Thursday, November 10, 2011

4.  Whose Choice?

The main criticism of predestination, the belief that God chooses some and not others, is that it means that God chooses some and not others!  This, it is argued, is simply not fair or just.  In response to this perceived unfairness, Christians have resorted to the doctrine of free-will.  From this point of view, God freely offers and we freely accept or reject that offer.  The problem, I have suggested, is what decides who gets to make a choice.  Either it is a random opportunity depending on, amongst other things, where you are born and live.  Or God has a role to play in deciding who gets to choose.

However, once you allow God a role in deciding who gets to choose, you are up against all the same problems that those who believe in predestination have to face.  These are again summed up in the simple question: why some and not others?  Why does God choose to give some an opportunity to make a choice while leaving others with no opportunity for one?  The point I am making is that people reject predestination often on the grounds of its perceived unfairness, but fail to see that the alternatives run into exactly the same problem only from a different direction.

The idea of human free-will of necessity must die the death of a thousand qualifications.  At best, all we are left with is a very limited ability to choose to be a Christian if we are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to do so.  At worst, we are left with the responsibility for making a choice without God's help we are incapable of making, even if we are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity.

The idea of predestination when put bluntly and starkly may sound unfair, but given the inherent weaknesses of alternative positions based on the idea of human free-will and choice, it at least deserves more consideration than nowadays it is given.

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