Does God Predestine People To Hell?

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”

[Romans 9:19]

In Romans 9, Paul answered commonly asked questions about election. One of the questions people have about election is this: “Does God predestine people for Hell?” Does the Bible teach what is called “double predestination”–that some are predestined to go to Heaven, and others are predestined for Hell?

Paul answered that question in verse 19: “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’” Paul was saying, “How can the lost be held accountable for their actions if God has chosen them to be lost?” For God to predestine somebody to go to Hell and then tell them to accept Christ as their Savior–that is like cutting off a man’s arms and then telling him to pass the ketchup. You are asking him to do the impossible.

Does God predestine some people to Hell? Let’s get something straight. Do not ever use the argument: “God cannot do that because that would not be fair.” If God is the Creator of the universe, then He can do whatever He wants to do. God alone decides what is fair and what is just. In fact, that is what Paul said in Romans 9:20-23 to those of us who would question the ways of God. He used the illustration of a potter who was making a clay pot. He said to imagine a potter forming the clay with his hands, and in the middle of the process the pot looks up and says, “I do not like what you are doing. I do not like my shape. I do not like where you put the spout, and I do not like where you are putting the top. I want to be different.” What pot has the right to question the potter? Paul said the same thing to us: “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” (9:20). God can do whatever He chooses to do. The question is not, “Can God predestine people to Hell?” Sure He can if He wants to. The real question is, “Does God predestine people to Hell?” This is where I depart from the extremes of Calvinism. I do not believe God predestines certain people to Hell.

Let me share with you two reasons I do not believe in double predestination. First, double predestination is unnecessary for God. God does not have to do anything actively for people to go to Hell because we are all headed to Hell anyway because of the sin of Adam that has infected us and that we replicate every hour of every day–our rebellion against God. We are already lost. All of us are headed for Hell without any help from God.

Second, double predestination is uncharacteristic of God. Scripture is clear: the heart of God is to save as many people as possible. In 1 Timothy 2:3-4, Paul said, “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.” And 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord … is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” That is the desire of God.

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