We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified;and those he justified, he also glorified.
There is an error, an insidious belief that God predetermines our deaths. This belief might ‘fit’ and feel good, when it is an older person, who is close to God, and they say goodbye to their earthly family and then hello to their heavenly family, in glory and joy.
We get in trouble when we apply this to almost everyone else, especially those who suddenly die, die young, or die under tragic or evil circumstances.
Some Christians that believe in predeterminism believe that it does not matter really how they live and the choices that they make, because their time of death is already set.
Some people die shortly after they retire from full-time work, because they lack purpose. Every year, people die climbing mountains, which was completely their choice.
There is a difference between God knowing what will happen and God predetermining what happens.
It is lazy to believe that God predetermines everything. It is a terrible deception. Actually, God has set things up in the world, so that many things will not happen unless we do it. We must pray and we must act, or else God’s will can not be done on earth.
That is how big God is on free will. He freely gives, but then we must freely give for good things to work out.
Error is on both ends of the spectrum. To say that life and everything that happens on earth is a script, written and directed by God, that we act in, as actors who do not have complete freedom, is false. And to say that God either does not exist, or is detached and we do everything, including our religions and our own merited righteousness, is also false.
The truth is that we have freedom to choose. The truth is that bad things do happen, that were not God’s plan or God’s idea. The truth is that we do not know why people die or are allowed to suffer untimely deaths.
On top of all this is God who is all powerful and totally loving. There is often no cause and effect. Remember the story where the tower collapsed and a bunch of people died and they asked Jesus about it (Luke 13). It was just an accident. There was no reason.
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