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I consider myself to be a conditional predestinationist. I don’t say God is in total control but rather that he is in ultimate control. If He was in total control we could not have free will but at best our free will would be an illusion. According to this we would think we had free will but it would be an illusion because God would be controlling everything. Sometimes the total control viewpoint is referred to as “meticulous providence” wheras ultimate control is referred to as “general providence”.
People say that “God is in control” and different people may mean different things by it. However, if they claim that everything that happens is part of God’s will then we have a problem. For instance, if someone sins, is that also part of the will of God? Did God have some mysterious purpose in it? If someone goes and commits murder and rape are they fulfilling some particular will of God? So you see the statement “God is in control”, when taken to an extreme, can lead some people to claim that our sin is in the will of God. I find that I cannot bring myself to agree with that.
I believe that God has a plan for our lives. I also believe the devil also has a plan for our lives. I believe they are not the same plan. I don’t see the devil acting as God’s agent in working out some mysterious purpose, on God’s behalf, down here, Some reason that God “allows” Satan to wreak terror on earth and must, according to them, have some purpose in it. With that I don’t agree.
Instead, I believe in our free will determining the outcome. For instance someone accepting salvation is making a free will decision to believe the gospel. Maybe we could call this “conditional predestination” in the sense that the outcome is predestinated upon certain conditions. In the above case the condition would be believing the gospel.
Further evidence for conditional predestination (or free will or general providence) is the Lord’s prayer which says:
Mat 6:10 ’Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. This is a prayer that we are told to pray. If God is in total control, why pray it? Are we not told to pray it because our prayers allow (or cooperate with) God working down here. Is it possible that the outcome of God’s dealings with men are contingent upon what we believe and the prayers we pray? Is it possible that meticulous providence could be wrong and that our faith and expectation levels could have something to do with it? This is the reason why I believe in general providence and therefore conditional predestination.