Monday, October 27, 2008

1 Peter 2:8 - The Double Predestinarian View

To follow up in more detail on my post last week, as well as the discussion yesterday in my class, I just want to expound on the varying views for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the debate. We discussed all of 1 Peter 8-12 in class, and regretfully had very little time to address the truths of the 8th and 12th verses regarding God's appointments and the Day of judgment.

There are primarily two views, although there are undoubtedly innumerable views in reality, we will look at two diverse perspectives. I want to also make clear that these are two views within the reformed tradition, and certainly a great many views exist in the Wesleyan, Arminian, etc. traditions.

First is the "Single Predestinarian" view. According to this teaching, Man is singly responsible for their own damnation. Though created good, Adam and Eve sinned and brought death and eternal separation from God onto all of their progeny. Then, in an act of unmerited grace, God elected some to receive mercy. The fact that others do not, then, is not God actively appointing them to damnation because they had already appointed themselves for damnation. Instead, God performs a single act of predestination, that for His elect to be justified. Thus the title "Single Predestination."

With that description of the single view, you've probably already ascertained the meaning of the double view. Double Predestination believes that in order for God to be ultimately sovereign, He must be the initiator over both appointments—both to justification and to "stumbling," as 1 Peter puts it.

First, my warning: The distinction between these two views is largely a philosophical debate, and not a doctrine that is pivotal in scripture. At the same time, it's not neglected in scripture, and so an exploration of it is not unwarranted. If you are intrigued, by all means, dig into scripture. I would remind you that (1) scripture is the ultimate authority, not your view of fairness; (2) whichever view you decide, you're deciding it for yourself only... not for others around you and certainly not for God. The mission of theology is not to try and define God using scripture, it's to allow God to reveal Himself to us through scripture. There's a big difference.

Second, my instigation: So, you're intrigued to investigate? Where do you start? 1 Peter 2:8 certainly seems a likely verse to help us reach a decision. Without question, Romans 9 is as well. But riddle me this: What is evil? Dig into the Hebrew (blueletterbible.com is a decent resource) and see what you find? We read in 1 Peter, God "lay" or "placed" a stumbling stone in Zion. What did he place in the Garden? Why? Is the parallel intentional?

Third: my invitation: Got any thoughts on the issue? Questions? Please feel free to comment here. (Anonymous comments are permitted)

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