Having been invited to Jamaica to speak at a seminar on discipleship, a small Bible School asked that I address the student body three mornings before they began classes. A friend, who was hosting my stay, explained that the Head Master of the school believed that everything that happens is the sovereign will of God; he had an extreme and overt deterministic theology, convinced that such a view exalted the glories of God.
During one of our one-hour return trips, provided by the Head Master, I was foolish enough to ask if he actually believed that everything that happens is God’s will. With a pleasant Jamaican accent he divulged that he was convinced that God was in absolute control of everything and, one way or another, everything, to the most minute details of life on earth, was the outworking of God’s will. Having heard his confident assertion, I proceeded to ask if he believed that some people would go to heaven, and some people would go to hell. He assured me that this is, indeed, the case. To be certain that I, and he, actually understood his position, I asked, “So you believe that everything, everyone does is God’s will and that some people will go to heaven, and some people will go to hell?” Again, he gave assurance that this was an accurate understanding of his position.
“So, everyone, is, in fact, doing the will of God?”
“Yes,” he stated confidently.
“Okay,” I responded. “Here’s the problem I have with this view – Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
“Yes, that is true, brother.”
“But you said everyone is doing the will of God.”
“You also said that some people will go to heaven, and some people will go to hell.”
“This passage states that those who are doing the will of God will go to heaven.”
“Yes, that’s true.”
“But you said everyone is doing the will of God, and some of them will go to hell.”
He paused reflectively. “Oh, I see your problem,” he offered with a contemplative resignation. “You are trying to figure this out with your mind.”
I was slightly stunned as I retorted, “That’s what God gave me to figure it out with.”
I proceeded to remind him that 1 John 2:17 reveals that “the one who does the will of God lives forever” and the context is set against the idea that a certain approach toward life “is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
He remained unconvinced of my argument.
As I plan to offer an evaluation of Genesis 3 in a future post, I am reminded of Paul’s declaration to the Corinthian church – “…I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Co.11:3).