not the potter [God] power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory”
The verse is speaking about how God
(the potter) shapes people and their lives (the clay) for His own glory. God
will use those that harden THEIR OWN hearts against Him like Pharaoh (see
9:17-18 and Exodus 8:15,32) for His own glory. Those that have consistently
rejected God and thus have been rejected by Him, He shapes as vessels fitted to
destruction (fixed for hell) by hardening their hearts further. Again a good
example is Pharaoh, who (apart from hardening his own heart against God) had his
heart supernaturally hardened by God so that by means of his (Pharaoh’s)
stubbornness, God would be able to show “the riches of His glory” in miracles
such as the dividing of the Red Sea. The point of the passage (like Pro 16:4) is
that whatever path a person chooses to take, God will use it to show His glory.
The “vessels of mercy” are believers in Christ who have obtained mercy for that
reason, and are therefore prepared for glory (future blessings of redemption of
the body, and heaven – Rom 8:18, 1Thess 2:12, Col 3:4) before they receive it
(“afore prepared”). They are not prepared for glory before they are born.
The Bible clearly teaches that, whether God shapes a person as a vessel unto honour or a vessel unto dishonour is totally dependent on how the person himself responds to God in the first place (free will). As if it wasn’t plain enough in Rom ch.9, in a parallel passage, 2Tim 2:20-21, Paul plainly tells us that WE have the say on what kinds of “vessels” God makes of us. He says “in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. IF A MAN therefore PURGE HIMSELF from these, HE SHALL BE A VESSEL UNTO HONOUR, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and PREPARED unto every good work.”
51 - Isaiah 29:10 “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes”.
God didn’t create these people without
the ability to see the truth. The Lord accordingly intervened when the
Israelites consistently rejected Him and refused to repent, to close their eyes
and take away their wisdom because of THEIR OWN wicked apostasy (see verse
13-14), spoken of throughout the entire book of Isaiah.
52 - Deut.29:4 “The LORD hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day”.
For us to see and understand the
greatness of God and the wonders of His works, He must first give us an
understanding heart and eyes to see. But for Him to give us understanding of Him
we must first seek it, like when David said “Open thou mine eyes, that I may
behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18). God didn’t give the
children of Israel a heart to perceive and eyes to see how marvellous a God He
was because they did not care for it. All they cared for was murmuring and
complaining (Num 14:27).
53 - Isaiah.6:10 “[God said] make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed”.
This verse has been dealt with in no.36
(see also no.43). Isaiah’s preaching made the people shut THEIR OWN eyes and
block THEIR OWN ears.
These and many other verses show that predestination, where God decides the destiny of each soul not the individual, is a vital part of true Christian doctrine. Again and again we see reference to those who were chosen, ordained or elected to salvation before the world began. Again and again we see reference to those who were ordained or appointed to damnation and those who God purposefully blocks his message from so that he can damn them. The message is clear: God determines the outcome.
Unsurprisingly, Brian has failed to present us with any Scriptures that definitively teach either that “God makes the decisions about people’s destiny without the consent, cooperation or resistance of those involved,” or that we “play no active part in God’s decree”. He has only presented us with his own false suppositions and ludicrous interpretations of out of context passages and verses of Scripture. What Brian hopes to do is put on a good show to prove his point, without actually proving his point! I could go onto the internet and collect hundreds of sayings from various people (out of context) and prove that they all believe the sky is green instead of blue. The context of each and every Scripture has to agree with the use of that Scripture and must agree with the entire Bible as a whole (which clearly teaches free will). And of course God purposefully blocks his message from some so that He can damn them, but this is because they have already “purposefully” freely chosen to reject the truth again and again, as we’ve shown above. That is most definitely, playing more than an “active part” in their own damnation.
Whether they are the "elect", the "called", the "chosen", the "given", the "destined", the "ordained" or the "appointed", the hands of predestination are unmistakeable throughout scripture. Everyone must be predestined to either Heaven or Hell as there is no third option. Unless everyone is predestined to Heaven, then some must be predestined to Hell. God determines the players and their roles; it is out of man's control. In reality man has no free will as EVERYTHING has been determined. Consequently man has no moral responsibility either. To deny this is an exercise in self-delusion.
All Brian has done is pluck out some verses of Scripture containing the words “elect”, “called”, “chosen”, “given”, “predestinated”, “ordained” and “appointed” and unjustifiably assume (without any study of what’s actually going on in the passage) that they are all speaking about the determining of people’s souls to be in heaven or hell. Brian has failed to examine vital factors surrounding these Scriptures like, why are people “elected?” who is being “called” and when? Why are people “chosen?” Who is being “given” to whom and why? What is being “ordained?” Who was “ordained?” Why were they “ordained?” Who is being “predestinated”? To what are they being “predestinated” to? When were they “predestinated” to it and why? And so on. When we consider all these factors, none of the Scriptures, in context, teach that God randomly fixes people’s destinies, without their involvement! Scripture does mention “predestination” (in a mere 4 verses), but it is never in referring to the determining of a soul’s destiny before they were born or without that soul’s involvement as we’ve shown above when examining all 4 verses. See no.1, no.13, and no.27. Nowhere has Brian proven that the Bible teaches:
· That “God determines the players and their roles” (it teaches the exact opposite – see Isa 1:18).
· That “it is out of man’s control” (it teaches the exact opposite – see Rev 2:21),
· That “man has no free will” (it teaches the exact opposite - just look at the verse in no.49, cited by Brian himself)
· Or that “everything is determined” (it teaches the exact opposite - see Isa 30:15)
Even if God
did not personally decide the destiny of each (the verses quoted clearly prove
he did), the fact that God is supposedly omniscient i.e., all knowing (1 Peter
1:2) has serious consequences for the concept of free will. Since God knew from
all eternity the identities of those who would be damned (Rev. 17:8) then there
was no possibility that they could be saved; their damnation was fixed eons
before they were born. The only way they could be saved was if God’s
foreknowledge was incorrect, a logical impossibility for a supposedly omniscient
being. If your name was written in the Book of Life before the beginning of the
world (there are only two options, either your name was not there and you are
damned, as the name of every damned person was missing from the beginning, or it
is there and you are saved) then your salvation was “rubber stamped” from all
eternity, not when you accepted Jesus and that acceptance had nothing to do with
free will because it could not have been any other way (without making the Book
of Life incorrect!) If God knew from the beginning that you would be saved, you
will be saved; if he knew you would be lost then you will be lost. The fact is
that if God knows beforehand what you are going to choose then you must choose
what God knows you are going to choose. But if you must choose what God knows
you are going to choose then you are not really choosing; you can deliberate all
you like, but eventually you’re going to choose exactly as God knew you would.
There was only ever one possible outcome from your deliberation, thus you don’t
have free will. In order for a choice to be free in any sense that matters it
must be true that a person could have done otherwise.
However, the future, whatever it is, is completely fixed by past truths – true propositions about the future – God’s omniscience! God’s omniscience means the future is as fixed as the past and that renders the preaching, praying and evangelizing of Christians utterly futile. If the future is already written (which it must be if God has foreknowledge, 1 Peter 1:2) then why bother doing anything? E.g. does God know what day I’m going to die? Yes. Could I die a second sooner? No. Why do I eat and drink? To live. What if I do not eat or drink? I die. Would that be the day that God knew I would die??? Does God know who the elect are? Yes, he elected them (and knows before hand all that will be saved). Can they be lost? No. Then why pray and proselytize? They’re elect, chosen or predestined to salvation already. They are already saved! There’s no way they can be lost!
God’s omniscience doesn’t have any
consequences for free will. God did know the identities of those who would be
damned but HE didn’t fix or CAUSE them to be damned. Despite the fact that God
knows the future, if He “did not personally decide the destiny of each soul,” it
must follow that men themselves make their own decisions (unless neither God nor
us ever decide what to do - randomness), that’s free will.
To illustrate, say I travelled in time to the year 2500, saw the American president being shot dead by a man with a super advanced handgun and then returned. Could you really say that the assassin’s free will is now impeded by MY mere knowledge of the event (remember, knowledge without any action, determining or fixing on my part), could you really say that when the shooting happens he’ll be let off lightly on the justification that he had no choice but to pull the trigger just because one person merely KNEW he was going to do it 500 years previous? Clearly it would be HIS choice to pull the trigger whether I knew about it or not, just like it’s our decision to get saved or stay lost whether God knows about it or not.
By the way, Brian’s idea of the book of life as an unchangeable writing of salvation history before it happened is utterly wrong and we have dealt with it in no.39 above, there is no “rubber stamping” involved if names can be blotted out of the book (Rev 3:5).
The question of whether I choose (A) -
get saved) or (B) - stay lost) IS NOT dependent on whether God’s foreknowledge
contains the information that I chose (A) or contains the information that I
chose (B). Rather, the content of God’s foreknowledge is dependent on what I
choose. The question of whether God’s foreknowledge contains the information of
me choosing (A) or me choosing (B) is dependent on whether I choose (A) or (B)
when my time comes to decide which one to choose.
What we do is up to us, whether God looked ahead to the year 2007 and saw Christians choosing to evangelize and getting a person saved or whether God looked ahead to the year 2007 and saw us adopting a determinist philosophy, giving up evangelizing and that same person going to hell is up to US! It is true to say that it is impossible for me to do other then what God knows I will do, but Brian has forgotten the fact that God wouldn’t KNOW I would do it, unless I will actually decide to do it. I can’t do (B) if God knows I will do (A) but God doesn’t know I will do (A) unless I (me, myself) choose to do (A) and not to do (B) in the first place, so it always comes back to ME and MY choice. God’s foreknowledge is totally dependent on what I will choose now; otherwise God would be determining it (rather than passively knowing what will occur).
Could the assassin (in my above illustration) give the defence that he couldn’t have done otherwise just because I KNEW what he was going to do? No. I could’ve travelled in time to 2500 and saw him shaking hands with the American president, rather than shooting him. What I witnessed on my time travel was entirely up to him. He clearly could’ve done otherwise, in which case my time travel experience would’ve been different.
In addition, God’s omniscience means that he himself is predestined! He knows his choices in advance, he has no potential to avoid his choices, he can only choose that which he knows in advance he will choose and therefore lacks free will! Can God be a personal being if he lacks free will? Since God knew from all eternity that he was going to create the world did he have any choice in the matter? Could he really have not created the world?
There is no such thing as past, present
and future outside our universe. Thus, arguing about whether or not God is
determined because He has foreknowledge of what He will do is ridiculous. He can
only have foreknowledge about events in a world governed by time, there is no
such thing as knowledge of FUTURE actions (foreknowledge) in a realm without
past, present, or FUTURE (heaven). The “beginning” of time, and thus the
beginning of such a concept as “foreknowledge” coincided with THE CREATION OF
THE WORLD (Gen 1:1)!
Even if God was governed by time, Brian’s argument still fails for the same reasons that His argument about mankind being determined (by God’s foreknowledge) fails, see above. God’s foreknowledge wouldn’t contain the information that HE “CHOSE” to create the world, unless He actually would freely “CHOOSE” to create the world in the first place, unless He knew something would happen that wouldn’t happen (His own free undetermined choice to create the world) – which is obviously impossible.
The biblical truth of predestination raises many important questions about God’s character and his plans for humanity. Since everyone is a sinner (Rom. 3:10,23) and by default deserves Hell (according to Christians), predestination means that the only factor determining a person’s destiny is God’s choice; whether he has appointed you to salvation or damnation. Since that is the case and we are told that God loves the whole world (John 3:16) then why doesn’t he “elect” everyone to salvation? How can man justifiably be held responsible when everything was foreordained? How can God love everyone when he condemned the vast majority of his creation to the fires of Hell before they were even born? Does God only love the elect? Why elect one wicked sinner to Hell and the next wicked sinner to Heaven? Does God choose to damn the majority simply to preserve the meaning of grace for the minority he has chosen to save? Why bother to create an eternal soul only to decide or know beforehand that you are going to subject it to eternal agony anyway? If God really is a God of infinite love and mercy then why not destine all to salvation? Why not be consistent (or fair) and damn or save everyone? Where is the justice in this monstrous idea in which your eternal destiny depends entirely on God’s whim?
Once again, we must correct Brian’s labelling of concepts. The Biblical truth of “predestination” is not what he’s arguing against, he is discussing a different doctrine altogether (see introduction), something that he thinks is a “biblical truth,” and that is Calvinism. Brian closes his argument in this section by attacking Calvinism as being wholly unfair, and the act of Calvinistic determinism as being completely unbefitting of a God of love and mercy. But nowhere in his entire argument has he shown that the Bible even teaches Calvinism or that it teaches his idea of “predestination” (the random fixing of people’s salvation before they’re born). Nowhere has Brian shown (as he promised he would) that the God of the Bible “has from all eternity decreed the salvation and damnation of each soul. Nowhere has he shown (as he promised he would) that the doctrine that humankind is only “acting out a predetermined scenario written by God is taught throughout the Bible”. And nowhere has he shown (as he promised he would) that “God makes the decisions about people's destiny without the consent, cooperation or resistance of those involved.” Brian can argue against the justice of Calvinism all He wants, this has no relation to the Bible and thus is not something to question true “BIBLE” believers with.