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A certain extreme and unreasonable view of God’s foreordination leads many into errors such as we endeavor to correct above. Those who fix themselves in the belief that God causes everything, can scarcely get rid of this and a thousand other errors now lying as snares in the pathway of the saints. Upon their false premise they build false conclusions and theories. If God foreordains everything, then it would be necessary to say that he foreordained or compelled Adam’s sin and every other sin, as well as every good deed since. This would not only remove all credit for well doing from man’s efforts, but also all responsibility from evil doers. God would in that case have the credit of any good there is, and the responsibility for all the evil, (moral evil, wickedness, as well as physical evil, suffering) and man would be merely a figure, a puppet, a machine.
In such a view how absurd, deceptive and sinful it would be for God, in sentencing Adam, to say, Inasmuch as thou hast done, etc. In such a view how absurd and misleading for the Lord and the Apostles to urge the people to do certain things, and not to do others. In such a view life’s opportunities are a mockery, for if it is all settled beforehand, there is no opportunity for us to change or guide our own affairs, or affect our own interests either present or future. In such a view every thought of rewards or punishments is unjust; for wherein is the justice of rewarding a man for doing that which he could not avoid doing, or where the justice of punishing man at all for that for which he was in no sense responsible?
But such a view of God’s foreknowledge is utterly wrong; it is opposed by reason and common sense as well as by the Bible. „Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world.” His plan is complete in all its parts, and his wisdom and power are such that even though he grants us liberty, freedom of will to do as we please within certain broad limits, yet his wisdom and power being so superior, he can anticipate, counteract and overrule the various affairs of life to work together for good to his saints, and in the outcome to accomplish what he had planned. Such a view of God’s foreknowledge, wisdom and power gives confidence and trust to those whose earnest desire and endeavor is to walk with God, lean on his promises, and render themselves living sacrifices in his service. But it gives no consolation to the careless, indifferent, slothful, foolish or overcharged servants.
— August, 1886 —