What do you believe about having free will and being predestined by God? Romans 8:28-30
My response is in Green:
Good questions. I believe we have free will, if we did not have a choice then God has lied in His word. I will explain what I mean. Look at these verses: (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV) I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
If God only picks certain people then He does NOT want all men to be saved. Again if we have no choice, but God makes the choice for us and He truly does want all men to be saved, then they would be saved.
I think on the other hand that God did give us free will to choose for ourselves and that He would like for all men to choose to serve and love Him. If you look at Romans 8:28-30; (Romans 8:28-30 NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. I believe what it is saying is that God knew even before we were created what choice we were going to make. That does not take the choice away from us it is still our choice, however, since He did know what choice we were going to make He predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son; Jesus. I think He would have predestined anyone whom He knew would accept Christ so it is still our choice. This is a concept that is hard for us as humans to fully understand, but I believe God has given us the choice.
If God knew what choice we would make, then He made us make that choice. I think that God has "programmed" us to do what he wants, so He already knows what we will do and think. Otherwise, He wouldn't know what was going to happen. God knew that David was going to kill Goliath becasue before David was born, God has it all planned out. Goliath didn't wake up one day and decide to attack Saul's army. God put that idea in his head, so He could show His greatness through David.
I have heard this argument before, but I am sorry I don't believe it. For one, just because God knows what is going to happen does not mean that we don't have a choice in the matter. Let me give you an example from real life, it will not match perfectly but it is close enough to give you the idea. Let's say I have a teenage son, which I do. Now let's say that he needs money, which he always does, and let's say that I leave a 20 dollar bill on the kitchen table. If I know in my mind that my son will take the $20 because I know him and I know he needs it, does that mean that he no longer has a choice of whether to pick it up or not? Of course I can't really know for sure like God knows, but still the point is the same. It is like telling a child not to do something, you can be pretty sure they will do exactly what you told them not to do, but that does not mean that they no longer have a choice.
God created time, He is not bound by time like we are. Let's say that you print this message out on paper. You hold the paper up and you can see it from all different sides. That is how God must see time, from all different sides. We live on that paper and to us it is where everything exists, but to God it is just a small thing that he can view from all different angles. So He can look at the end and see what is going to happen. That does not mean that He determined what would happen, just that He sees what will happen.
Now don't get me wrong, I do believe that God has His hand in history and that many things happen because He ordains them, but He in His sovereignty decided to give us free will and allow us to express that free will. I also believe that the two things can work together. You mentioned Goliath and that you did not believe that he just woke up one day and decided to fight Saul and his army. Maybe not, but does that mean that he had no choice? I don't think so.
What if God knew before Goliath was born what kind of person he would be and therefore used him for His purposes? My point is that God might very well have used Goliath to bring Himself glory, but that does not mean that Goliath was innocent. These are things which the human mind is not capable of fully understanding.
Let me go further and say that I don't believe we have a right to judge anything God does no matter if we like it or not. My point is that if God did cause Goliath to do what He wanted him to do that is God's prerogative. But I think we can see from reading Scripture that God does not just play games with us, He loves us and He wants everyone to know Him. He does not want anyone to be lost, yet He knows those who will reject Him and His free gift. I am sure He uses those whom He already knows will reject Him to reach those whom He knows will accept Him.
I think Satan uses predestination as a lie to fool many people. If God is the one who chooses if we will accept Him or not, then we are guiltless. How can we be responsible for our own actions if God has preordained those very actions? The problem with that kind of thinking is that one day we will stand before God and be judged for our actions. He will not believe that we did not have a choice, when He Himself gave us that choice.
As I said in my first e-mail the Bible clearly says that we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, but it does not say that it was predestined who would accept the free gift and who would not. God says He gives us a choice, He says He wants all of us to be saved, and I believe Him.
Well anyway that is my view.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)