It is true that theological controversies about "Predestination" have
caused great confusion in the religious lives of many Christians. We
must understand what brought this about.
In the Bible, there are many passages that could be interpreted to
mean that the fortune or misfortune, happiness or misery of any
individual, as well as the salvation or damnation of fallen men and
the rise and fall of nations, all occur according to God's
predestination. For example, the Bible says:
Those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He
called He also justified; and those whom He justified He
also glorified. (Rom. 8:30)
Again it says:
...'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have
compassion on whom I have compassion.'. So it depends not
upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy. (Rom.
It again says (Rom. 9:21), "Has the potter no right over the clay, to
make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial
use?". It also says (Rom. 9:11-13) that God loved Jacob and hated Esau
while they were still in their mother's womb, and said the elder would
serve the younger.
In this way, there are ample Biblical grounds to justify "complete
predestination". But we must not forget that there are also many
Biblical passages that deny complete predestination. For example, when
we see that God warned the first human ancestors not to eat of the
fruit (Gen. 2:17) in order to prevent them from falling, it is evident
that man's fall was not God's predestination but the result of man's
disobedience to God's commandment. Again we read (Gen. 6:6), that God
was sorry that He had put man on earth. If man had fallen according to
God's predestination, there would be no reason for Him to be sorry for
His having created man, whose fall He would have predestined. John
3:16 says that whoever believes in Christ shall not perish.
When we read in Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and
you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.", we can see well
enough that all things are not accomplished merely by the
predestination of God, but by human endeavor. If all things are to be
accomplished solely by God's predestination, why did God so emphasize
human efforts? Again, when we read that we should pray for sick
brothers (James 5:14), we can understand that suffering due to
sickness is not by the predestination of God. If all things were
inevitably decided by God's predestination, there would be
no need for man's tearful prayers.
If we accept the traditional belief of predestination, man's prayers,
evangelism, charity and other human endeavors would be of no use
whatsoever to God's providence of restoration; and any such endeavor
would ultimately be useless. This is because the predestination of
God, who is absolute, should also be absolute, without leaving room
for any change due to human effort.
Since there are sufficient Biblical grounds to justify either
acceptance or rejection of the theory of predestination, controversies
over the doctrine of predestination are inevitable. How, then, would
the Principle solve such problems? Let us investigate the question of
SECTION I -
PREDESTINATION OF THE WILL
Let us first define "will" before discussing predestination of the
will. God could not accomplish His purpose of creation due to the
human fall. Therefore, the will of God, in working His providence with
fallen man, is to accomplish His purpose of creation. In other words,
the "will" means the fulfillment of the purpose of the providence of
Next, we must know that God first determines the will, and then works
to accomplish it. Having created man, God set up His will to
accomplish the purpose of creation; however, due to the human fall, He
was unable to accomplish the will. Naturally, in order to accomplish
it, He has to determine His will a second time, and thus He carries
out the providence of restoration.
God predestines the will to be one of goodness, not of evil; then He
works to accomplish it. Since God is the essence of
goodness, His purpose of creation must also be one of goodness.
Naturally, the purpose of His providence of restoration must be good,
and His will to accomplish this purpose must also be good. God could
not have predestined that which obstructs and is against the purpose
of creation. Thus, we know that He could not have predetermined such
things as the human fall, judgment of fallen men, or the destruction
of the universe. If such evil results had been the necessary product
of God's predestination, He would not have regretted the evil result
of His own predestination, and we could not think of God as the
subject of goodness. God, looking at fallen men, was sorry that He had
made man on earth (Gen 6:6); and, seeing King Saul's faithlessness, He
repented that He had made Saul king (I Sam. 15:11). This is good
evidence that these events were not the result of God's
predestination. Such evil results occur from man's failure to
accomplish his portion of responsibility, and from his being on the
side of Satan.
To what extent does God predetermine the will to accomplish His
purpose of creation? God is the absolute being--unique, eternal, and
unchangeable; so God's purpose of creation must be the same.
Accordingly, the will of the providence of restoration, which is to
accomplish the purpose of creation, should be unique, unchangeable,
and absolute (Is. 46:11). God predetermines the will to be absolute;
so, when a person chosen for the will fails to accomplish it, God must
go on to fulfill it, even by setting up another person in place of the
one who failed.
For example, when God's will to fulfill the purpose of creation
centering on Adam failed, He sent Jesus as the second Adam, attempting
to fulfill the will centering on him, because His predestination of
the will was absolute. When this will was again a failure, due to the
disbelief of the people (cf. Part I, Ch. 4, Sec. I, 2--141), Jesus
promised the Lord would come and fulfill the will without fail (Matt.
16:27). Again, in Adam's family, God intended to lay the
foundation to receive the Messiah through His providence centered on
Cain and Abel.
However, this will ended in failure when Cain killed Abel. Then, God
intended to accomplish His will through Noah's family. When Noah's
family failed to accomplish this will, God had to set up Abraham to
fulfill the will. In another instance, God intended to fulfill the
will which Abel failed to accomplish by setting up Seth (Gen. 4:25).
Also, He attempted to fulfill the will unaccomplished by Moses by
choosing Joshua in his stead (Josh. 1:5); and again, He tried to
fulfill the will unaccomplished due to the betrayal of Judas Iscariot
by electing Matthias (Acts 1:15).
SECTION II -
PREDESTINATION FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF THE WILL
As clarified in the "Principle of Creation", God's purpose of creation
is to be fulfilled only by man's accomplishment of his portion of
responsibility. The will for the providence of restoration, which is
to fulfill this purpose, being absolute, is not for man to interfere
with; however, man must accomplish his own portion of responsibility
in order for the will to be accomplished. Therefore, God's purpose of
creation was to be fulfilled only through man's accomplishing his
portion of responsibility by not eating of the fruit of the Tree of
the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:17).
Accordingly, even in accomplishing the purpose of the providence of
restoration, the will can be fulfilled only through the accomplishment
of man's responsibility by the central figure in charge of the
mission. In Jesus' day, the people should have believed in Jesus
absolutely, in order that he might accomplish the purpose of the
providence of salvation. But due to their disbelief, they
could not accomplish their portion of responsibility, and naturally,
the accomplishment of the will had to be postponed to the day of the
Then, to what degree and to what extent would God predetermine the
accomplishment of the will? As mentioned, God's will to accomplish the
purpose of the providence of restoration is absolute, but the
accomplishment of the will is relative. So, it is predetermined that
the will is to be accomplished, but only through God's 95 percent
responsibility and man's 5 percent responsibility combined. Indicating
the proportion of man's responsibility as 5 percent is only to say
that man's responsibility is extremely small compared to God's.
Nevertheless, we must understand that, for man, it means 100 percent
To cite examples: the accomplishment of the will centering on Adam and
Eve was predestined to be fulfilled by the fulfillment of their own
portion of responsibility, namely, by not eating of the fruit of the
Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The providence of restoration
centering on Noah was predestined to be fulfilled by the
accomplishment of his own portion of responsibility, through his
loyalty in building the ark. The providence of salvation through Jesus
was predestined to be accomplished through the fulfillment of
responsibility on the part of fallen men by their believing in Jesus
as the Messiah and following him (John 3:16). Men have caused the
prolongation of God's providence of restoration by not fulfilling even
their small amount of responsibility.
The Bible says, "The prayer of faith will save the sick man." (James
5:15); "Your faith has made you well." (Mark 5:34); "For every one who
asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will
be opened." (Matt. 7:8). All these Biblical passages prove that the
will is predestined to be fulfilled by the accomplishment of man's own
portion of responsibility. We can understand well enough how small
were the responsibilities men took charge of in all these
instances, compared to God's responsible portion of toil and grace.
At the same time, from the fact that through their failure to
accomplish their portions of responsibility, the central figures in
the providence were compelled to cause the prolongation of the
providence of restoration, we can well imagine how extremely difficult
it was for them to fulfill even a relatively small responsibility.
SECTION III -
PREDESTINATION OF MAN
Adam and Eve could have become good human ancestors if they had
accomplished their own portion of responsibility by obeying God's
injunction not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good
and Evil, but they failed to do so. Therefore, God could not
predestine them, absolutely, to be good human ancestors. In the case
of fallen men, a chosen man could become a person of God's
predestination only by accomplishing his own portion of
responsibility. Therefore, God cannot predestine a certain person with
absolute certainty that he will become what he is predestined to be.
Then, to what degree does God predestine man? In God's accomplishment
of His will, centering on a certain person, He establishes it as an
indispensable condition that the man must fulfill his own portion of
responsibility. Therefore, God, in predestining a person for a certain
mission, determines that the person will be what he is predestined to
be only by the 100 percent accomplishment of the will centering on the
person, with God's portion of 95 percent responsibility and man's
portion of 5 percent responsibility accomplished together. Therefore,
if the person fails to accomplish his own portion of responsibility,
he cannot become the person God predestined.
For example, when God chose Moses, He predestined him to be the great
leader capable of bringing the elected people to the blessed land of
Canaan, but only by accomplishing his own portion of responsibility
(Ex. 3:10). When in Kadesh-barnea Moses went against God's will by
striking the rock twice, he failed to carry out his responsibility,
thus nullifying God's predestination; he died on the way to the
appointed place (Num. 20:7-12, 20:24, 27:14). Likewise, when God chose
Judas Iscariot, He predestined him to be Jesus' apostle if he
accomplished his own portion of responsibility with loyalty. However,
since Judas failed to carry out his responsibility, God's
predestination was not fulfilled and Judas turned out to be a
When God called the Jewish people, He predestined them to be the
chosen nation of glory, but only by fulfilling their portion of
responsibility through their faith and service. Nevertheless, the
predestination was not realized because they delivered Jesus to be
crucified; and therefore, the chosen nation was scattered.
Next, let us examine the conditions and qualifications for becoming
the central figure of the providence of restoration in God's
predestination. The purpose of God's providence of salvation is to
restore the fallen world to the original world of creation. Though the
times of their salvation may differ, all fallen men are predestined to
be saved (II Peter 3:9). Just as with the process of His creation,
God's providence of salvation, which is the providence of re-creation,
cannot be accomplished in a moment. Therefore, this providence is
gradually broadening its scope to cover the whole, starting from
"one". Thus, in the predestination of the providence of salvation, God
first predestines the central figure and calls him to the mission.
What conditions and qualifications must this central figure have?
First, he must be born out of the chosen nation, in charge
of the providence of restoration. Next, even within the chosen
nation, he must be the descendant of ancestors with many
accomplishments of goodness. Then, even though he may be the
descendant of ancestors with many good deeds, he must be endowed with
the natural disposition suitable for the accomplishment of the will.
Even if a man has these endowments, he must subsequently have good
conditions in which to grow and work in his lifetime. Still, even
among these persons, God would select first the individual most fully
prepared at the appropriate time and place of God's need.
SECTION IV -
ELUCIDATION OF BIBLICAL VERSES WHICH JUSTIFY THE THEORY OF
We have clarified many problems concerning God's predestination. But
the problem yet to be solved is how to elucidate the Biblical records,
such as those enumerated in the introduction to this chapter, which
are written as though all things are of God's absolute predestination.
Let us first elucidate Romans 8:29-30, which says:
For those whom He foreknew He also predestined...and those
whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called
He also justified; and those whom He justified He also
God, being omniscient, knows who is endowed with the qualities to be
the central figure in the providence of restoration (cf. Sec.
III--199). Therefore, God predestines and calls the person He foreknew
in order to fulfill the purpose of the providence of restoration.
Calling the person is God's portion of responsibility, but this alone
has nothing to do with the person's being justified and
finally glorified in God. He must accomplish his own responsibility in
the position of a person called by God before he can be justified;
only after he is thus justified will he be glorified by God. It is
predestined that man can enjoy glory from God only by accomplishing
his own portion of responsibility. There are no words such as "man's
own portion of responsibility" in the Bible, so everything appears to
be accomplished merely by God's absolute predestination.
The Bible says (Rom. 9:15-16):
...'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have
compassion on whom I have compassion.'. So it depends not
upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy.
As elucidated above, God chooses the one who is most suitable for the
fulfillment of the purpose of restoration, foreknowing all his
qualities. Therefore, it is God's privilege to elect such a person and
to have mercy on him or have compassion for him. It depends not upon
man's desire or endeavor. These Biblical verses are given in order to
emphasize the power and grace of God.
It is again said (Rom. 9:21):
Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the
same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?
It has already been said that God set up man's own portion of
responsibility as the condition to exalt him to be the lord of all
creation and to love him most by having man take after His creative
nature. However, man fell, having violated this condition. Therefore,
man became an existence deserted like trash; so this verse was given
to teach people that man has no right to complain against whatever way
God may handle men of this kind.
Further, the Bible states that God loved Jacob but hated Esau, and
that "The elder will serve the younger." (Rom. 9:10-13). What must
have been the reason that God loved Jacob and hated Esau while they
were not yet born and had done nothing, either good or bad? This was
to fulfill God's program in the course of the providence of
restoration. Further details will be discussed in the section covering
the providence of restoration centering on Abraham's family (cf. Part
II, Ch. 1, Sec. III--261). We must understand here that God gave Isaac
twin sons, Esau and Jacob, because He had to restore through indemnity
the will for the restoration of the birthright, which had been left
unaccomplished by Cain's killing of Abel in Adam's family. This He
intended to do by setting up the twin brothers, in the positions of
Cain and Abel, and by having Jacob (in the position of Abel) make Esau
(in the position of Cain) give in. God said this because Esau, being
in the position of Cain, was liable to be hated by God, while Jacob,
being in the position of Abel, was entitled to His love.
God's actually either loving or hating one or the other depended upon
the fulfillment of their respective portions of responsibility. In
fact, Esau, having surrendered in obedience to Jacob, received a
blessing of love equal to Jacob's though he was in the position liable
to be hated by God. On the other hand, Jacob, though he was in the
position to be loved by God, could not have received such love if he
had failed to accomplish his portion of responsibility.
It was because of ignorance about the relationship of man's portion of
responsibility to God's in fulfilling the purpose of the providence of
restoration that there appeared a man like Calvin, who obstinately
held to his "theory of predestination", and that such a theory has
been believed by so many people for so long.