We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded by your direct support for ReKnew and our vision. Please consider supporting this project.

What is the significance of Deuteronomy 30:19?

After establishing the terms of the covenant he was entering into with Israel, the Lord says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”

This passage represents the most fundamental motif of the whole Bible: namely, the Lord seeks to enter into a covenantal relationship with people. He lays before them the terms of the covenant, spells out the consequences of keeping and breaking the covenant, and then lets them choose whether to enter into a covenantal relationship with him. He desires Israel, and ultimately all people (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9), to “choose life.” But precisely because a covenant of love must be chosen rather than coerced, he also gives people the power to choose to reject his love.

World history functions as a probationary period to determine who will and will not enter into an eternal covenantal relationship of love with the Lord. In the end, there will only be those who say “yes” to God’s invitation and therefore participate in his eternal triune love (heaven), and those who say “no” and thereby choose to eternally separate themselves from the Lord (hell).

In passages such as this one, the point of giving people the choice to either accept or reject the terms of the covenant is to determine whether or not they will participate in the covenant (e.g. Deut. 8:2; Judg. 3:4; 2 Chron. 32:31). But if the outcome of the probation is already foreknown an eternity before he ever creates or calls anyone, there is really no point to the probation. Moreover, since the Lord explicitly tells us he wants all people to “choose life,” there is no explanation as to why he would create people whom he was certain would “choose death.”

If we allow that the future is partly open and known by God as such, and if we concede that to some extent it lies in the power of free agents to decide which possibilities will and will not be actualized, then the purpose for every probation the Lord puts us through becomes clear. Love must be chosen; the outcome of free choices does not exist until the free choice is made; hence the Lord is finding out who will and will not choose love.

Category:
Tags: ,
Topics:
Verse:

Related Reading

How do you respond to Proverbs 16:9?

“The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” (cf. Prov. 19:21; 20:24; Jere. 10:23) Far from teaching that God controls everything, as some compatibilists maintain, this verse contrasts what the Lord controls with what he chooses not to control. Humans can and do make their own plans, but the Lord directs…

Lighten Up: Your Church Should Welcome This Friend

Cartoon via nakedpastor.com

Could the God of Open Theism Have Foreknown the Crucifixion was Going to Happen? (podcast)

Greg talks about a really really really smart and good God in a really really really bad world against a not-quite-as-smart adversary. Episode 540 http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0540.mp3

How do you respond to Acts 13:48?

“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers.” If the individual Gentiles who believed were “destined for eternal life” before they “became believers,” some may argue, they obviously were foreknown by God before they became believers.…

How do you respond to Genesis 49:10?

“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations be his.” In Exodus 32:10-14 God threatens to destroy the Israelites and start over with Moses. But Moses intercedes and God changes his mind. For Open…

5 Ways the Bible Supports Open Theism

Open Theism refers to the belief that God created a world in which possibilities are real. It contrasts with Classical Theism which holds that all the facts of world history are eternally settled, either by God willing them so (as in Calvinism) or simply in God’s knowledge (as in Arminianism). Open Theists believe God created humans and…