God the Great Programer:
[NOTE: This article has been inspired by a preacher from Asheville, North Carolina, whose teaching describes God as the Great Programmer, although he does not use such terminology, and that people have no choice to do but what God has predestined them to do. However, God holds people accountable for the acts that He has coerced, predestined, them to do — perhaps because they believe that they chose to do such acts although, in reality, they had no choice.]
According to the predestinationists, God is the Great Programmer of the universe. Free will is an illusion. No one really has any choice in what he does — especially where salvation is concerned. If free will exists, i.e., if people have a real choice, then God is not sovereign. According to predestination theology, man has no more choice in what he does than an ant, ameba, or aster.
God arbitrarily decides who will be saved and, consequently, who will be condemned. (If one is not saved, he is condemned. No other options exist.) Faith, baptism, repentance, good works, and even Jesus’ death and resurrection have nothing to do with salvation. A person believes in Jesus, repents, is baptized, and does good works because God has programmed him to do so. He does not believe in Jesus because he has heard the evidence about Jesus and is convinced that it is true. He believes because God has programmed him to believe. Furthermore, a person who does not believe in Jesus can also be saved because salvation depends on God’s arbitrary choice and not on faith. Therefore, salvation is by God’s arbitrary choice and not by faith.
People do good because God programmed them to do good. People who do evil because God programmed them to do evil. Moreover, people sin because God has programmed them to sin. They have no choice whether they will do good works or bad works, for that would require free will. If free will exists in one realm, it must exist in all realms — even in the realm of salvation. As no one has any say in the realm of salvation because that is God’s arbitrary choice, he has no choice in his works. Free will impugns (refutes and denies) God’s sovereignty and, therefore, cannot exist if God is sovereign — such is the implication of the predestinationists and their predestination theology.
Because God programs people to act in certain ways does not mean that they are not accountable for their acts. However, it does mean that they are not responsible for their acts. For example, a robot programmed to perform evil acts is held accountable for its acts and is destroyed or decommissioned. (Predestinationists effectively consider humans and all other life forms to be essentially robots.) However, it is not responsible for its acts. It is just doing what the programmer programmed it to do. The programmer is responsible for its acts.
People are held accountable for their acts, but are not responsible for them. God is responsible. Free will is necessary for people to be responsible. If people have free will, then they have a say in their salvation, and God is no longer sovereign. However, predestinationists claim that people have no say in their salvation. Salvation is God’s arbitrary choice.
In other words, although God holds his created robots accountable for their actions, though they have no choice, He being the Master Programmer is responsible for their actions. For them to have any say requires free will. However, they cannot have free will because that destroys God’s absolute sovereignty.
If the predestinationists are correct, free will does not exist. Free will is merely an illusion. God chooses whom He will save regardless of faith, baptism, repentance, or good works. (By this choice, He consequently chooses who is to condemn.) To the extent that any of these have anything to do with salvation, they result from God’s programming and not from one’s choice, acts, or efforts. Although a person may be held accountable for his actions, he is not responsible for them. He is merely executing the program that God has inputted into him. Responsibility rests with God because He has programmed the person to act the way that he does. If God is not responsible, then free will exists, and God’s sovereign is impugned.
According to the predestinationist, man cannot have free will. If he were to have free will, God’s sovereign would be impugned (refuted and denied). Being the absolute sovereign, God’s sovereign cannot be impugned even one iota. If God’s sovereignty is impugned one iota, God would cease being sovereign. Therefore, man cannot have free will.
Eve and Adam eating the forbidden fruit was not an act of free will. God had programmed them to eat it. They had no choice. If they had a choice, then God lost sovereignty, and He did not lose any sovereignty. Eve and Adam did not sin because they yielded to temptation; they sinned because God programmed them to sin. They had no choice but to sin. However, God held them accountable for their act, although He was responsible for it instead of them.
Pharaoh of Moses’ time was an extremely obedient servant of God. Few Biblical characters were as obedient as this Pharaoh. He did exactly what God wanted him to do when God wanted him to do it. Yet, the Bible implies that he died unsaved. Thus, obedience to God’s will does not guarantee salvation.
God programmed (forced) Saul to perform an unauthorized scarify. Then, He punished him for doing it. Thus, God was responsible for Saul’s sin because He made him sin. However, He held Saul accountable for the sin and made David succeed Saul as king. Other examples are found in both the Old and New Testaments of God programming people to sin and holding them accountable for the sin.
As Paul explains in Romans, people have as much choice, free will, as a clay pot — which is none. The potter, God, is responsible for how the pot, the person, turns out. However, He holds the pot accountable. If He does not like the pot that He made or if He made it to be destroyed, He destroys, condemns, it.
Some predestinationists who also hold to the identity school (the identity school believes that the lost tribes of Israel are found in Europe and their descendants in the Americas) claim, or at least imply, that all Israelites are saved. Apparently, this is true if they do not believe in Jesus and do sinful work. They are saved because God chose the Israelites and no one else for salvation regardless of their beliefs or acts. They are saved because of their ethnicity; God arbitrary chooses their ethnicity for salvation. Presumably, all the idolatrous kings of Israel and Judah were saved because they were Israelites. In any event, these kings were merely doing what God had programmed them to do. (Not unamazingly, people who hold this belief assume that they are Israelites and are, therefore, among the saved. God must have programmed this belief into them. They will not know for sure that they are among the saved until they die.)
Since man has no free will, he is neither moral nor immoral. To be moral requires having the choice of acting immorally. Furthermore, to be immoral requires having the choice of acting morally. Having a choice, free will, impugns God’s sovereignty and, therefore, cannot exist. When a person appears to act morally or immorally, he is merely executing the program that God has inputted into him. He is doing exactly what God wants him to do.
Having no free will, no real choice, no person is responsible for his acts. Whether good or evil or whether a believer or nonbeliever, he is merely a robot executing the program that God inputted into him. Moreover, his acts and beliefs have nothing to do with salvation. God arbitrarily decided whom He saves and whom He condemns before He programs anyone.
God has programmed some people to believe that they have free will although they do not. Others He has programmed to know that they have no free will.
As shown above, according to the predestinationists, man cannot have free will if God is sovereign. Each individual does only what God has programmed him to do. Free will is an illusion.
In summary, man is not responsible for his actions: God is. He merely does what God had programmed him to do. However, God holds man accountable for his acts and beliefs. Moreover, the death and resurrection of Jesus have nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is God’s arbitrary choice — not faith in Jesus. To the extent that belief in Jesus has anything to do with salvation, God has programmed that belief into the person. As man has no choice in what he does and believes — he is merely executing the program that God put in him — free will is an illusion. If man had a choice, free will, God’s sovereignty is impugned (refuted and denied) and, therefore, cannot exist. Such is the essence of predestination theology.
(With few exceptions, predestinationists seem to believe that they are among the saved. To know whether they are saved, they have to know God’s arbitrary choice. That is, they have to know the mind of God, which no man knows. How do they know whom God has chosen for salvation? They cannot base it on their beliefs or acts. Salvation is by God’s arbitrary choice and not by one’s beliefs or acts.)
Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Coley Allen.
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