"God predestinated his people, not things." "Predestination as taught by the true church teaches us that God predetermined the destination of his people, not things." -- Elder Claude Mckee,* Anniston, Alabama
From time to time I hear or read the idea that predestination refers only to people and not things. This "doctrine" is making a distinction where there is no difference (and thereby possibly causes division where there should be none). Consider the following factors.
1. The English meaning of the word "predestinate". It means "to foreordain or predetermine" (our common usage of "destination" is not bound up in the meaning of the word).
2. The Latin root of the word "predestinate". It comes from the Latin root déstinàre, which means "to establish or determine" (see the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © 2006, for example)
3. The meaning of the Greek word proorizo. According to most concordances, Bible dictionaries, etc., it means "to predetermine or decide beforehand", "decreeing from eternity", "to foreordain or appoint beforehand". (IOW, our modern idea of "destination" is not bound up in the word, as usage will show)
4. The use of the Greek word proorizo. It is translated "predestinate", "ordain" and "determine before" in the following verses, and is not restricted from referring to things.
Acts 4:28 - For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel /determined before/ to be done.
Rom 8:29 - For whom he did foreknow, he also did /predestinate/ to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom 8:30 - Moreover whom he did /predestinate/, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
1Co 2:7 - But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God /ordained/ before the world unto our glory:
Eph 1:5 - Having /predestinated/ us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:11 - In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being /predestinated/ according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
To define "things" out of what God has determined before is to ignore the totality of Scripture, place too much weight a few verses without due consideration of the whole, and to ignore the meaning of the word. Too much rests on reading back into it one of the meanings of our word "destination" -- "the place to which one is going". This ignores other meanings of the word, such as "an act of appointing or setting aside for a specific purpose". To say that God does not "predestinate" things is to say He does not "predetermine" things.
This is an area in which we need to allow the Bible to interpret itself, rather than to apply our own distinctions. As noted, the Greek word proorizo is translated "predestinate" and "determine before", which is a Biblical way of defining the meaning of predestinate -- it is that which God has determined before. For example, in Acts 4:28 - "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." What had God here determined before? That Herod, Pontius Pilate, Gentiles and the people of Israel would crucify Jesus Christ. See verses 24-27 and also Acts 2:22-24.
* Essential Baptist Principles I do not intend to "pick on" or debate Elder Mckee. His site is the first one I found by google search that stated this idea plainly.