I’m taking a break from a teething baby and a busy week to update the blog with my final Thessalonians post. My questions this morning revolve around predestination. I’ve never taken a side on this issue, but I have a hard time with it! What are your thoughts? I’ll start with scripture. I’ve highlighted the portions that I have questions about. 2 Thessalonians 2: 8-13 states:
- 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 13But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruitsd to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
I know this question is not original, but I still struggle with it. How do predestination and free will exist together in harmony? The New Testament tells us that salvation is within our reach if we accept Jesus. But it is also peppered with verses that seem to indicate that some people are simply destined for Hell. Notably, Romans 8:29-30 specifically references predestination. In verse 11 above, I’m particularly intrigued by the idea that God actually prevents certain people from seeing the truth. I realize that these are people who had already refused God, but considering the number of born-again Christians who also have refused God at some point in their lives, this seems strange. Romans gives us another example of this: Romans 9:18-23:
- So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”h 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? 22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—
I’m not questioning God’s prerogative, only wondering if Christianity has softened some of the harder truths. It also occurs to me that if in fact some people were “…prepared for destruction…” perhaps the “hardening” or “delusion” that God imposes on those individuals is merciful. Okay, I’m starting to free-associate a bit…
I think the problem for me boils down to morality. I believe that my moral compass, the intuitive instinct for right and wrong, comes from God (if you want an interesting argument that supports that statement, check out Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis). I also think that it isn’t always that simple, but, when I consider that same God creating people with thoughts and feelings only to subject them to eternal suffering, well…. let’s just say it doesn’t seem “right.”
So, thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to the usual comments that make my questions seem positively dense. 🙂 Truly, thank you to everyone who has commented on my posts. It has been really enlightening!