Double Predestination and Col. Kurtz

“…The horror…the horror…”


Whenever I try to think or wrap my head around this theological paradigm and it’s accompanying exegesis I become completely repulsed.

Put simply (in my view anyway):

The Elect: You may as well sit back and truly imbibe of ‘Sola Fide’, as absolutely **nothing **is going to get in the way of your salvation.

**The Damned: ** You may as well sit back and imbibe vanity fair, as absolutely nothing will get in the way of your eternal damnation.

Besides those points, what disturbs me is men who are far smarter and know their Sacred Scripture better than I could come up with, what appears, a completely iniquitous theology.

If someone would care to enlighten me, I would be most appreciative.

I am not quite sure “why” you want to be enlightened on a topic that you have already clearly analyzed as flawed, and which the Church has utterly rejected as so.

Frankly, I find it difficult enough to grasp the simpler (maybe?) concept of single predestination, which our faith does accept. Getting my head around the “God outside of time” thing, so that he “knows” what we are going to do and where we are going to end up, but doesn’t interfere with our free will to choose where we go is tough enough for me.

In Ephesians it says God has predestined us to adoption according to the purpose of His will and He works all things according to His will. Remember we can only believe if the Father reveals it to us. Eph 1:4-5,11 As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity. 5Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will: 11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

It is God quickening the sinner to faith Eph 2:1, 5. He gives us the grace to have faith. We believe according to the working of his mighty power. Eph 1:19b. We are His workmanship. Eph 2:10.

I’d have to agree with SMOM in that I find singular predestination enough as is, I suppose no hyper-Calvinist’s are roaming the forums.

I believe in the (properly understood) doctrine of double predestination. Try to read some Reformed theology - don’t caricature it.

The question really comes down to whether predestination is general or individual. General seems to be the way of it. Jesus Christ died to redeem ALL mankind, but not all are redeemed. Everyone hypothetically can be, and the only thing stopping us from that redemption is ourselves. Abraham had choices, believe God, or don’t believe God, be known by God or reject God. It is only Abraham’s belief in God that predestined him to share in God’s predetermined plan for him. One small step from Abraham, one giant leap from God.

Had a belly full in my youth, no thanks.

I have attempted to read Calvin’s Institutes several times and each time I fall…:yawn:

I was hoping someone could give me the short version.

The theory of double predestination especially troubles me when used by those in power who think of themselves as superior because of their fortune. Sadly, this theory lends itself to that quite easily. In fact, some of our US presidents and industry giants embraced the theory and used it to justify their treatment of the poor. One essay that demonstrates (though much more eloquently) is the introduction to the novel “The Virginian” that was written by Theodore Roosevelt. I was so angry after reading that it took several days for me to not hate Roosevelt. The ivy league schools turned out many who followed the same line of reasoning. That attitude goes against social justice and the teachings of the Church. I also personally find it reprehensible because it leads humans to judge others’ worth in light of their fortunes or misfortunes.

(formerly “lutheran farmer”)

Taken to its extreme, Calvinism in the form of the Dutch Reformed Church was used to shore up the foundations of apartheid in South Africa.

Matthew 7: 21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

errr…who is Col. Kurtz and what has he got to do with double predestination?

Firstly, why do you think double predestination is even true?

Secondly, if double predestination is true, the consequences would be there is nothing to be done by anyone. Those in the Eastern world would just call it Fate. But Christianity is definitely not a sit back and do nothing religion that rely on Fate. It would have been absurd for the apostles to even preached to the Jews/gentiles if fate has “fixed” the results even before they were born. Would Calvin tell Peter/Paul “why bother”?

Thirdly, using scriptures to back up double or single predestination is a futile exercise. Everyone has their own favourite verses and their own interpretation. Problem is there is no earthly judge or referee or jury who can decide for all parties. Logically, those who has been given authority should be the judge and that has been the Catholic Church historically speaking. There are others who claim authority too as long as they can read the bible. Unfortunately, I can not find any supporting that say a bible reader has been given authority. But that has not deterred anyone from speaking their own mind.

I struggle with this, but it’s due to a personal experience I’ve often written about on this forum.

The night my father died, he appeared in my room. We argued and talked, and at the end he gave one almighty scream and then disappeared. I think he’s in Hell - cruel, vindictive, bad tempered, and unrepentant. He’d have qualified for unconfessed mortal sin several times over.

However at one time he blurted out, “I always was doomed! I didn’t really have any choice!”

I was an atheist, but I argued back saying “That can’t be right!” (in the democratic sense), to which he replied, “Oh, it’s right all right! You can see that from here!”

But later in the same exchange, he admitted “I was WILLING!” I’d say very willing (to do the cruel stupid things that got him condemned).

So our “free will” comes into it. He had twenty years to do something about his behaviour, and did nothing. If anything, he got worse. By the time he died, I think it would have been more accurate to say he was a bad temper.

I even had a vision sometime before he died where “someone” said “I gave him a great little family, and all he’s done is wreck it!”

On the night he died, he admitted “All I was expected to do was to look after my own family, and I didn’t even do that!”

The other point that came through however was that he was judging himself, as with the comment above, and others -

“I did it deliberately…” (tried to destroy my confidence).

“I’ve been an absolute mongrel to you…”

“There’s no hope for me…”

“It’s too late for me…”

Yet five minutes before he died, there was no way you’d have got him to admit to this. It all would have been our fault.

We talk about the judgment seat. But I think we’ll find that with all the illusions stripped away in front of the appalling divine holiness, we won’t have any choice but to judge ourselves.

And we may not like what we see. One thing is for sure - like my father, we’ll find our the judgment is correct. In fact, we’ll pronounce judgment on ourselves. We won’t be able to avoid it.

Whether we have any real say in our ultimate fate is beyond me. But I know that we’ll agree with the verdict.

Hi Eric,

Col. Kurtz is the main antagonist in the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. He is a U.S. Colonel who has gone rogue in the jungles of Vietnam. He utters the famous last words “…the horror…the horror…” as he dies in the closing scenes. It was my attempt at morbid humor.

Hi Bob,

Thank you for sharing that with me. It sounds as if he was ‘willing’ to ‘have no choice’…that happens with many people I think.

I have to admit I don’t understand it. But way back in my own atheist days, I’d have to say that if I had died back then, I’d have been “doomed”. Some of the time anyway.

And we all know people who died much younger than us - a school mate who died at age 20 in a car accident. A neighbouring lad who died of cancer at 23. A sports opponent who died of a drug overdose at 18. A senior student at my own school who was decapitated at the age of 17 in a car accident(along with his girlfriend), no more than about a kilometre from my place as the crow flies. Two fellow primary school students who died in a house fire aged about five or six.

So is the fact I didn’t die back then due to the grace of God?

If tha’s the case, what’s the difference between me and my father? Or for that matter all of us and a lot of other people?

This is simply not what double predestination is, considering the OP first post.

At the heart of the 5 points is Gods sovereignty. And the Reformed understanding of the will.
The question is, how can some one who is spiritually dead chose Christ?

Remember our Lords words
You must be born again to even see the kingdom of heaven.

A good summary comes from this, regeneration precedes faith. And regeneration is a monergeristic act of God alone.

God choses who he has mercy upon, just as Jacob was chosen and Esau wasn’t before they were even born. -see romans for this.

And for those who say this isn’t just? My question is why is it not just for God to not save anybody.
God would be completely just sending everyone to hell because of their sins. But as Ephesians says, in love he predestined us. Election in of itself is a mystery, known only to the counsel of his will.

You wrote, “Frankly, I find it difficult enough to grasp the simpler (maybe?) concept of single predestination, which our faith does accept.”

Wouldn’t “single predestination” mean that God is partially Omniscient?

And wouldn’t “Double Predestination” mean that God is Omniscient or at least closer to Omniscient than “single predestination”?

If God knows everything (past, present, future) which seems to me to be the “definition” of Omniscience than wouldn’t God know who is going to heaven and who is going to hell even before God created them?

As far as, “It is only Abraham’s belief in God that predestined him to share in God’s predetermined plan for him.”

It wasn’t “Abraham’s belief in God”, it was God knowing that Abraham would believe that “predestined him to share in God’s predetermined plan for him”.

Also as far as, “Jesus Christ died to redeem ALL mankind, but not all are redeemed.”

Are you saying that Jesus died in vain since what He died for is NOT, according to what you wrote, going to be?

Food for thought, thanks Scott.

I would recommend watching “what is reformed theology” on ligonier ministries website, by Dr RC Sproul.

If anything you will get a fuller understanding on what we believe.

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