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NON-CAUSATIVE PREDESTINATION??

I have heard this stated and read of it, and for the life of me I can’t figure out where it has come from. If I had to guess, that if this teaching was brought up even 100 years ago they would have baulked at it outright not to mention condemned it. And yet, there are those whom I have had respect for and also those for whom I have no respect for that teach this. This teaching at best is a play on words for those who think they need to attempt to protect God’s character, and some who proclaim it haven’t really grasped the outcome of what these words and this teaching truly means. At worst it is an outright attack on the person and character of the Godhead.

What is this teaching really saying? It is not denying God’s predestination but it is denying His involvement in carrying out what He has predestinated to occur. It is saying that He at one time set things in motion with His predestination but now He is hands off and has no part in it whatsoever. So, does that mean that God looked ahead and saw what would happen and therefore He predestinated it? Because you know, that way He doesn’t have to have any involvement in it whatsoever, because that is what would have happened anyway. That is the Arminians view of “foreknowledge”, and it should have nothing to do with anyone who claims to believe in God’s absolute predestination.

But, what saith the Scriptures?

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Notice that the verb “worketh” is an action verb. It shows the subject which is God in this verse performing the action. It is God which worketh of His good pleasure. It is not “God which ’worked’” as in past tense, but “worketh” or is working in His people presently and continually. It is He that is performing this action and it is ALL according to His good pleasure and only according to His good pleasure.

Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”. God here declares the end from the beginning and that which is not yet saying that His counsel shall stand and that He will then sit back and not do his pleasure. That He will not cause circumstances and situations to come about to fulfill His counsel and His pleasure. Right?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! He says that He will DO all his pleasure! He will cause circumstances and situations to work to fulfill His purpose and pleasure according to His counsel and will. God by no means is reactionary; (i.e., He is not reacting to what we do or don’t do.), but He is manipulating everything to come to fruition according to His predestination, purpose, plan and counsel.

Psalm 135:6-7 “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasures.” Is there any place that these verses do not touch? Is there a limit on the word “whatsoever”? Well, yes kind of. If the Lord has not pleased it, then He will not do it. Notice the next verse. Does it say, “He watched as the vapours ascend from the ends of the earth, the lightning comes for the rain, the wind just appears”? Again, ABSOLUTEY NOT! This is the Lord’s doing! This is the Lord causative predestination in action. It is He who causes the vapours to ascend. It is He who directs the lightning, when and where it should strike. It is He who brings about the wind and where it should blow. And it is ALL according to His good pleasure.

Now let’s look at a few specific examples from scripture.

Going to the beginning we read in Genesis chapter 2 verses 15-17: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and so keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Here we see very clearly that God has purposed for Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil because he does not say “IF” but “IN” the day. But how did it come about? We next see that God took the man’s bride from within him and made her. The next statement to me is very crucial. The Lord says in His word, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (verse 24) They were to be together at all times. A synonym for the word “cleave” is to cling to. They were to cling to each other. Not to make light of the truth here, in the past we have had a dog that was very demanding of our time. He would follow us around everywhere we went in the house to the point of it being annoying. We would call him a “cling-on” because of his desire to be constantly at our feet demanding attention. I don’t really believe that God meant for Adam and Eve to be annoying to one another, but I think when he made the statement above that Adam was to cleave to his wife, I think that he was to be a “cling-on.”

Why then do we see in only 2 verses later that they are separated and the serpent is talking to the woman alone? Why is Adam not there protecting her? Why is she not with Adam being by his side as a helpmate? Was it because the woman was there by her own free will? Was it because the serpents will was more powerful than God’s in the fact that he got her off by herself? NO! She was only there in that situation and circumstance because of God’s purpose and counsel. The Lord caused the woman to be in that specific situation at that specific time to be lied to and deceived to by the serpent. Remember also that the serpent (Satan) could not have deceived the woman unless it was according to God’s purpose and counsel. In other words, none of this would have happened if the Lord had not predestinated it and it was not according to His counsel. And as we saw in Psalms 135 verse 6 that “whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he...”

The next situation I would like to look at is in Genesis as well.

Genesis 15:12-14 “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram: and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation whom they shall serve, will I judge: and after ward shall they come out with great substance.”

What is this prophecy pointing to? It is pointing to when Israel would become slaves to the Egyptians. So, what circumstances and situations did God cause to happen to bring this about? I just want to make it clear that I will probably miss some of the steps that happened along the way, but I just want to focus on some of them to show that God’s predestination is in fact causative.

The first one I would like to look at is Joseph. He is an important part in all of this. In chapter 37 of Genesis, God gives him 2 dreams to which made him very popular amongst his brethren. In verse 5 with reference to his brothers it says: “...they hated him yet the more.” So, what was the first dream that the Lord gave him? “For behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright: and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.” Here we see Joseph’s brethren bowing down to Joseph and they couldn’t handle that. The Lord gave Joseph this dream to show what was to be and no matter how hard the flesh tried to stop it from happening they couldn’t do much about it. But what they didn’t realize at the time was that it ultimately was for their good and it was just one of the steps that the Lord had caused to happen to bring about his declaration to Abraham. In verse 9 we read of the next dream that the Lord gave to Joseph. It says: “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.” This time even his dad was upset with him.

Did Joseph fabricate these dreams to make himself look good? Was this some kind of work to build Joseph’s self confidence? NO! These dreams were just another little step in God’s causative predestination. Everything that happens, everything that we do is governed by God’s counsel, His purpose and His pleasure. What was the outcome of these God ordained and God caused dreams? It caused his brothers to burn with hatred toward their brother. Not only was he their father’s favorite son but now he is dreaming about them bowing down to him.

The next step in this path is that the brothers go out into the field to tend the sheep. For some reason, Israel sends Joseph out to them. The reason is not given in the scriptures, but ultimately it was according to God’s counsel. The brothers see Joseph coming and immediately start scheming on how to get rid of this trouble maker. What they don’t realize is that God has purposed in their hearts to do this all according to His counsel. Their first thought is to kill him, but God moved on Reuben’s heart to not let that happen. Instead they stripped him of his coat (the coat that his father gave him) and threw him in a pit. And the next step was that the Lord brought a company of Ishmeelites to cross paths with this group at this specific time and place. They bought Joseph for twenty pieces of silver.

Joseph ended up in Potiphar’s house, who was an officer to Pharaoh. The Lord’s hand of blessing and providence was with him during this time. But the lady of the house took a liking to him. To which he is lied about by her, which gets him thrown in jail but by God’s pleasure was not killed. He then goes through several trials and quite a few years, but the Lord’s hand of providence is with him. He ends up by God’s causative predestination as the second in command of all of Egypt during a drought. To which the dreams that the Lord gave him years before come to fruition. And the Lord reunites the family with bringing them to Egypt. Now the first part of the declaration that the Lord gave to Abraham has been fulfilled and all by God’s causative predestination. Joseph says a very strong and pointed statement to his brothers. He says: “Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years. In the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:4-8) Joseph is very clear that everything that happened was only because God had purposed it or in other words, it was because of God’s causative predestination.

Joseph’s mindset did not change either. After his father died and his brothers were worried now that he was gone, they would be in trouble for what they had done came to him. In Genesis chapter 50 it records these words: “And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hat use, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying. So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” (verses 15-21)

And for the next 400 years the people of Israel stayed in Egypt and became a nation within a nation. And Egypt became worried that they might overthrow them and cause them trouble so they made them slaves.

Then we see another big step in this plan of the Lord’s. The king of the land had made a decree that all of the sons should be killed at birth. By the Lord’s causative predestination though, a man of the house of Levi and his wife bore a son and defied the king’s decree. “...she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein: and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink...And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrew’s children...And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:2b-3, 5-6, 10) Thus we see the entrance of Moses into the scene.

By the Lord’s purpose, Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. At the Lord’s appointed time though, Moses turned his back on all that and came back to his brethren. But it wasn’t the Lord’s time for deliverance and Moses fled into the land of Midian. Moses ended up staying there for about 40 years until the time the Lord had chosen to reveal Himself to him in the burning bush. The Lord then directed him back to Pharaoh to tell him to let His people go. God told Moses from the very beginning that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart and we see that everything happened according to God’s purpose and because of His causative predestination. At the Lord’s appointed time, Pharaoh did let His people go. But not before certain plagues of judgment came upon the people of Egypt, but this was only the pre-cursor to the judgment that was to be. And the people left with great wealth as was foretold to Abraham in our verses at the beginning of this section. “And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.” (Exodus 12:35-36)

The declaration that the Lord made to Abraham is almost complete. In Exodus chapter 12 we read: “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.” (verses 40-41) There is only one more aspect of it left for the Lord to accomplish. That is the judging of the Egyptians. We saw that the Lord did do some judging of Egypt with the plagues. But now let’s focus on what events transpired to fulfill the final aspect of the Lord’s declaration with the full judgment of the Egyptians. At the Lord’s time, Pharaoh let the people go and then had a change of heart. Actually to be scriptural about it, “And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt...” (Exodus 13:7-8a) He then pursued them, but it was all according to God’s causative predestination. He moved on Pharaoh and set him up to be judged. At the Red Sea when God delivered Israel, he kept back Egypt with a wall of darkness. “And the angel of God which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” (Exodus 14:19-20) Then at the time that the Israel was safely across the parted Red Sea, the Lord removed the cloud so that the Egyptians could see what had happened and pursued them. When the Egyptians got about midway through the opening, the Lord troubled them. He stripped them of their chariot wheels so that they could go no further right in the middle of the Sea and they therefore tried to run because they realized that the Lord was fighting for the Israelites. At this exact time, the Lord told Moses to stretch forth his hand over the sea and the waters would come back. When Moses did this, the waters started coming down and it caused the Egyptians to flee. But the Lord overthrew them in the middle and wouldn’t let them go so therefore the waters covered them all with their chariots. Not one of the Egyptians that went into the pathway returned to dry land alive.

We see the fulfillment of the declaration that the Lord gave to Abraham to its full extent. Everything had been accomplished that the Lord said would be accomplished. It was not because the Lord looked ahead and saw what would happen but it was because of what the Lord had purposed. He predestinated it and he caused it to happen.

If God’s predestination is not causative, then how can these incidents be explained? Let alone the thousand’s of others that are in the Scriptures?

My hope is that you would be enabled to disregard my weakness in the flesh in this. And may the Lord proclaim His truth here if there be any truth in this.

Tom Adams
11/2005