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Are We Destined to Be Who We Are? - Bible Q & A

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

Video from Bible Q & A

Are We Destined to Be Who We Are? - Bible Q & A

"Hello, guys! Today, we'll be looking at destiny, and whether the Bible supports it or not. Destiny is a very important topic in the Bible, because if it exists, that means God has a future for us that we don't even know about, and if it doesn't, that means that all our decisions are up to us to make." from video introduction

Predestination and Human Actions

"The legend of Oedipus is often considered the classic example of Greek fatalism. Troubled by doubts about his parentage, the protagonist consults an oracle who declares that he is destined to murder his father and marry his mother. Although Oedipus repudiates the awful prophecy, events cruelly conspire to bring about its fulfillment. All his efforts to evade his fate prove futile.

The Reformed or Calvinistic doctrines of providence and predestination are often charged with being fatalistic. Yet this characterization trades on some deep confusions. Calvinism does indeed affirm that all events in creation are foreordained by God. As the Westminster Confession of Faith puts it, “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass” (3.1). Nevertheless, the confession immediately adds that this divine foreordination does not render meaningless the wills of God’s creatures. On the contrary, God normally works out His eternal purposes though secondary causes such as human agents and natural processes. Biblical examples of God directing human actions to His own ends include the story of Joseph (Gen. 45:5–8; 50:20), the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel (Isa. 10:5–11), and the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4:27–28).

How, then, does Calvinism differ from fatalism? Shouldn’t a Calvinist admit that Judas was fated to betray Jesus (John 17:12; Acts 1:16) just as Oedipus was fated to kill his father? We should note first that “fate” was understood by the ancients to be an impersonal force or principle that applied equally to men and gods. Just as the Greeks failed to acknowledge a transcendent personal Creator, so they lacked any notion of a sovereign God who directs all things “to his own holy ends” (WCF 5.4). For the pagan fatalist, there is no divine hand of providence, no overarching plan of God. There is no rhyme or reason to the fated outcomes; the universe is a theater of absurdity and tragedy. Contrast that with the biblical worldview, according to which God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11) and “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).." from the article: Predestination and Human Actions

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