It Is Not In Man To Direct His Steps

Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Jer 10:24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. (KJV)

Does the bible teach that the universe is a piece of clockwork, unfolding according to the will of God, so that everything that has ever been has only the one possible conclusion in the present? Is everthing in the future already determined by the mind of God? Is tomorrow set already, and time merely an illusion? Such questions have sprung from the readers of scripture for hundreds if not thousands of years.

More recently the arrival of quantum physics and relativity have raised objections to the principle that everything tomorrow is a direct physical result of the motion and momentum of what is here today. However the bible does not teach that God takes pleasure in controlling us all as marionette puppets, rather God has created the universe for a purpose and the earth moves on towards the judgement - yet the detail and minutae of our lives are for the most part free from direct interference from God unless we ask for it in prayer.

There is a framework of events in prophecy that concerns the major works of God with regard to the timing of the arrival of Christ and the kingdom of God, (that it is most necessary that we be able to recognise that Jesus is the only Christ.) and also much prophecy concerning the judgement and the second return of Christ. Other than the outlying or surrounding framework of events central to the purpose God has for the earth, there is very little to indicate that God controls every facet of our lives.

The new testament teaches that man is evil at heart, seeking only his own pleasure, even making his faith in God of one that must conform to the sinful desires of the man's own heart. Were it not for the action of predestination, there would be no translation from the man whom is strictly a creature of the flesh and carnality towards a man of the spirit - obedient under grace.

Yet the word "predestined" has raised the ugly head of objection on the grounds that nothing is fully determined, and that the concept of determinism flatly contradicts most of the scriptures. Why would God be angry with his own work, unless we are in some sense free agents and are not then predestined?

The NT only teaches that the saved in Christ are predestined, the unbelievers are consigned to "a reprobate mind" with the use of the dialectic that is part of the double minded man, (avoiding the pain of the truth (oil as doctrine) and settling instead for the pleasure of their own approval (the wine) of what is held in common.)

God has made the universe, and can and does know that His plan for the earth will roll out as planned, we must not forget that He is a conscious living being and is active, much as we are active living beings though on a much less grandiose scale. God does not interfere with those decisions made by unbelievers, only guiding those He has chosen for His elect towards obedience.

Man is a creature first and foremost seeking his own pleasure, and not that of God. There is no determinism on man other than the gentle guiding of the Holy Spirit into the obedience that will be required of us in eternal life. This 'surety' - this "downpayment" on our eternal life in the gift of the Holy Spirit is in truth, "evidence" of that same guidance or "predestination" into our inheritance as the adopted sons and daughters of our God.

We, once as sinners have asked for this predestination, we however, were chosen by God from all those that were called and had also asked for it. We were chosen from amongst all, to be the elect of Christ's bride, His body. God chose us, even before "the foundation of the world" because He put us here to be chosen from amongst the whole. We, as elect are the purpose of salvation in the earth, and we as a people were preknown to be the fruits of Christ's labour.

However the bible states more than that - that we are also known on an individual basis as prepared for that inheritance before the world was even made itself. Just as God knew the purpose beforehand that He has made the world head towards, that of the judgement, likewise He knows His own people that He would gain from His work.

God is able to offer freely eternal life to every man and desires for every man to be converted and healed, but He is full knowledge of all those that actually make the finish line. The question of determinism only applies to those that ask for it, and there is no leash kept on evil in this world, or those upon whom the predestination of the Holy Spirit itself rests. Those that refuse God quite rightly have been refused also.

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