“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)
God is absolutely Sovereign. To dispute this fact essentially places the individual positionally superior to the Creator of All Things (cf. John 1:3). Yet many people confess the Sovereignty of God while questioning His Control over our lives. One cannot affirm God’s Sovereignty while denying that He has predestined the lives of all people according to His Divine Plan.
Sovereignty means authority. It also means the power to exercise that authority. Thus, God’s Sovereignty indicates His Control over His Domain. Whereas God is Sovereign over all things, there is nothing excluded from His Control. Neither is there any power that can be exerted against Him. It seems obvious that God cannot lose control in any situation. He must therefore be in control of all things.
In like manner, it would be absurd to speak of an Eternal God Who does not know the minute details of life before they occur. God’s Knowledge is so complete that it is impossible for Him to experience discovery or surprise. Yet, foreknowledge does not necessitate predestination. The knowing of events prior to their occurrence is characteristic of prophecy. None of the prophets ever possessed this knowledge without revelation of the same. And none of them had the power of themselves to bring about that which they foreknew.
The subject of predestination has always been questioned by Christians. The problem of human suffering causes us to seek purpose in our trials. It is a source of comfort to know that God is working “all things” according to His Divine Purpose (Romans 8:28). It follows that God has to have a Purpose for “all things.” However, any hope given by this sentiment is false if God is not at work in the very details of a person’s life. To be Sovereign in fact, God must be Sovereign in deed. His Sovereignty necessitates Predestination.
An objection to this thesis would note the distinction between ‘purpose’ and ‘plan.’ To purpose a thing requires only the intention to bring about a certain effect through no specific means. A purpose is achieved by whatever means are available to its disposal. However, a plan requires the ordering of certain means, directed toward a calculated end. One may have purpose without requiring predestination for its attainment. But the very concept of planning denotes the power to perform the thing purposed. Otherwise, the planning is done in vain, if the performance of the thing is not definite.
‘Predestine’ means to mark out beforehand all the details of a person’s life. What a wonder it is to know that our Sovereign Lord has a Plan and Purpose for all our lives! Nothing – or no one – will defeat what God has predestined for us.