There's a new reality born every minute. Unless one is a believer in predestination (in which case I'll call the prestidigitator), or other puppet-like restraints on our powers, one is free to imagine and effect changes on the world. And if enough people do it, there are big changes. These things happen. Anything can.
Predestination therefore, as it regards the thing itself, is the Decree of the good pleasure of God in Christ, by which He resolved within Himself from all eternity, to justify, adopt, and endow with everlasting life, to the praise of His own glorious grace, believers on whom He had decreed to bestow faith.
O how far remov'd, Predestination! is thy foot from such As see not the First Cause entire: and ye, O mortal men! be wary how ye judge: For we, who see the Maker, know not yet The number of the chosen; and esteem Such scantiness of knowledge our delight: For all good is, in that primal good, Concentrate; and God's will and ours are one.
If psychics are real, it implies that the universe is far vaster and stranger than conventional perception would state. If psychics can talk to the dead, that removes the sting of mortality and loss. It also suggests there is predestination, a way to cheat the vagaries of Fate with foreknowledge. The cost for believing in them is tiny indeed compared to that.
In one day I had altered my life; my life, therefore, was alterable. This simple axiom did not call out for exegesis; no, it entered my bloodstream directly, as powerful as heroin. I could feel it pump and surge, the way it brightened my veins to a kind of glass. I had wakened that morning to narrowness and predestination and now I was falling asleep in the storm of my own free will.
For Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit, in which, as nothing is omitted that is both necessary and useful to know, so nothing is taught but what is expedient to know. Therefore we must guard against depriving believers of anything disclosed about predestination in Scripture, lest we seem either wickedly to defraud them of the blessing of their God or to accuse and scoff at the Holy Spirit for having published what it is in any way profitable to suppress.
The whole struggle was over, and yet there seemed to have been no moment of victory. You might say, if you liked, that the power of choice had been simply set aside and an inflexible destiny substituted for it. On the other hand, you might say he had delivered from the rhetoric of his passions and had emerged in unassailable freedom. Ransom could not for the life of him, see any difference between these two statements. Predestination and freedom were apparently identical. He could no longer see any meaning in the many arguments he had heart on the subject.
Our young people are diseased with the theological problems of original sin, origin of evil, predestination, and the like. These never presented a practical difficulty to any man,--never darkened across any man's road, who did not go out of his way to seek them. These are the soul's mumps, and measles, and whooping- coughs, and those who have not caught them cannot describe their health or prescribe a cure. A simple mind will not know these enemies.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Because of Jesus' supposed predestination, God would have had to choose the people who would kill and betray his son, choose the method by which he would be killed (crucifixion), and the time at which the event would occur. Those guilty of killing Jesus would therefore be simply carrying out God's wishes without the free will to have chosen a path for themselves.
David G. McAfee
... The decrees of the Sovereign Ordainer, as related to fate and predestination, are of two kinds. Both are to be obeyed and accepted. The one is irrevocable, the other is, as termed by men, impending. To the former all must unreservedly submit, inasmuch as it is fixed and settled. God however, is able to alter or repeal it. As the harm that must result from such a change will be greater than if the decree had remained unaltered, all, therefore, should willingly acquiesce in what God hath willed and confidently abide by the same.
God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination, and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, "0 Lord, Thou knowest." Those things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God's omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints.
Aiden Wilson Tozer
It is inconceivable that the God who gives Himself in His Son to save us, should have created some people ordained to evil and damnation. There can only be one predestination to salvation. In and through Jesus Christ all people are predestined to be saved. Our free choice is ruled out in this regard. God wants free people, except in relation to this last and definitive decision. We are not free to decide and choose to be damned.
I infer that God's decrees, and the necessity of event flowing thence, neither destroy the true free-agency of men, nor render the commission of sin a jot less heinous. They neither force the human will, nor extenuate the evil of human actions. Predestination, foreknowledge, and providence, only secure the event, and render it certainly future, in a way and manner (incomprehensibly indeed by us; but) perfectly consistent with the nature of second causes.
Human existence may be simpler than we thought. There is no predestination, no unfathomed mystery of life. Demons and gods do not vie for our allegiance. Instead, we are self-made, independent, alone, and fragile, a biological species adapted to live in a biological world. What counts for long-term survival is intelligent self-understanding, based upon a greater independence of thought than that tolerated today even in our most advanced democratic societies.
E. O. Wilson
Believe it or not, the notions of free will and destiny are not mutually exclusive. Predestination is the universal framework of limits (based on natural physical laws) placed upon us. Free will is our infinite ability to make choices within that framework. Because the universal scale is so great-and most of it constitutes an undiscovered frontier-our choices are only limited by our knowledge, our abilities, and our imagination. To put it simply, the world is such a huge playground sandbox that we will never run out of sand or reach the faraway safety fence of destiny. So go out there and play!
It was not the Fall of Adam, therefore, that set God's agenda; it was the decision to share the great dance with us through Jesus. Adam's plunge certainly threatened God's dreams for us, but that threat had been anticipated and already strategically overcome in the predestination of the incarnation. Jesus Christ did not become human to fix the fall; he became human to accomplish the eternal purpose of our adoption, and in order to bring our adoption to pass, the Fall had to be called to a halt and undone... Jesus is not a footnote to Adam and his Fall; the Fall, and indeed creation itself, is a footnote to the purpose of God in Jesus Christ.
C. Baxter Kruger
Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee All he could have; I made him just and right, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. Such I created all th' Ethereal Powers And Spirits, both them who stood and them who fail'd; Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere Of true allegiance, constant Faith or Love, Where only what they needs must do, appear'd, Not what they would? what praise could they receive? What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, Made passive both, had served necessity, Not mee. They therefore as to right belong'd, So were created, nor can justly accuse Thir maker, or thir making, or thir Fate; As if Predestination over-rul'd Thir will, dispos'd by absolute Decree Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed Thir own revolt, not I; if I foreknew Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow of Fate, Or aught by me immutable foreseen, They trespass, Authors to themselves in all Both what they judge and what they choose; for so I form'd them free, and free they must remain, Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change Thir nature, and revoke the high Decree Unchangeable, Eternal, which ordain'd Thir freedom: they themselves ordain'd thir fall.
Faith is not a meritorious cause of election, but it is constantly attested as the sole condition of salvation. Faith merely receives the merit of atoning grace, instead of asserting its own merit. God places the life-death option before each person, requiring each to choose. The ekletos are those who by grace freely believe. God does not compel or necessitate their choosing. Even after the initial choice of faith is made, they may grieve and quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Faith is the condition under which God primordially wills the reception of salvation by all. 'He chooses us, not because we believe, but that we may believe; lest we should say that we first chose Him' (Augustine). Faith receives the electing love of God not as if it had already become efficacious without faith, but aware that God's prescience foreknows faith like all else. In accord with ancient ecumenical consent, predestination was carefully defined in centrist Protestant orthodoxy as: 'The eternal, divine decree, by which God, from His immense mercy, determined to give His Son as Mediator, and through universal preaching , to offer Him for reception to all men who from eternity He foresaw would fall into sin; also through the Word and Sacraments to confer faith upon all who would not resist; to justify all believers, and besides to renew those using the means of grace; to preserve faith in them until the end of life, and in a word, to save those believing to the end' (Melanchthon).
Thomas C. Oden
Until every soul is freely permitted to investigate every book, and creed, and dogma for itself, the world cannot be free. Mankind will be enslaved until there is mental grandeur enough to allow each man to have his thought and say. This earth will be a paradise when men can, upon all these questions differ, and yet grasp each other's hands as friends. It is amazing to me that a difference of opinion upon subjects that we know nothing with certainty about, should make us hate, persecute, and despise each other. Why a difference of opinion upon predestination, or the trinity, should make people imprison and burn each other seems beyond the comprehension of man; and yet in all countries where Christians have existed, they have destroyed each other to the exact extent of their power. Why should a believer in God hate an atheist? Surely the atheist has not injured God, and surely he is human, capable of joy and pain, and entitled to all the rights of man. Would it not be far better to treat this atheist, at least, as well as he treats us? Christians tell me that they love their enemies, and yet all I ask is-not that they love their enemies, not that they love their friends even, but that they treat those who differ from them, with simple fairness. We do not wish to be forgiven, but we wish Christians to so act that we will not have to forgive them. If all will admit that all have an equal right to think, then the question is forever solved; but as long as organized and powerful churches, pretending to hold the keys of heaven and hell, denounce every person as an outcast and criminal who thinks for himself and denies their authority, the world will be filled with hatred and suffering. To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all the creeds.
Robert G. Ingersoll