And then there’s this - to add to the fray -
Many are called, few are chosen (Matthew 22:14) The parable of the wedding feast. The invitation went out from the king to fill the hall when the original invitees declined to attend. Not too difficult to figure out who is who in this analogy. It gets disturbing though at the punch line. That one guy, the one who came but wasn’t dressed properly - he was ejected from the party. Was he arrogant or just clueless? He heard and responded to the invitation - he either didn’t realize there was something else required of him or he didn’t care. We could debate the subtle underpins of that for eons.
I’ve mulled this into the ground. I finally had to back up and stop looking at all the threads under a microscope so I could see the incredible tapestry instead.
Let’s establish that God is all knowing - He knows everything from beginning to end. So, let’s refer to this as God having seen the video - (actually he wrote and directed) but let’s say He’s seen the climactic ending. Further He well knows the actors and characters and how it all turns out, who is the protagonist and the antagonist. And who sides with whom.
Here’s the kicker though and probably the point - we don’t. All we know is the promise. We know that faith is a condition that allows for us to believe without seeing or knowing the outcome of any and all situations. We know that surrendering to His will is our best option.
And - lastly - ‘they’ don’t know either. ‘They’ meaning those who either outright decline the invitation and those who go to the wedding without dressing properly.
To say that His sheep know the sound of His voice is a thread - just one addition to the warp or weft. I settled this for myself by concluding there is much more to know and understand about how a work of art tapestry is woven together.
If I only look to the single threads I’m too close to appreciate the immense beauty of the whole thing. I choose to err on the side of respect and awe so I have to believe that I am an invitee who wants to not only hear His voice but respond dressing myself appropriately with humility and willingness to servitude. Did He foreknow that I would do this? Probably - but then He also knows how the video ends so there’s that. You can’t unknow what you know. Right?
The argument for predestination is not unlike the argument for universalism - everyone is either saved in the end or only the selected elite. These polar opposite doctrines always come to a myopic conclusion that mostly just keep the options open for those who don’t want to accept the first invitation and for those who do and attend but don’t want to know what is expected of them.
Voltaire was an atheist who spoke about not rejecting that there is a God, “just in case”. He died in fear, scrambling to be reconciled with the church. I think he represents the guest who didn’t have a clue how to dress.