Predestenation?


#1

I was thinking about Calvenism and the doctrine of Predestenation (sp?). From what I understand it follows the reasoning is the God knows all so therefore he knows where we are going so it is predetermined. What is the Catholic Churches position on this Doctrine and this reasoning? Thanks and God bless.


#2

As I understand it, God knows everything that has happened, everything that is happening and everything that will happen, and so He will know our decisions before we make them. Yet this doesn’t mean He determines what we do: we still have the choice to make. Imagine you are walking on a circular track. You can see a little bit ahead of you, but you can’t see anything behind you. In the centre of this track is a hill, upon which God is sitting. He can see the entire track at once, but in no way does this determine what choices we make on that track.

I feel I have explained this poorly. Sorry!


#3

Well, some asians liked dealing with Calvanists better than other Christians, cuz the Calvanists wouldnt preach, beleiveing that if they were to be saved, tehyd find it themselves…

and yeah, nice explaination Atreyu; God konws what we can do, but kinda turns a blind eye to what we will do (concerning far far down the road)… He gave us free will that we can do whatever we want, but he’s always there watching us making sure we dont wander too far off the track…predestination would mean God had a roadmap of our lives, and we COULD NOT go off the path… kinda defeats the purpose of free will eh?


#4

[quote=Atreyu]As I understand it, God knows everything that has happened, everything that is happening and everything that will happen, and so He will know our decisions before we make them. Yet this doesn’t mean He determines what we do: we still have the choice to make. Imagine you are walking on a circular track. You can see a little bit ahead of you, but you can’t see anything behind you. In the centre of this track is a hill, upon which God is sitting. He can see the entire track at once, but in no way does this determine what choices we make on that track.

I feel I have explained this poorly. Sorry!
[/quote]

This is not the “Catholic” understanding. For starters, we must clarify that there is no one “Catholic” understanding on Predestination. The Church has not spoken definitively on several aspects of this topic. What you were talking about is simply foreknowledge. That is not predestination. There are three different groupings of Catholics that are plausible on this issue. 1) Thomists (of which I believe in) 2) Molinists 3) Congruists. Again, the Church has not spoken definitively on this issue, so a Catholic is free to accept any of these at this point without stepping outside of the bounds of the Church. What we must believe in is that man does have free will. We must also believe that God predestine the elect to Heaven. In between there is where the confusion begins. It is important to point out, that yhe Church has rejected the Calvinist stance on double predestination (God predestines some to Heaven and the rest to Hell). Also, the Calvinists rejection of free will is clearly contradicted by the Scripture, so we do not accept that either. I would like to get into this more with you, but there are books out there that will explain it better. Try “Predestination” by Garrigou LaGrange, or for an easier read, try “The Salvation Controversy” by James Akin. He has a chapter or two in that book that will explain it. Hope this helped.


#5

[quote=jax8686]Well, some asians liked dealing with Calvanists better than other Christians, cuz the Calvanists wouldnt preach, beleiveing that if they were to be saved, tehyd find it themselves…

and yeah, nice explaination Atreyu; God konws what we can do, but kinda turns a blind eye to what we will do (concerning far far down the road)… He gave us free will that we can do whatever we want, but he’s always there watching us making sure we dont wander too far off the track…predestination would mean God had a roadmap of our lives, and we COULD NOT go off the path… kinda defeats the purpose of free will eh?
[/quote]

This is not accurate. Many Catholics unfortunately beeieve this, but it is not true. In order to be faithful to the Church and the Scripture we must accept predestination as a true doctrine.


#6

[quote=Redbandito]This is not accurate. Many Catholics unfortunately beeieve this, but it is not true. In order to be faithful to the Church and the Scripture we must accept predestination as a true doctrine.
[/quote]

Can you give us the source for your statement or is this just your opinion? Where can I find this dogma? I can’t see anything in the CCC.


#7

Now I found something in the CCC.

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”.

That means predestination is not a doctrine of the Church.


#8

I think that the Calvinist doctrine is stronger than what you stated. I think they believe that God actively chooses some people to be saved, and those people cannot resist being chosen but are in a sense compelled to be saved. God also refuses salvation to others, and those others can not, of course, then be saved. So the God of Calvinism decides, without human cooperation or rejection, who shall be saved and who shall be damned.

The whole question of predestination depends on whose viewpoint you are taking, that of a human or that of God. From God’s viewpoint, He already knows who will be saved and who will not be, but that does not mean (in the Catholic view) that He is causing the one or the other. Even though God knows what we will choose, He offers His saving grace to us all, and we are all free to accept it or reject it.


#9

[quote=thistle]Now I found something in the CCC.

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”.

That means predestination is not a doctrine of the Church.
[/quote]

No, that’s not what that means. If you re-read my original post, you will see that I stated that the Church has rejected the idea of “double predestination”. This is a Calvinist view that God either predestines us to Heaven or Hell. The Church teaches that God does not predestine ANYONE to Hell. God does not need to. The wicked damn themselves. However, this does not speak on whether or not God predestines the elect to Heaven. This is what the Church affirms. Make sure you read more carefully in the future.

[quote=thistle]Can you give us the source for your statement or is this just your opinion? Where can I find this dogma? I can’t see anything in the CCC.
[/quote]

No, this is not my opinion. This is a matter of fact. I will look for a source as soon as I can.


#10

[quote=Redbandito]No, that’s not what that means. If you re-read my original post, you will see that I stated that the Church has rejected the idea of “double predestination”. This is a Calvinist view that God either predestines us to Heaven or Hell. The Church teaches that God does not predestine ANYONE to Hell. God does not need to. The wicked damn themselves. However, this does not speak on whether or not God predestines the elect to Heaven. This is what the Church affirms. Make sure you read more carefully in the future.

No, this is not my opinion. This is a matter of fact. I will look for a source as soon as I can.
[/quote]

No need to be offensive and rude!!
I did read carefully what you wrote. I just don’t agree with it. If we are not pre-destined for Hell because of our free will then it must be the same for Heaven. Our free will lets us choose to love God, stay in a state of grace and go to heaven, or choose not to love him, sin and go to Hell.


#11

[quote=thistle]No need to be offensive and rude!!
I did read carefully what you wrote. I just don’t agree with it. If we are not pre-destined for Hell because of our free will then it must be the same for Heaven. Our free will lets us choose to love God, stay in a state of grace and go to heaven, or choose not to love him, sin and go to Hell.
[/quote]

Redbandito is correct.

Read this: catholic.com/thisrock/1993/9309fea1.asp

It documents very clearly that Predestination is de fide in the Catholic Church. It is an excellent article for those who want an accurate understanding of the Catholic vioew(s) on Predestination and the Calvinist view which much closer to the traditional Catholic view prior to Molina than will make many of you folks confortable :wink: . All this double predestination stuff is a big misrepresentation of Calvinism as Jimmy Akin thoroughly points out. Most Calvinists and Calvin himself believe exactly what Augustine and Aquinas believed about the reprobate. God simply leaves them to their own devices not actively predestines them to Hell. He actively predestines the elect to final perseverence and thus Salvation.

It is amazing to see how many Catholics condemn Aquinas and Augustine in favor of a much later view that is more free will Baptist than Catholic. This enormous burden on free will that so many moden catholics preach is at odds with the Council of Orange and smacks of semi-Pelagianism.

This article should be read by every Catholic, in my opinion. It is simply excellent.

Mel


#12

This subject always confuses me, so I may be talking out of my hat here. But isn’t the real issue the question of whether God denies saving grace to any who would, if granted the grace, accept that grace?

Now God may only offer that grace to those whom He knows will accept it, or He may offer it also to those whom He knows will reject it. But as I see it, the only problem would come up if it were taught that God does not offer that grace to those whom He knows would accept it if it were offered. That would be unthinkable, IMO.


#13

[quote=thistle]No need to be offensive and rude!!
I did read carefully what you wrote. I just don’t agree with it. If we are not pre-destined for Hell because of our free will then it must be the same for Heaven. Our free will lets us choose to love God, stay in a state of grace and go to heaven, or choose not to love him, sin and go to Hell.
[/quote]

Rude and offensive? Where did you draw that from? I certainly did not intend to be rude and offensive. I was merely answering the point you made.

Also, I believe you have made a false dichotomy for yourself here. While we can reject God’s grace and damn ourselves. We cannot, without God’s grace, go to Heaven. This is predestination.


#14

[quote=VociMike]This subject always confuses me, so I may be talking out of my hat here. But isn’t the real issue the question of whether God denies saving grace to any who would, if granted the grace, accept that grace?

Now God may only offer that grace to those whom He knows will accept it, or He may offer it also to those whom He knows will reject it. But as I see it, the only problem would come up if it were taught that God does not offer that grace to those whom He knows would accept it if it were offered. That would be unthinkable, IMO.
[/quote]

God does not offer grace based on us. Look up the terms Pelagiansim and Semi-Pelagianism and you will see what the Church has said about these. God’s love is creative, not responsive. He does not give us grace because of what we do, or would do. God gives grace which enables us to do. Does that make sense?


#15

Since human beings are totally corrupt in sin (the Doctrine of Total Depravity), they do not desire God (see Romans chapter nine). God, in His love, desires to show compassion to whom he wills, and then to harden the hearts of whom he wills. Those who respond to God, respond because God put the desire in their hearts to come to faith in Christ. Those who do not respond to God had nothing to respond to in the first place, for God chose not to reach out to them. This is all for His glory.

This doesn’t sound too Biblical, does it? There’s more, but you’d best research it on your own. Surprisingly, there is a lot in the Bible that backs up the TULIP doctrines of Calvinism. However Calvinists do plenty of proof-texting (and they acuse us of ignoring scripture).

If its one thing I’ve obtained from coming into contact with Calvinism, is that I’ve discovered Catholicism: it lead me straight to Catholic teaching. I’m not Catholic yet, and I have a lot of tough decisions to make with regards to my church, my friends, and my dear sister in Christ… But by the grace of God I will carry on.

Blessings,
Tony


#16

Below is a reply from Michelle Arnold of Ask An Apologist on this topic:

The Church does believe in predestination, insofar as it is understood to mean that God knows who will choose to cooperate with his grace and be saved and who will choose to reject him and not be saved. The Church does not believe that God predestines anyone to go to hell. All are created for heaven but some will choose of their own free will to reject heaven.

In other words this is what several posters here have also said and that is predestination as far as the Church is concerned is foreknowledge and not predestination the way redbandito is putting forth.


#17

[quote=Redbandito]No, that’s not what that means. If you re-read my original post, you will see that I stated that the Church has rejected the idea of “double predestination”. This is a Calvinist view that God either predestines us to Heaven or Hell. The Church teaches that God does not predestine ANYONE to Hell. God does not need to. The wicked damn themselves. However, this does not speak on whether or not God predestines the elect to Heaven. This is what the Church affirms. Make sure you read more carefully in the future.

No, this is not my opinion. This is a matter of fact. I will look for a source as soon as I can.
[/quote]

To be even more precise - the CC has rejected positive double predestination: which comes to saying that Catholics are not free as Catholics to believe that God positively predestines anyone to be lost. Reasons for the Church’s rejection of it include these:

[list]
*]positive double predestination makes God the author of our damnation in exactly the same sense as He is the Author of our salvation…so
*]it makes Him the Author of moral evil…
*]such as the sins of men…
*]which is not easy to reconcile with being Infinite Good…
*]and it is unjust because it has God condemning the lost before they were even born, so, before they could choose to sin
[/list]We are free however to believe in the positive predestination of the elect - though we are not at liberty to believe that we are included in that number: we can have no dogmatic certainty (which is the certainty of faith; & therefore, is absolutely certain) - but we can have a strong moral certainty; just not that other kind. The reprobation of the lost is a negative act: a non-predestining to eternal life - that’s the Thomist position (which IMHO is much the most Christian; there are others, also allowed to Catholics, but the details are very involved, though very important.

If there are any reprobate (and whether there be any, is God’s secret), they are not positively predestined to damnation; they are lost by their own deliberate fault, despite God’s graces to them. This is because Catholics believe that the Atonement was intended for the entire human race; whereas orthodox Calvinism as represented by the decisions of the Synod of Dordt in 1619 teaches that Christ’s Atonement was for a limited number of men; namely, those elected to salvation. (BTW, it is not true that Calvinism teaches that the elect are few, despite what is said to the contrary; limitation is not universality, but neither is it fewness.) For Calvin, the predestining purpose of God was perfectly symmetrical: some were predestined to life - others, to death. And because the decree of predestination is God’s, it is ipso facto irreproachable. The CC seems to start from a different POV - from God, rather than from His decrees.

It’s impossible to do justice to the Calvinist position briefly, because it is far more nuanced than a brief description can suggest.

More Calvinist doctrinal texts here - w. much that relates to predestination

TTBOMK, the Church has not said that her reasons for rejecting Calvin’s ideas are necessarily perfectly valid - so there may be ways of agreeing w. Calvin that are compatible with Catholic teaching. And the Church could in the nature of things not pass judgement, at Trent, on later Calvinism: there is more than one kind - he is not regarded as infallible. What cannot be rejected are the truths which oppose the propositions that are condemned ##


#18

[quote=Redbandito]God does not offer grace based on us. Look up the terms Pelagiansim and Semi-Pelagianism and you will see what the Church has said about these. God’s love is creative, not responsive. He does not give us grace because of what we do, or would do. God gives grace which enables us to do. Does that make sense?
[/quote]

It makes sense, and it is how I view His grace, but the article mentioned in this thread also talks about the possibility of the grace of final perseverence being offered only to those who will avail themselves of it. Is this understanding really a deal-breaker? I don’t know enough about the theology of grace to know the answer to that.


#19

[quote=jax8686]Well, some asians liked dealing with Calvanists better than other Christians, cuz the Calvanists wouldnt preach, beleiveing that if they were to be saved, tehyd find it themselves…
[/quote]

That is so unlike anything in the Calvinist tradition of missionary work, that it makes no sense at all - human effort by missionaries is a means whereby they obey God, Who desires the harvesters to be many, so that they may be the means by which the elect come to salvation. For them not to preach, is to refuse to do the work for which God has chosen them and sent them forth. It’s a form of stealing from God :frowning:

and yeah, nice explaination Atreyu; God konws what we can do, but kinda turns a blind eye to what we will do (concerning far far down the road)…

Absolutely not - we are never out of God’s sight.

He gave us free will that we can do whatever we want, but he’s always there watching us making sure we dont wander too far off the track…predestination would mean God had a roadmap of our lives, and we COULD NOT go off the path… kinda defeats the purpose of free will eh?

Despite appearances, predestination is completely contrary to determinism. Predestination gives freedom - it does not limit it. As for free will, it depends what we’re talking about; for free will is designed to make service of God easier. What free will is not, is liberty to do as we wish - it is liberty to choose to do that which we are meant to do - IOW, to love God. FW is not morally neutral, as though it were a power of total self-determination.


#20

[quote=thistle]Below is a reply from Michelle Arnold of Ask An Apologist on this topic:

The Church does believe in predestination, insofar as it is understood to mean that God knows who will choose to cooperate with his grace and be saved and who will choose to reject him and not be saved. The Church does not believe that God predestines anyone to go to hell. All are created for heaven but some will choose of their own free will to reject heaven.

In other words this is what several posters here have also said and that is predestination as far as the Church is concerned is foreknowledge and not predestination the way redbandito is putting forth.
[/quote]

Thistle, have you been reading any of this thread? Try to stop focusing on me and proving me wrong and look at what has been written and cited. You are mixing up the issues. Predestination and foreknowledge are not the same thing. Read some of the posts of these other people. They should answer your questions.


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