The Logic of Anti-Foreordination/Predestination Arguments about the Christian God of the Bible Explained and Refuted.
(Adapted from Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen on fore-ordination and responsibility)
P1 If it is certain in advance that S will X then S cannot do other than X.
I will agree S cannot do otherwise but "Cannot" here is defined by "with certainty".
"Other than X" is what God foreordained/Decreed.
(S cannot do other than x) = Other than what God ordained.
Can we resist God's Decretive will? No
Can we resist God's Permissive will ? Yes
Can we resist God's Preceptive will? Yes
When God decrees that something is actually going to happen can we resist that? No. Nobody can actually resist what is actually going to happen. Can anyone do other than what God has ordained? No.
So it is certain in advance that S will X means S cannot do other than what God has ordained.
From that ^ it is inferred that if S cannot do other than X in that sense then S cannot do other than x in ANY sense. This is a hasty generalization fallacy.
P2 If S cannot do other than X then S is not responsible for X.
(Because Responsibility requires ability to do otherwise)
The ability to do otherwise we are addressing here may be in accordance with whatever God ordains to take place. If S can do otherwise in this "Morally responsible sense" then there is no problem.
What is the sense in which we hold a person responsible for what he has done, and what ability do we presume him to have to do otherwise? S was not coerced is what we usually mean.
(Example. God puts the tree in the garden but he doesn't teleport the tree everywhere Adam and Eve go to make them eat or 'poof' it into their stomachs "coercion")
If it should be the case that God's ordaining whatever comes to pass is not contrary to the condition of no coercion then there is no problem. If we can hold that God's ordaining X does not imply that he coerced X then these are logically compatible. Ergo S was not coerced by God and therefore could do otherwise and was morally responsible in that sense (Prescriptive will) even though it is not true in the sense that he could of frustrated the will of God (Decretive will).
How can God ordain something,make it certain in advance, and not coerce it?
My answer is I don't know, and I don't owe an answer to that question. I don't know how he brought Jesus back to life, parted the red sea, made donkeys talk, or how he is going to bring about the new heaven and earth. I'm not sure about alot of things but that doesn't make them logically impossible. It just means God knows and has alot more power than I do. Which is just to say God can do things that I can't do. If I want to make it absolutely certain in advance that S will shoot his wife my only option is to coerce him. I could make it fairly certain perhaps by psychological manipulation, putting the gun near him, drugging him, or some similar scenario but it still would not be absolutely certain. The only way I can make it absolutely certain in advance that S will X is to coerce him (Putting the gun into S's hand and pulling the trigger for him). Now does God have the ability to make something certain in advance without coercing? How would we know the answer to that question? The only way we can know is by looking at what God says he can do. This is not a question of Logic (That has been demonstrated above). It is a question of metaphysics. Where is a Christian going to get his metaphysical outlook if not from scripture? Does God say ordination requires coercion? No he doesn't. But he says things like:
16 And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" (Mat 19:16 NAU)
26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Mat 19:26 NAU)
Clearly in this context salvation is in view. It is saying all things regarding salvation are possible with God. This should be obvious because we already know God cannot do certain things, and Adam certainly had something to do with our salvation (Romans 5; 1 Cor. 15). Why then bother to go into metaphysics and conclude God ordained whatsoever comes to pass? Well we really don't have to since this has no logical problems but we do have scripture that tells us plainly he fore-ordained such things even regarding Christ and the Church. And many times not to rely on our rationalism. But nothing about his ordination requiring coercion.
KJV 1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. (Act 4:27-28 KJV)
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Eph 1:11 KJV)
KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (Isa 55:8 KJV)
Finally the alternatives to this are far too terrible to bear. I personally believe the bible teaches that people who struggle with this idea are probably unregenerate because the bible never presents these concepts as unloving or in a hostile manner. It isn't characteristic of a regenerate mind to paint our God as a heavenly demonic despot because of such rationalism. I would say that is indicative of Atheists and such with their incessant moral charges against God and his word and reveals a deeper issue. That deeper issue is that they are unwilling to submit their minds to the authority of scripture and what God says. So what are the alternatives? If God is not in control of all things it seems to me it is chaos and old knight as Cornelius Van Til once said. That is to say in a universe of chance who do I and God pray too to get things done? Do I have to ask God if he hopes things get done? How would God know anything with certainty in advance? How could anyone be held responsible for anything, or there be any objective purpose in such a gratuitous ebb of chance? I will put some more thoughts here later... if I was ordained to freely do it. Have a Good day and God Bless!!!
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Eph 1:4-6 KJV)