Sovereignty, Predestination and Fatalism

Barry Bennett

If sickness and suffering is God’s preordained will, why did Jesus commission the church to go into all the world and lay hands on the sick that they might recover? If sickness is a blessing for God’s children, why does James ask if there are “any sick among you?”, and then give the formula for receiving healing?

If God has already determined who will be saved and who will be lost and there is nothing that anyone can do about it, why does He commission the church to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations? Isn’t that a waste of time since their eternal destiny is already determined?

If God has foreordained who is saved and who is lost, then why does Paul say, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom 10:14)

If it is impossible to resist the grace of God, why does Stephen say: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” (Acts 7:51)

Why are we exhorted to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) If there is no such thing as personal choice, and if the devil only does God’s will, then resisting him would be resisting God.

What is the point of prayer if all things are predetermined and there is nothing man can do to change anything? Why does James say, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). What does fervent prayer avail?

Why did Jesus rebuke those of little faith and commend those of great faith if their faith has nothing to do with them but has been predetermined by God? Is it right to rebuke the fearful if their fear has been programmed into them?

What point is there in asking, seeking and knocking if our prayers can change nothing. If my condition in life is predetermined, what point is there in trying to improve my situation through prayer?

If man has no will and is not free to obey or disobey God, then why does God exhort the following: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deut 30:19

How many who believe that God is in control of all things are brave enough to run a search of the word “if” in the New Testament and see how many of God’s promises are conditional and determined by man’s choice and response?

Why do those who believe that a hardened heart is preordained neglect the teaching of scripture that says, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb 3:13) This was written to believers and shows that hardness of heart is not ordained by God but rather the result of the deceitfulness of sin.

If salvation is predestined by God, then why does Paul lament the fact that at one point in his travels he was forbidden from speaking “to the Gentiles that they might be saved?” (1Thes 2:16)

Why is it impossible to please God without faith if He has predestined everything according to His will in the first place? If we either have faith or don’t have faith according to predestination, why would He not be pleased if we don’t have it?

How can one have known the truth and sound doctrine and then turn away if God never wanted them to know the truth in the first place? “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim 4:3-4)

Why would a predestined believer need to “labor to enter into that rest” if he has no choice nor will in the matter? And why would he be admonished to not fall into unbelief if he hadn’t been chosen to believe from all eternity? “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Heb 4:11)

Doesn’t God do His will whether we ask or not? What difference does it make if we ask according to His will? “And this is the confidence that we have in him that if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us:” (1 Jn 5:14)

Why must the just live by faith if their salvation is preordained? What does it matter how they live if there is no chance to change their destiny?

Why does Jesus exhort the man He healed to “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (John 5:14) Hasn’t God already predetermined all the good or bad that will ever happen to that man in spite of his lifestyle?

If nothing can thwart the will of God, then why could Jesus do no mighty work in His own town because of their unbelief? (Mark 6:1-5)

If salvation is preordained and assured, then why was Paul concerned for his own salvation? “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor. 9:27)

Why are life and death in the power of the tongue and not the result of the “sovereign will of God.” (Prov. 18:21) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom 10:9)

Why must we run with patience the race that is set before us if the outcome of that race is already predestined by God? Why does it matter how we run the race? (Heb. 12:1)

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