The new testament teaches Judas as a disciple/creation of Jesus is sadly never forgiven/blessed/prayed for in return for his devotion to Christ's commandments in John 13:27. - Although a creation of Jesus (based on Colossians 1:15-16), Judas may have seemed worthy to be saved like all of humanity - yet Jesus declares Judas is "doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled" (John 17:12) for helping Jesus make "peace through his blood, shed on the cross" (Colossians 1:20).

Why did Jesus create Judas only for the predestined purpose of becoming doomed to destruction - based on [Colossians 1:15-20] + [John 13:27, 17:12] ?

  • It seems like this question combines a lot of individual questions together: 1. Is "The Son of Perdition" definitely a reference to Judas? (Cain?, Matthew 18:6?) 2. Was Judas pre-destined -- i.e. couldn't have chosen otherwise? 3. Did Judas choose according to his own desires? (if so, his free thoughts and desires might be worthy of destruction anyway -- even if his action was not free) 4. Could Jesus have done otherwise (not created Judas, or created him somewhere else)? 5. Would it have been better for Jesus to do otherwise? 6. Did Jesus do evil by not doing otherwise?
    – Xantix
    Apr 26 at 16:10
  • @Xantix - When compared to 1 Kings 22:22-23, the same event occurs in Judas. * If Micaiah in 1 Kings 22:22-23 was revealing true events, then Judas had no choice + Judas repents when realizing what he had been forced to do (unlike Zedekiah who instead of repenting assaults Macaiah). Apr 26 at 16:22

The question is a classical example of a logical trap called "complex question" (I do not say that you intentionally and malignantly make this trap, of course, far from it!), that is to say when a question implies a position, that is regarded as self-evident, while it is not at all so! Here, in this question is sneaked a position that Jesus created Judas with a purpose to betray Him; however this position is outright wrong ontologically and theologically (I used those terms interchangeably here) for all-kind God not only does not create anyone for the purpose of sin, but cannot create anything for the purpose of sin.

Why? That's why: sin is a privation of truth/goodness, but God is creator and cause of only truth and goodness, not of its privation. The privation of and deviation from a good purpose which God has for all His creatures without exception is grounded on nothing else than abuse of created free will. Thus, God did not at all create Judas with a purpose of sinning, and to claim this is a gross blasphemy on all-kind God, and even an insult to those famous sinners who sinned with a full understanding that they sinned on their own accord, on their own sovereign abuse of free choice, even while knowing and fully convinced that God's plan for them was not that. There is a certain demonic dignity in free sinning, but if you relegate this to God's plan, then you both blaspheme God and deprive the sinners of their demonic dignity, stealing a merit of sinning from them and giving even this merit to God, as Jan Calvin 'graciously' did.

  • What is the final sentence meant to imply? Are you saying that Calvin taught that God is the author of sin? That would be a mighty big claim that needs justification.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 26 at 9:30
  • Did Macaiah blaspheme God in 1 Kings 22:22-23? Apr 26 at 16:24
  • @curiousdannii Yes! listen to Calvin's own words: "Nothing can be clearer, that He blinds the minds of men, and smites them with giddiness, intoxicates them with a spirit of stupor, renders them infatuated, and hardens their hearts. Even these expressions many would confine to permissions as if, by deserting the reprobate, he allowed them to be blinded by Satan. But since the Holy Spirit distinctly says, that the blindness and infatuation are inflicted by the just Judgment of God, the solution is altogether inadmissible. He is said to have hardened the heart of Pharaoh and confirmed it." Apr 26 at 18:52
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Steve Taylor
    Apr 26 at 20:19

We Don't See the Big Picture as God Does

Perhaps we should recognize that God's foreknowledge does not demand predestination (yes, we were predestined to be saved if we appropriated that salvation through Christ (Eph. 1:11)). Rather, He always knew what Judas would do of his own volition, just as God did with Adam and Eve.

Such quandaries do not violate our free will merely because God knows about them; the choices we make are ours alone. In reference to John (13:18, 27), Albert Barnes once acknowledged:

"It does not mean that Judas was compelled to this course in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.”

We might also see another instance of this in the fact that Christ was delivered up to death by the determinate counsel and the “foreknowledge” of God (Acts 2:23). Nonetheless, those responsible for Christ's crucifixion were accountable for their malicious acts. It is incorrect for someone, perhaps a thief, to suggest: "I can't help myself; I was predestined to do this."

  • So Judas was not destined to betray Jesus? - Why does John 13:27 illustrate Jesus nudging Judas to betray him, instead of reminding Judas that he still has a choice to not betray him? Apr 25 at 17:59
  • @Xeno Your answer is in a good tradition of Boethius' "Consolation of Philosophy" b. 5. I like ancient theology, for, as one good friend of mine, an expert in ancient fathers of the Church told me: "Theology is either ancient, or not theology". Apr 25 at 18:33
  • 1
    @חִידָה -- We are all predestined, but only in the sense that God already knows what we will do. That does not mean that we don't exercise our volition. Remember, Judas was a thief: "Now he [complained], not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it." Judas seemed on the periphery interested only in "making a buck." Fortunately, we appear to find him demonstrating contrition for his acts (Matt. 27:3-5). Many feel, as do I, Judas went to destruction, but I would suggest we don't know that for certain.
    – Xeno
    Apr 25 at 19:22
  • 1
    @חִידָה -- Allow me to quickly add that Judas had already conspired to betray Christ. It seems he was willing and able to do what he did, and was particularly susceptible to the Devil's influence. We can be like that if we allow "the world" to overwhelm our Christian principles. Judas was ripe for Christ to encourage him merely to complete what he had already started. When God needed someone to preach to the Gentiles, he raised a man like Paul (Acts 9) -- same sort of thing.
    – Xeno
    Apr 25 at 19:35
  • 1
    @Spirit Based on what I've learned, God (the Father) is totally omniscient. That is, there is nothing that God does not know. I view our world as analogous to a loaf of bread, where God sees the whole loaf. We experience our lives inside one of the slices. There's something else: An all knowing God can never learn anything because to do so would mean that yesterday, He did not know something that He does today. But, of course, in an eternal, timeless realm, there is no "yesterday." If there were, there would have to have been a day before that, and so on, indefinitely, and that cannot be.
    – Xeno
    Apr 26 at 5:09

The passage you are listing does not actually imply that Judas was doomed to destruction so that the scriptures might be fulfilled.

In the ESV for example

While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Note the use of commas: I have guarded them, ... , that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Here the verse is stating that Jesus kept and guarded the disciples in order to fulfill the scriptures. The fact that Judas was lost is mentioned as an aside/footnote and not as a necessary condition for the fulfillment of scriptures. So at least here, no claims are being made that Judas was predestined for destruction as part of a grand design.

I think to find the answer to the heart of your question, however, you should read Romans 9-11 (exerpt below)

10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[b] but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?


Upon request I will add a bit of my own interpretation here, although I would encourage the reader to form their own opinion by reading carefully, thinking deeply, and taking the whole council of scripture into account.

Additionally, a lot of arguments about Arminianism vs Calvinism and predestination/election boil down to these passages, and it is not my intent to engage in that sort of debate (volumes have already been written over this debate).

From my perspective, Romans 9-11 (as well as other passages such as the one mentioned in Tony's answer) seem to clearly point to the fact that God creates both vessels of wrath prepared for destruction and vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory. So why, as your question implies, would God make someone 'doomed for destruction'? This gets at the question's implicit framing of "free will" vs "determinism", but I personally think this is a false dichotomy, the answer, in my opinion, is both.

Very briefly/imprecisely: God created us and gave us free will. The Bible, however, is very clear that, out of our own free will, we all will choose sin over God, condemning us to hell. Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins and redeem us from this state, but, due to our sin natures, we all naturally choose to reject this atonement. God, however, out of his own grace, intervenes for some, allowing them to see the error of their ways and to repent.

The ones that choose sin willingly are the vessels of wrath and, of their own free will, are unrepentant. (the free will part) You could say God prepared [them] for destruction in the sense that he a) created them and b) knew before they were created that they would (freely) choose to be unrepentant. (the pre-determined part)

Now for the vessels of mercy we have the people that God a) allowed to see their true sinful condition (the pre-determined part) and that then freely chose salvation (the free will part).

So, in short, my answer would be yes. God, in a certain sense, creates vessels of wrath like Judas, and they do fulfil a purpose in his plan. This is not cruel or incompatible with free will, however, as these people freely choose sin and freely choose to stay in sin. From our side of the cosmic coin this looks like free will, but from God's side of the coin (outside of time and with perfect knowledge) this is all foreknown and thus looks like predetermination/predestination.

  • Welcome, you started well, but then failed to 'highlight' the part of a long passage that references the point you want to make., and then to conclude with why it is important. We can all read Romans, your point is what this post is about.
    – steveowen
    Apr 26 at 6:21
  • My mistake, I was trying to illustrate that the bible itself addresses this very kind of question and to point the poster back to the original source of truth. I know the interpretation of Romans 9 can be very controversial, and so rather than potentially engage in that debate I wanted to allow the poster to read it and come to their own conclusion. I also feel like I sufficiently answered the original question "does John 17:12 say Judas was doomed for destruction?" If there is a problem with this approach I can try to revise my answer.
    – Cole
    Apr 26 at 6:34
  • :) like i said, you started well! Maybe a hint for the second 1/2?
    – steveowen
    Apr 26 at 6:41

Isaiah 45:

9“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker,
those who are nothing but potsherds
among the potsherds on the ground.
Does the clay say to the potter,
‘What are you making?’
Does your work say,
‘The potter has no hands’?
10Woe to the one who says to a father,
‘What have you begotten?’
or to a mother,
‘What have you brought to birth?’

11“This is what the Lord says—
the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
do you question me about my children,
or give me orders about the work of my hands?
12It is I who made the earth
and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
I marshaled their starry hosts.

Why did Jesus create Judas only for the predestined purpose of becoming doomed to destruction?

Ultimately, it is God's sovereign prerogative to do as he sees fit. It is beyond our understanding even if God were to try to explain the reasons to us. We are limited by our finite language and finite logic. For my part, I trust God's infinite wisedom that he will do the right things.

  • 3
    Your answer implies that God indeed created Judas with a predestined purpose of betraying Him. But this cannot be ontologically, for predestined purpose of God cannot be sin, because sin is not a reality but a privation of reality, that is to say, privation of good, for good=reality. Thus, God not only did not create Judas with a predestined purpose of treason, but could not do so ontologically. The predestined plan of God for Judas was only good, only to be a faithful disciple, which plan Judas did not live up to, being fully responsible for that. Apr 25 at 18:29
  • I didn't use the word "predestined".
    – Tony Chan
    Apr 25 at 18:38
  • 2
    You did not, I agree. However, neither did you attack the wrongheaded question which stated this as an established fact. You should have debunked the entire wrong question as containing a false claim. Having not done so, your answer can be infected by an apparent, even if not real, complacency with this falsity. Apr 25 at 18:41
  • My approach was to accept his word "predestined" and argued that even with his definition, there was an answer. I have not validated his definition. Have you ever worked with proof by contradiction? Assume there is no God.
    – Tony Chan
    Apr 25 at 19:25
  • No, the "proof by contradiction" is an arcane thing for me; I like a primitive and plain method of proof: when I see that a fallacy of "complex question" is committed, I spot it, for the author of the post claims a wrong thing about God from the outset, that God is a cause of a sinful purpose, which wrong thing in another way is called also a blasphemy. Apr 25 at 19:50

Hold up a bit - not so fast! The Bible does NOT say that God creates for destruction and over-rides our free choice - it says the opposite! See appendix below.

Jesus' statement about Judas being "doomed to destruction" was a statement of simple fact on the basis of the choices he had made. Please do not confuse God's foreknowledge with any idea of God's forcing people to make a decision one way or another. Judas was free to choose just as much as was Peter and the others, and us.

APPENDIX - Fee choice of salvation

  • John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
  • John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave …”
  • John 12:32, “I [Jesus] … will draw all people to myself.”
  • John 12:47, “… for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
  • Acts 17:30, “God … commands all people everywhere to repent.”
  • Rom 3:23, 24, “… for all have sinned … and all are freely forgiven...”
  • Rom 5:8, 10, “… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … if, while were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him by the death of His Son, …”
  • Rom 5:15, “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s [Adam’s] offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many.” [Note the same word, “many” applies to all people.]
  • Rom 5:18, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all people, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all people, resulting in justification of life.”
  • Rom 11:32, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
  • 2 Cor 5:14, “…we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
  • 2 Cor 5:18, 19, “…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ …”
  • 1 Tim 2:3, 4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • 1 Tim 2:6, “[Jesus Christ] gave Himself as a ransom for all people.”
  • Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”
  • Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
  • 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
  • 1 John 2:2, “He Himself [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours [Christians to whom John writes] only but also for the whole world.”
  • Isa 53:6, “We all like sheep have gone astray … and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Freedom of choice is another of the implicit teachings of Scripture. However, a few passages come close to being explicit. Let us examine a sample of the Bible data.

  • Gen 2:16, 17 – the original choice given to Adam and Eve to choose service to God.
  • 1 Cor 10:13 – God is gracious enough to only allow temptations that we can bear. This reveals that God recognises the effect that sin has on our will; sin weakens our will but God helps by both strengthening our will and only allowing temptations that we can bear.
  • 2 Peter 3:9 – God is patient wanting all people to decide for Him.
  • Gal 5:13 – We are given freedom by God but the privilege should not be abused.
  • John 7:17 – People can choose to do the will of God and such a choice bring further enlightenment.
  • Josh 24:15 – The Israelites were encouraged to choose God.
  • Mark 8:34 – Choosing to serve God involves personal sacrifice which is why it is such a serious decision.
  • Rev 3:20 – God wants to be with us but we must choose to allow Him into our lives.
  • Gal 5:16, 17, John 8:34-36 – Sin enslaves but the Christian life by the Spirit gives freedom.
  • Isa 55:6, 7 – Isaiah encourages the people to choose service to God over all else.
  • Deut 30:19, 20 – Moses encourages the people to choose between life and death.
  • Exe 18 – an entire chapter about the consequences of choice which ends with the plea, “Repent and live!”
  • Interesting - So Judas cannot be forgiven for betraying Jesus after repenting, but Peter can be forgiven for denying Jesus (basically betraying him)? Apr 25 at 22:03
  • 1
    @חִידָה - I did not say that - Judas could be forgiven (Mark 3:28) but Judas did not want to be forgiven because his mission had failed to find a significant position in anew kingdom (as he mistakenly understood it)
    – Dottard
    Apr 25 at 22:05

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