Right off the bat let me say that I accept predestination and election. I affirm the sovereignty of God and reject things like Open Theism and other weirdness. It’s God’s world, He can do what He wants and He knows what He’s doing.
I do not deny election, I do deny Calvinistic explanations of election. The standard line goes like this:
We are dead in sin. Dead people can’t choose. Dead people are like rocks: no life, no reasoning, no ability. Therefore, if a person is to get saved God must infuse them with life first, which means God saves them, then they come to an awareness of salvation.
This is all fine and dandy logic, but it’s not what the Bible says. Nowhere in the Bible does “we are dead in sin” mean that we are like a rock with no reason. We are still alive, we have senses and the ability to think and choose.
Not only do we have the ability to choose, we are judged, held accountable, for our choice. If it has nothing to do with me then I become the judge of God, “How come you didn’t choose me?”
I have yet to hear a Calvinist response to this that works with the Bible’s depiction of God.
Predestination exists because God is outside of time and we are not. He knows things that we don’t, like, the future. That is why Paul wrote Romans 8:29, “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.”
Foreknow means to know something beforehand. God knew stuff about us. I don’t know what, we are never told what. It just says that He foreknew people, so he predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son. That’s all I know and that’s what I go with.
Calvinists define foreknowledge as basically the same thing as predestination. Here is one Calvinist’s attempt to explain how Calvin defines foreknowledge, “God intimately knows certain individuals and thus favored (or elected) them ahead of time.” So basically, what Paul really meant was, “God did predestine those whom He predestined.” But that’s not what Paul says.
Predestination is based on foreknowledge. God knew something about me, that’s why I was predestined to be saved.