Q & A with Fr Job
Question: The Bible says that God gave us free will. It also says that God knows absolutely everything and that the names of the saved are already written in the book of life. How then can there be a choice, if He has already decided everything for us?
Answer: The book of life is mentioned in several sacred Biblical texts. Here are these places: “Before Thee are all that afflict me ... Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and with the righteous let them not be written” (Ps. 68: 20, 29). “And I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women which labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement also, and with others my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life” (Phil. 4:3). “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life" (Rev. 21:27). To these citations one should probably add the words of the prayer of Moses: “Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin –; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of Thy book which Thou has written” (Ex. 32:32). As we see, not in a single place is it said that in this book are written the names of the saved. Interpreted essentially, the words “book of life” in the Bible symbolize the record in heaven of good deeds with which man will justify himself at the Judgment and receive eternal life.
Christian doctrine is entirely alien to the idea of predestination. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only beggoten Son of God, that whoseover believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).