Predestination, Determinism and Free Will

The problem of human wickedness seems to be a problem that drives some to deny God’s omnipotence and omniscience. Evil, said J.Vernon McGee, is naturally bad things like earthquakes and floods; those aren’t caused by human wickedness, yet each kill humans as certainly as murder. The initial great flood that killed all except Noah and family was caused by God in response to human wickedness. Wickedness is what people do; there is a Biblical use difference between wickedness and evil. People being wicked didn’t cause God to reply with mass murder of most of humanity in the great flood. 

Because of Adam and Eve being wicked in eating of the tree of knowledge in disobedience to God’s instruction, humanity was sentenced to suffering and death. God foreknows everything; nothing is created that he has not designed in some way. People are not excused from responsibility for their actions even so, if they choose evil.  That is a conundrum for many.  The issue of free will, conditional free will and determinism brings people to opine more on the side of free will for human beings, in error.

A minor illustration may shed some light on the issue. I once was lost walking several miles through winter snow in an Alaska coastal forest. Dense woods and no trail. I had to walk 5 or 6 miles on a straight line to a road. There were innumerable hills and thick wood, huckleberry brush and creeks to cross. It was very easy to become lost and I did a few times. I made every decision of what turn to take, what hill to climb or descend. I eventually found footprints in the snow. A track where someone had gone before. Then I looked around at the strangely familiar setting with a ravine, with hills close-in and realized I had walked in a circle.  I followed my own track and branched off at a place I thought might be more promising.

In future years before a road was built I repeated the same walk through winter snow and become lost again. I returned to my own track and corrected it as before.  Eventually I learned that humans tend to make the same decisions based on rational criteria, and with thousands of choices will make a vast majority of the same choices. I also knew that my choices were predestined more or less, subjectively, by myself. I realized that given the same choices in the thousands I would process them in the same way producing nearly the same, or exactly the same results. If God were looking over my shoulder he would know what my choices would be too. Though God predestines life and quantum physics and cosmology, the choices people make are yet there own. That is unacceptable to many- they want God to have no part of anything people choose to do.

God has chosen the elect- yet no one really knows too well before salvation if they are destined to be saved. Each element of human life is made to produce the best of all possible worlds for a humanity that is preponderantly wicked and lost in original sin. Some are saved; not all. God definitely has post-life plans for all of humanity. Those interested in theology mostly must consider what God has made evident or relevant for this world, and a little of the next. There is no way to know even a large part of God’s mind plans or thought.