If you are a believer in predestination, what was the point of Christ coming to earth if god already knew that certain people would be saved or damned. I’ve never heard a good answer from those who do believe in calvinist style predestination, and i’d like to know what most believer in predestination would say.
I think those who adhere to Calvin’s false doctrine of predestination would simply say that the elect were predestined to believe in Jesus, and the reprobate (damned) were predestined not to believe in Jesus.
Of course, that type of thinking is false, because it ultimately denies human free will, which is one aspect of our being created in God’s image and likeness.
I presume they would say that those who were predestined to believe still needed Jesus to come because otherwise they could not have believed.
Just a note: Catholics believe in single predestination, but not double predestination. Double predestination means that God elects certain persons for salvation, and also reprobates certain persons for damnation. Single predestination only holds that God elects certain persons for salvation.
Catholics believe that Christ died for all–his redemption is for all mankind. Calvinists who adhere to TULIP, however, believe that Christ only died for the elect. This is referred to “limited atonement,” the L in TULIP. I believe Calvinists would state that Christ had to come to earth to atone for the sins of those who were elect.
the whole concept is a fallacy since it makes God out to be something He is not. A tyrant. God is not selective. He sacrificed Himself through His Son for ALL of mankind. As the op said, if He chose our fates before we’re even born there would never have been a need for Christ to perish and rise on the Cross.
If God didn’t already know who would be saved and who wouldn’t be, he wouldn’t be all knowing.
Oddly, today I found this article on predestination and did not think too much about it until now.
Hope it helps.
That is a fallacy. Omnipotent doesn’t mean knowing what is -going- to hoping. It means know all that has and COULD happen. That is the defining factor of it. It is still up to our free will to make our choices, he just knows where each individual choice may lead into eternity.
The point of Christ’s ministry is that it is a necessary part of the plan of salvation. Without Christ there would be no Church into which the elect are predestined.
So am I right to assume you believe in double predestination? If not then I’m sorry.
Okay, so christ founded the church, but why would a church be needed if God already knows who is saved and damned according to this doctrine, why would a church be needed for this when God already knows.
While it is true that God knows who will be in heaven and who will not, that does not mean we do not make free choices which effect the outcome of our arrival there or the lack of it. Knowledge of something that will happen is not the same as making it happen. If I notice, from a high vantage point, a train headed for a downed bridge, I can have foreknowledge, if you will, of an approaching crash. That does not mean I made the crash happen.
The Church is needed because God willed it to be so. He could have done something else, after all, he is God. But Christ founded the Church as the sacrament of salvation, to transmit his saving Gospel to all nations, and to incorporate men into Himself and into the divine family. It is through the Church that we learn about Jesus Christ, faith and morals, the Trinity, and so forth.
If I could modify your comment some . . .
It is Catholic doctrine that God does indeed know everything – past, present and future. God sees history, the present, and what is going to happen in the future in one single glance, since he is outside of time. You are correct in stating we still make free choices. Our choices of free will can determine our destiny. We are free creatures. But God’s knowledge of the future is not merely knowing where our choices may lead; rather he has definitive knowledge of where our choices actually do lead.
If God did not have complete and definitive knowledge of the future, he would not be omniscient; therefore he would not be God.
You took the words right out of my mouth. The fact that God knows what we will do and when we will do it in no way lessens our free will to do it. Jesus said that it was the Father’s will that all be saved, so we know who he had in mind; everyone. It is difficult for some to come to a right understanding of “eternity” as we do not live in it and therefore cannot experinece it. Nevertheless, it is an important concept to grasp when speaking of this subject. All of history unfolds at once in the eyes of God. He knows who will be saved and who won’t, but the choice is ours.
I’m actually not… anymore. I never really considered myself a double predestinarian, unless you consider that God actively condemns the reprobate by not electing them. But that is in the past. Nazarenes are as firm believers in free will as Catholics.
I’m not sure I understand why you think the Church would be unnecessary if God knows who the elect are. Perhaps you might explain this? To me there isn’t actually to much of a change between the mechanics of salvation/atonement/forgiveness/etc. between a position of strong predestination and one which highlights freewill. Sin still needs to be dealt with, the church still provides the sacraments, we are still called into communion with each other.
A Calvinist believes that not only has God foreordained who will be saved but the means by which they are to be saved. They need the atoning death of Christ to pay for their sins and make them right with God. They need the preaching of the Word and the Sacraments in oder to receive the forgiveness of their sins and growth in holiness. They need the fellowship of the church in order to grow more like Christ. Etc. All these means have also been ordeained by God as the means by which the elect are brought to Jesus in order to be saved. Finally, I have read passages in St Thomas Aquinas, and St Augustine, amongst other Catholic theologians, that sound surprisingly like some forms of Calvinism. I had a friend who took some courses at the Augustinian Seminary near Phillie- there was an exchange program with Westminster Seminary- and he said he thought he was listening to one of the Westminster profs.
I was attempting to phrase it so that it would make sense considering our perception of time. I agree that God does know how we’re going to end up, what I was attempting to explain was that, regardless of our choices he knows where we end up, but they are still our choices to make. Apologies if that wasn’t clear.
My mother is Catholic and talks very much like a Calvinist.
A sinful man could die to pay the price for his own sins, but it takes a sinless man to pay the price for the sins of others. Christ had to die whether you believe in predestination or not. The real question is not whether Christ had to die, but rather whether predestination (double or single) is true.
For me, the answer is fairly simple. If we have the freedom to choose against God–the freedom to reject Christ’s offer of salvation–then God is a cosmic gambler and his will can be thwarted. I can’t believe that I have the power to thwart God. Can you imagine the creator of the universe in his throne room saying, “Oh, I really wanted to save Brian. I had a special place in heaven for him. But he turned me down flat. Sigh.”??? No way!
A friend of mine says that we have free will but that our free will has been corrupted by sin. Adam’s sin and the curse that followed it are such that we can no longer choose God. It gives us the illusion of free will, but we are actually constrained. This is what Paul meant when he wrote about us being dead in our sins. We were dead in our inability to choose God. It takes God acting in our lives through the Holy Spirit to overcome our deadness and draw us to Jesus Christ.
I do not understand predestination, but I do know that both sides of this argument have the same problem: God could save all but he doesn’t. Why doesn’t he save everyone? We aren’t going to know the answer to that this side of heaven I’m afraid.
And both sides also have the problem that God knows the future and who will and will not be saved. So even those who deny predistination have the problem of God’s foreknowledge and man’s free will.