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Predestination PDF Print E-mail
Written by W.R. Daniels, Jr.   

There are several factors that equate to a misunderstanding of the doctrine of predestination, some of which are, the difference in the “absolute decrees or will of God,” and that which He “suffers,” the difference in God’s “knowledge of all things,” and His “foreknowledge,” and of course a complete misunderstanding of the words predestinate and predestinated.

Those who use the words predestinate and predestinated as found in scripture to mean that God predestinated all things that come to pass, both good and evil, stretch or expand the meaning of the words, thereby claiming a meaning which is not true.

The words predestinate in Romans 8:29-30, and predestinated in Ephesians 1:5, 11 are compound words, that is, they are words which are made up of two words. The Greek word for predestinate and predestinated is the word proorizo, which means, to limit in advance, (fig.) predetermine: - determine before, ordain, predestinate. (Strongs) The word proorizo comes from two Greek words pro and horizo. The word pro signifies “fore”, in front of, prior, above, ago, before, or ever. (Strongs) The word horizo means, to mark out or bound (“horizon”), (fig.) to appoint, decree, specify: - declare, determine, limit, ordain. The word horizo comes from the word horizon, a derivative of horos, which signifies a bound or limit; a boundary line, border, coast. (Strongs)

 The words predestinate and predestinated (proorizo), are always used in the scriptural context of the final destiny of God’s people. When the scriptural context is about events or actions the words “determine before,” and “ordained before” (proorizo), are used. (Acts 4:28, 1Co. 2:7)  Thus, in Romans 8:29-30 predestination is limited in advance to being “conformed to the image of Christ,” and being conformed to Christ is limited in advance to those whom God foreknew, those who are the called, and who love God.  In Ephesians 1:5,11, predestination is limited in advance to the “adoption of children.” And the adoption of children is limited in advance to those who were chosen in Christ before the world began. So, to go beyond the specific limits which God himself set, is going too far.

In Acts 4:28, there is an event spoken of that God had before the world began determined to be done. The event was the suffering and punishment inflicted upon Christ by Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel. The event was limited in advance to the suffering and punishment for they could not take his life. (John 10:17-18) In 1Co. 2:7 Paul said, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. Here we have action, that is, preaching the “wisdom of God,” the gospel. Paul said the gospel was preached in a mystery, “even the hidden wisdom,” that is, the gospel is hidden from some, and to them it is a mystery. God has limited in advance the revelation of the mystery to those to whom it is to be given. See verse 8, and Matthew 13:11, 2Co. 4:3.

To lump together every thing that has to do with the redemption and salvation, and final destiny of God’s people, with every action and event, whether good or evil, under the umbrella of “predestination” is not scriptural. The scripture used by those who do this is Ephesians 1:11 which reads, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” This text does not say that God predestinated all things whatsoever come to pass whether good or evil. It says that someone was predestinated, and that those who were, were predestinated by  (God) who works all things after the counsel of his own will. It was people and their final destiny that was predestinated, not actions or events.  What is this destiny? Notice, those who were predestinated, obtained an inheritance, 1Peter 1:4. Who has obtained this inheritance? The chosen and adopted children of God, is the obvious answer. (Ephesians 1:4-5) So what we have here in this text is this, the inheritance in heaven was limited in advance to those whom God chose in Christ, and adopted unto himself by Christ (doing the legal work), and all of this He did according to the purpose and good pleasure of his own will.

To say that God predestinated all things that come to pass whether good or evil is to say that when men do evil and sin, God is the cause of their actions. It is obvious from James 1:13-17 that this position is not scriptural, but is in error. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man (with evil): But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

W. R. Daniels Jr.

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.