Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul.Explanations of predestination often seek to address the "paradox of free will", whereby God's omniscience seems incompatible with human free will. In this usage, predestination can be regarded as a form of religious determinism; and usually predeterminism.
Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.
In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence".
The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche comprises the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal.
There is some disagreement among scholars regarding the views on predestination of first-century AD Judaism, out of which Christianity came. Josephus wrote during the first century that the three main Jewish sects differed on this question. He argued that the Essenes and Pharisees argued that God's providence orders all human events, but the Pharisees still maintained that people are able to choose between right and wrong. He wrote that the Sadducees did not have a doctrine of providence.
The Second Temple period in Jewish history lasted between 516 BCE and 70 CE, when the Second Temple of Jerusalem existed. The sects of Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots and early Christianity were formed during this period. The Second Temple period ended with the First Jewish–Roman War and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
Titus Flavius Josephus, born Yosef ben Matityahu, was a first-century Romano-Jewish historian who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.
The Essenes were a Jewish sect during the Second Temple period that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE.
The biblical scholar N. T. Wright argues that Josephus's portrayal of these groups is incorrect, and that the Jewish debates referenced by Josephus should be seen as having to do with God's work to liberate Israel rather than philosophical questions about predestination. Wright asserts that Essenes were content to wait for God to liberate Israel while Pharisees believed Jews needed to act in cooperation with God.John Barclay responded that Josephus's description was an over-simplification and there were likely to be complex differences between these groups which may have been similar to those described by Josephus. Francis Watson has also argued on the basis of 4 Ezra, a document dated to the first century AD, that Jewish beliefs in predestination are primarily concerned with God's choice to save some individual Jews.
Nicholas Thomas Wright is an English New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and retired Anglican bishop. Between 2003 and 2010, he was the Bishop of Durham. He then became Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary's College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
Rev John Barclay AM (1734–1798) was a Scottish minister of religion, and founder of the Bereans.
Francis Watson is an English theologian and New Testament scholar. He commenced his career at King's College London before being appointed to the Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen in 1999. In 2007 he took up his current position as Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at the Durham University.
In the New Testament, Romans 8–11 presents a statement on predestination. In Romans 8:28–30, Paul writes,
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.
Romans 8 is the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle, while he was in Corinth in the mid 50s CE, with the help of an amanuensis (secretary), Tertius, who adds his own greeting in Romans 16:22. Chapter 8 concerns "the Christian's spiritual life."
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Biblical scholars have interpreted this passage in several ways. Many say this only has to do with service, and is not about salvation. The Catholic biblical commentator Brendan Byrne wrote that the predestination mentioned in this passage should be interpreted as applied to the Christian community corporately rather than individuals.Another Catholic commentator, Joseph Fitzmyer, wrote that this passage teaches that God has predestined the salvation of all humans. Douglas Moo, a Protestant biblical interpreter, reads the passage as teaching that God has predestined a certain set of people to salvation, and predestined the remainder of humanity to reprobation (damnation). Similarly, Wright's interpretation is that in this passage Paul teaches that God will save those whom he has chosen, but Wright also emphasizes that Paul does not intend to suggest that God has eliminated human free will or responsibility. Instead, Wright asserts, Paul is saying that God's will works through that of humans to accomplish salvation.
Joseph Augustine Fitzmyer was an American Catholic priest of the Society of Jesus and professor emeritus at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC.
Reprobation, in Christian theology, is a doctrine of the Bible found in many passages of scripture such as Romans 1:20-28, Proverbs 1:23-33, John 12:37-41, Hebrews 6:4-8 etc. which teaches that a person can reject the gospel to a point where God in turn rejects them and curses their conscience to do unnatural and abominable things. When a sinner is so hardened as to feel no remorse or misgiving of conscience, it is considered a sign of reprobation. This isn’t teaching that because of their wicked actions that God will not save them, but it’s teaching that God has withdrawn his offer of salvation and he gives them over to a seared conscience and now they can do vile actions. The vile actions and the many different things are evidence of a reprobate mind.
Damnation is the concept of divine punishment and torment in an afterlife for actions that were committed on Earth. In Ancient Egyptian religious tradition, citizens would recite the 42 negative confessions of Maat as their heart was weighed against the feather of truth. If the citizen's heart was heavier than a feather they would be devoured by Ammit. Zoroastrianism developed an eschatological concept of a Last Judgment called Frashokereti where the dead will be raised and the righteous wade through a river of milk while the wicked will be burned in a river of molten metal. Abrahamic religions such as Christianity have similar concepts of believers facing judgement on a last day to determine if they will spend eternity in Gehenna or heaven for their sin. A damned human "in damnation" is said to be either in Hell, or living in a state wherein they are divorced from Heaven and/or in a state of disgrace from God's favor. In traditional Abrahamic demonology, the Devil rules Hell, where he and his demons punish the damned.
Origen, writing in the third century, taught that God's providence extends to every individual.He believed God's predestination was based on God's foreknowledge of every individual's merits, whether in their current life or a previous life.
Later in the fourth and fifth centuries, Augustine of Hippo (354–430) also taught that God orders all things while preserving human freedom.Prior to 396, Augustine believed that predestination was based on God's foreknowledge of whether individuals would believe, that God's grace was "a reward for human assent". Later, in response to Pelagius, Augustine said that the sin of pride consists in assuming that "we are the ones who choose God or that God chooses us (in his foreknowledge) because of something worthy in us", and argued that it is God's grace that causes the individual act of faith. Scholars are divided over whether Augustine's teaching implies double predestination, or the belief that God chooses some people for damnation as well as some for salvation. Catholic scholars tend to deny that he held such a view while some Protestants and secular scholars affirm that Augustine did believe in double predestination.
Augustine's position raised objections. Julian of Eclanum expressed the view that Augustine was bringing Manichean thoughts into the church.For Vincent of Lérins, this was a disturbing innovation. This new tension eventually became obvious with the confrontation between Augustine and Pelagius culminating in condemnation of Pelagianism (as interpreted by Augustine) at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Pelagius denied Augustine's view of predestination in order to affirm that salvation is achieved by an act of free will.
The Council of Arles in the late fifth century condemned the position "that some have been condemned to death, others have been predestined to life", though this may seem to follow from Augustine's teaching. The Second Council of Orange in 529 also condemned the position that "some have been truly predestined to evil by divine power".
In the eighth century, John of Damascus emphasized the freedom of the human will in his doctrine of predestination, and argued that acts arising from peoples' wills are not part of God's providence at all. Damascene teaches that people's good actions are done in cooperation with God, but are not caused by him.
Gottschalk of Orbais, a ninth-century Saxon monk, argued that God predestines some people to hell as well as predestining some to heaven, a view known as double predestination. He was condemned by several synods, but his views remained popular. Irish theologian John Scottus Eriugena wrote a refutation of Gottschalk.Eriugena abandoned Augustine's teaching on predestination. He wrote that God's predestination should be equated with his foreknowledge of people's choices.
In the twelfth century, Thomas Aquinas taught that God predestines certain people to the beatific vision based solely on his own goodness rather than that of creatures.Aquinas also believed that people are free in their choices, fully cause their own sin, and are solely responsible for it. According to Aquinas, there are several ways in which God wills actions. He directly wills the good, indirectly wills evil consequences of good things, and only permits evil. Aquinas held that in permitting evil, God does not will it to be done or not to be done.
In the thirteenth century, William of Ockham taught that God does not cause human choices and equated predestination with divine foreknowledge.Though Ockham taught that God predestines based on people's foreseen works, he maintained that God's will was not constrained to do this.
John Calvin rejected the idea that God permits rather than actively decrees the damnation of sinners, as well as other evil.Calvin did not believe God to be guilty of sin, but he considered it an unfathomable mystery why God inflicts sin upon his creation e.g that God seems to simultaneously will sin and to also not will sin. Though he maintained God's predestination applies to damnation as well as salvation, he taught that the damnation of the damned is caused by their sin, but that the salvation of the saved is solely caused by God. Other Protestant Reformers, including Huldrych Zwingli, also held double predestinarian views.
The Eastern Orthodox view was summarized by Bishop Theophan the Recluse in response to the question, "What is the relationship between the Divine provision and our free will?"
Answer: The fact that the Kingdom of God is "taken by force" presupposes personal effort. When the Apostle Paul says, "it is not of him that willeth," this means that one's efforts do not produce what is sought. It is necessary to combine them: to strive and to expect all things from grace. It is not one's own efforts that will lead to the goal, because without grace, efforts produce little; nor does grace without effort bring what is sought, because grace acts in us and for us through our efforts. Both combine in a person to bring progress and carry him to the goal. (God's) foreknowledge is unfathomable. It is enough for us with our whole heart to believe that it never opposes God's grace and truth, and that it does not infringe man's freedom. Usually this resolves as follows: God foresees how a man will freely act and makes dispositions accordingly. Divine determination depends on the life of a man, and not his life upon the determination.
Catholicism teaches the doctrine of predestination, while rejecting the classical Calvinist view known as "double predestination". This means that while it is held that those whom God has elected to eternal life will infallibly attain it, and are therefore said to be predestined to salvation by God, those who perish are not predestined to damnation. According to the Catholic Church, God predestines no one to go to hell, for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end."Catholicism has been generally discouraging to human attempts to guess or predict the Divine Will. The Catholic Encyclopedia entry on predestination says:
God, owing to His infallible prescience of the future, has appointed and ordained from eternity all events occurring in time, especially those that directly proceed from, or at least are influenced by, man's free will.
The heretical seventeenth and eighteenth centuries sect within Roman Catholicism known as Jansenism preached the doctrine of double predestination, although Jansenism claimed that even members of the saved elect could lose their salvation by doing sinful, un-repented deeds, as implied in Ezekiel 18:21–28 in the Old Testament of the Bible.
Pope John Paul II wrote:
The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all.
Grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.
The Catholic Catechism says, "To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of "predestination", he includes in it each person's free response to his grace."
Catholics do not believe that any hints or evidence of the predestined status of individuals is available to humans, and predestination generally plays little or no part in Catholic teaching to the faithful, being a topic addressed in a professional theological context only.
Augustine of Hippo laid the foundation for much of the later Catholic teaching on predestination. His teachings on grace and free will were largely adopted by the Second Council of Orange (529), whose decrees were directed against the Semipelagians. Augustine wrote,
[God] promised not from the power of our will but from His own predestination. For He promised what He Himself would do, not what men would do. Because, although men do those good things which pertain to God’s worship, He Himself makes them to do what He has commanded; it is not they that cause Him to do what He has promised. Otherwise the fulfilment of God’s promises would not be in the power of God, but in that of men"
Augustine also teaches that people have free will. For example, in "On Grace and Free Will", (see especially chapters II–IV) Augustine states that "He [God] has revealed to us, through His Holy Scriptures, that there is in man a free choice of will," and that "God's precepts themselves would be of no use to a man unless he had free choice of will, so that by performing them he might obtain the promised rewards." (chap. II)
Thomas Aquinas' views concerning predestination are largely in agreement with Augustine and can be summarized by many of his writings in his Summa Theologiæ :
God does reprobate some. For it was said above (A) that predestination is a part of providence. To providence, however, it belongs to permit certain defects in those things which are subject to providence, as was said above (Q, A). Thus, as men are ordained to eternal life through the providence of God, it likewise is part of that providence to permit some to fall away from that end; this is called reprobation. Thus, as predestination is a part of providence, in regard to those ordained to eternal salvation, so reprobation is a part of providence in regard to those who turn aside from that end. Hence reprobation implies not only foreknowledge, but also something more, as does providence, as was said above (Q, A). Therefore, as predestination includes the will to confer grace and glory; so also reprobation includes the will to permit a person to fall into sin, and to impose the punishment of damnation on account of that sin."
This table summarizes the classical views of three different Protestant beliefs.
|Election||Unconditional election to salvation only||Unconditional election to salvation only, with reprobation (passing over)||Conditional election in view of foreseen faith or unbelief|
Lutherans historically hold to unconditional election unto salvation. However, some do not believe that there are certain people that are predestined to salvation, but salvation is predestined for those who seek God.Lutherans believe Christians should be assured that they are among the predestined. However, they disagree with those who make predestination the source of salvation rather than Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection. Unlike some Calvinists, Lutherans do not believe in a predestination to damnation. Instead, Lutherans teach eternal damnation is a result of the unbeliever's sins, rejection of the forgiveness of sins, and unbelief.
Martin Luther's attitude towards predestination is set out in his On the Bondage of the Will , published in 1525. This publication by Luther was in response to the published treatise by Desiderius Erasmus in 1524 known as On Free Will . Luther based his views on Ephesians 2:8–10, which says:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The Belgic Confession of 1561 affirmed that God "delivers and preserves" from perdition "all whom he, in his eternal and unchangeable council, of mere goodness hath elected in Christ Jesus our Lord, without respect to their works" (Article XVI). Calvinists believe that God picked those who he will save and bring with him to Heaven before the world was created. They also believe that those people God does not save will go to Hell. John Calvin thought people who were saved could never lose their salvation and the "elect" (those God saved) would know they were saved because of their actions.
In this common, loose sense of the term, to affirm or to deny predestination has particular reference to the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election. In the Calvinist interpretation of the Bible, this doctrine normally has only pastoral value related to the assurance of salvation and the absolution of salvation by grace alone. However, the philosophical implications of the doctrine of election and predestination are sometimes discussed beyond these systematic bounds. Under the topic of the doctrine of God (theology proper), the predestinating decision of God cannot be contingent upon anything outside of himself, because all other things are dependent upon him for existence and meaning. Under the topic of the doctrines of salvation (soteriology), the predestinating decision of God is made from God's knowledge of his own will (Romans 9:15), and is therefore not contingent upon human decisions (rather, free human decisions are outworkings of the decision of God, which sets the total reality within which those decisions are made in exhaustive detail: that is, nothing left to chance). Calvinists do not pretend to understand how this works; but they are insistent that the Scriptures teach both the sovereign control of God and the responsibility and freedom of human decisions.
Calvinist groups use the term Hyper-Calvinism to describe Calvinistic systems that assert without qualification that God's intention to destroy some is equal to his intention to save others. Some forms of Hyper-Calvinism have racial implications, as when Dutch Calvinist theologian Franciscus Gomarus however argued that Jews, because of their refusal to worship Jesus Christ, were members of the non-elect, as also argued by John Calvin himself, based on I John 2:22–23 in The New Testament of the Bible. Some Dutch settlers in South Africa argued that black people were sons of Ham, whom Noah had cursed to be slaves, according to Genesis 9:18–19, or drew analogies between them and the Canaanites, suggesting a "chosen people" ideology similar to that espoused by proponents of the Jewish nation. This justified racial hierarchy on earth, as well as racial segregation of congregations, but did not exclude blacks from being part of the elect. Other Calvinists vigorously objected to these arguments (see Afrikaner Calvinism).
Expressed sympathetically, the Calvinist doctrine is that God has mercy or withholds it, with particular consciousness of who are to be the recipients of mercy in Christ. Therefore, the particular persons are chosen, out of the total number of human beings, who will be rescued from enslavement to sin and the fear of death, and from punishment due to sin, to dwell forever in his presence. Those who are being saved are assured through the gifts of faith, the sacraments, and communion with God through prayer and increase of good works, that their reconciliation with him through Christ is settled by the sovereign determination of God's will. God also has particular consciousness of those who are passed over by his selection, who are without excuse for their rebellion against him, and will be judged for their sins.
Calvinists typically divide on the issue of predestination into infralapsarians (sometimes called 'sublapsarians') and supralapsarians. Infralapsarians interpret the biblical election of God to highlight his love (1 John 4:8; Ephesians 1:4b–5a) and chose his elect considering the situation after the Fall, while supralapsarians interpret biblical election to highlight God's sovereignty (Romans 9:16) and that the Fall was ordained by God's decree of election. In infralapsarianism, election is God's response to the Fall, while in supralapsarianism the Fall is part of God's plan for election. In spite of the division, many Calvinist theologians would consider the debate surrounding the infra- and supralapsarian positions one in which scant Scriptural evidence can be mustered in either direction, and that, at any rate, has little effect on the overall doctrine.
Some Calvinists decline to describe the eternal decree of God in terms of a sequence of events or thoughts, and many caution against the simplifications involved in describing any action of God in speculative terms. Most make distinctions between the positive manner in which God chooses some to be recipients of grace, and the manner in which grace is consciously withheld so that some are destined for everlasting punishments.
Debate concerning predestination according to the common usage concerns the destiny of the damned: whether God is just if that destiny is settled prior to the existence of any actual volition of the individual, and whether the individual is in any meaningful sense responsible for his destiny if it is settled by the eternal action of God.
Arminians hold that God does not predetermine, but instead infallibly knows who will believe and perseveringly be saved. This view is known as conditional election, because it states that election is conditional on the one who wills to have faith in God for salvation. Although God knows from the beginning of the world who will go where, the choice is still with the individual. The Dutch Calvinist theologian Franciscus Gomarus strongly opposed the views of Jacobus Arminius with his doctrine of supralapsarian predestination.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) rejects the doctrine of predestination, but does believe in foreordination. Foreordination, an important doctrine of the LDS Church,teaches that during the pre-mortal existence, God selected ("foreordained") particular people to fulfill certain missions ("callings") during their mortal lives. For example, prophets were foreordained to be the Lord's servants (see Jeremiah 1:5), all who receive the priesthood were foreordained to that calling, and Jesus was foreordained to enact the atonement.
The LDS Church teaches the doctrine of moral agency, the ability to choose and act for oneself, and decide whether to accept Christ's atonement.
Conditional election is the belief that God chooses for eternal salvation those whom he foresees will have faith in Christ. This belief emphasizes the importance of a person's free will. The counter-view is known as unconditional election, and is the belief that God chooses whomever he will, based solely on his purposes and apart from an individual's free will. It has long been an issue in Calvinist–Arminian debate. An alternative viewpoint is Corporate election, which distinguishes God's election and predestination for corporate entities such as the community "in Christ," and individuals who can benefit from that community's election and predestination so long as they continue belonging to that community.
Infralapsarianism (also called sublapsarianism) holds that predestination logically coincides with the preordination of Man's fall into sin. That is, God predestined sinful men for salvation. Therefore, according to this view, God is the ultimate cause, but not the proximate source or "author" of sin. Infralapsarians often emphasize a difference between God's decree (which is inviolable and inscrutable), and his revealed will (against which man is disobedient). Proponents also typically emphasize the grace and mercy of God toward all men, although teaching also that only some are predestined for salvation.
In common English parlance, the doctrine of predestination often has particular reference to the doctrines of Calvinism. The version of predestination espoused by John Calvin, after whom Calvinism is named, is sometimes referred to as "double predestination" because in it God predestines some people for salvation (i.e. unconditional election) and some for condemnation (i.e. Reprobation) which results by allowing the individual's own sins to condemn them. Calvin himself defines predestination as "the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. Not all are created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or to death."
On the spectrum of beliefs concerning predestination, Calvinism is the strongest form among Christians. It teaches that God's predestining decision is based on the knowledge of his own will rather than foreknowledge, concerning every particular person and event; and, God continually acts with entire freedom, in order to bring about his will in completeness, but in such a way that the freedom of the creature is not violated, "but rather, established".
Calvinists who hold the infralapsarian view of predestination usually prefer that term to "sublapsarianism," perhaps with the intent of blocking the inference that they believe predestination is on the basis of foreknowledge (sublapsarian meaning, assuming the fall into sin). [ citation needed ]The different terminology has the benefit of distinguishing the Calvinist double predestination version of infralapsarianism from Lutheranism's view that predestination is a mystery, which forbids the unprofitable intrusion of prying minds since God only reveals partial knowledge to the human race.
Supralapsarianism is the doctrine that God's decree of predestination for salvation and reprobation logically precedes his preordination of the human race's fall into sin. That is, God decided to save, and to damn; he then determined the means by which that would be made possible. It is a matter of controversy whether or not Calvin himself held this view, but most scholars link him with the infralapsarian position. It is known, however, that Calvin's successor in Geneva, Theodore Beza, held to the supralapsarian view.
Double predestination, or the double decree, is the doctrine that God actively reprobates, or decrees damnation of some, as well as salvation for those whom he has elected. Augustine made statements that on their own seem to teach such a doctrine, but in the context of his other writings it is not clear whether he held it. Augustine's doctrine of predestination does seem to imply a double predestinarian view.Gottschalk of Orbais taught it more explicitly in the ninth century, and Gregory of Rimini in the fourteenth. During the Protestant Reformation John Calvin also held double predestinarian views. John Calvin states: "By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death."
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Open theism advocates the non-traditional Arminian view of election that predestination is corporate.In corporate election, God does not choose which individuals he will save prior to creation, but rather God chooses the church as a whole. Or put differently, God chooses what type of individuals he will save. Another way the New Testament puts this is to say that God chose the church in Christ (Eph. 1:4). In other words, God chose from all eternity to save all those who would be found in Christ, by faith in God. This choosing is not primarily about salvation from eternal destruction either but is about God's chosen agency in the world. Thus individuals have full freedom in terms of whether they become members of the church or not. Corporate election is thus consistent with the open view's position on God's omniscience, which states that God's foreknowledge does not determine the outcomes of individual free will.
Middle Knowledge is a concept that was developed by Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina, and exists under a doctrine called Molinism. It attempts to deal with the topic of predestination by reconciling Gods sovereign providence with the notion of libertarian free will. The concept of Middle Knowledge holds that God has a knowledge of true pre-volitional counterfactuals for all free creatures. That is, what any individual creature with a free will (e.g. a human) would do under any given circumstance. Gods knowledge of counterfactuals is reasoned to occur logically prior to his divine creative decree (that is, prior to creation), and after his knowledge of necessary truths. Thus, Middle Knowledge holds that before the world was created, God knew what every existing creature capable of libertarian freedom (e.g. every individual human) would freely choose to do in all possible circumstances. It then holds that based on this information, God elected from a number of these possible worlds, the world most consistent with his ultimate will, which is the actual world that we live in.
Based on this Middle Knowledge, God has the ability to actualise the world in which A is placed in a circumstance that he freely chooses to do what is consistent with Gods ultimate will. If God determined that the world most suited to his purposes is a world in which A would freely choose Y instead of Z, God can actualise a world in which Free Creature A finds himself in Circumstance B.
In this way, Middle Knowledge is thought of by its proponents to be consistent with any theological doctrines that assert God as having divine providence and man having a libertarian freedom (e.g. Calvinism, Catholicism, Lutheranism), and to offer a potential solution to the concerns that Gods providence somehow nullifies man from having true liberty in his choices.
Qadar (Arabic : قدر, transliterated qadar, meaning "fate", "divine fore-ordainment", "predestination") is the concept of divine destiny in Islam. It is one of Sunni Islam's six pillars of faith, along with belief in the Oneness of God, the Revealed Books, the Prophets of Islam, the Day of Resurrection and Angels.
In Islam, "predestination" is the usual English language rendering of a belief that Muslims call al-qada wa al-qadar in Arabic. The phrase means "the divine decree and the predestination". In Islam, God has predetermined, known, ordained, and is constantly creating every event that takes place in the world. This is entailed by his being omnipotent and omniscient. Sunni scholars hold that there is no contradiction in people's deeds (and naturally their choices) being created and predetermined by the creator, since they define free will to be the antonym of compulsion and coercion. People – in the Sunni perspective – do acknowledge that they are free, since they do not see anybody or anything forcing them to do whatever they chose to do. This, however, does not contradict that everything they do, including the choices they make, are predestined and predetermined by God. Consequently, people are already predestined to either heaven or hell at birth, as Sunnis believe; however, they will have no argument on the day of judgment since they never knew in advance what their fate would be, and they do acknowledge that they have choice; which is what moral responsibility comes with.
The concept of human will being predetermined by God's will is stated clearly in the Quran: "Verily this (The Holy Quran) is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds; (With profit) to whoever among you wills to go straight, but ye shall not will except as God wills; the Cherisher of the Worlds."
Predestination is rejected in Shiaism.
In rabbinic literature, there is much discussion as to the apparent contradiction between God's omniscience and free will. The representative view is that "Everything is foreseen; yet free will is given" (Rabbi Akiva, Pirkei Avoth 3:15). Based on this understanding, the problem is formally described as a paradox, perhaps beyond our understanding.
Hasdai Crescas resolved this dialectical tension by taking the position that free will doesn't exist. All of a person's actions are predetermined by the moment of their birth, and thus their judgment in the eyes of God (so to speak) is effectively preordained. In this scheme this is not a result of God's predetermining one's fate, but rather that the universe is deterministic. Crescas's views on this topic were rejected by Judaism at large. In later centuries this idea independently developed among some in the Chabad (Lubavitch) movement of Hasidic Judaism. Many individuals within Chabad take this view seriously, and hence effectively deny the existence of free will.
However, many Chabad (Lubavitch) Jews attempt to hold both views. They affirm as infallible their rebbe's teachings that God knows and controls the fate of all, yet at the same time affirm the classical Jewish belief in free will. The inherent contradiction between the two results in their belief that such contradictions are only "apparent", due to man's inherent lack of ability to understand greater truths and due to the fact that Creator and Created exist in different realities. The same idea is strongly repeated by Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance, Chapter 5).
Many other Jews (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and secular) affirm that since free will exists, then by definition one's fate is not preordained. It is held as a tenet of faith that whether God is omniscient or not, nothing interferes with mankind's free will. Some Jewish theologians, both during the medieval era and today, have attempted to formulate a philosophy in which free will is preserved, while also affirming that God has knowledge of what decisions people will make in the future. Whether or not these two ideas are mutually compatible, or whether there is a contradiction between the two, is still a matter of great study and interest in philosophy today.
Predestination is rejected in Zoroastrian teaching.Humans bear responsibility for all situations they are in, and in the way they act toward one another. Reward, punishment, happiness, and grief all depend on how individuals live their lives.
Arminianism is a branch of Protestantism based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) and his historic supporters known as Remonstrants. His teachings held to the five solae of the Reformation, but they were distinct from particular teachings of Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and other Protestant Reformers. Jacobus Arminius was a student of Theodore Beza at the Theological University of Geneva. Arminianism is known to some as a soteriological diversification of Calvinism; to others, Arminianism is a reclamation of early Church theological consensus.
Calvinism is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.
Perseverance of the saints is a Christian teaching that asserts that once a person is truly "born of God" or "regenerated" by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, nothing in heaven or earth "shall be able to separate (them) from the love of God" resulting in a reversal of the converted condition.
Total depravity is a Christian theological doctrine derived from the concept of original sin. It is the teaching that, as a consequence of the Fall of Man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin as a result of their fallen nature and, apart from the efficacious or prevenient grace of God, is utterly unable to choose to follow God, refrain from evil, or accept the gift of salvation as it is offered.
Predestination is a doctrine in Calvinism dealing with the question of the control that God exercises over the world. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith, God "freely and unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass." The second use of the word "predestination" applies this to the salvation, and refers to the belief that God appointed the eternal destiny of some to salvation by grace, while leaving the remainder to receive eternal damnation for all their sins, even their original sin. The former is called "unconditional election", and the latter "reprobation". In Calvinism, some people are predestined and effectually called in due time to faith by God.
In Western Christian theology, grace is "the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it". It is not a created substance of any kind. "Grace is favour, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life." It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to people "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" – that takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God.
In Christian theology, synergism is the position of those who hold that salvation involves some form of cooperation between divine grace and human freedom. It stands opposed to monergism, a doctrine most commonly associated with the Lutheran, as well as Reformed Protestant traditions, whose soteriologies have been strongly influenced by the North African bishop and Latin Church Father Augustine of Hippo (354–430). Lutheranism, however, confesses a monergist salvation and synergist damnation. Synergism is upheld by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, and by the Methodist Churches. It is an integral part of Arminian theology.
Unconditional election is a Reformed doctrine relating to Predestination that describes the actions and motives of God in eternity past, before he created the world, where he predestinated some people to receive salvation, the elect, and the rest he left to continue in their sins and receive the just punishment, eternal damnation, for their transgressions of God's law as outlined in the old and new Testaments of the Bible. God made these choices according to his own purposes apart from any conditions or qualities related to those persons.
Limited atonement is a doctrine accepted in some Christian theological traditions. It is particularly associated with the Reformed tradition and is one of the five points of Calvinism. The doctrine states that though the death of Jesus Christ is sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world, it was the intention of God the Father that the atonement of Christ's death would work itself out in the elect only, thereby leading them without fail to salvation. According to Limited Atonement, Christ died for the sins of the elect alone, and no atonement was provided for the reprobate. This is in contrast to a belief that God's prevenient grace enables all to respond to the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ Acts 2:21 so that it is each person's decision and response to God's grace that determines whether Christ's atonement will be effective to that individual.
Irresistible grace is a doctrine in Christian theology particularly associated with Calvinism, which teaches that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom He has determined to save and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to faith in Christ. It is to be distinguished from prevenient grace, particularly associated with Arminianism, which teaches that the offer of salvation through grace does not act irresistibly in a purely cause-effect, deterministic method, but rather in an influence-and-response fashion that can be both freely accepted and freely denied.
Assurance is a Protestant Christian doctrine that states that the inner witness of the Holy Spirit allows the justified disciple to know that they are saved. Based on the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, assurance was historically a very important doctrine in Lutheranism and Calvinism, and remains a distinguishing doctrine of Methodism.
Amyraldism is also known as the School of Saumur, post redemptionism, moderate Calvinism, four-point Calvinism, or hypothetical universalism.
The logical order of God's decrees is the study in Calvinist theology of the logical order of the decree to ordain or allow the fall of man in relation to his decree to save some sinners (election) and condemn the others (reprobation). Several opposing positions have been proposed, all of which have names with the Latin root lapsus meaning fall.
Monergism is the view within Christian theology which holds that God works through the Holy Spirit to bring about the salvation of an individual through spiritual regeneration, regardless of the individual's cooperation. It is most often associated with the Reformed tradition and its doctrine of irresistible grace, and particularly with historical doctrinal differences between Calvinism and Arminianism. This position contrasts with Arminian synergism, the belief that God and individuals cooperate to bring individuals salvation.
The history of the Calvinist–Arminian debate begins in early 17th century in the Netherlands with a Christian theological dispute between the followers of John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius, and continues today among some Protestants, particularly evangelicals. The debate centers around soteriology, or the study of salvation, and includes disputes about total depravity, predestination, and atonement. While the debate was given its Calvinist–Arminian form in the 17th century, issues central to the debate have been discussed in Christianity in some form since Augustine of Hippo's disputes with the Pelagians in the 5th century.
Free will in theology is an important part of the debate on free will in general. Religions vary greatly in their response to the standard argument against free will and thus might appeal to any number of responses to the paradox of free will, the claim that omniscience and free will are incompatible.
The Lambeth Articles were a series of nine doctrinal statements drawn up by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift in 1595 in order to define Calvinist doctrine with regard to predestination and justification.
Sovereignty of God is the Christian teaching that God is the supreme authority and all things are under His control. God is claimed to be the "sovereign Lord of all by an incontestable right [as the] creator. .. owner and possessor of heaven and earth." Sovereignty is an Attribute of God based upon the premise that God as the creator of heaven and earth has absolute right and full authority to do or allow whatever He desires.
Augustinian Calvinism is a self-identifying term used by Reformed theologians who acknowledge John Calvin's theological dependence upon Augustine of Hippo. The famous defender of the Reformed faith in the early 1900s, B. B. Warfield, declared, "The system of doctrine taught by Calvin is just the Augustinianism common to the whole body of the Reformers." Paul Helm, a well-known Reformed theologian, uses this term identifying his own view in "The Augustinian-Calvinist View" in Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views.
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