Does God Predetermine Who Goes to Heaven and Who Goes to Hell?
Has God predetermined who goes to Heaven and also predetermined who goes to hell? Does God select or predestine people whom He chooses for eternal punishment, and then elect others for eternal life in Heaven?
Does free will exist and do humans have the free will to either accept or reject both God and salvation – or does God override humanity’s ability to choose in relation to salvation?
What is Determinism?
Determinists generally do not believe in free will or that human beings have the capacity to independently make decisions or make their own personal choices.
According to Britanica: Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.
Determinism in this sense is usually understood to be incompatible with free will, or the supposed power or capacity of humans to make decisions or perform actions independently of any prior event or state of the universe.
However, is determinism Biblical or does free will really exist in the Bible?
How Do We Know Free will Exists?
Free will is the ability to choose independently between alternatives. Britannica defines free will as the following: Free will, in humans, the power or capacity to choose among alternatives or to act in certain situations independently of natural, social, or divine restraints.
In the Bible we learn that God created humanity with a free will? God did not create people as robots without the ability to choose or think for themselves.
From the beginning we can tell that the first man and the first woman were given free will by God.
In the beginning, God gave Adam just one commandment and one warning / penalty in the garden of Eden.
Genesis 2:15-17 says: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Therefore by giving Adam and Eve a rule / commandment, God gave Adam a choice to either choose to obey or disobey Him. God gave Adam & Eve alternatives concerning the many trees they should eat of but gave a rule about the one tree they should not eat from.
Free will cannot exist without a choice between alternatives. Free will cannot exist without the ability to choose independently despite the consequences or rewards. Free will cannot exist without the ability to demonstrate love.
When Adam & Eve unfortunately disobeyed God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God did not override Adam & Eve’s free will or ability to choose in spite of the negative consequences (Genesis 3:1-7).
Similarly, everyday humans use their free will. Society has laws which must be obeyed. People have the free will to either choose to obey or choose to disobey the laws. If a person chooses to disobey the laws of society, that person will face punishment. However if a person chooses to abide by the laws, that individual avoids punishment. Therefore every human being has been given the ability to make choices.
The Bible itself is filled with men and women who exercised free will and made both good and bad choices which impacted their lives and their relationship with God.
The Bible is also filled with situations where God Himself encouraged people to use their free will. For example:
Deuteronomy 30:15-18 God says the following: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.”
In Deuteronomy 30:15-18 God states the alternatives that humanity must choose from: it’s either life and good or death and evil. Our choices can either bring good rewards or they can bring grave consequences.
Does God Predetermine Who Goes to Hell?
The reality is that God is so loving that He does not wish to see anyone perish. Instead He desires to see everyone repent and have a relationship with Him.
2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
If God desires to see everyone repent as 2 Peter 3:9 says, then God would not elect or predetermine some into hell and others into Heaven.
Despite the fact that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23), God nevertheless loves us to the extent of providing salvation as a free gift to whoever believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Romans 5:8 says: But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
In John 3:16 Jesus says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The concept of Limited Atonement and Unconditional Election is not Biblical. Jesus Christ did not die for a select few people, but instead Scripture teaches that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world.
1 John 2:2 says: He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 4:9-10 NLT says: God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Therefore God equally loves every human being. Why? Because God does not want to see anyone perish. This is why Jesus became the propitiation for the sins of the entire world. Salvation is available to anyone who chooses to believe in Jesus Christ.
So God does not predestine or elect people to enter hell. Instead one’s eternal destination is dependent on one’s choice to believe or reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Anyone who does not respond to the Gospel or rejects Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will face the consequence of eternal punishment.
However anyone who responds to the Gospel and believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be assured of Heaven and eternal life.
Romans 10:9-10 says: Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
God grants anyone who is willing to repent and become a born again Christian the opportunity. Every person has a choice to respond to the Gospel and become a true follower of Christ. Salvation is a free gift of God which is received by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to change your mind about sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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