“Whether it’s God who makes us puppets, or whether it’s genes…… it doesn’t matter much to me. I have little time for determinism. If it’s true then I can’t help but not believe in it, because, after all, I have not choice.”
This quote comes from Brian McClaren's book "A Generous Orthodoxy" and was referenced here as part of Geoff's comprehensive book review. Well worth a read, if you have read McClaren's book, or are thinking about it. Geoff highlights this quote as McClaren's contribution to the issue of predestination. I have pondered this question for years. The most interesting place I recall discussing it was perched high at the MCG for an Essendon match with an ex-Dutch Reformed Calvinist minister. I found a t-shirt on the internet somewhere that I seriously considered buying for him – on the front it said "this t-shirt chose me", and on the back it said "I chose this t-shirt".
I just can't reconcile myself to the fact that some are chosen to be saved, and some are not, and that in fact some are chosen for damnation (double predestination). I struggle to reconcile this with a God who is merciful, a "father", one who sacrificed beyond my comprehension for the sake of restoring relationship with His people. On the other hand, I realize that God has a whole lot to do with the conversion process, so I can't fully accept the Armenian position either. For those who are not familiar with Calvinism and Armenianism, these two perspectives sum up the dominant opposing views on the subject of predestination. The wikipedia offers a reasonable introduction to the topic. I have come to the conclusion that this issue is a) beyond my understanding; b) not something that should affect my salvation; c) not a very helpful evangelistic tool. Maybe this whole issue is a theological re-packaging of a problem endemic amongst Christians – the need to determine who is in or out of church, saved or unsaved, chosen or damned.