While readying myself this morning I was browsing through a couple of blogs and a discussion board and came across an inquiry of sorts that seems to beg an entire issue rather than just a question. “Can anything come to pass that God has not first ordained and predestined”? There were not many answers to choose from in this Calvinist “poll” with those who respond choosing between yes and no. Of course in replying, an answer can be provided but it is the mindset fueling such inquiries that captures my interest. In replying no, one is forced to marry ordain and predestination in an inseparable union that is inappropriate to any context of the two terms. By replying yes, one becomes subject to frivolous charges of open theism or a libertine excess. Even with an example provided there is a certainty of neophyte responses that become as absurd as ill-thought. One respondent pointing to Jeremiah 19:5 is met with what was intended as derision but upon reflection was actually a confirmation of his point. I do not believe the poor soul who replied with derision has a clue that he essentially declared Jeremiah to be stating precisely what the example was intended to present, that the LORD does not ordain every single event of human activity in the sense of commanding or ordering it, setting it’s stage. It seems an innocuous question at first glance until it is realized that a denial serves as the foundation of the Calvinist paradigm. Replying with yes when substantiated drives a splitting wedge into that foundation.
The Calvinist mind or rather his theological premise fascinates me to some degree. Some of these souls cling to a supralapsarian position (the premise of the question itself) while others hold to infra or sublapsarian viewpoints. With the case of the Calvinist who posits the original question, he has claimed in the past to be infralapsarian which brings even greater perplexity if not outright humor to the discussion. How can all things have been ordained and predestined if the LORD did not ordain and predestine the fall of man (opposed to the supralapsarian view holding the fall was ordained and predetermined)? Yes, it is a confusing soup, a Bouillabaisse ladled with dangerous bones.
Now, back to the question “Can anything come to pass that God has not first ordained and predestined?”. The answer is easily yes. The bible speaks of predestination in a very limited sense applying the term only to those in Christ and in addressing the conforming of our minds and image to Christ. It is a predestining to Glory for those who abide in Him and He in us. We are in a very real sense predestined to becoming truly one in Him. It would be scripturally inappropriate to state that the LORD predestined the wearing of my brown shoes rather than the black wingtips this morning. It would be equally out of place from a Biblicist perspective to state that the LORD did predestine the selection of my breakfast cereals opposed to the eggs and bacon I can only wish to enjoy at this point in my life. Let’s keep this in perspective. The LORD does order my steps (Psalm 119:133). He does know the number of hairs upon my head. He does have a plan for my life. The ordering of my steps is a Hebrew idiom, the expectation of one who is faithful to the calling of the LORD. It also does not remove a straying from that ordering, a disobedience to the call of the LORD and willful and sinful removal from what the LORD desires of His saints.
Let’s consider the following example provided in the discussion thread.
“And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.” (Jer 19:3-6 AV)
Clearly, the LORD did not ordain nor predestine the people to do what He Himself states clearly He did not command nor even form in His mind. This is not an attack upon His omniscience. Instead it is an affirmation of His foreknowledge. Yet it is a scriptural refutation of the premised question. The LORD has not ordained and predestined every action of man in this world. In fact it is irrefutable by the very word of God Himself, “…I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind”. The object of this statement by the LORD is the burning of children as offerings to Baal meaning that the LORD never purposed or ordained these actions to occur (even though being omniscient He was fully aware of every transgression they did as well as our own here today).
“Can anything come to pass that God has not first ordained and predestined”? When asked this question directly, the scripturally consistent Christian can only answer affirmatively rather than step into the error of the Determinist.
A.M. Mallett http://travelah.blogspot.com/