Does Foreordination mean I’m Predestined for Failure?

Object Lesson

Many students ask the question if God knows how I’ll act in a given situation (temptation or other), isn’t He really responsible for the way I acted in that situation? Does foreordination mean I have no choice in the way I’ll act? Am I predestined to failure? One of my professors at BYU (seems to me it was Joseph McConkie) responded to the question this way: After a discussion on the meaning of foreordination and predestination, ask the class: What will happen if you drop a pencil? It will fall. Ask the class to watch as you drop a pencil (on the table, floor, or podium). Did it fall? Yes, it behaved according to the laws that govern pencils. Did I make the pencil fall? No, it behaved according to the law, and its nature. It was in a situation (or location–the air) where pencils fall, and it did so. In the same way, there are laws that govern us. There are situations in which people act according to their natures and fall. Though God knows your nature and how you will react in every situation, he does not cause your reaction. Knowledge of a future event does not cause the event. You can expand the lesson this way: Our situation can be different than the pencil’s in one very important way–the pencil had no warning it was about to be in a situation that would cause it to fall. If we live with the spirit in our lives, Heavenly Father will warn us of situations that will cause us to fall. If we don’t rely on the spirit, we may miss the warning and be stuck in a situation where we people must fall.

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