On my mission I had the experience where my companion was in debate with a Protestant on this issue. My companion was strongly arguing that we aren't predestined, but foreordained. The Protestant was strongly contending that the Bible was right and we are predestined. In listening to them they were both saying the same thing, but insisting on different words. So in looking at this subject it is important to look at what we are talking about, rather than being pedantic about words.
There are those that have incorrect ideas on what predestination actually means in Scripture. So often I have heard the statement within the church that we aren't predestined, but are foreordained. Yet what is it that has caused this to become an issue?
One of the doctrines of the religious reformer, Calvin, is a doctrine referred to as "unconditional election." This doctrine espouses that God made some people whom he will make do the right thing: That they have no free choice.
Some people expand this to make it that ALL people have been selected by God to either go to heaven or hell: That in all things we do we have no real choice and that God preset that we would do those things. Paul's statements in regard predestination are the source of this doctrine.
In regard this the Wikipedia states _
"The doctrine does not hold that every influence of God's Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit is able to overcome all resistance and make his influence irresistible and effective. Thus, when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved."
To battle this false doctrine it has been presented that it must be a false translation. Yet the word from which it is translated is a compilation of two words that mean "before" and "limiting the bounds." So the word comes to a meaning of a preset limit of bounds - predestined.
Looking at one such Scripture we have _
"According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Eph 1:4-5
Those in favor of "unconditional election" interpret this to mean that God has felt pleased to randomly choose these people and save them. Yet our understanding of the pre-existence makes this clear. God is pleased that 1. He can save them because of Christ's atonement. And 2. He is glad because he knew they would be righteous. As that was the type of spirits they were "before the foundation of the world."
However confusion still exists as there is question on how a person can be both predestined, yet have choice?
There are 2 levels on which we are predestined. The first is that God knew what type of person we were and would therefore become. The second relates to the time-eternity factor and is more likely to be what Paul is referring to.
Tomorrow I will get out of bed at a certain time. What that time is I don't presently know. Yet if I could see in eternity (as God does) that would be answered. A deeper point in this regard is that there is only one time I will get out of bed tomorrow. So even though I have a choice in when I get out of bed, I am destined to get out of bed at that time: There is no other time I will get out of bed tomorrow - choice or no choice.
God has shown the future to many righteous people. Moroni said that he had seen us _
"Behold, I speak to you as if you were present, and yet you are not. But see, Jesus Christ has shown you to me, and I know your doing." Mormon 8:35
So what he saw us doing we will do. Not because we have to, but because that is what we will choose.
God worked out the best things for us to do for our individual growth. And he put us in a place and circumstance where we would have those things (AS BEST AS IS AVAILABLE). In doing this he knew what opportunities we would develop with and those we'd fail with. Yet in all this, these are our choices.
Paul's statement doesn't propose that those he is speaking to were there by luck.
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom 8:29-30
If this were merely a foreordination spoken of here (from which some could fail) how could he have them all "glorified"?
Obviously this is proposing that ALL those who had a knowing relationship with God before coming here WILL live so as that they will be glorified. Yet this is done by their choices.
Could Jesus have chosen to sin? Yes. But did he? No. Was this foreknown? Yes. Was it his destiny, therefore, not to sin? Yes. Was it by his choice that he didn't? Yes. - Foreordained yet predestined.