Predestination

Land Ownership

Paul said in Romans 9:21 that God has ownership over man. What does this mean exactly? Well first of all, God is creator of all things:

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning of God’s preparing the heavens and the earth – (YLT)

Genesis 2:7 – And Jehovah God formeth the man – dust from the ground, and breathen into his nostrils breath of life, and the man becometh a living creature. (YLT)

Genesis 3:19 – by the sweat of thy face thou dost eat bread till thy return unto the ground, for out of it hast thou been taken, for dust thou [art], and unto dust thou turnest back. (YLT)

God created the heavens and the Earth. He also created the land. From the land, man was created. When we die, we will return to the land. The phrase “earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust” in the Book of Common Prayer comes from these verses. So man is compared to land. Why is this important? Because God has laws about land:

Leviticus 25:23-24 – And the land is not sold – to extinction, for the land [is] Mine, for sojourners and settlers [are] ye with Me; and in all the land of your possession a redemption ye do give to the land. (YLT)

This law has 3 parts: (1) God owns all land, (2) land cannot be sold to a permanent owner, therefore (3) it must be returned to God at one point. We have a similar law in today’s society. Eminent domain (U.S., Canada), compulsory purchase (UK, New Zealand, Ireland) resumption/compulsory acquisition (Australia), or expropriation (South Africa) is the inherent power of the government to seize ownership of a citizen’s property without the citizen’s consent. This is usually done to build highways, railroads, public utilities, etc.

Because man was created from land, this law applies to man as well. God has given us temporary ownership and authority of our bodies, but at one point he will request them back. This is why all men die a physical death. Man did not create himself, therefore he doesn’t own himself. God created man, therefore owns us. However, with this ownership also comes liability, as seen in this law:

Exodus 21:33-34 – And when a man doth open a pit, or when a man doth dig a pit, and doth not cover it, and an ox or ass hath fallen thither, -- the owner of the pit doth replay, money he doth give back to its owner, and the dead is his. (YLT)

This law states that if a man digs a pit, and his neighbor’s animal falls into it and dies, the man must pay his neighbor to compensate him, since it was his pit that caused it. Now if we take this literally, it seems a bit silly that God would include this as a law, because how often do people dig pits next to a farm? However, if we apply this to other circumstances, it makes so much more sense. If you do something on accident, which causes someone else money, you should pay them compensation. For example, if you rear end someone else’s car, you should pay them money for compensation. Let’s take it even further to God and man. In the Garden of Eden, God essentially “dug a pit” by planting the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This caused man to “fall” into sin. Therefore, God is liable to compensate us. If there was an eternal hell, then compensation would not be possible. But that is not true. So what did God do? God sent Jesus as a payment for our sins. However, only some people will “clam” this payment by becoming saved. So in addition, God will create the lake of fire to compensate everyone else who did not “claim” this payment. Isn’t that amazing?!!! God didn’t just make these laws for us, He made them for Himself to follow as well.

Calvinism

To be thorough, I think is important to include some history about predestination. Calvinism is a branch of Christianity which started with John Calvin (1509 – 1564) who was a French theologian during the Protestant Reformation. Calvin’s most notable teaching was on predestination:

“Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is forordained for some and eternal death for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say he is predestined either to life or to death,” – Institutes, Book III, Ch. XXI, Sec. 5

Calvin’s use of eternal is incorrect. Something that is eternal cannot have “life” or “death,” because it has always existed. God is the only being that is eternal because He has no beginning or end. He always existed and will continue to exist. Calvin is however, partially correct in that God predestines some people to be saved form the lake of fire.

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