The Paradox of Predestination
One year later, I’m still pondering the issue of predestination and election and how these things could possibly exist within the context of our all knowing, all loving and perfectly just God. I don’t think it is completely and utterly out of the question that election and predestination are real things that God has ordained… but it is hard for me.
Those who know me and have read my book may find this disturbing but I have to share my continuing journey to understand better the Calvinist doctrine of election and predestination. Why God continues to put me through this agony, I really can’t say. The topic is such a deep and painful one but, on a plane somewhere between Lexington, KY and Phoenix, AZ, God brought me back to the topic by having me read through Romans, especially Romans 8:29.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29)
God, being unable to escape His own foreknowledge of the span of all time, suffers each minute of all eternity knowing who are His elect and those who are not. He knows how His Son died for all but also knew who would answer His call and who would not.
If they won’t hear, knock the dust of the city off of your feet and move on to those that will hear and respond. (Scripture?)
God’s selections of his elect weren’t to exclude people from His kingdom. He had the choice of creating garden, knowing full well that Adam and Eve would fall away but to have a personal relationship with man, he had to choose to let us struggle with sin to have full intimacy with His creation.
To have a personal relationship with you and me, He knew that many would not come to Him. But, He knew that it was either create you as His chosen or not create man at all.
In this truth, God feels the full joy of fellowship with His elect while feeling the deepest sorrow for those He foreknew would not follow Him. I can’t imagine that level of complete joy and that depth of sadness God feels throughout eternity.
There is no boasting or pride in this for His elect. We, as His elect, should feel a deep love and gratitude to the Creator of the universe for His love and grace to us while feeling a deep sense of fear, sadness and awe at His ultimate sovereignty in His sacrifice in the very creation of humans. He gave His Son so we could know Him and the greater sacrifice the Father made for us.
While I’m writing this, I know that it is a realization that election is not what I first thought it was. In my logic of the pure nature of God – His justice, His mercy, His sacrifice, His omniscience – to create man and to have a relationship with us, He had a choice. He had the choice to create man so He could have a true relationship with some knowing that many would never follow Him (because of His omniscience) or… not create man at all.
I don’t full understand this paradox. We may never fully understand this part of the nature of God but I believe that a God that we could fully understand wouldn’t be an all powerful, sovereign God.
His election of His people somehow insured that some of the blood that Jesus bled touched me in the space of eternity. In my human view, I feel a new sense of gratitude to God and at the same time, a new respect for how much He has had to suffer over His creation… and continues to suffer before, during and after the cross.
A well of emotions stir up in my soul just trying to comprehend it. I truly do not understand where justice and sovereignty intersect here or even if it matters. Maybe God will reveal to me later. If not, that’s OK too. I think we have to trust Him on your journey.