Many of the mainstream religious doctrines of our age are based upon the fallacy that God has predetermined our eternal fate. This concept simply is not supported in the scriptures. Paul clearly states in I Timothy chapter 2:1-4 that God desires everyone to be saved.
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I Timothy 2:1-4)
Paul implicitly states the desire of God for all mankind to be saved. The only way you could winkle the contrary from this passage is if “all” really doesn’t mean all. But, the word (πᾶς – pas) that Paul uses here, without a doubt, encompases the breadth of humanity. Strong’s Greek-English dictionary defines this word as: “Including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole.” (Strong’s G3956) If God truly desires everyone (all) to be saved; how can he predetermine or “predestine” anyone to eternal torment?
Further I urge you to consider Paul’s immediate subject while writing this encouraging statement. Paul begins by addressing something we, most likely, do with some regularity; pray for those in authority. Paul directs us to pray for our leaders, and he lists two main reasons for our “fervent prayer” (James 5:16). First we gain benefit from good stewards of our land and, mainly the ablitity to live quite and peaceable lives. I think the second reason Paul gives is also quite clear; so that all men might be saved. When taken in context with the passage this sheds new light on God’s desire for all men to be saved. We must pray for our leaders so that they too may come to a knowledge of the truth and therein obtain salvation. Polititians, as a whole, throughout all time have largely been despised by their constituents for the hubris that can accompany power. It is as if Paul is exhorting us to pray for our leaders, for even they can be saved. If their eternal fate was predetermined why bother praying for them? If they are predestined to eternal life, do they need our prayer’s? If to eternal fire, will our prayer’s do any good? Why then, would Paul tell us to pray for our leaders unless their eternal destination is not set? The clarion call throughout all time has always been simple: You have a choice!
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15)
Jesus tells us simply while answering Nicodemus’s question that God desires all men to seek him, and that God desires all men to be saved. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17) Jesus came to save the world. Does this scripture say that Jesus came to save only those who are predestined? No. It does say that Jesus came to save the entire world. Furthermore Jesus plainly tells what we must do to obtain his salvation. The end of verse 16 clearly states that our salvation is founded upon belief in the son of God. Again, you can choose to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Or, you can choose to believe that he is not the Son of God. Your choice.
Finally, if God predetermines our eternal fate wouldn’t he have done so throughout all time? How did God proclaim the fate of the Children of Israel before they entered the Promised Land? Their fate for good or ill was based upon their choice. God desired that they would follow him, he desired that they would seek his will. In Deuteronomy chapters 28 – 30 are a list of blessings that would accompany the people if they choose to follow the will of the Lord. In the same passage is described a list of curses that would hound the people if they choose to abandon God and follow the people of the land. There, on mount Gerizim and mount Ebal, God made a covenant with the people. Their lot in life was determined by their fulfillment of the covenant. It was not predetermined, for God desires all to be saved. So…
“choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,[…]. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)