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Bible Q

Are all our destinies predetermined?

In Romans 8:29-30, we read

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

We need to be careful to distinguish between God knowing something beforehand and predetermining that it will occur, overwhelming the attitude and behavior of the person. Jesus knew beforehand that Judas would betray him (John 6:64), but the bad choice of deciding to betray Jesus was made by Judas and he is to be blamed for it. It is true that God has planned for a future time of glory in the earth, but that does not mean that he has determined every decision that you will make yourself.

A useful analogy is when we watch a movie for the second time. We know what is going to take place because we have seen it before. But we are not causing it to happen. It is like that with God: he knows what is going to happen because he can foresee the future, but that doesn’t mean he is causing it to happen.

The word “predestine” here means that God knows in advance what we will be like, and so is able to know who will be part of his kingdom and “conformed to the image of his Son”. But it does not mean that he will force that outcome.

3 Replies to “Are all our destinies predetermined?”

  1. I’m sorry but your defense of God not predetermining our destinies just falls short on so many levels.
    God in your analogy is just part of the audience who has seen the movie already and is knowledgeable of events to come but yet is not having any effect on the movie’s plot. This explanation is very naive and unfortunately that God you’re describing is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible has smitten individuals and he has given out generational curses many times beginning with Adam and Eve. By these acts alone he has set the course of human past, present and future.
    As if that wasn’t alone, God perpetuates miracles, he chooses leaders to run his armies, he creates great floods and sends plagues onto unbelieving nations along with any of his own children who happen to rebel against him. He lets Satan tempt his creatures. I for one cannot remember the last time I watched a movie and wished for each of the actors and actresses to speak different languages so that they could not achieve a task that would have allowed them to reach me in my nice observatory and then all of a sudden my wishes came true on the screen. And why bother doing such a feat if I knew ahead time with my infinite wisdom in the laws of natures that I myself put in place that those actors would never get to where I’m sitting because they would at the very least die from lack of oxygen if not for the tower collapsing under its own weight.
    The Bible can be interpreted as a big book illustrating how God is directing humans with reward and punishment whether it is in this lifetime or the afterlife the same way you would rear an ass with a carrot and a stick. Remember “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?”
    God is in every way part of your daily life otherwise why bother thanking him for allowing you the blessing to live another day. He at his whim can decide to kill any creature he desires and he has done so in the Bible. In summary, God has directly or indirectly influenced every event in human history according to the Bible. He is indeed the director, not a passive observer.

  2. the key to this verse is in this verse

    predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son

    predestined to (what) be conformed to the image of his Son.

    thats our predestination. What we do with it depends on us.
    Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

  3. “…We need to be careful to distinguish between God knowing something beforehand and predetermining that it will occur…”

    Both are identical. Either everything’s a movie, or involves an “open end.” In the scriptures, the destinies of individuals are open ends, based on their choices.