WE TRUST this study will make it evident that
indeterminism or free will is unscriptural, but no more so than fatalism. Yet
both these philosophies contain vital truth. Free will ideally recognizes the essential
place of those things which are means to an end, and fatalism truly perceives that
whatever God has appointed will surely come to pass, according to His own operations.
Truth is not made the worse for the company in which we may find it.
Neither are we contending
for any cold, secular determinism which knows nothing of loving design, wise direction and
glorious purpose. We seek only to point the believer in Christ Jesus to the divine
disposings, the gracious counsels and operations of his God and Father, that he may know
Him, trust Him and rely upon Him:
For I laid all this
on my heart, and my heart saw all this: That the righteous and the wise and their services
are in the hand of the One, Elohim (Ecc.9:1). Just as you have no knowledge
what the way of the wind may be, Or how bones are formed in the belly that is full, Thus
you cannot know the work of the One, Elohim, Who made everything (Ecc.11:5).
Again I saw under the sun That the race is not to the fleet, Nor the battle to
valiant masters, Nor even bread for the wise, Nor riches for the understanding, Nor even
favor for the knowing, For season and mischance [or, occurrence] shall happen
to them all. For, moreover, a man does not know his season, Like fish that are held in a
vicious weir, And like birds that are held in a snare, So the sons of humanity themselves
are trapped by a season of evil, When it falls on them suddenly (Ecc.9:11,12).
I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done
under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to
humble them by it (Ecc.1:13).
Indeed, According as
it is written [Psa.44:22], that On Thy account we are being put to death the
whole day, We are reckoned as sheep for slaughter (Rom.8:36).
Account is a
variant of logos, LAY (say)ing; it is usually translated
word. The sense is, concerning the evils that attend our course, God has
decided, and He has spoken, saying that this should be our lot, even if the particulars
concerning the affairs of each person are far too numerous to record as part of His
written Word. Indeed, Who is this who speaks and it is coming to be, when my Lord
did not instruct? Is not the evil and the good faring forth from the mouth of the
Supreme? (Lam.3:37, 38). For, as the downpour and the snow is
descending from the heavens, Yet it is not returning there, but rather soaks the earth,
And causes it to bear and to sprout, So shall My word which shall
fare forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty, But rather, it does that which
I desire, And prospers in that for which I sent it (Isa.55:10,11).
It is on account of God
that we experience evil, and, as surely as sheep [are set] for slaughter, we
will continue to be subjected to it. But this is only so that in the midst of our
afflictions and sufferings we might find the assurance of Gods love. It must be a
vast love (cp Eph.2:4), full of patience and power, for the opposition is fierce
and formidable. Though all manner of things threaten to separate us from Him and do their
utmost toward that end, in all creation nothing is able to separate us from the
love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. In all our pains, we are more than
conquering through Him Who loves us (Rom.8:37). As good as it is to
conquer, it is far better to be inseparable from the love of God.
When we are conformed in
character to the image of Gods Son and given a glorious body even as His own
(Rom.8:29; Phil.3:21), it will be a great under-statement to say that we have conquered
our failings and overcome our afflictions. As good as it is to meditate upon the marvelous
and total victory which lies ahead, it is even better to meditate upon Gods present
love for us and what this love portends. His grace upon us consists of far more than the
eventual defeat of Sin. Its riches are to be found in a realization of His love. Since God
is able and since He loves us neither death nor life, nor messengers,
nor sovereignties, nor the present, nor what is impending, nor powers, nor height, nor
depth, nor any other creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ
Jesus, our Lord (Rom.8:38,39). Through Him Who loves us, we are more than
conquering; we are loved.
GOD HAS MADE US
believers seem to realize that at least the rest of creation never comes into existence,
and can never be sustained, except according to divine providence. Yet if men and their
ways were somehow an exception to this, we might never have been born at all. The
possibility of our having been generated by chance is even far more remote
than the absurd fantasy that, Given enough time and typewriter ribbons, a roomful of
monkeys could both create and type out the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It is vital to
recognize that Yahweh, He is Elohim; He it is Who has made us, and we
are His (Psa.100:3).
Left to the winds of
chance, we could never have become pre-expectant in the Christ, and destined
to be for the laud of [Gods] glory (Eph.1:12). We could never have
become ourselves, with all the countless things that make us unique, except through our
own actual parents, and through that unique begettal, in all its details, which resulted
in our birth, to say nothing of all that has happened since. The truth is, most do not
even realize that God is their Creator, much less the Creator of evil. They merely think
He created all the natural processes which made their life possible, and then
left whatever might happen to freewill chance.
HONORABLE DEEDS AND DIVINE PROVIDENCE
truth of our words is well represented in the following popular claim: My parents,
even as all of their ancestors before them, chose to have meor at
least they could have chosen not to. No one had to be conceived. Otherwise,
there would be no honor in the bed of matrimony or dishonor in adultery.
Such words, which are most
persuasive to those attuned to the worlds ethics, are actually altogether foolish.
In response we can only say, Let no one be deluding himself. If anyone among you is
presuming to be wise in this eon, let him become stupid, that he may be becoming wise, for
the wisdom of this world is stupidity with God (1 Cor.3:18,19).
Such claims can never be
maintained. For the determination of what is honorable or dishonorable is not to be
discovered by the supposed relationship between human actions and free will, but by
ascertaining what God has said is right and what He has said is wrong, according to
His revealed, preceptive will.
Even this changes in many
ways, depending upon the divine administration under which we are living. It was not wrong
for the people of Israel to omit performing those things which were only given through the
apostle Paul many centuries later. And it is not wrong for us today to refrain from doing
many an external that brought dishonor and severe judgment to the transgressor of the law
of Moses. For he was under the law of Yahweh, and subject to its curses. However, for
ourselves, Christ reclaims us from the curse of the law, becoming a curse for our
Though we are not lawless
peoplewe are not without Gods law, His rules of action for us (1
Cor.9:21)nonetheless we are not under law at all, but under grace (Rom.6:14).
Therefore we are certainly not under the law which God gave to Israel through Moses. To be
under law is to be subject to the lordship of Sin and Death (Rom.6:9,14),
because of ones having committed a violation of law. For sin is
lawlessness(1 John 3:4), and the ration of Sin is death (Rom.6:23a).
But, Sin shall not be lording it over you, for you are not under law but under
grace (Rom.6:14). For ourselves, now the consummation is life eonian.
For the gracious gift of God is life eonian, in Christ Jesus, our Lord
The unbelief of the Jews
remained a dishonor to them, even though they were unable to believe (John 12:39). Yet to
the chosen ones, according to the foreknowledge of God (1 Pet.1:1,2), who were
believing through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:11), was the honor,
yet to the unbelieving: . . . [the dishonor of being those who rejected Christ] who are
stumbling also at the word, being stubborn, to which they were appointed also
(1 Pet.2:7, 8). Their stumbling was to be accounted for by their being stubborn, yet they
were appointed to this by God (cf Isa.6:9, 10; Rom.11:32).
It is hardly to the
dishonor of a woman of the most excellent virtue and strength of character that she is
unable to engage in base, sordid acts. She cannot choose them, for they are
abhorrent to her. Likewise, the vile, wicked acts of those that do not stop from
sin (2 Pet.2:14), who love unrighteousness and commend the unclean, do not become
any less abominable because they are but flesh, and the flesh is not able to be subject to
the law of God (Rom.8:7).
Apart from Gods
all-encompassing operations, any number of things might have hindered either the
beginnings of our life or its continuance at countless points along the way. Consequently,
we thank Him for our life and breath and all. It is far from ideal to think of
ourselves, more or less, as self-made men. For it is not our name that is to be glorified
but His. To be faithful, our prayer can only be that our God should be fulfilling every
delight of goodness and work of faith and power in us (2 Thess.1:11). Prayer must never be
based upon the proud sentiment, Help me, but not too much, for I still want some
glory of my own.
It is God Who fulfills all
that is good in us. As the Lord Jesus said of Himself, Now the Father remaining in
Me, He is doing His works (John 14:10). For ourselves as well, then, it can only be
thus, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in
accord with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess.1:12).
INTERCONNECTION AND DEPENDENCY
realizing that Gods creation of evil is a righteous creation for the good of all and
for His own glory, many express shocked disbelief when hearing us say that it is the work
of His hand. Yet their unbelief concerning His creation of evil distracts them from facing
the fact that neither do they believe that He is the Maker of good, certainly not in
mans personal character and well-being, since these, indeed, depend in such great
measure on his own choices, and yet it is insisted that nothing at all, certainly not God,
causes him to choose as he does. Therefore, notwithstanding its followers best
intentions and outward forms to the contrary, traditional Christianity has largely become
an atheistic religion. For the realm of Chance is under the direction of no one at all.
represents itself as if it were dualistic: God only makes good, the Devil makes
evil, only to turn about and become polytheistic: Where you spend eternity is
up to you. It likes to pretend to be monotheistic: God is the
sovereign Lord of all; but in the end proves itself actually to be atheistic:
Man, even as God, possesses free will [that is, the power of contrary choice], and
is not caused to behave as he does.
Nonetheless, if God had
not caused someone to bring the evangel to us, or if we had died prior to such a time, we
would hardly have been in a position to believe, or to do anything else. Yet, as history
and universal experience have shown, things quite inconsequential in themselves have often
altered the subsequent course of mens lives in far-reaching ways. This principle of
interconnection and dependency is true of all things and at all times, though it should
spread to concern itself with multiplied trillions upon trillions of details throughout
The secret of Gods
will (Eph.1:9) is to have an administration of the complement of the eras, to head
up all in the Christ . . . in Whom our lot was cast also (Eph.1:10,11). This
reminds us of Proverbs 16:33: It is the lot that is cast forth in the bosom; Yet
from Yahweh is its every judgment. That is, the determination of our destiny, and
the destiny of all, is entirely in the hands of God. This is the very point of the figure,
in Whom our lot was cast also. God appoints His Son enjoyer of the
allotment of all (Heb.1:2), and Head over all (Eph.1:22). And when God
heads up all in Christ, all will find their allotment in His allotment. None will receive
anything but what is first of all His. Truly, all is of God.
However, in the relative
sense, many things are not of God, for they are contrary to His preceptive
will as well as to His callings (e.g., 1 John 3:10; Gal.5:8). But even these, absolutely
speaking, find their source, means and goal in the counsels and operations of God.
Let all the earth fear Yahweh; . . . For He spoke, and it came to be; He enjoined,
and it stood firm. Yahweh, He annuls the counsel of the nations; He repudiates the designs
of the peoples. The counsel of Yahweh shall stand for the eon, The designs of His heart
for generation after generation (Psa.33:8-11).
It is true that Gods
preceptive will and counsel can be repudiated, indeed this is usually the case today. But
it is just as true that His decretive will and counsel shall stand. All My counsel
shall be confirmed, And all My desire will I do (Isa.46:10b). It will come to pass,
on account of Him.