As is the case on most mornings, today I cruised down the freeway to behold a beautiful blue sky abruptly encountering a line of green trees in the distance. This boundary delineating sky and earth was sharp and decisive. Understanding horizons can also aid us in comprehending predestination.
We should not be surprised that our English word horizon originates from a Greek cognate horizo, meaning to set a boundary or make a determination. This is exactly how horizons function. They create a boundary dividing one thing from another.
If we might expect the Greek version of the Old Testament (Septuagint) as well the New Testament to provide ample examples of horizo illustrating these ideas, we would be correct (Joshua 13:7; Ezekiel 47:20; Luke 22:22; Acts 11:29). In fact, we will also discover it is used to describe making an oath (Numbers 30:3-9). If we think about it, this makes sense since oaths involve separating what we will do from what we will not do.
As it turns out, “horizons” determine a great many things. Take professional basketball for example. The NBA has drawn a boundary line separating the first team to achieve four wins within a playoff series from its opponent. That line determines which team will win. Obviously, the specific team who will win any particular series remains unknown or at least probabilistic until that fourth win.
In fact, many such boundaries determine what will be done for someone or for a group, while not specifically predicting the names of who those individuals will be. Consider the British monarchy’s succession to the throne. Rules separate who will be first in line for the crown from all the others. Monarchs are predetermined.
Let’s return to scripture. Sometimes God makes a determination in such a way no human can replicate. To convey the intensity of this idea the word “before” (pro) was affixed to the front of horizo to create proorizo.
For example, Paul informs us that before the world even existed God had a plan whereby he predetermined he would use Jesus Christ to adopt a group of people to become his children (Ephesians 1:4-5). As you have probably already guessed, this predetermining can also be translated as predestined.
Furthermore, in accordance with his will, God has predetermined that those in Christ have received an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11). God’s plan delineated what he would do for those who would respond to the gospel’s call.
If these details were not amazing enough, God, foreknowing he would have a relationship with those who would love him, predetermined what should happen for these people. They would grow into the image of his Son (Romans 8:29). Additionally, this group would be composed of those whom he called (Romans 8:30).
What else has God predestined? God predetermined Jesus’ sufferings (Acts 4:27). God also predetermined that the message of his wisdom would eventually be revealed for our glory (1 Corinthians 2:6-7).
Believe it or not, but these verses exhaust the New Testament occurrences for predestinate. What have we learned? What God has predetermined is wonderful and reassuring! As disciples of Christ, we can be encouraged and filled with confidence that such things as God’s work in adopting us as his people and our possessing an inheritance in Christ are neither accidental, uncertain nor an afterthought. God has predetermined this is exactly what he would do for his people. Praise be to God for caring for us so and setting our hearts at ease.