In writing this essay, I aim to get to the heart of the greatest problem faced by every human being and by humankind as a whole. The question, which I describe as the only question you ever need ask, and which I will state at the end of this introduction, is the fundamental question I have arrived at after spending my entire adult life exploring all of the major problems of philosophy and theology – problems such as ‘Is there a God?’, ‘How can I be happy?’, ‘What is the meaning of life?’, and ‘What is Truth?’
My search to answer these questions, which I will call my spiritual journey, has taken me from atheism (the belief that there is no God) to New Age spirituality (including practices such as yoga and meditation), to Hinduism and Buddhism (including spiritual retreats and Satsang with various gurus), to psychological therapy (including psychiatry, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, body psychotherapy, and more), and finally to Christianity and the spiritual practices of its various denominations.
How my spiritual journey unfolded in such a way as to lead me to see the Christian faith as key to making sense of life’s mysteries is a long story which I will only touch upon in this essay, but I have another book which recounts my spiritual journey in detail and which is readily available for anyone who is curious (more about that later).
Before I lose any readers who are not sympathetic to the Christian faith, I should note that I did not land upon the Christian faith and settle into some kind of blind acceptance. I did, however, find that Christianity was the perspective which enabled me to grapple with life’s big questions in the deepest possible way. This will be apparent to readers as we get into the substance of the essay.
This book is written for a broad audience which includes anyone who is curious about the meaning of life and the philosophical questions I have mentioned above. I have tried to avoid using too much obscure terminology, but where it has been necessary to use specialised philosophical or theological terms, I have always attempted to explain those terms in a clear and easily understandable way. Questions surrounding the meaning of life are for everyone to consider (not just academics), and I have tried to reflect this truth in the way I have ordered and worded the essay.
Now, let us get to the heart of the matter.
I have explored the Christian faith for over a decade. I have studied Philosophy and Religion at postgraduate level at a leading Christian university college and have written over 400 articles that discuss philosophy and theology on my blog. I have read the Bible in its entirety numerous times and have spent periods of time attending services and other events at Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, and Charismatic Evangelical churches. I have written five books expounding theological and philosophical arguments and have watched countless debates and listened to countless podcast episodes on theological matters on the Internet. As an active blogger for the last 8 years, I have read articles by hundreds of Christian bloggers and engaged with many bloggers directly in discussions surrounding the key questions of philosophy and theology. I have cried out to God in tears and despair on many occasions, begging Him to reveal Truth and to give me a correct understanding of Christianity.
Having gone through all of these experiences, I have arrived at a single question which I believe encapsulates the critical issue at the heart of the human experience. The question is this:
Does the Christian doctrine of double predestination represent God’s true and only plan for humankind?
That I have chosen this question above all others will almost certainly seem strange and surprising to many readers, but I ask for a little time and patience while I unpack my arguments, and hopefully readers will understand and appreciate my reasoning.
In the pages that follow, I will explain what the question means and the thought process behind the question. I will also discuss a number of related issues and attempt to make clear why this particular question is of paramount importance. I will then attempt to answer the question, and thus arrive at the answer to life’s most important question, at least as I see it.
The essay will proceed with a series of discussions under the following headings, which are all related to the key question, and which will enable us to answer it:
• How do I know God exists?
• Why focus on Christianity?
• What is double predestination?
• Why focus on double predestination as the most important Christian doctrine?
• Is the doctrine of double predestination true?
• Is double predestination God’s only plan for humankind?
Let us begin by looking at some arguments for the existence of God in case any readers are in any doubt as to the truth of God’s existence.