I have often heard Christians debate “free will” and “predestination.” Both are clearly taught in the Bible. Although I do not claim to be a Bible scholar, I am a Christian and I believe that God has given all Christians the mental capacity to understand his teachings. I also believe that many Christians spend too much time looking at a word, when they should be looking at the Book. One thing Jesus said that is pretty easy to understand is that “you should come as little children” (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16). I think the following analogy explains in childlike terms how both “free will” and “predestination” can exist together.
First, we must agree on some basic truths: 1. God is Truth. If He said it, it is true. 2. God is right. If He does it, it is the right thing to do. 3. God created a natural world that we live in. If we fall in the lake, we get wet. If we touch a hot stove, we get burned. If we have no food, we starve. These things happen whether we are good or bad, Christian or Atheist. 4. God can do miracles. What is a miracle? It is when God suspends the natural laws. We fall in the lake, but instead of getting wet, we walk on water. We are thrown in a fiery furnace, and our hair is not even singed. We use the last flour in the barrel, but it never runs out.
How does God run the world? It is as if God is sitting on the top of a high mountain. Around the bottom of the mountain He has built a train track, called Time. The rails run from the beginning of Time to the end of Time. It is a good track. The rails are strong and cannot be moved. God can see the beginning, the end, and everywhere in between. On the track is a train. The train is called Now. God can see the train wherever it is on the track of Time. There are passengers on the train, in Now. They only experience what is happening on the train, Now. God controls the train. It travels at His command. It hardly ever stops, although once God did allow Joshua to stop the train (Joshua 10:12.) The passengers sometime feel like the train is speeding up as they get older. The passengers do not control the train. The train’s route and destination are predestined. God has already laid the tracks and there is nothing the passengers can do to move them. However, the passengers can move about on the train. They can change seats. They can change traveling companions. They can even change cars. The passengers can change what is happening on the train, but they cannot change the big picture they see when they look out the windows. The passengers control what they do on the train. They cannot get off the train until God calls them. While on the train, the passengers can do good, and they can do bad. They are living in the natural world while on the train, and are affected and controlled by the natural laws. Even though they are on the train and living in the natural world, God created each one of them. Because God is the Creator, it is His privilege to create as He sees fit. Some He made handsome, some not so. Some He made brilliant, some not so. Some He created for special purposes, some not so. However, they are all on the same train. Unless God decides to perform a miracle, they will all live in the natural world on the train, abiding by its rules, until they die. God knows that some will desire to know Him. He also knows that some will not. Remember, God can see both ends of the track, Time. Those who know Him will share eternity with Him on the Mountain. Those who do not know Him will spend eternity separated from Him. But all will eventually get off the train and no longer be constrained by the tracks, Time.
God has put a Conductor on the train. If we follow the guidance of the Conductor, our trip will be more peaceful and more successful than if we disregard the Conductor. The closer we can stay to the Conductor, the better our trip will be! The Conductor’s name is Jesus. I pray that you will always travel close by His side.
The Letter of Paul the Apostle to the Romans is a great place to learn more about God and His love for you.