PREDESTINED OR CHOICE?It's a pretty good question, and many people have already set their minds one way or the other, but I thought it would be good to look at some Bible verses on the issue.
"'For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,' saith the LORD, 'thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.'" (Jer. 29:11) Here the Lord is saying through Jeremiah that His people will have an expected end. It means God already foreknows His people's disposition in Jeremiah's day. Doesn't this also mean they were predestined to have the end expected by God? After all, He knows everything, and He is also in control.
"The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born." (Mark 14:21) In this verse, Jesus is speaking of Judas. But as we examine this scripture carefully, Jesus says that He goes as it is written of Him; so Jesus is asserting He was predestined to die on the cross by the betrayal to they who sought to destroy Him. But also in this verse He gives light to the predestiny of Judas, saying it would've been better that he had not been born! Psa. 22 and Isa. 53 vividly describe in panoramic view and through Jesus' experience what all He went through, but the books of Psalms and Isaiah were written in the Old Testament, before Jesus was born. Predestiny for Jesus, right?
"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." (Rom. 8:29) Here Paul uses the word "predestinate" in referring to all of us whom have been chosen to conform to Christ. So here it is written that it is predestined who would be saved. God already knew, and knows even now, who will be born again!
"And the LORD said unto her, 'Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.' And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them." (Gen. 25:23 - 26) Here's an example of multigenerational predestination. God tells Rebekah she has two nations inside her. How many people does it take to make one nation, let alone two? Even if Rebekah's sons have 12 sons each, a dozen people do not qualify as a nation, do they?
"'For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.' Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, 'A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'" (Judg. 13:5 - 7) Before he was born, an angel told Samson's mother that he would be a Nazarite from birth to death, and that he would begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. Well, since he killed well over 2,000 Philistines in his lifetime, I'd say that was a good start to erasing the Philistine population! "And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, 'Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.'" (Judg. 13:13 - 14)
"Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb." (Isa. 48:8) Isaiah here says Judah was foreknown and predestined to be a treacherous generation in Isaiah's time. Isaiah not only asserts this specific predestination, but..."And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, 'Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength." (Isa. 49:5) He also says he was predestined to be God's servant!
"All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake He not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 'I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.'" (Matt. 13:34 - 35) Jesus spoke in parables as was written of Him, but would one argue this also is not a case of predestination, or could it be said Jesus chose to fulfill that which was written of him by David? "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:" (Psa. 78:2)
"And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:'" (Matt. 25:33 - 34) In this scripture passage Jesus says to His predestined sheep that they were so long known that they would be born again believers, they were foreknown since the foundation of the world! This means that God knew I would be born again and heir to the kingdom since Gen. 1:1!
"For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb." (Luke 1:15) Here the Bible predestines John the Baptist to be a tea totaller whose life work will make him great in the eyes of the Lord, and he will be full of the Holy Ghost from the moment of birth. He didn't choose the Holy Ghost, John was predestined to be full of Him from day 1!
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." (1 Pet. 1:18 - 21) Peter is one more man of God saying here that we who believe were predestined since Gen. 1:1 to be ransomed from our sins by Christ's blood. Can it be said we are predestined to freely choose to believe in Jesus? Clearly our mansion lot was founded at the beginning of creation.
"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world... The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." (Rev. 13: 8, 17:8) - I conclude here that all who are going to hell and the lake of fire were born to do so, even predestined since the earth was formed. Not only Judas, but all hell-bound souls were born with that fate. When the beast comes into power, the unsaved are predestined to worship him, even if they are not yet conceived! Isn't there a cliche`, "Born to be bad"?
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: 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: That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." (Eph. 1:3 - 14) - This scripture passage I saved to present last, as it seems to me the best verses defining predestiny vs. choice. God clearly chose souls that He would predestine to be adopted into the family of Christ. God had the free choice, we got the predestiny; do you see that, too?
So what is predestined, and is there a choice? Apparently, God foreknows the summation of all our behavior throughout our lifetime, and predestinates our final disposition, heaven or hell, and he has made the choice since the world was formed. He knows if we will chose to be unrelentingly treacherous, wicked, and evil, deservedly being launched into hell, or if we will chose to repent in our lifetime, be born again, and have a mansion in heaven waiting for us in the afterlife. God knows if we will be a lifelong Nazarite or drunk; all our behavior He foreknows. With all this, you have to ask yourself once again. "Am I a free choice believer, or predestiny?"