Predestination

When I consider the absolute independency of God, and the necessary total dependence of all created things on Him, their first cause, I cannot help standing astonished at the pride and impotent, degenerate man, who is so prone to consider himself as a being possessed of sovereign freedom, and invested with a power of self-salvation, able, he imagines, to counteract the designs even of infinity wisdom, and to defeat the agency of Omnipotence itself.  You shall be as gods, said the tempter to Eve in Paradise; and you are as gods, says the same tempter, now, to her apostate sons.  One would be apt to think that a suggestion so demonstrably false and flattering; a suggestions the very reverse of what we feel to be our state; a suggestion alike contrary to Scripture and reason, to fact and experience, could never meet with the smallest degree of credit.  And yet, because it so exactly coincides with the natural haughtiness of the human heart, men not only admit, but even relish the deception, and fondly incline to believe that the father of lies does, in this instance at least, speak truth.

The Scripture doctrine of predestination lays the axe to the very root of this potent delusion.  It assures us that all things are of God; that all our times and all events are in His hand.  Consequently, that man’s business below is to fill up the departments and to discharge the several offices assigned him in God’s purpose from everlasting; and that, having lived his appointed time, and finished his allotted course of action and suffering, he that moment quits the stage of terrestrial life, and removes to the invisible state.

– Augustus Toplady from the preface to Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius

God Intended the Fall of Man

While listening to a theology course from Jim McClarty I heard the following and wanted to share it:

God was under absolutely no obligation to tell us anything about himself.  He was not obligated to do it at all.  When Adam fell, once Eve rebelled, they were in opposition to God.  God could have very well said, “Well, that’s it, you rebels, I gave you a shot, I gave you a nice place to stay, all I told you to do was tend the garden, make some kids, don’t eat from that tree.”

 But, as soon as there was a sinner, God demonstrated himself as savior.  And you might notice that when Adam and Eve fell, they did not go looking for God, they ran from God.  Part of their fall was their realization that they were naked, they were sinful, and that God was a judge. They did not find out that they were good or right or holy, they found out that they were in trouble, and they ran, they hid, they sewed together fig leaves, that was their plan.  God came looking for them. He was under no obligation to do so, but he did it out of mercy and grace. 

In other words, part of the reason that God created humanity, and part of the reason that in his grand sovereignty he brought about the fall, was because God was going to reveal himself.  He wanted to reveal himself in the broad spectrum of his character, his nature, and his attributes.  All of his attributes, every single one reveals some part of God.  Even the names of God found in the Bible are revelatory of the character of God.  God is in the process of revealing himself, showing himself to his creation.

The reason that God sovereignly brought about the fall of man was because he was intending to reveal himself and this was the method he used in order to do it.  People struggle with that!  If you take the view that Adam and Eve by their free will chose to rebel against God but that they had the option not too, that they could have simply just not rebelled. Then you are also saying that God would not have been able to reveal himself as merciful, or as savior, or as gracious, or as long suffering, or as kind.  All those wonderful attributes of God would have never been known because human being would never need them.  Instead God intended the fall, the same way he intends everything.

Here is the proof.  “Don’t eat from that tree.”  If God really didn’t want Adam and Eve to  eat from the tree, he would not have put it in the garden.  Now, if I can figure that out, I’m sure that God could figure that out.  So, what does God do, he puts that tree in the garden as a temptation.  Adam and Eve do a pretty good job of keeping their hands off.  They understand that they aren’t supposed to eat from it.  Eve even went so far as to say to the serpent that they weren’t supposed to touch it.  They got it.  They understood what God said.  And by the way, they didn’t need that tree because every other tree that bears fruit is good food for them.  They really don’t even need that tree.

Then Satan comes in the form of a serpent and he has a conversation with Eve.  Where is God at this moment?  One of the attributes of God is that he is omnipresent, he is everywhere at once.  So, what is God doing?  Why didn’t he interrupt the conversation?  “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, hey there, shut your mouth, you serpent.  Who do you think you are talking too?”  God could have said that to either party.  Later in the Genesis narrative you see that God put enmity between the serpent and the woman.  He drove them apart.  Why didn’t he do that before the conversation?  He certainly could have, but he didn’t.

So, not only did he provide the temptation, he provided the tempter. Then he just stood back and let things take their natural course.  Why?  Because without the fall, without sin, there would be no need of a savior.  Before the foundation of the world, Jesus is referred to as the “lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”  Why does there need to be a lamb slain?  Because there is definitely going to be a people who need a savior.  And those people are going to be given to him as trophies of grace so that through all eternity he gets all the glory for those people being in the presence of God.  It’s all about God, it’s all about his worship.  God is in the enterprise of glorifying himself.  So, everything, including the fall is part of God’s revelation of himself because he wanted to reveal himself in a full spectrum.

This is not a word for word transcript, but it is very close and captures the context of Pastor McClarty’s teaching.  If you want to listen for yourself, here is the link to the message.  Either listen to the whole thing or scroll up to the 48 minute mark in the sermon and listen from there.