- Calvinists View The Following Passage Of Scripture As Conclusive Evidence For Their Belief In Unconditional Election:
To preface, it should be noted that the verses in question do not actually say anything about God choosing before the creation of the world which individuals will be saved. In fact, Ephesians 1:1-13 does not even mention anything about the unrepentant and the unbelieving, nor an irresistible calling of the human will. The text says nothing about being predestined to be a Christian, either.
Quite simply, this passage from Ephesians discusses God predetermining the character, purpose, and plan of those who get saved. It concerns predestination for blessings, not salvation. It concerns what will happen to those who get saved. Those who are faithful to God have been predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants to have a relationship with mankind. He wants to redeem us. He wants to make us His children. We are included in Christ the moment we believe from the heart the message of the gospel (Ephesians 1:13). We were not predestined to be in Christ. Rather, we are predestined "in Him".
The truth of the matter is that Calvinists misunderstand Scripture due to having a confirmation bias. These people take out of context words such as elected, predestined, foreknew, and before the foundation of the world to fit their deterministic theological paradigm. Thus, Calvinists altogether miss the point of Ephesians 1:1-13. The same is true of other texts that Calvinists use to substantiate their view on predestination such as 1 Corinthians 2:7 (which discusses God predetermining His plan of salvation). Scripture very clearly tells us that salvation is for all who come to God by faith and the gospel. A God of love would obviously not give us something beyond our reach.
If our eternal destinies have already been determined by God since the beginning of time, then why would the Apostle Paul exhort people to keep themselves pure (1 Timothy 5:22)? Why would Paul pray for the salvation of all people (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? Does God believe and repent on behalf of the sinner? How could God reason with His chosen nation Israel (Isaiah 1:18)? Why would He tell His people to make the choice of either serving Him or idols (Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:15-19; Jeremiah 21:8)? Why would the Lord draw near to those who seek Him (1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Jeremiah 29:13)? How is it possible for people to harden their own hearts against the Lord (Psalm 95:8)? Why should Christians even be concerned about the loss of heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 John 8-9)?
Hence, the Calvinist view of predestination is irrational at best. The Bible presupposes the existence of our free will. It presupposes our capacity to reach out to God through faith and humble repentance. God has no desire in punishing the wicked (Ezekiel 18:30-32; 33:10-11). God delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). The Lord does act in a contingent manner (i.e. Jeremiah 18:1-13). Election is conditional, not unconditional.