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[Christianity] God's "Divine Plan"

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 893 times Debate No: 49777
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Hello everyone. I am posting this debate in search for answers to some of my questions in my quest for absolute faith. Therefore, I am requesting an "opponent" whom comes from a strong religious background/study. I am not sure if there are any pastors or reverends on this website, but if you are out there, I hope you take this debate.


Opponent Requirements:

1. Christian (Presbyterian, Orthodox, Methodist, etc.), preferably Presbyterian
2. Self-Introduction of level of study in theology (if applicable)
3. Any other extra info to represent the source of your reasoning



Will of God, also called the "Divine Plan", is defined as "the concept of God having a plan for humanity, and desiring to see this plan fulfilled." (
This definition expands to all monotheistic religions, therefore including Christianity. Yet, for the purpose of directing the debate, I want to clarify this definition specifically in terms of Christianity (Presbyterian).

"Divine Plan" is God's, Yahweh's, plan of the Kingdom of God to be fulfilled for his most beloved creation, humans. Within this concept lies many things, which us humans will never be able to comprehend. Yet, one is the saving of our souls. Since we have lost our connection to God due to the original sin, Jesus, God's only son, had come to forgive us from our sins. Each and every individual has a purpose which has been predetermined since the beginning, which this can go back into infinity. Therefore, on a micro scale, each individual is living each day that has been predetermined by God. On a macro scale, through each person's life, God is fulfilling his "Divine Plan".

This is the best I can do to define such an abstract ideal. If any information seems questionable or incorrect, please feel free to begin with that.



So, we are all God's creation, whether "good" or "bad". Now, I know that our (hence, social) classifications of "good" and "bad" are completely different from those of God's. The Bible states that there is no human that is "good", yet there are those that God are "pleased with". One example would be King David. Yet, there aren't many that God seems to be pleased with. In the eyes of God, everyone is equally loved, yet one is more pleasing than another. This I can comprehend. A good example would be a mother with two sons, one being morally upright and the other being a constant problem. The mother is bound to love her two sons, yet being pleased with one more than another. The reason I bring this up is to confirm that whether good or bad, everyone is part of the Divine Plan.

There are numerous occasions in which God uses Satan/Evil to punish his children. One good example is Job. The Bible clearly states that God "allowed" Satan to strike Job, but under the restriction of taking his life, and Satan humbly complies. In other words, he may use Satan to fulfill his divine will. Therefore, only God may take lives. This leads to a very difficult question.

What of those that are sacrifices of unfortunate events? What about those innocent Christians that are tortured and murdered from extremists?

Many religious leaders have answered this question by stating that we do not know of the sins they may or may not have committed. Therefore, that is dangerous to label them as innocent. The truth is that I can not refute that, because I do not know. As I have mentioned above, we are all sinners whether we live with love and care for others. However, I think that argument is flawed since the opposite is also unclear. For this, I am requesting your argument.

Another questionable example is Judas Iscariot. Judas is one of Jesus's apostles, whom has betrayed Jesus leading to his crucifixion. Now, according to Presbyterian doctrine, God has predetermined each individual's life. Adding on to this, Jesus had already known of both the betrayal and the death. This occurs in his last supper with his apostles. So, under circumstances that all above is correct, Judas's betrayal was predetermined, therefore he is also a "necessary evil" to fulfill a plan. This would also apply to many others involved including Pilates, whom played the role of making the final decision for Jesus's crucifixion and so on. So, are they to be so condemned by us? How is one supposed to understand predetermination and blame Judas at the same time? I sense irony.



There is so much I want to ask. I want to firmly state that I am a believer, but also one whom does so through rationally. I "can" keep my faith without asking questions, but I'd rather keep my faith knowing that I am seeking the truth. The Bible states that those who believe in him like children (purely) will enter his kingdom. I have tried but I am wired to be logical and rational. So, please help me. I truly hope to reach a level of faith with the absence of a shred of doubt.

Thank you.


To begin, I beseech thee to not let the philosophy of the world shape the words of the Lord. Instead, as Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Many hate this doctrine, shaping a philosophy into the Bible, instead of letting the Bible shape the philosophy. With this, many have become examples of the Psalm of David, which tells us, "with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous" (Psalm 18:26).

God establishes for us that He is the one who shapes the hearts of men. Psalm 33:13-17 reads as follows:
"The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue."

The key point is that God fashions all the hearts of man. Every heart has been formed by God, even those of wickedness. Moreover, Proverbs 21:1 establish for us this fact even further, saying:

"The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will."

With this being said, we can even understand that Hitler had his heart shaped by God, He who fashions the hearts of all men. Jesus later informs us that all deeds and works come from the heart. Luke 6:43-45 reads as follows:

""For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

In fact, this is one of the ways we are told to tell of a true believer (Matthew 7:15-20):

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."

Thus, we know that God shapes every heart of man, which produces every deed, which in the divine foreknowledge of God and of the plan of the Lord. In fact, Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God works all things according the counsel of His will, In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will". Our passage does not say that God works, or operates, a few things. It does not say some things. And this does not say most things. It says all things are worked, which is the same word as 'operated,' by God. Romans 8:28 tells us the same thing: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." In this, we know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him, those who are called according to His purpose. Therefore, we know that God is sovereign over all things. Everything is in His hand, Him working everything. But, does this deprive one of moral accountability? No.

Genesis tells the story not only of the creation of the universe, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but it also tells the story of Joseph. After having been sold into slavery, by his brothers, a famine hits, which causes everyone to eventually come to Egypt for help. Joseph's brothers are among those asking for help from him. In the following passage, Joseph reveals himself to them, telling them that not only did they sell Him into the slavery, but God sent him. In other words, if Joseph were asked, "Who made you to go to Egypt?", he would respond with a "both... and..." answer.

So Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, please." And they came near. And he said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt (Genesis 45:4-8).

In fact, after Jacob's death, Joseph's brothers fear him, knowing that they have done evil, thinking that he was simply holding back for the sake of his father. Thus, as it is written:

But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Genesis 50:19-20).

With this, we can know that they did in fact do evil against Joseph, though God worked it for good. In this, God is innocent of it, but the brothers are guilty.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Moreover, at Exodus 7:3 God tells Moses that He will harden Pharaoh's heart. "But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt". This in fact happens multiple times; God hardens Pharaoh's heart, but Pharaoh is also given moral accountability for having sinned:

"But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servant" (Exodus 9:34).

Yet again, we have a "both... and..." answer. If one were to be asked, "Who hardens Pharaoh's heart?", one would have to respond by saying that both God and Pharaoh did it. Pharaoh was guilty of it, having sinned, though God was innocent of it. He did so as recorded in Exodus 9:16, reading, "But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth." This is later quoted by Paul in Romans 9, which is right after the Romans 8:28 verse, the one saying that all things work for the good of those who love God. Here is partially the passage of Romans 9:13-23, which reads as follows:

As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory"

So, it was repeated in both the Old and the New Testament. Furthermore, there are many more passages about this type of thing. One more would be Isaiah 10:5-12, reading as following:

Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger;
the staff in their hands is my fury!
Against a godless nation I send him,
and against the people of my wrath I command him,
to take spoil and seize plunder,
and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
But he does not so intend,
and his heart does not so think;
but it is in his heart to destroy,
and to cut off nations not a few;
for he says:
"Are not my commanders all kings?
Is not Calno like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad?
Is not Samaria like Damascus?
As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,
whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols
as I have done to Samaria and her images?"
When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes.

Thus, when Acts 2:23 says, "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men", and when Acts 4:27-28 says, "for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.", we can know that the crucifixion was evil for those men who did it, along with Judas, but God was innocent, being the executioner of Jesus; "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21), reflecting back to Isaiah 53.

One hopes to understand this.
Debate Round No. 1


lolzor93, I could not have asked for a better argument.
I am blown away by the amount of biblical proof you have provided me and want to let you know that I greatly appreciate you taking your time to collect all the resources.
It was most helpful but I do want to confirm a couple things I could not find an answer to in your response.

1. I think hardening of the Pharaoh's heart (Exodus) is a great, if not the best, example of God shaping the heart of men. I understand that God is the creator and that the creator has all power to do what he wills. Yet, knowing that God is Love, it is difficult to understand not "how" but "why" God would make some men harden their hearts to eventually be punished. What if the Pharaoh's heart has not been hardened to stop Moses and the Jews from leaving?
2. This leads to the Pharaoh's son. What about his son? His son dies due to the punishment of God, but what sin does the child have? Would he, dying without the chance to take in God, as the true and only God, be saved? This is in correspondence to the question of natives whom never had the chance to hear the word of God. I know that the bible states that one has the capability to find the existence of God from nature, but how do they know that it is Yahweh, and how to pray correctly.
3. It is difficult to grasp the concept of God doing his will, but being innocent of the detriments that occur from them. In many sections of the Old Testament, God uses external factors, such as nearby enemies, to punish the Jews. Yet, how are we to understand whether those external parties are sinners or not? They do not live by the words of God because they are unaware. They were selected by God and their hearts hardened to do God's will, but they are responsible for all their actions. This is a bit hard to grasp.

I want to thank you again for your previous response.


Many philosophers over the years have wrestled with the problem of evil. One of the solutions for it is that there be a greater good. In logic, there are things called necessary and sufficient conditions. For example, a dog is a sufficient condition to conclude that the thing is an animal. By definition of it being a dog, it must be an animal also. Likewise, being an animal is a necessary condition for being a dog; for if the thing is not an animal, then it cannot be a dog. This leads to us concluding 'if it is a dog, then it is an animal." Thus, many philosophers have argued in the problem of evil that a greater good is a sufficient condition for evil. This does not mean that a greater good begets or causes evil; this only means that it is a sufficient condition for evil to exist. In other words, evil is a necessary condition for a greater good. But what might this 'greater good' be?
Proverbs 16:4 establishes for us that everything everything has a purpose from God:

"The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble."

From this, we can know that God is using Pharaoh for some sort of purpose. This is why Romans 9:17-23 tells us the following:

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory"

So, in total, we don't know the will of God, though we can speculate as to what it might be. My own theory of this, going along with what Romans 9 tells us, plays on the Genesis account. Here is what I posted a while ago on a different site about this very 'why' issue:

As philosophers, both atheistic and theistic, have studied the problem of evil, many have come to the conclusion that it can be solved by assuming for a higher good, something that could only come about through evil. Though this does not make God the author of evil, nor responsible for evil, as they have noted, the "higher good" has yet to be understood. Could the very beginning of the Bible answer this? Genesis 2:9 states the following: "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Right after this, God determines that it is not good for Adam to be alone, and decides to make a helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18). However, before God makes Eve in Genesis 2:22, God marches all of the animals in front of him, showing that a suitable helped has not been found (Genesis 2:20). Could it be that evil is [to help in man's understanding of and recognition for] the need of God, as Adam was shown the need for woman? Could it be that evil is simply so that we might have not the intellectual, but the personal knowledge of what evil is? Psalm 107 preaches a similar thing about suffering, and Romans 3:26 tells us that the cross was to show God's righteousness, being the just and the justifier. Could it be that suffering, evil, and all the bad things in the world are simply a result of the eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in which spiritual death immediately resulted? Could it be that this tree garnered us a knowledge of our personal need for God in all ways?

So, as I had posted, the 'why' might be answered by pointing to evil being a necessary condition for the greater good, which is a first hand understanding of the effects of evil. God gave Eve to Adam after he had an understanding of his need; so too will He give Himself once we understand our need for Him, knowing the impacts of evil. This is why Romans 5:20-21 reads, "Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

From these thoughts, onto the latter questions, there are two levels of predestination. First is the absolutist kind: God working all things. Second is in the salvation sense: God must change the heart of the before he can come to Christ. Jeremiah 13:23 says the following:

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil."

Man cannot change his own heart, though he can harden it. This is the difference of total and utter depravity. Total depravity is that man is essentially evil, and all that he does is evil, as Genesis 6:5 says, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Utter depravity is the degree to which the evil is: one can harden one's heart and do worser or lesser sins, which is why God sets aside abominations (Proverbs 6:16-19):

There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

Only God can essentially change the heart of man. Paul quotes the Psalmists, as recorded in Romans 3:10-18.

as it is written:
"None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one."
"Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive."
"The venom of asps is under their lips."
"Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

In this we can understand that in a carnal state of man, no one can believe God. "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot" (Romans 8:7). "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). Truly, no person can believe in God, or do good--harkening back to bad trees only bearing bad fruit--unless the Holy Spirit moves within them and prepares the heart, which is baptism of the Holy Spirit, being made a new creation: being 'born again.'

Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again." The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:5-8)

This is what baptism symbolizes and what circumcision did symbolize in the Old Testament.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. (Deuteronomy 30:6)

This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. (Genesis 17:10-11)

However, God's divine plan comes into play here. While the Spirit prepares the heart for being born again, God's divine plan brings the Word to His elect, those who have been predestined to believe; John 6:37 says, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out." Romans 10:13-17 says this:

For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So, all in all, everyone whom God has chosen to believe will believe, eventually having heard the Word, eventually being converted. God doesn't owe us anything, meaning that He could let everyone perish. He saves us out of the goodness of His love, even though we have sinned. If He owes us something, namely life or any sort of blessing, then we are trailing into works based doctrine. But we are not saved by works; for if we were, then we would have to fulfill the entire law, as Galatians 3:10-14 says. Not only this, "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace" (Romans 11:6). In fact, Isaiah 64:6 says, "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment [i.e. a woman's menstrual rag]. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." God saves us out of who He is, being love, us deserving of death.
Debate Round No. 2


honoryoo forfeited this round.


Hopefully these things have been enlightened within your heart! If you have any further questions, just ask! ^.^
Debate Round No. 3


honoryoo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


honoryoo forfeited this round.


I hope that you may all come to an acceptance and love of God and His sovereign goodness! God bless
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Finalfan 7 years ago
This was a greta debate. Too bad it didn't get past first couple of rounds! Both sides had me hooked! Especially Pro's interpretation of the same book that brought us the Westborough Baptist church! Very different but still begs endless questions!
Posted by lolzors93 7 years ago
I'm a presbyterian, one who claims predestination, if you want to debate me.
Posted by lolzors93 7 years ago
Ephesians 1:11 - God works all things. End of argument.
Posted by Geogeer 7 years ago
I'm no theologian, just somebody who tries to learn like you. I can discuss this from a Catholic viewpoint.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 7 years ago
You also misunderstand the story of Job. It was originally a wager between God and Satan that Job would not give into the temptations placed in front of him by Satan, as a possible remedy to the problems that Satan started. It's like two doctors betting on a lab rat. The rat is in a hot cage, and stepping on, and killing, another rat means freedom. Should the first rat kill the other rat, or should they both die? That is what the story of Job is about. Whether or not someone will do the "right thing" or act out a selfish desire to be successful.

The previous comment also applies to your mention of Judas.

It is nearly impossible to say that something is "God's Plan" or not, because if a human could have chosen to do it, it means that God could have left the decision to said human.

If you want to debate, send me a challenge, and we can discuss at length.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 7 years ago
You seem to be forgetting the concept of free will, which the Christian God is said to have given to humanity. I'm not a professor, or theologian, but I have a good working knowledge of Christianity. God may have a plan, but that doesn't mean that plan will be fulfilled. It's similar to a blueprint, or a vacation itinerary made by the guests. It's great to have a plan, but when other people are involved in it's execution, it's full realization is difficult.
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