The Doctrine of Unlimited Predestination Examined  (Part 3)

Since this article first appeared in THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST LIGHT, I have received a question from a distant state asking if I did not think that God knew these folks would offer their sons and daughters in idol worship, to which I reply: Certainly I think He knew it. But did He predestinate it? That “He did not." As I have pointed out foreknowledge and predestination are not the same things. He knew they would do it because He knew the nature of the people and knew about their temptations and knew the mitigating circumstances. But that is not saying that He predestinated it. He knew it would happen because He knew why it would happen.

Also in this connection, what I wrote about the church bells ringing, I wrote yesterday. This morning they chimed at exactly eight o’clock just as I said they would. I knew they would, but I did not predestinate it. I did not even care whether they chimed or not. I knew they would chime because I knew why they would chime.

Again from the book of Jeremiah I should like to copy as follows: “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” Jer. 18:7-10.

Here we see a law concerning nations and kingdoms that if they, having done evil, turn from the evil which He purposes doing them: on the contrary, if they persist in disobedience, they will suffer the consequences, even to extermination. Hence, circumstances have never varied in God’s dealing with men. This could not be true if He had unconditionally and eternally predestinated everything that comes to pass.

By the way, while on this unworthy theme, when God drove Adam from the Garden of Eden, He did so, as the scripture says, “Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” Now I wonder if God had predestinated for Adam to take of the tree of life, and eat, ands live forever? According to the “unlimited predestination of all things” theory, if God had not predestinated it He could not have done it, so, if that be the case, it was useless for God to drive him out, seeing as how he could not have taken of the tree of life and eaten and lived forever, had God not predestinated for him to.

On the other hand, if God did predestinate for him to put forth his hand and take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever, then when He drove him out He defeated His own predestination. If God did predestinate for Adam to put forth his hand and take of the tree of life and eat, and live forever, that predestination has never come to pass, and since Adam has been dead for thousands of years, I feel safe in assuming that it never will. Dispose of this proposition who may I affirm that the advocates of the absolute and unlimited predestination of all things never can.

At this point I am reminded of the “Absolute” defender with whom I was once in correspondence. This brother was criticizing me for being elected to the office of County Judge, saying, in effect, that the office of a Minister is more important than political office, and that ministers should stay out of politics. Now all this may or may not be true, I do not profess to know. But what becomes of the theory?

According to the theory, I was elected County Judge because God did, before time began, absolutely, eternally and unconditionally predestinate me to that end, and it could not be otherwise. Also, the folks who voted for me did so because God predestinated for them to and they could not do otherwise. All this, I remind you, is according to the theory, and not according to the Bible. The office of a minister is of course the highest and most important on earth. As to whether or not ministers should hold public office, as I said, I do not profess to know.

I do believe, however, that when opportunity affords, the political condition of the country having in many instances fallen to the low level which it has, we need humble, honest and God fearing men in positions of public leadership to set good examples before the people and to help guide their feet into the way of peace. For that reason alone, I try to serve. And to that end I desire the prayers of God’s people.

But now, let us turn back to the predestination: if God predestinated for me to be elected to office, then I suppose that is the way it had to be. Make no mistake about it, gentle reader, the unlimited predestination will never admit that anything that God predestinated can fail to come to pass, nor will he admit that anything can come to pass unless God did predestinate it. Why should the defender of unlimited predestination find fault with my being elected to public office? According to the theory, because he couldn’t help it.

If God predestinated everything, then He predestinated for him to find fault with me for doing what God predestinated for me to do. This is just one of the absurdities to which this false doctrine reduces itself when examined. The truth of the matter is I announced as a candidate for the County Judge once and then withdrew. Two years later I announced again and finished the race. I explained this to the great defender and called his attention to the fact that I could either run or not run as I chose, and therefore he could not tell for certain whether God predestinated for me to run or not. I asked him to explain this and then harmonize his explanation with his theory. He evidently is still laboring with it because over two years have passed and such an explanation has as yet not been forthcoming. Thus we dispose of the unlimited predestination of all things, and to the question, “has God already mapped out our life,” we answer, “No.”