The man smoked three packs a day for thirty years. His wife was afraid he would get lung cancer, so she tried to get him to quit, but he refused. “You only go when your time is up,” he said. “When your time is up, you will go no matter how you live your life.” Some say things like this only because they don’t want to give up some bad habit. Some may hold onto the concept of fate because they don’t see any other way to understand why some tragedy occurs. Still others believe in fate or predestination as a doctrine found in the Bible.
One famous individual who believed in predestination was John Calvin. Sadly, his name is attached to the a particular religion – Calvinism – which is closely associated with Presbyterianism.
Perhaps worse is the teaching of total depravity, which is a distant cousin of fate, in that it supposes Man’s fall into sin so engulfed humanity that no one is able to choose to serve God.
Before we discuss this question in depth, allow me to make two bold, yet accurate, statements.
There is no such thing as fate.
There any such thing as total depravity.
The teaching of predestination or fate is a demonic teaching, in that it misrepresents God as a cruel persecutor of mankind who asks human to do something they are not capable of doing. In reality, God asks nothing of Man that Man cannot do. Let’s consider some scriptures in the Bible that demonstrate that Man possesses Free Will.
The King James Version¹ of the inspired scriptures, says at Joshua 24:15,
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Notice that this verse indicates that Joshua chose to serve the God of the Bible. In saying this, Joshua was intimating that it would be good for the others to do the same, but that whether or not they would choose to serve that One, they should choose to serve some god. Now, someone might say it is a man, Joshua, who is speaking here, and not God. They might also say Joshua merely thinks he has freedom of choice in this matter. OK. Though that is not true, let’s demonstrate from the scriptures that it is not true.
Consider Deuteronomy 30:19, 20, where it says (KJV),
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
This is not some ordinary man, but God by His Spokesman, Moses, who put before the people the opportunity to choose life, indicating to them that it was the better of two choices. They could do so by serving faithfully. Would the people have had a choice if fate was their lot in life? No. So God would have been, basically, lying, even tormenting the people, when told them to choose, if they could not in fact choose.
This is not the only scriptural passage by any means that indicates Man is not pre-destined. In fact, Man is even subject to coincidence! Read now, please, Ecclesiastes 9:11 (KJV),
“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
Yes, time and chance happen to everyone. As the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures reads,
“I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor; because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.”
In conclusion, Man is neither fated nor predestined in their life course. One chooses nearly everything in his life, unless time and unforeseen occurrence steps in. A man may cross a road at night and not see an oncoming car. Then it could be said that, although the man was not fated to be hit, nor did he choose to be hit, he was accidentally and coincidentally hit.
Man is a Free-Will Agent.