Yup. This is a big one.

I have been working on the problem of Predestination for two months now. I’ve written about 10 pages already. I think I’ve clarified it all. And now it is time to expand everything to be sure I’m not leaving any stone unturned.

If anyone has anything to share on the subject, I want to hear it. Everything from Calvin to Paul to Augustine to Aquinas. Backwards, Forwards, it doesn’t matter how you put it out there.

Maybe a question/answer format would work. Someone asks a question on the subject, others chime in. I’ll try to sync anything. Or throw up an objection.

Hmm… no takers, huh?


How does God decide?

God bless,

Nope. But you can’t blame them. It was meant to be this way.

I wrote an essay on this very topic a few weeks ago. Basically, predestination falls under the larger category of God’s providence. A good read is the Catholic Encylopedia entry for it. Ultimately, there is the Thomist and Molinist viewpoints. The ultimate question is “what is the medium of God’s foreknowledge.” Be careful of falling into heresy, as this is a very easy topic to lead one astray. Just remember that God predestines no one to hell.

if you have any questions i’d be happy to answer…bottom line, Predestination is a mystery, although there is alot you can write about it…the act of predestining doesn’t lie in the predestined by rather the one who predestines, therefore people are not predestined according to their merits


Yep, me too. I wrote a piece that is turning out to be a lot bigger than I expected. Now there are a ton of points to develop. And, since I don’t want to fall into any traps or Oroborous-style conundrums, I thought i’d try to open the conversation and see what comes out. Because if this is correct, then it treats both the Catholic and the Protestant problems, and makes it all very Catholic.

But this is what I tend to do, I try to work myself in from the protestant position until I find that what came out was all very very Catholic. Then, when the Prots argue, I can walk them into it.

The only problem is that even Catholics disagree about this teaching…all we know about predestination is that God has chosen the elect, while predestining no one to hell…here is an excerpt from my essay, maybe it will help, mine was only a couple pages

When studying this matter it is important to accept the Church’s authority on things. Jesus gave his infallible teachings to the Apostles and made sure that those teachings or “deposit of faith” would be protected by the Holy Spirit for as long as time exists. This will also help us avoid heresies like that of the Pelegians. The second benefit of this is that we are looking upon knowledge that has already been rigorously debated and examined. And I say debated because there is much room for discussion about this topic even within the Church. Anything about this subject can be discussed as long as it falls within the limits set by the following guidelines: (a) At least in the order of execution in time the meritorious works of the predestined are the partial cause of their eternal happiness; (b) hell cannot, even in the order of intention have been positively decreed to the damned, even though it is inflicted on them in time as the just punishment of their misdeeds; © there is absolutely no predestination to sin as a means to eternal damnation. Article © is also echoed in the Catechism which states “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.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1037) The Church is also very serious about this teaching as we can see here:
We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema. Council of Orange (529 AD)
The whole concept of predestination falls under a larger category which is called “Divine Providence”. Like God’s Mercy or Agape, it can be studied endlessly without ever fully understanding its depth. Even though we can understand it in relation to our free will and God’s grace, we cannot reduce them to a simple equation. In fact, attempting to use logic in order to put such complicated concepts into a neat little box almost always leads to a paradox For example, as given by Augustine: "if God shows me more pleasure in something good than in evil, I will choose good. Thus a poor donkey might starve to death, if placed an equal distance between two bails of hay. " If we are confused by now then we are in good company. There would seem to be a controversy about Grace and Free Will between the Thomists and Molinists. It would appear that the Thomist viewpoint believes that even the free act itself is the same as God’s predestination. In opposition to this the Molinists state that the act, as far as it is free, comes from the will. Thomism would also hold that grace is infallible whereas Molinism holds that our free will must be in cooperation with God’s grace in order for that grace to have its effect. The Molinist viewpoint states that grace is always sufficient and that it would produce its proper effect if the will gives its consent. Here we see the difficulty of Thomism in the case of the unrepentant sinner. If we take two different sinners to which the same grace is given, then both should be converted according to Thomism since grace does not need consent of the will. However, if one of the sinners does not repent even though it is given the same grace then Thomism falls into a contradiction since it cannot put the cause of the obstinancy on the sinner himself. Molinism can solve this problem easily since it incorporates free will in a way that requires consent to the grace, as already stated. The Thomists would then argue that this would make us the cause of our own salvation since the choice of our will determines the acceptance of God’s grace and we know that God is the cause of our salvation. Now the question common to both theories has to do with the nature of God’s foreknowledge. Thomists say that God foreknows the future because he is the cause of it while Molinists would argue that this leads to Determinism. Molinists basically (a very simple version of their position) say that God sees every possible outcome of things and acts accordingly. For example, God gave Judas sufficient grace, but allowed Judas’ resistance of a particular grace towards conversion.
My own conclusion about this matter is that the argument is circular and undefined. I mean the word “undefined” in the mathematical sense. For example, if you reduce a mathematical concept to its most fundamental terms then it is considered undefined because the definition of the considered concept, when defined, leads to the same definition with different wording. Consider a “point” in geometry. What is a point? It is represented by a dot but that is not actually what it is. It is simply a dimensionless location in space. Now try to define “a location in space with no dimension”. If we say “a point”, then we haven’t really shed light on anything. Thus, it is called undefined because it has been reduced to its simplest terms. Although we can define dimension and location, they would only expand on the definition rather than simplifying it. When regarding predestination, I think we are dealing with the same type of thing. Since God is purely simple, when we talk about “His Providence” we are basically expanding the definition of God and compartmentalizing it since we cannot comprehend God with our minds. In other words, predestination is a fundamental property of God’s Providence that can be expanded on but not defined.

Finally, we come to the question that really matters. “How should the knowledge of predestination affect our behavour?” First, it should make us realize that we need to trust in God. Since both Thomists and Molinists agree that sufficent grace exist and the Catholic Church teaches that no one is predestined to hell, it is best for us to err on the side of righteousness and cooperate fully with whatever graces God bestows on us. Besides, giving up our will entirely to God makes the Thomist-Molinist conondrum irrelevant (“I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.” -Imitation of Christ). If we are worried about not recieving “as much grace” as someone else then let us remember “Be thankful for the least gift, so shalt thou be meant to receive greater.” and “A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.” Ironically, this knowledge of predestination increases our responsibility and with this new knowledge and responsibility we can boil the choices of good or evil down to two things: following God’s Will or following our own selfish desires.

Hi friend,
I have a few thoughts to share: I feel that ‘predestination’ is better understood as ‘predefined destination of souls according to their attitude and conduct during their earthly sojourn’. God has only defined the way to heaven and helps us with how to get there. It is the process and outcome that are predefined and not the persons. Even the Catholic belief that some are set apart as elect, I find difficulty in digesting and continue to ponder.

Some more related thoughts that I already posted elsewhere are reproduced below:
Salvation is merely offered and not doled out like a gift. Salvation is not an event but a process that is completed on the day of judgement. The salvation process is made crystal clear by our Lord’s life and teachings. The eternal punishment we incur for our sins is firstly canceled by the process called JUSTIFICATION and the defilement that causes us to sin is cleansed by the process called SANCTIFICATION.

JUSTIFICATION or removal of sins: Sin is a debt that we cannot repay as Satan claims our souls; yet God who has ransomed us with the blood of His Son, is able to cancel the debt of sin for many good reasons:* “Love covers a multitude of sins; if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”*. (1Pet 4:8b, Mt 6:14)

SANCTIFICATION or freedom from slavery to sin: Suffering is the only remedy available for cleansing interior defilement and uprooting the very cause of sin. Recall what our Lord taught: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. ‘For everyone will be salted with fire’.” (Mk 9:43, 49)

To stop sinning is humanly impossible and yet our helplessness is not futility for our God is ‘the help of the helpless’ Whose power is made perfect in our weakness. The battle is truly His and we only have to show our love by refusing to remain slaves and struggling. Freedom is achieved through complete purging of our sinful nature by our own sufferings which can only increase manifold if avoided now and kept for purgation after death.

To know how one loses the offer of salvation, consider this:
***Matthew 22

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet***

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14** “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”**

Is it not clear from the above parable that the offer of salvation which was made firstly to Israel is now made to all mankind; but the ones who prove unworthy by their own attitude and conduct are bound to lose it?

The key to salvific thinking and attitude is gratitude which is reciprocal love and the harbinger of all other graces and spiritual gifts and

The killer is ingratitude that enables the Enemy to inject pride and thereby entangle and enslave us in all kind of detestable conduct

according to the Summa Theologica, you are incorrect, predestination does not have to do with merits (earthly sojourn)

I have not talked of merit at all. Merit or no merit, we all have a free will to receive or reject salvation. Obviously the ones who freely choose to receive are meritorious compared to those who reject

that would ultimately make us responsible for our own salvation, which we are not, Christ is…it is because of the merits of Christ we are saved and not our own…we cannot force God to owe us a debt, anything we do that is good is the very thing we ought to be doing naturally

Why do you quote unsaid words as if someone said so much. What is your purpose in emphasizing the obvious that was never ever denied.

God cannot save you without your co-operation and against your will!!!

because following your thoughts to their logical conclusion leads to that result

what you are not realizing is that predestination is a mystery…your second sentence would normally not be argued with but the subject of predestination asks subtle questions…

with your current understanding about free-will how would you answer this scripture

**(Proverbs 21:1): “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever He will He shall turn it” and (Philippians 2:13): “It is God Who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish.” **

man has free-will in spite of this but it is a mystery how free will interacts with God’s will or grace…there is an answer to what I posted btw, but I am not going to hand you the answer because I think you should contemplate this topic a little bit more deeply…we are looking at all of this through the lense of God’s providence and Predestination, which involves really splitting hairs

it would be helpful if you stated whether you agree with the Thomists or the Molinists about predestination

What I have realized is that you unnecessarily stretch another’s thought in your own crooked way and project illogical conclusions to wrongly malign.

Nothing involves hair splitting as long as you don’t complicate truth unnecessarily

you have not answered as to whether you align yourselves with the Thomists, Molinists, or simply do not understand the difference

Sorry, I missed that post while replying your previous post.

I have never tried to know the Molinist or Thomist view nor have I felt like knowing.

I have merely shared my own original thoughts in response to start post #1.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit