“The decree of God is His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His own will, whereby, for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.”
B. Terms Involved
1. Omniscience. Knowledge of all things, actual and possible.
2. Foreknowledge. Prior knowledge of all things included in the actual course of events.
3. Predestination. The predetermining of the destiny of the elect.
4. Retribution. Deserved punishment.
5. Election. God’s choosing a people for Himself.
6. Preterition. Passing by of the non-elect.
C. Nature of the Decree
1. There is only one decree involving everything though in the outworking of events there is successiveness. There is also a convenient distinction between directive and permissive decrees.
2. The decree is all-inclusive (Eph. 1:11) although God does not sustain the same relationship to each thing in the decree.
3. All the desires of God are not necessarily incorporated into His plan.
4. What God has decreed is ultimately for His own glory.
5. Wrong is never made right simply because sin was included as part of God’s purpose.
D. Objections to the Decree
1. It is inconsistent with human freedom. (But all means like prayer and witnessing are part of His plan).
2. The decree makes God the author of sin. (Although God has included sin in His plan, He is never responsible for the committing of sin).
3. The doctrine of decree is the same as fatalism. (Fatalism emphasizes only ends, and makes chance, not God, the governing power).