4.5.1 Election in the Old Testament

Already in the creation we see a reference to divine election, which is linked to a responsibility resulting from it. Out of all His creatures, God elected man and gave him the task of making the earth subject to him. The special position man has been granted is clear from the Wisdom of Solomon 2: 23: "For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity." In the course of the Old Testament plan of salvation, the significance of this election is especially apparent in the case of Noah, Abraham, and the people of Israel.

  • When God decided to eradicate mankind from the earth (Genesis 6: 1-8), He promised to deliver Noah. Noah made this election sure by doing all that God commanded him to do. As a result, Noah and his family–and thereby the human race–were saved from destruction.

  • Abraham was elected so that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12: 3). God's promises to him were passed on to Isaac.

  • Of the latter's two sons, Esau, as the firstborn, should have been the rightful recipient of the blessing, however, God elected Jacob and blessed him (Genesis 28: 13-15). This shows that no one can lay claim to God's grace of election and that it cannot be comprehended by human understanding.

  • The people of Israel came forth out of the twelve sons of Jacob. God called them to become the people of His covenant: "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all the peoples; but because the Lord loves you" (Deuteronomy 7: 6-8). The origin of election is thus God's love.

  • From among the people of Israel, God also elected certain individuals who proclaimed His will, and who had been predestined by Him to fulfil particular tasks. These included Moses and Joshua, as well as several judges, kings, and prophets.

See also