Predestination and Free Will in Christianity
Predestination and free will are the two most debated doctrines in Christianity. Christian theologians have questioned the issue throughout history, yet the end does not appear to be in sight. Both concepts attempt to clarify the role of human-divine agency in the attainment of salvation. There have also been numerous attempts to reconcile predestination and free, which has further precipitated the argument on whether the two can even co-exist.
Predestination is the belief that God chose beforehand, even before the beginning of the world, all who will be saved. Even before we came into existence, the sovereign God already had a decree regarding our salvation. Therefore, the actions and decisions of those destined to be saved do not influence or change the decisions that they will receive eternal salvation. Therefore, all Christians, including those in the past in the present, and the future, who truly believe in him, are predestined to be saved.
Free will, on the other hand, is a will that is not subject to any external forces apart from God. But our will as humans is influenced by many different things, including our immediate environment, family and friends, upbringing, and how we view the world. Although God has the greatest influence on our will, Christians also can exercise their own free will. For instance, we choose our beliefs, thoughts, and actions. Therefore, in the absence of compulsion, a person willingly decides to become a Christian by faith with the hope of being saved. A man is responsible for his actions and cannot blame others or God since his actions were in accordance with genuine volition.
So, this brings us to the question, can predestination and free will co-exist in Christianity?
God is an eternal being without a beginning or an end. When God created the world, he also made time, but he does not exist within spacetime because he created it. But humans are bound by time, and our existence unfolds as we live through time. As such, we view our future as uncertain and something that is yet to unfold. So, the concept of predisposition and free will may seem like a proposition. But since God is not bound by the spacetime continuum, he already knows what will happen in the future. So while God gives us the free will to make our own decisions, he is already aware of our decisions. Therefore, even though God has given us the have free will to choose our actions, our future is predetermined, and God already knows the outcomes of our future because he sees everything as a present.