Thoughts on Determinism


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Gen. 50:15 (NAS20S) When Joseph’s brothers had seen that their father was dead, they said, “ What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16 So they sent instructions to Joseph, saying, “Your father commanded us before he died, saying, 17 ‘This is what you shall say to Joseph: “Please forgive, I beg you, the offense of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ And now, please forgive the offense of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive. 21 “So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.


Anyway, just a couple of thoughts that may be a different way of looking at what is referred to as 'strict determinism'--which is said by some that champion 'free will' as an agent of man for a cause of salvation, to be doctrinal error. In other words, that God does not strictly determine an individual's salvation--via 'election'--that salvation is determined by the choice and will of an individual.

I want to go back to a beginning and look at this.

In order for this to work, a starting condition must have existed and that is that Adam and Eve in the garden before the fall did indeed have a free will. A will free Godward and not bound or encumbered by 'sin'. Adam was not made 'corrupt', but he was made 'corruptible'. I have said a bunch there in order to make two simple points.

1. What 'determined' Adam's future was his choice to break God's commandment to refrain from eating of that tree. The bad one. Secondarily to that choice that 'determined strictly' his future is that that future included 'death' rather than 'eternal Life' represented by the other tree, which is Christ.

2. God 'determined' to 'SAVE' a portion of Adam's fallen race for Himself through the Slain Lamb before any of this started.

In this scenario, we have two instances of a 'strict determinism'.

God did not strictly determine that Adam would choose as he did--Adam's choice did that. Adam lost that 'free will' which had become fully sinful--dead in sin. Dead Godward. A thing that is dead cannot be partially dead and partially alive. This is where we need God's help to understand just how sinful sin is. How utterly dark sin is and cannot mix with the Light--with God.

Knowing this, we can look at how it was necessary that God, now--had to 'strictly determine' by His will to rescue some from that awful state--by the Redeeming work of Jesus Christ--who paid in full the wages of that sin--so that its result which is death does no longer determine fate. Rather Christ's Righteousness and Life is, by God's determination, imputed to His elect.

There is a whole lot in between the lines of the above related to the OP, but I thought it might be helpful to actually think about 'determination' and how it must relate in some form to the doctrinal positions we hold.

Whether as a noun or verb type.
Determinism is fatalism they are synonymous terms which Calvinists conflate .


Oops 😂

  1. the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable.
    "fatalism can breed indifference to the human costs of war"
    • a submissive outlook, resulting from a fatalistic attitude.
      "he experienced a sense of fatalism that kept his fear at bay"