There are a number of verses that seem to Contradict the whole concept of Predestination. I will attempt to deal with some of them here. However, even if I cannot deal with them to your satisfaction, we are still stuck with the huge volume of verses that talk specifically about the Elect and Predestination. Therefore the weight of the proof really falls on the Arminian to dispute those verses. You always want to view each passage of the Bible through the screen of ALL the Bible never taking any passage out of context.
Passages in Ezekial
Ezek. 33:11 Say to them, `As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’
Ezek. 18:23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
Ezek. 18:32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
In regard to the above Ezek passages:
All scripture must be interpreted in light of other scripture. On the surface one would view these statements to mean that God wants all mankind to be saved. But the reality of it is if God wanted all mankind to be saved, could he not do it? Of course he could. He is God after all and he can do anything he wants. The issue then is, in light of the concept that all men are doomed and God thru his mercy saves some, these 2 passages then make perfect sense.
Who are the wicked? Is it men who are evil incarnate only? Or is it the people of Israel who sin against God?
Who are the wicked, is it only the people of Israel or is it us too? Are we not wicked too?
Who are the wicked is it not me and you? Did we not hate God before we were Christians?
Yet are we not chosen by him for His glory to repent? Thus the Lord is happy when we who are wicked turn from our evil ways. It is also important to note that both prior to this and after this Ezekiel declares that it is God who takes out our wicked heart and puts in a heart after him.
Ezek. 11:19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
Ezek. 37:13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”
also Ezek 36:26-27
Secondly we have to understand that God does NOT rejoice in the death of the wicked. However He does not avoid it either. Just because God does not enjoy it or take pleasure in it, does not mean He does not do it. God is just and justice will be served. The wicked will be punished. And God will mourn when that happens. (Of course we have trouble understanding how an Omnipotent God could mourn at something He could prevent if He so desired. But that is OUR limitation, not His).
II Pet. 3:9
2Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(please read this verse in context, click here)
This seems to imply that every one will be saved. But we have to ask: Who is Peter writing to?
2Pet 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
He is obviously writing to believers.
(It is interesting also to look at 1Pet 1:1
1Pet. 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. )
Secondly who is that specific verse addressed to: He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
He is patient with YOU. The saved, i.e. the elect. In my humble opinion he is saying that the Lord will not return until all the elect have come to repentance. Read it as follows “He is patient with you, not wanting any of you to perish but everyone of you to come to repentance.”
Secondly, this passage is talking about the return of Christ. How would delaying the return of Christ, avoid people from perishing? Because if they are going to die without Christ, they are going to perish. To avoid people from perishing you need to do something drastic, like having them experience Christ in such a way that like Paul they have no choice but to accept Christ. Delaying Christ’s return makes things worse, because more people are born and the more that are born, the more that go to Hell. (In fact if you subscribe to the fact that a soul not born, is in heaven waiting to be born which is a Mormon doctrine – then this is even worse). Had Christ returned a year after his resurrection the population of the world would not be over 5 Billion. Of which close to 4 Billion may not be saved. This situation is getting worse. Obviously this cannot be want Peter is talking about. Could it instead mean that God intends that all the ELECT be born and saved. Because if they are elect, and their election and calling are of God, then giving them time to be born, gives them the opportunity to be saved.
Note that in all cases the very same verse that seems to contradict predestination immediately prior to it or after it reaffirms it.
Thirdly, let us look at this verse some more. Recall my short paper on the two different “
wills” of God
. For the sake of the argument let’s assume that this passage is NOT referring to only the elect. In that case what “will” is being referred to here?
1. It couldn’t be the Sovereign Will, because if it were the Sovereign Will and this was referring to ALL mankind. Then who would be saved? Obviously ALL mankind would be saved (because by definition the Sovereign Will of God is what ALWAYS happens). And we know all mankind is not going to be saved from the Bible.
2. It couldn’t be the Moral Will because then it sounds that God made a Promise that He won’t be able to keep.
Let me submit that if you assume the passage means really all mankind and not just the elect, it then refers instead to an Attitude that God has, similar to the attitude expressed in Ezekial above. I.e. God does not want anyone to perish, but He will allow them to perish.
I Tim 2:1
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Again in light of scripture the only way to comprehend this verse is to comprehend “all men” as how we would say “all nations of men”.
(Calvin’s Institutes, pg 984).
And again in the same book Paul reaffirms the doctrine that God is the one who leads them to the truth and grants repentance.
2Tim. 2:25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
The Wedding Feast.
Matt. 22:11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 `Friend,’ he asked, `how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, `Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
All these verses reemphasize that many are invited by few are chosen.
This doctrine may sound harsh. But it isn’t, please remember that
When God sends a man to Hell, that’s justice, because we all deserve Hell.
When God saves one of those men who deserve Hell, that’s Grace, because none of us deserve to be saved.
When we understand that we can do no less than to fall flat on our face and worship Him. That’s Glory.
And most importantly, if you aren’t a Christian today, and you want to become one, that’s an indication that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.
There are other verses. I would be happy to deal with them individually as they are brought to my attention.