THE MARVELLOUS MATTER
OF PREDESTINATIVE PERSPECTIVES
BELIEVE GOD AND YOU WILL NEVER BE ASHAMED,
BUT DO NOT PARADE CONTRARY PREFERENCE
WHICH FALLS BEFORE THE WORD OF GOD.
See also with this,
Secession from Supposition Ch. 2
From the Bible, then, in separate but related testimonies of the divine desire and resolution in His own sovereign will, there are numbers of facets in the predestinative apportionment. No one tells Him whom to desire, not to desire, what to have as the Gospel, how to overcome the universal blindness of sin. He knows and He acts. Another god may be made using some of the Bible, but this is the revelation to the point in the One who is eternal, demonstrated and who deals as He will.
He is not dictatorial, snobbish or arbitrarily wilful. That is not the revealed sovereign that He is.
With regard to man, He does not imperiously force man NOT to receive Him, except as the outcome of what is not of Him, as with Esau*1 when he suffered the results. Nor does He force him to receive Him. He sees and foresees and knows and foreknows those who are His, and those who are not disposed to receive His saving love, expressed definitionally in the Cross; and He predestines accordingly (Ephesians 1:4). It is this which, as in Romans 8 is the result of foreknowing, not the cause.
He WOULD have all ? Yes, and that is the sovereign will, which neither man nor church can change; for He says so ( Colossians 1:15ff., I Timothy 2); but He neither forces not favours unreality. He sovereignly takes what is His and leaves the rest. HOW and HOW OFTEN would He have brought many even in tenderest terms, to Himself; but He does not fudge, as shown in Christ's lamentation in Matthew 23:37, to confuse the issues, or budge, to pollute the results in their practical reality. It is then the love that never forces in affairs of faith, just as the sincerest lover never forces in affairs of love. So restrained as well as so passionate is God that He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. That is a large gift for a free entry.
Yet despite this sovereign desire and sacred willingness, self-attested from deity to man so often, not all are saved since THIS is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, defining, eternal, soul exposing and wonder exhibiting light, light of perspective and power and truth, of peace and grace and understanding and provision; but many have preferred darkness (John 3:19). It is not God's own preference which is here biblically cited, for that is for reconciliation for all (Colossians 1:19); but man's preference.
In the very face of such light and amplitude of heart from God, man loses out from preference, his own!
The love does not remove the reason for Christ's coming, the ground of His death, or for those firing or aspiring far from Him, with the horrid waves of spiritual odium and vaunting desire, leaving the extremities of corruption and the deviousness of disjunction from one's very source. Leave the Lord and you do not create another universe, but inhabit the dregs of this, a potential pilgrim that would not set out from a wayward world.
As John 3:16 shows
the propulsion of the love of God for man (as in Titus 2-3 so generally), so
John 3:36 shows the brooding darkness where it is excluded by the
pseudo-sovereign and quasi-kingly act of man-without-God and without desire
for Him: even in the clutch of contempt, indifference, evasive alienation from
the Lord. As heaven invites, so hell is for the residue. As the filter paper of
mercy cleanses, so those who take the filtered mess rather than the clearer
liquid, find it no bath. I Peter 2:8 tells us of this appointment, sovereignly
secured, certainly, but this despite that divine desire and offer which could
not cost Him more or have more grace, without confusion and distortion.
Again, obviously God can speak of
any phase of the predestining procedure, actually in sequence prior to our time, engulfed in
eternity, but made plain by His own word, from the
various perspectives. As in John 3, there is the phase of outgoing love,
as also that of incoming saved persons; and with that, there is the feature of those viewed as holding fast to the category of
the unwilling, that of those who try to confuse, who need confusion to escape
truth; and so on (cf. II Thessalonians 2:10).
God Himself may view, speak of, or refer to some non-pilgrims as hated (Romans 9), since that is the ultimate outcome with some self-stripped of relationship with their Maker and Sustainer, as such wanderers call or clutch for themselves or their own personal appointees, and consolidate with sin past all reprieve. On the other hand, some may be seen through the initiating love, in the phase before the ultimate negativity of embroilment with this world, or entanglement with its depraved charms. In that latter case, except they repent, such is their final outline, engulfed in evil, as with flames.
All things are known to God, but not without the greatest preventative ever conceived, and in the most love, the most costly expenditure for the divine: His freest of donations needing to be spurned before mercy has no more to offer. Hence, says Paul, "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14). Without this divine provision of love and key to mercy, there is no way; but with it, there is room for no other.
Do burning rubber tyres unfit for use mean they were deprived; or does their worn-out without remedy condition leave then no place ?
There was the initiating desire with its attainments clear even before time dawned; there is the eventuating dynamic; there is the outcome. If you read Proverbs 1, you gain the feeling of its poignancy, folly, the grandeur of the way opening and the decisiveness of the cost of dying, spiritually. God here even offers to make clear, to teach so as to give understanding; but in this instance, it is of no interest, except for its negation.
The end of Proverbs 8 also provides a good dose of spiritual realism. It is refreshing like fragrance! All those who hate Me, love death, says wisdom at 8:36. If you pass by escape and remedy, don't blame the hospital. Do it dynamically, indifferently or diffusely, the blight of sin is neither covered nor healed by bypass. As Peter declared, there is no other name given among men by which they must be saved, even that of Jesus the Christ, who died the just for the unjust to bring us to God (Acts 4:12, II Peter 3:18). Grand as is the IN door (John 10:9). In its spiritual beauty, it is as exclusive as truth.
God's word is sure. Nothing changes His categorical statements. Though His sovereignty be without limit great, and sin deadly, yet He personally voids it of rampancy or force in finding His own people and bearing the tearing storm of judgment for them (II Corinthians 5:21). Though His love be vast as in everlasting torrents, yet never is it prostituted into changing people in advance of knowledge, as if they were simply manipulated units, or transformed instead of converted. His love is sincere; His justice is righteous, and what is, is; what is not, is not.
His love will cede nothing to impurity; yet His mercy will take nothing from adequate cover for sin, in all who repent and seeking Him, call upon His saving name. He is declared to be I am who I am, and how ludicrous it is when people take that title on themselves, as if they were independent, all-exclusive self-existents, as if this were in some man's own power, and his own ruling decision!
Mercy without manipulation and salvation without the surreal is needed; and granted upon application by faith. Presumption and diving into the night that is dim on facts, leads only to anguish in the end. Truth does not divorce from mercy, and the Gospel is its meeting place for man. It is here righteousness and peace have kissed (Psalm 85:10).
You see the depth of tenderness of it in such passages as Jeremiah 31:17-20.
Yet to cling to suppositions which are not only gratuitous, without bound or ground, but begging the question, assertion of nothing not God, or of oneself which comes to nothing in such arrogant airs, whatever appeals, instead of MAKING APPEAL to the Saviour, and you heap up debris. Then it is not a matter of only failing in this, but also of colliding with simple logic as well, as if dealing with large matters and amounts has to cease all appeal to reason - what a turmoil is this! Suppositions do not heal or guide or lead or create; it is reality which does that. You may test an idea, but the test and its grounds and relevance, not the thought alone, has substance. Truth declares itself on all sides*2.
To wait for some nothing-produced 'nature' to love is like expecting an embrace from a house, a ludicrous adventure in whimsy, folly or both. To make nothing of the God who DID make - having power to do so, what is here, as man-bent many do, is an exercise in irrationality, or to try to forge Him (from nothing plus one's own rather late ideas) as if a mere maestro of movement, a name without referent, is astray at the second level. To try to mould Him contrary to His word in the name of His word, is in turn more than supposition: it is insupportable vagrancy. It is good that the Lord is so forgiving, since we err so easily; but this is no ground for complacency, being variables in the void; but euqally, this does nnot reduce the rejoicing when the spoil of victory is found, when the tidings of harmony, grace and truth meet like birds circling in the air.
If anyone wants to muddle up the divine disclosures, such a person is free to do so, but it is far less sensible than calling a man confused because he at one time calls a house which he enjoyed but where he lost a lot, "my greedy old house, " and at some other, "my house of satisfaction." When as in the Bible, all aspects are put carefully in place, and at times ultimates are seen in or beyond time, or before or after process, then it is just a matter of believing God and recognising nothing is taken out needed, nor put in that is superfluous. There is a completeness of coverage equally by the harmony of issues.
Some theologians can be quite bold in insisting on their own tortuous textual manipulation, even though the categories are repeatedly spelled out most clearly in the word of God. One wonders where they get their boldness. It is always best not to contradict God in interpreting Him about Himself, for this can become a very epitome of waywardness. Even with Shakespeare, you are not inclined to get his meanings, if you set in their place what you are thinking, rather than what he wrote!
The mysteries of how the love of God COULD be so great, so pure to transform so many so unattractive, how it could be so dauntless as to seek the lost in nearly any dimension, are matters both delightfully profound and profoundly delightful; but they do not swim in confusion. In kind, their majesty is without limit, their sovereignty without suasion, their grace without gutting, while their adherence to truth but delights the eye of the beholder.
Again, how wonderful is the divine procedure in choice, as in that of young David, when the other sons of Jesse were passed by, and the Lord both chose no otherwise than for him, and told Samuel something of the principles of choice for such great works ( I Samuel 16:7). It is on the heart that He looks.
Glorious is the divine survey and knowledge, understanding and selective power, indeed generative power from the first. It passes mere human knowledge, though we may have something following the kind of thing, to a point, being made in the image of God. He alone however has infinite knowledge and wisdom working a wonder in its depth of selection. In the opposite parallel, He may choose as an irony in selecting base people for some mere pagan sovereigns or sovereignties, in his input into directive events, so that for debased purposes, the debased among men may be chosen to illustrate and expose such things in due time. That was one of the lessons of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:17,34-37).
Thus He may pour contempt on all their greatness - something Nebuchadnezzar proved a good student to learn (Daniel 4:17,34ff.). Yet this 'mystery' in the sense of the divine power and motives leaving for dead the simplistic substitutes of man, has nothing arbitrary in it, being filled with counsel and goodwill IN THE END, when all the lurks and lairs, follies and platitudes of man, on the one hand, and on the other, the divinely crafted decisions of the Lord, using some like Daniel and David, where they be given astounding enterprises from tiny beginnings, are considered.
For those barren in heart, mocking God, taking 'nature' as some kind of god coming from nowhere for no reason and with no power where even existence is not a given, the answer at times may be to allow them simply to experience some of the very texture and spirit of a world as they imagine it, as if it were one without intervention without God, though His foretold works be so vastly obvious as now. Then, finding the nature of their distortion, they are free to experience the fruit of their disturbance (Psalm 1). It is rather like saying to a wilfully blind person, Enjoy your sight! Some of the potentates even then may repent, under the gaze of God (Psalm 11:4).
This also teaches us something vital about divine election, that is the sovereign selection of those to be saved which acts. It is not an ambit of strangeness, a caption of caprice, a mystery of quasi-anonymity. That God HAS the power, wisdom and place is undeniable. That He has the wisdom to know what He is doing when others do not, is equally apparent. This is true, but as Churchill put it of another kind of matter, it is not exhaustive!
Thus, that God has the love and desire concerning man is seen in John 3, I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33, Colossians 1:19ff., Matthew 22:1-4, Luke 15 (cf. SMR Appendix B, Department of Bible ... Vol. 11, Ch. 8, Possess Your Possessions Vol. 10, Ch. 6, To Know God ... Ch. 1), as in Jesus Christ Himself (cf. Magnificence of the Messiah). Then as to the background to His selection, He is most vocal and declaratory. It is a passion as deep as life, as empowered as resurrection, as beautiful as the majesty of holiness with humility (Zechariah 9:9), it has room for the principle of being empowered by His sovereign desire, and showing mercy as a thrust that did not take pity on Himself, but on those whom He sought (Romans 5:8-11, Romans 15:3,10:9). Those who know Him find here is such a sovereign as never met, with any equal in love.
He may even be called "love" as in I John 4:7-8, in terms of the Gospel outreach: and love as such, so defined, can never 'become' anti-love, absent-love, quasi-love'. In other words, you may ponder with awe the magnificence of divine election, its surety, its sovereignty, but inseparable are its lovingkindness of motivation, its select understandings, and this, that the Lord has such wisdom and KNOWLEDGE about man, that creation's wonders are much less (Ephesians 3. He even lacks nothing in discernment in the matter of those chosen in Christ before creation (Ephesians 1:4), before sin could distort or pride amplify conceptions in the heart of man; and this, with that same heart that lamented for Jerusalem (Luke 19:42ff.). If He were to transform what in heart was known to deny Him from foreknowledge, or grab the freedom of the unwilling, it would abort heaven, ruin truth and prostitute mercy.
But there is no problem for what never turns from truth, and He who constitutes it has all of its loveliness. Each of these is known, repents, receives, believes. None has his spirit sabotaged, subverted, deranged, or arranged like a loveless marriage. There is more: even so, there is no warrant to dismiss the quality of the disposition of God in love to draw all, to wish to save all. It shows the resolution in reality. Indeed, in some, there seems some such a haste to depart in the case of God from such clear indications of WHY He sent Christ, as FOR WHAT He did not send Christ (John 3:16-18), as if to change the nature of His saving desire, in order to 'save' His dignity, and or to make His selection a mystery unexplained by the divine definitive statements. That is logically irrelevant and spiritually grievous. God did not make man 'loaded' as a robot, tilted from truth, but given life in His own image, as a reality delivered from the programmatic for the personal. WHY will you die! He exclaims (Ezekiel 18:31). O that you had listened to My commandments! He laments (Isaiah 48:15ff.).
Yet He is not in the work of making clay models or electronic slaves; and refusal is one of the perquisites of love; indeed wherever freedom is denied, how is love to be shown!
THE WISDOM OF
AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM
WHO INHABITS ETERNITY
Before creation came, then, God knew; before sin arrived, God knew. He invented our realities and provides for escape (Psalm 49), even in the threatening ravages of death (Hebrews 6:19): I will be your destruction, to this mortality, He exclaimed (Hosea 13:14). Life and immortality He has brought practically to light (II Timothy 1:10). Life awaits, the soul has wonder to seek and to find.
Certain wonders in His sovereignty do not nullify certain others, all being written! Nor does the purity of His love annul it, but rather intensify. Man shall live by every word which the mouth of God, Christ pronounces (Matthew 4:4); and this may not sound to some, the most appealing. Yet, abiding in such spiritual splendour as is His uniquely and infinitely makes righteousness delicious, even though it was only His which saves the sinner! (Romans 5:17ff., Psalm 71). It is only because divine grace abounded the more than did sin, and its gifts outperformed sin's costs that man may end in net credit instead of in the nets of disaster!
As to those who make a contrary impasse out of these wonders, as if some mystery without explanation in selection appears or appeals, it is not to God, who accounts for the cost of resolution to the uttermost, and persists on the vast divergence between what is desired by Him in this matter of love, and what He is NOT prepared to do, that any confusion may be attributed. Rather is it to man by contrast with the clarity of heaven, that this needlessly comes. It is he who is apt to deny one thing to affirm another. In fact, it is ONLY when all that the Lord in the Bible affirms is taken jointly, that the all-illuminating power of His word solves all problems in this field; and such was the style of method used in my own academic thesis, Predestination and Freewill.
God has neither motive nor desire as if to bend truth to gain souls! That is outrageous, outré, a mere outage, a kind of intellectual TIA or transient ischaemic attack. Some love to lead man like a puppet with skew deceptions; but God IS the truth. Many cannot even seem to envisage such purity, and must deviate before giving thought! But God has paid a ransom, adequate for all, adapted to all, ready for any, disbursed where it is received. Foreknown in truth, before pathology of heart in sin proved ruinous (John 1:12, Ephesians 2), He has missed none.
While love still seeks to deliver widely from a position hopeless without the Gospel (Colossians 1:24), through His people, yet there is no more to be paid by Him! What God has made free He well is able to deliver by His presence (II Corinthians 3:17, John 16), nothing daunted, for all is His, but nothing impurely pretentious. It is like a purged hospital: it costs, but it does not fondle disease. Unlike some modern hospitals, when the case is received, the cost is covered; yet fakes gain no entry.
Divine love does not remove other beautiful features in predestination; nor does divine sovereignty on the other side remove them from foreknowledge. What God says are the parameters, reasons, principles, profundities, wonders. What omits or adds is not at all wonderful, necessary, sound or serviceable. In fact you are warned if of this direction, to beware lest you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:6). Adding what you think to an autobiography, or changing its terms to conform to some philosophical preference is about as wise as seeking to make a record speed in a new ship in sites where ice could ravage desire, and sink the ship sent.
The logic is as clear, the divine principles revealed in the Bible are as harmonious, the light as explicatory as could ever be hoped. It is intervention against His word or beyond it which makes trouble and obscurity, as when a torch is in confusion is deliberately thrown away, perhaps catching fire where it was not intended. Further, as shown in the Seven Volume set on Foreknowledge, Predestination, Responsibility and Duty*3, in terms of Biblical Christian Apologetics, this and this only, the biblical content, provides in all the history of thought, what solves the mysteries of freedom and its glaring opposites or contraries, showing the apposite and fully explanatory nature of those issues which have so often choked the pedants.
It is when, and WHEN ONLY the Bible is without swerving made the basis of thought, and the acme of understanding, the tutor and the fund of the real and the recondite alike, that there in principle nothing dark or even dim. Just as nothing can or could equal this, which requires Him who is beyond all, and His word, so neither can nothing create anything but a lair for pretence for the foundation of this declining world, as so often shown, so that there remains no truth but that of God, who explains mysteries, deals with difficulties and makes worlds.
In His word, the Bible, He has spoken.
But you have to LISTEN!
Esau is contrasted in Romans 9, with Jacob. Being said to be hated, Esau is not covered with pardoning grace, not plucked out from eternity in envisagement for later salvation. As having such placement, he may readily be so described or exhibited in that final condition, the test result foreknown. That this was no desire of a cauterised love, or a truncated mercy is clear from the general principles (as in Colossians 1:19), but that it is for all that a reality, one to be borne in the sincerities of a pure love, not a rampant seizure apparatus, is equally apparent. When God speaks, let us listen, not chatter. This is the not so difficult position, and this is the biblical listing. It is in a way like the ravaging of a bushfire. When it is done, it is one. However lamentable, a correct description provides not even a clue to the presence or absence of fire-bugs. It is merely a description of the due result, amid the ashes.
That God hates sin is indubitable; that He hates what is so allied with, drenched by and given up to it, to the point of such irrevocable commitment and refractory abandon, that it becomes an attachment to the kingdom of revolt and lying, is also clear. Then, permeated by impurity, strident or stricken with it permanently (as in Hebrews 6, I Timothy 4:2), He views it as it is, not in hope, for hope is gone, but in its entailment. Ultimate spiritual aliens do not enter heaven, for they would not fit, nor would heaven be where they were; only those regenerated and SO born again into the heavenly people, know how to live there, and loving God, how to avoid hatred that surpasses that of sin.
These who so follow amiss, He knows, as He knew Judas (John 6:60), and concerning any of these, if so relevant, He may speak, characterise, or predict what is to be. It is because before Him, it is already scrutinised and done (Ephesians 1:4, I Peter 2:8). Its depiction is not now subject to the initial and actuating love, but may be termed as to the new dynamic of the ashes of the outcome; and even this can be cause for lament.
See for many aspects of these matters the Index under predestination.
See for example:
Deity and Design Chs. 3, *3, 8, and
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS.
See also on the predestination and cognate side, *3 below.
Starting with the Melbourne University 75,000 M.A. thesis in 1964, these 7 volumes maintain a consistent approach, but enable contemplation of many aspects, perspectives and facets of this vast, historically active subject: predestination, foreknowledge, duty, freedom. Linked to creation also, it has the thrill of the harmonious grace of God, each point supporting, reinforcing, extending the other. This freedom-predestination field in particular shows the Bible has the unique approach which leads to every resolution on all sides. This is what you would expect of truth, and finding it uniquely here is a vastly important addition to the testimony of Bible Christian Apologetics. See hyperlink in *1 above.