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FOURTH CHAPTER

PREDESTINATION and PROPHECY

Taken with considerable extension for our present purpose,

 from SMR Ch. 8, commencement

THE LOVE OF GOD IS UNDUPLICABLE,
but DRAWS

 

Some ask: HOW COULD GOD know and if He KNEW how could life have a meaningful liberty ? These questions are well to answer, for if their zest proceeds from question and not querulousness, it is good to see how beautiful is the provision of God, and how what may seem to some a diversion from reality is not merely verified in practice, but coherent in principle as nothing else in this field has ever been.

Prophecy! what a beam of heavenly light this is; how outrageously disruptive of the quiet dreams of deists, the nebulous vaporisings of secularists and the obvious escapes of the delinquent. It has provocatively precise proportions and exhibits a conceptual 'invention' of the state of things in advance of their occurrence. Biblically, this means that situations are seen in complex perspective inclusive of novel elements, in a complete work of dispositional, directional and detailed FORECAST exposing divine foreknowledge with a vast and seemingly effortless ease. Forecast-fulfilment comes like the throb of a motor.

How could God know such things in advance if we have any freedom, at all... men ask! And if we have none, how are we responsible ? And if we are not, is not God, it might be urged superficially, Himself responsible ? And if He is, firstly what is wrong with Him to allow such things as so often 'adorn' the earth ? Thus the carnal mind roves and growls.

It may continue. Secondly, why does He blame us ? Is He then no better than the Communist Russian government in this; for they condemn the very concept of a God-created personality with its logically derivable and valid responsibilities, only with comical seeming inconsistency to become world-famous experts in casting blame on millions perishing under their variously directed wraths. Are the Chinese Communists the slightest bit better! Blame ? yes they blame them acrimoniously who allegedly, at the same time, have no freedom of soul, or indeed soul to be free!


 

THE SPIRIT OF THE ARCHITECT
 

Spirit of the Architect: I can just see it. What a castle! I'll just spend a while walking about it and feeling the cool of the evening there.

Thought of the Architect: That plate glass window has all the specifications of style ... a technical marvel. I'll just look out and see the view on past the third fairway on the home golf course. Hmm! Truly remarkable!

You know, this is so good I'll think of building it for Stan Smith. I can already see him relating to it like a combination boy-scout, Jules Verne, William Wordsworth and Hilaire Belloc. Although, you know, why build it at all, it's simple to enjoy it this way; and anyway, now it's mine!

Voice of Smith on the Telephone: I say old chap, those plans, they're overdue you know! ...

Voice of Architect: Oh yes... All right, Mr Smith, I KNOW you'll enjoy this and I can just see you in it. In fact, I could as well walk about the ground with you now, without even building it. However, for your part, I guess you'll want it made.

The usually do, and well I like to give you all your opportunity. Strange thing, you know, I can see it all as if it had already happened, without in the least disturbing the premises. Think how much more God does it in creating lives He knows to the very heart, before they ever even begin: planning to perfection without a whisper of difficulty. Foreknew whom He predestinated, knew His sheep.

Marvellous thing, creativity - especially His ... !

 

 


And why does God select some people for bliss in heaven (even if admittedly, they often suffer great things - to be sure, with joy - for Him here first) ? And if He does not love all, how is He called love ? Wouldn't it be better, the scoffer might continue to urge, to say, 'God is preference' or something a little more narrowly defined ? And if He selects sovereignly, how are men responsible anyway ? and if He does not, why does Romans 9 say that He does ? And why is there so much controversy in the area?

Thus we pose queries from of old, in order to answer them from the Bible to the glory of God.

You see, it is important, before the naked verificatory glory of prophecy, to clear our minds of the excesses of many unbelievers, and yes, perhaps, the unchastely chosen words which may come forth at times, from the mouths of some who are apparently believers. Not adequately aware of all the Bible says, or overlooking it, they may invent imaginary problems, and fail to solve real challenges from that omnicompetent source of answer, the word of God.

I have specialised a little here in putting the often felt problem, taking from here and there ingredients, in order to make more emphatic - in the answers which will follow - a vital truth. It is this: How excellent is the word of God, which alone in all thought can respond coherently and completely to all the challenges (or cavils as the case may be) put to it! It meets any systematic challenge, of course, not timidly like some examinee, but with robust rationality and authority, as might be expected from One who, after all made us, produced our power to think and indeed, as we shall see more and more, has done more for us than anyone ever did for anyone.

It is that continual reposeful authority that is a constant verification.

 

Predestination before Prophecy

In Chapter 5 (pp. 424 ff. supra), we have already studied some elements of these matters which we may therefore repeat more summarily.

In sum, we have reasoned for the necessity of freedom, the impossibility of autonomy (a god-like licence from all restraint external, or imposed), and the infinitude of God's understanding. As well we considered the distinction between seeing what IS to happen, and the divine penetrating to the heart and kernel of what a person is - if you like, loosed from sin in the divine envisagement of that person: God thus, or in other ways, knowing whose that person is. To whom does omniscience relate a particular sinner, in spirit and in truth, beyond the deformities of his/ her crippled condition; and to what with this before Him in His divine knowledge, does God consign that person ? To such end as seems fitting to the God who is love and not force; who has power yet is not a worker of casual predilection, but of absolute truth; who is no respecter of persons, but knows who are His.

It is explicitly stated (Romans 8:29) that God predestines (fixes the destiny of) "those whom He foreknew". He did not predestine those whom He did not know!... unknowns: that would merely be a flat contradiction of scripture, as well for what it is worth, of common sense. Nor did He predestine them because of what He simply foresaw they would do; for that would contradict Romans 9:11. Nor did He predestinate on the basis of what they would believe in 'real life', for that would contradict the sequence of thought in Romans 9:11 (as well as John 15:16 and 10:26 - it is written that they do not believe because they are not His sheep - not - they do not form part of His flock because they do not believe).

Yet again He did not predestinate them in sovereign (relevant) disregard of those not chosen, for that would contradict I Timothy 2:4-5 where we learn that "God... would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth". Notice here that you have the topic - salvation; the eventuation - coming to a knowledge of the truth; and the disposition of God, this is what He would have. It is useless to call that Biblical theology which ignores what is written; for that is similar, in the field of science, to ignoring the data. These things integrity cannot permit, if the Bible is the topic, and its meaning (exegesis), not the philosophy of the reader (eisegesis), is in view. In terms of this apologetic, we are seeking for verificatory evidence, and that is to be found, of necessity, in the laboratory of the Bible as it is, with no change of the data, any more than a scientist would falsify what is found in his test tubes.

The Bible, then, does not state, though pugnacity from some may almost seem to push such words into God's mouth, that He sovereignly decides to save all; neither does He say, and others might almost, on this other side, be tempted to take the same false liberty as the opposite 'wing'... that He is indifferent to their non-salvation! It does not even say that He has a certain yen, if you will, a slight wish, but does not really give it serious thought... that He is not exercised in the dimension of salvation for the lost. Not at all. It actually says that dispositionally speaking, He would have them to be saved. Why do some seem to hold some scriptures more dear than others? Limitation from such a cause is all wrong. "The whole counsel of God" means all of it (Acts 20:27).

Certainly it is made clear that the decision of the judge is final (Romans 9); it is made as clear that He does not take counsel on the matter (Isaiah 40:13-14), that in general, the way to life is rejected (Matthew 7:13-14) with the direst results, and that this is by no means at all, a matter of small moment to the Almighty.

For this, see I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33:11, 18:20 -25, Matthew 23:37, Romans 9:1-3, Jeremiah 9 with II Peter 3:16 and I Corinthians 2:9-13, Matthew 18:11, II Peter 3:9... The matter is given extended treatment in Appendix B, infra, Addendum on Will. Further, Colossians 1:19-23 tells us most explicitly with great force, this datum: It "pleased the Father" that Christ should be incarnate with all the divine fulness in His Person, that He should die in the plenitude of love as a sacrifice (disposed to aid the lost in the dimensions shown explicitly in I Timothy 2:6 and I John 2:2).

What are those dimensions of the Father's pleasure, concerning this prodigy of loving provision in sending forth Christ ? "By Him to reconcile all things", is what the Bible says. Does it hide it ? Far from it; it continues, "Whether things on earth or things in heaven" ? But what is the nature of this reconciliation ? Again the Bible is categorically clear, as in 1 Timothy 2, also dealing with God and man.

 

The REALM OF THE PICTURE

(placed below)

"WHOM HE FOREKNEW HE ALSO PREDESTINATED ..." Romans 8:29

Below - an ANALOGICAL perception of an actual reality: CHRISTIANS were "CHOSEN IN HIM (Christ) BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD", Ephesians 1:4 tells us. This is neither in view of things foreseen of the soul, as able to be or to do, or to believe, or for any virtues of its character or composition, we learn from Romans 9 and Ephesians 2:8.

It is God's choice, and is in terms of God's will for His love to be what it is, and to be realised in the way He desires. HE IS LOVE and that love is fulfilled both in what He does and does not elect to do: He never does violence to the soul, and never fails to be what He is, the Bible telling us He would have all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Christians are chosen without being created first, and without reference to our created works, God sovereignly implanting salvation from sin, at its time, in the way He, without our aid or counsel, desires.

NONE is lost for a lack of love; each is responsible. Disbelief is irresponsible. ANYONE may come to Christ, none is barred, all are invited, but God FOREKNOWS those whom He predestinated. The door is there to enter; it is shut in this time of salvation, in nobody's face.

 

The picture itself is merely analogical, to bring to ready appreciation the biblical facts as presented in the Lordís book. The LOVE of God is in its basic thrust that ALL should be reconciled as in Colossians 1; the divine chiding is that many REFUSE, and then, however you wish to visualise Godís predestinative counsel:  

®    FOLLOWING His foreknowledge as Romans 8 makes clear,
one thing is certain, it is logically clear,
and again,  it is evident that the human will, though not in charge, is nevertheless chargeable,
for in the very seeking of God, HE who does not force
has the attestation that some WOULD NOT come.

This, it is even if they could be seen without sin, even when they are known:
not as they would become, but as they actually are, known before time was,
before they are born, and thus not merely in terms
of what they become (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 9),
but beyond and before that.

They do not come in the face of His love, and HE knows it.

bullet

Where the soul is seen beyond the time that brings sin, then the sin which brings
blindness and comparative light, this way and that, is no more relevant.

It is no more man who more or less sees God, as sin does or does not allow some slight
breach in the clouds: it is God who sees man whole and totally. WHOM HE FOREKNEW,
it is written, HE PREDESTINATED. Neither does man choose God
because he is better than his fellow citizen of this world, nor does God choose man
because he is more SUITABLE to God and hence chosen!

It is the will of man AS GOD knows it, where superiorities of perception are not to the point,
but the declared knowledge, the foreknowledge of God is, it is this which is cited.

NONE can come unless it be granted; but HE WOULD HAVE ALL. Very well then,
it is granted in TERMS of HIS love and HIS  knowledge, not in terms of that of man.

bullet

On the other hand, in KNOWING this, God is knowing it as He is, and the criterion of the Cross as in history, it pertains crucially, without competition or alternative, so in His foreknowledge, who Himself never changes, this same criterion is operative.

Disease does not remove the image of God, and manís incapacity to choose God does not remove Godís capacity to know man, and to do so in such a style that His WORD is true, which declares that on the one hand, it is NOT of him who wills, and on the other that despite HIS STATED desire for all, there is a refusal which He gauges in the very face of His love.

 Let us then look at a pictorial presentation which, though obviously set in simple terms, in an imaginative setting, to bring force to thought and vivid sense of the issues to the fore, is not a literal presentation of what, being in the form of  God in its execution, is unique to Himself, who dwells in light unapproachable. However, the point is the principles.

These appear,  God's foreknowledge NOT LIMITED by our conceptions or doings, the latter specifically excluded in this issue (Romans 9:16, Titus 3, Ephesians 2, John 1), but as is fitting to God, UNLIMITED, for why should man seek to limit the Holy One of Israel, which is excluded to faith (Psalm 78:41). While it is true that He will not lie, that is His internal and personal nature, not a limit, an exclusion of His own! who BEING the truth, and MAKING all things from His own power, does not parley with dissonance to Himself within Himself! (cf. SMR pp. 25ff., Barbs, Arrows and Balms-7, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 8).

Specifying His love in terms of it pleasing Him that all fulness should dwell in the Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11- which can be no other than Himself), and that ALL should be reconciled (Colossians 1), and denoting  the will of man as responsible for the plight of those eternally severed from Himself, while making it clear that man's will is not the operative function in this determination, though  relevant to Himself, the Lord has given principles for wisdom. We find, in these terms, that responsibility is given its ground, while autonomy is deprived of its place for man, however much he may hunger for it, the result being

bullet sovereign, to be sure, so that there is nothing missing,  failing or losing its place,
bullet and loving as well, nothing being lost which love without ceasing to be love, would embrace.

The technicalities of His action, these are His; the principles, these are ours for He has SPOKEN to impart them.

Faith receives them.

When they are received, not merely is all confusion lost, but all things remain explicable in logical terms; for it is only when you have the CORRECT  and therefore the DIVINE perspective, that this happens. Less than truth is bogged; truth is serene. That is how it is. The picture below makes  graphic the principles, but these,  they speak for themselves (cf. Predestination and Freewill).

There is only one way you could know them: HIS MOUTH. There is only one place He has deposited what He wishes to say to mankind, His word, the Bible (cf. SMR Appendix D). There is one chief way you can lose them: your philosophy. Avoid it (Colossians 2:8). Keep to His word, and the logically verificatory result is its own attestation. It, like its Author, the Lord, is unique: comprehending all truth,  when He speaks,  He speaks it, and it stands. Nothing else, without it, can or does do so. ALL problems of the mind in its perspectives and coverage of empirical reality, all logical confusions simply dissipate when THIS perspective is in view (cf. SMR Ch. 5). Indeed, this is simply an  empirical fact, looking back over the millenia.

 

OPERATION PREDESTINATION

... BY NATURE, A "SUCCESS" FOR THE SOVEREIGN SPIRIT OF THE ETERNAL GOD, ONE THAT REQUIRED NO EVENT...

THE TABLEAU BELOW

THERE IS FOREKNOWLEDGE OF "THINGS THAT ARE NOT" as if they were ... the 'patient' held in mind, is as if 'seen' below.

 

 


It is as if, before all time, the uncreated, visualised and wholly understood soul - held in mind as a building may be, by an architect (we speak by analogy) - is analysed. Here we must leave the image for reality. No processive elements are needed.

God knows and foreknows without limit; yet we are for simplicity of visualising, 'seeing' it thus. It does not affect the point. God's divine form is not in the least necessary for us to know, in any intrusive sense, beyond the principles He states, for this apologetic point. His divine form is not scrutinisable: His stated principles however may be analogically illustrated for analysis and understanding, in this way. The apologetic value is that this readily intimates, in this field of revelation, the unique consistency provided, with a majesty that is so singular as further to verify God's word.

This much is general. Now let us resume with the visualised but uncreated soul, as appears for impact, in the drawing opposite. This soul is, as it were, being interrogated (though this is not in the least necessary, it helps to 'show' the point in the style to which men tend to be accustomed).

It is seen as a pre-creation, ultra-psychiatry .. by God. Of course it is far more than that. This however allows us to feel the impact of the issues and expel 'antinomies'.

It is as if the question would be ...

Q. Do you want to be with Me in heaven ?

A. Of course: I hear the standard of living is very high in heaven. Who wouldn't!

Q. That is not the point. Do you desire Christ crucified for your sin-bearer: to be dependent on the blood of another, and in particular on that of the Son whom I enshrined in the flesh as a propitiation, available for all ?

A. Not quite so fast. The RESULT is glorious: the means I abhor. Why, for no standard of spiritual living would I be a fake, a bought-up product, a leaner on another ...

Q. Even if that 'other' were God ?

A. So I think.

Q. If God Himself, then, is not the One you depend on, who amends you, expends you, grants you grace and gives you pardon, makes and remakes you: you know nothing of reality; and heaven would constitute not only a hollow night-mare to you, but a violation of all you think you stand on. If the truth seems a fake, because of your idolatrous self-sufficiency, this reflects on your style of creative imagination which would make you what you, in fact, are not.

A. You can take it or leave it.

It is as if the divine fiat then were: 'I never loved you!' (for neither temporal process nor human limit is in fact requisite for God) - see Romans 9:13,16, 8:38, Luke 1:37, Mark 10:27.

END of THE REALM OF THE PICTURE
 

 

Preferred darkness, the basic criterion of scripture, as shown elsewhere in this work (cf. Appendix B, Vol. 3, infra), and expounded from the word of God, limits the 'operation'; but it does not frustrate the reality of love, which Biblically differs from the world's deployment of force and mere self-gratification. Love has its own seemliness, and is divinely fulfilled without lust or mere lordliness, with a sovereignty both singular and sure. Thus seeing how prophecy can be made without violating freedom, in passing has led us to see the resolution of the problem of the reticence of (divine) love and the horror of preferred darkness in its end. Hence in Christ ''lovingkindness and truth have met'' and ''righteousness and peace have kissed'' (Psalm 85:10). Only the BIBLE thus provides the harmony of (divine) predestination and (human) responsibility (cf. pp. 424-427 supra), simultaneously resolving two further features: the splendour and sincerity of divine love - focussed at Calvary - and the abhorrent reality of hell. Love operates unmolested within its own pure parameters, which project from its very character, never lustful, never frustrated, always alert, beautiful in grace.

[from 637] ...it is "to Himself". That is the nature of the reconciliation in view.

At once we must seek clarity and care. It is not that this sacrifice is effectual for, or accepts the sins of all - for how otherwise would He indicate that some are not His sheep and therefore do not believe, while He died for His sheep (10:1,4,11,26): if this were so ? And how would He be said 'freely' to give
'all things' to those with a destiny in everlasting exclusion from Him (Romans 8:32) ? Such would not be other than a contradiction of the Bible, also. Nothing is not all things. Yet Christ was delivered up, it is there written, for those to whom He accords all things!

The atonement, the extent of the sacrificially substitutionary offering, is for those who receive Him, precisely as in the case of the lamb (cf. Deuteronomy 29:18 ff. - with the circumstance that the lamb would be appropriated, and sins confessed by the sinner seeking this). What then ? It follows that the love is as broad as the sacrificially offered but slenderly received Lamb; and that the receiving of Him marks out the extent of the atonement.

Well then, some might ask: How is God almighty if He does not fail to love, what He does fail to gain ? The terminology here however is provocative in that it is not precise. Fail ? In this sense, that He would have them reconciled ? and they are not? The fact here is true but not the inference. That is not really the case: for the reconciliation relates to a disposition, not a decision. A person can have goodwill and make good preparation to do good to someone, and yet have certain standards which will be kept, so that if these be breached, genuine as was one's love, it finds no repository and is neither fulfilled nor activated into vital reality, in such a setting as that.

Thus in Romans 9, one can see the meaning. Esau was hated - and yet God would not see the wicked lost ? What, says Paul, what if God spared with much patience... first (Romans 9:22)! For an eternal and omniscient Being, it is, is it not, rather foolish to assume He thinks as do we, in mode. Christ was in the form of God (says Paul in Philippians 2), before becoming man. He has made us in basically important ways, cognate to Himself, but not the same!

Knowing all things from before time, analytically, essentially, immediately knowing all, God is not limited to sequential movement in this way. Knowing always the situation, He has also responded appropriately before time was! It is difficult to understand these things, certainly, if one makes or presumes to make God in one's own image. But that is to deny and falsify not only endless scriptures, but the very essential nature and character of the infinite God! Put a lake in a key-hole, and you would attempt wisely, compared with seeking to read into the eternal form of God, the form of man.

Formatted and given a spirit with which to relate intimately to God, we do not thereby become intrinsic possessors of eternity; not yet do we know as we are known. Grace does not make the redeemed to be God, but children of God.

Is God to be condemned (even if this were not ludicrous), because His heart is loving and He is love ? Or for this: that though His heart is loving, He does not pretend that men lack responsibility and so must be brought into the kingdom, so that their basic freedoms would be essentially rescinded ?

That would be to deny the very heart of the creation: ''Why will you die ?'' He protests in Ezekiel 33:11. No wonder his prophet, Jeremiah (in 9:1 and Lamentations 1:12) speaks of wishing his head could be a fountain for weeping on and on, for the foolish and the lost among his people, and asks all who "pass by" - "Is it nothing to you ?"

Is not God deeply loving ? who says through the prophet Isaiah in 63:9 - "In all their afflictions, He was afflicted...", who wept over Jerusalem, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes," (Luke 19:42), proclaiming again: "How often I should have gathered you under my wings..." (Matthew 23:37), and displaying a prodigious restraint and profound concern for Nineveh, in correcting the more flashy notions of Jonah (Jonah 4:10-11, cf. Luke 9:55), even for Babylon indeed (Jeremiah 51:9); and of course it was nothing less than the command to repent before the Almighty that reached Nineveh at the hand of the disgruntled Jonah, to whom God gave a lesson in concern and a course in compassion.

God is both the Father of our freedom (it is neither unreal nor unlimited) and the source of His own sovereignty. It is not sovereignty in the abstract; not a philosophic fudge, far less is it a director of the divine heart, but rather the personal prerogative of the directing divinity Himself. Sovereignty does not run God; God runs sovereignty; it springs from Him, accords with Him, and with all His characteristics.

 

In sum: We, then, as human beings, have freedom but not autonomy; and we have through sin lost our capacity to exercise a freedom towards God in essential levels. Man outside Christ is called ''dead in trespasses and sins'' - Ephesians 2:1, ''alienated from the life of God'' (Ephesians 4:18), and this through ''the ignorance'' that is in him; and indeed as unspiritual (I Corinthians 2:12-14), he does not deem wise those things which are in fact spiritual, in the real area of the one true God. As a result, men do not actually choose God, in this condition (it could almost be compared with 'choosing' fine music when drunk, though this disturbance is far deeper). Indeed, one is reminded of some patients who, in fever, may desire just what is not best for them; and who are 'not themselves'.

Thus God as we saw, chooses us (John 15:4, Romans 9:16). He does so sovereignly and without consultation (John 15:16, Romans 9:15-22, Isaiah 40:13,28, Proverbs 15:11); without admiration for our works or for our faith (Romans 9:11, Ephesians 2:8). In love, He seeks and is disposed; and in truth He does not violate the texture of His own creation. When He does not save a soul, it is not that He did not do all that He deemed loving and true and self-sacrificial (II Chronicles 36:15-17, Isaiah 5:1-4, John 3:17, Mark 12:5-6, I Timothy 2:1-3) ... with reality, with integrity and with discretion. What MORE than Christ ? What more than the Cross? What more than freely bearing sin for all who believe, and leaving those who reject this redemption to die in their sins which they prefer! - a fact that He Himself cites (John 3:18-19).

This last aspect appears for example in John 8:24; but note how in John 10:38 even after more fearful and lusty provocation by intemperate mockers, He urged them yet the more to believe, saying: "But if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works: That you may know, and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him..." Anything more dispositionally loving to the lost, not forcing but showing utmost and intense concern, it would be impossible to imagine. Predestination merely preserves in pre-world certainties, the realities of the desires of God's heart, which He fulfils to the uttermost. (Cf. *7, pp. 1163A-1164, and *1, 1174B-D; 1186 infra.)

Thus there was a work of continuing patience and kindness to constrain but not to coerce. How wonderful that God should plead in Christ the Lord! And if in the end they elect to die in their sins, despite all, then justice has not conquered love; but love unmet, yields to its occasions, being when fulfilled in its own thrust, satisfied. So the Lord acted; and so it is. He did not become man so that we should be ignorant and not see and hear the words and works He spoke; but so that we might find Him and know Him, and knowing Him, be saved (John 17:3), through His blood (Colossians 1:14, 22, Ephesians 1:7, 2:13-15).

Thus in all this He does not force. He endures force; He does not deploy it as the criterion at the level of salvation. It would be a criticism for sure, if He did, to which man might resort. God does not force or fail. All Christ was to obtain, He did - all - John 17:6,12. He is Almighty, but not a ruffian! The Lord knows who are His!

The poignancy and the protestation is not (such blasphemy!) a pretence or a public presentation; it is made by Him who is the Truth, to appear poignant because of the only possible reason: that it is! Freedom's lament is not lust's abortion ... nor empty.

God is loving, neither seeking rice-Christian products, nor desiring denatured degenerates, but men, women and children, persons, in His image! Knowing all - and gaining whom He forknew - He does indeed blame if men, in the end abscond, refuse Christ ... will not. He so interprets it in poignant, monergistic splendour; and both clear and vast is man's responsibility. (Cf. John 3:19, Matthew 23:37 - p. 426 supra, Appendix B, esp. pp. 1132-1134 infra - I Timothy 2:1-3, II Timothy 2:19, Romans 8:29, John 15:21-23, II Chronicles 36:15-17, Luke 19:42-44.)

It is important to realise the principles here. God is not subject to examination (Romans 9:14,20-23), harassable or censurable; but His principles cohere and He keeps them. He invites man to 'reason together' with Him, exposing the realities. If anyone reject Him, His attitude is love, and His arm has power, so that human rejection is sure to be real, true and ultimate (whether or not we know the divine 'technology' He uses, to apply a provocatively analogical term for covering the point). God has no 'technical' failure ... reaching in Christ when He will; and His attitude is as stated. It is fulfilled; and in the end, love spurned is lost in the lostness of the loveless.

Hence (I John 4:7-8), God is called love not least because of His restraint on the one hand and His pursuit of the lost on the other. His word is the assurance that He would have all men to be saved. In (His) sacrifice, there is no restraint; in His non-violation (of us) there is much restraint: but in method, in principle, in procedure, He is His own. He accepts no counsel. So He sovereignly selects to satisfy His universal love with particular sagacity, He who knows all things; and some of our problems here seem to derive from a crude failure to even begin to realise the extent of longsuffering He shows (cf. Romans 8:22, II Chronicles 36:15 ff., Hosea 12:10).

It is all not really too hard if you recall three things: First, follow all the scripture. Second, do not presume to dictate to God His 'technology': trust Him to do wholly effectually JUST what He says in ALL respects (not just in your own chosen and selected segment of what He says!). Thirdly: do not read into God your own limitations. Knowing all things, He readily can predestinate all things, without the slightest violation of essential freedom; or, through lack of forethought, violation of His own principles. Time for pondering as it were, knows no limits if time were needed, but time itself, as shown, is God's creation - cf. Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:38-39.

Predestination is the guarantee of meaningfulness; sovereignty is the assurance of sincere salvation; omniscience is the certainty of no mistakes in plan, and omnipotence of no mistakes in execution. Time is His captive, eternity His palatte, action unharassed at His pleasure... Even a novelist can know his/ her characters, and script them without feeling in the least free to violate who they essentially are. Are we going to imagine that the creativity of the God, who made the creators of literature, is less than this!! It seems at times almost as if the only problems in this area are problems of effrontery.
 

 

As to prophecy itself, read SMR Chs.   8 and   9, and then consult the two indexes on this site, for prophecy and consider its multitudinous verifications, their marvellous accuracy, their glorious indifference to probability, their total imaginative survey of scenes millennia away, far removed from the possible ambit of mere human thought, the construction in the mind that made time, of conditions, circumstances, dates and procedures, developments and progresses (in technical things) and regress (in moral ones), the focus on the coming of the Christ, the detailed data upon Him, and from Him, as if facts were simply set forth in a history book, with this difference, that it was a FUTURE HISTORY BOOK, for Him before whom the production of time is merely an interval-making process, His knowledge being comprehensive: and when you have done, what will you find ?

It is this. What may have at first seemed a Ďproblemí, ends by being a illustration from the word and ways of God, of His power, to which is to be added the remarkable attribute, that what He has SAID about what He does, is precisely what explains human behaviour as nothing else does (cf. the preceding volume in this trilogy, The Marvels of Predestination and the Way of Will, for this topic in detail). What then ? The power to explain is mixed with the facility to DO, and both with the power to be VERIFIED, the one in logical beauty, the other in empirical performance.

Back of both the power and the verification is the drawing of His love, for one of the profound testimonies of history, is this, that the love of God, pure, impartial to selfish advantage, passionate to delilver, putting no limit to the cost that is consonant with the very reality of truth and profundity of peace, willing even to endure as man,  yet without sin, what sin brings, can draw even from a black hole of disaster where all light is prohibited. NOTHING is impossible with God, and NOTHING is lost that should be won. He has even FOREKNOWN His own, and in His OPERATIONAL COMMAND (II Cor. 4:4), does He secure them.

The predestination of God, wholly unlike the fictitious fabrications which make mere force the focus,  irrelevant both to the needs of man and to the testimony of history to all such claims, what must be said of it ? This: it sings with sufficiency, while all the leering rasps of unbelief merely fall into their just oblivion; for the time. But judgment is not in vain: it is not to be ignored. The destruction of beauty by al Qaeda in New York was an atrocity; but what of the destruction of what might be beauty in a personís own heart! by picking up broken pieces of a building that might have been in your knowledge and in your mind, ruinously ravaged by mere contrary desire, and ignoring the structure which for your own part, is ruined. YOU do not touch it, but its touching of YOU, you would then destroy!

NOTE:

You may now care to look at Secular Myths and Sacred Truth Chs.  6,  7, Earth Spasm, Conscience Chasm: and Renewal of Life Chs.  1,    7, HIGHWAY to HELL, with Aviary of IdolatryÖ  , Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13, News 100 and indeed, Ch. 5 below which immediately follows.