Our minds were designed by our Creator to work on the basis of logic. Researchers tell us that this is why optical illusions work on us. Our brains, in attempting to see patterns in chaos, will often fill in “missing” information allowing us to see things that aren’t actually present. We all like logic and order in our lives, to different extents. We want to know the sun will rise tomorrow and that two plus two will still equal four. However, our God has given us our logic and reasoning ability to figure out problems and day-to-day strategies in this physical life. There is a whole different set of rules for our spiritual one.
Although we may want to argue that it is logical that an all-powerful God created this universe, we know that this knowledge is received by faith. The Scriptures testify,
“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Hebrews 11:3). Our Lord reminds us again and again that we “. . . walk by faith, not by sight”
(II Corinthians 5:7), no matter how tempting it may be to trust our eyes, mind, or other faculties. Our whole faith-life is a matter of trusting in the unseen and unknowable.
Nowhere is it more tempting to use logic and reason inappropriately than in the doctrine of the election of grace. If A and B are mutually-exclusive propositions, and A is proven true, then B must be false. Conversely, if B is proven to be true, then A must be incorrect. So mankind reasons: If it is a man’s fault if he finds himself in hell, then it must be to man’s credit when he finds his way to heaven. Or conversely: If it is to God’s credit that an individual ends up in heaven, isn’t it God’s fault if one is not saved? After all, these statements appear to be opposite sides of the same coin. They may indeed be opposites, but in reality, we are dealing with two entirely different “coins”: the salvation coin, and the damnation coin.
Both the Law of God written in our hearts, and the Scriptures surely do convict our consciences in regard to our wrong-doings and shortcomings. Logic then tells us we’d better do something to make up for, or compensate for these affronts to God. Scriptures tell us this is a no-win scenario. “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Scripture does give us the answer. It is by faith that we are saved. And lest we think that this faith is a good work on our part or even a contribution toward our own salvation, God’s Word clearly points out that it is God’s free gift to us, planned and prepared before time began (Romans 3:23-24, 11:6, Ephesians 2:4-9).
In Ephesians 1:3-11, Paul mentions again and again that our God chose us before the foundation of the world, that He predestined us to adoption as His children, and that we have obtained an inheritance with Him as well.
The opposite side of the predestination coin is simply that man has chosen to go it alone without God. A soul who finds himself in hell will be there because he has rejected the grace of God.
Paul again wrote to the Roman Christians, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).
This doctrine of election of grace, or eternal predestination, has been revealed to us not by logic or reasoning, but by faith. That faith is given us by a loving God, in order to assure us of our place with Him in the world to come!
David W. Bernthal is the principal of Luther Memorial School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.