Ephes. 1:1-4 (ESV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
Ephesians is a great book for explaining the grace of God. Everything revolves around the will of God in Ephesians from the Apostleship of Paul to our own salvation. This is the way it is with grace. It doesn’t depend on us. It is the work of God. Either that or it is not grace. So He chose us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. Election, predestination, etc. , all of this revolves around a choice, but not our choice. Remember everything revolves around the will of God; our will stays out of it. It is God’s choice, or election. He chose us before the foundation of the world. What does that mean” before the foundation of the world.”
Typically this would mean before God created the world. He chose us before he even created us. You don’t get around it in Ephesians, election. Nor do I want to get around it. But of course it is a sticky issue. Many of us want to read more or less into this than what it says. Some want to then think God must also have predestined the others to hell. But of course, if that were true then God must have created hell for men too, and not just the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41) Others would like to ignore these passages all together and leave it up to our choice. I won’t go either way. God has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world.
I will not believe for an instant that Adam and Eve sinned in accordance with God’s will. There seems to be an oxymoron there. How can we label something sin that is done according to God’s will? To believe that sin is done in accordance with God’s will is a radical extrapolation. To believe God created many of us humans to get some sort of sick pleasure out of torturing us in hell is just not Christian.
On the other hand it is God’s choice and not ours. This is clear from the text. So why some and not others? I don’t know. Guess I am only thankful I am included in those God has chosen to give faith to. Lutherans are happy to leave this where it is at. If we believe we realize this is the work of the Holy Spirit who has come to us through the word. If we are lost we attribute that to our own fault, not God’s. Heaven is God’s choice for us through His Son Jesus Christ. Hell is our choice for ourselves.
I don’t know that this resolves any tension. I don’t know that we are called to resolve this tension. Yet I do believe much of this might be resolved if we better understood God’s relationship to time. We can’t hardly think without thinking in terms of space and time. We are bound to space and time. We even talk about before time? What could be before time? If there was no time there was not before was there? Time is a creation it belongs to this world. God can do with it what he wants, step in and out of it, work both within time and outside of time. God is eternal. Eternity encompasses time, it is not merely time without end going on forever. We are bound to time, not God.
Well that is enough for now. We’ll explore this more as we go.