I have spent many years enjoying discussions with people of religion and even some who refuse a religious ID concerning this rather fascinating topic of **P R E D E S T I N A T I O N **… needless to say the topic is still not closed and knowing that it is often ignored because of it’s complexities, and the confusion between fate and what is taught in the Sacred Scriptures, I thought it would make a marvellous topic for discussion. Don’t you ? :slight_smile:

If like me you have studied it until your head has turned into cold congealed curstard, or squishy marshmellow, or just the regular old atomic eruption, or you are simply confused about what it means, it might be the prefect time to read what others think it is. So come you would be Biblical Theoloogians, and others of profound intelligence…or just those who know how to cut and paste well…with the proverbial linkeroo…or kangaroo…

So without further a waffle and pancake with a cigar, or pipe, let’s slip into the black lagoon, or dive into the chilly waters of this gigantic subject called… PREDESTINATION … and hopefully no-one drowns…glup, glup, glup…(no I am not attempting to qualify for the swim team…)

Is it fate or is it something far more sublime ?



In the scriptures, FOREKNOWLEDGE comes before PREDESTINATION…in the traditional Calvinist sense…Predestination is heresy plain and simple.


What is predestination in the Calvinist sense?


In the sense that people are destined for heaven or hell independently of their own choice.

Predestination eliminates free will; when you take free will out of the equation, you eliminate sin, but at the expense of love.

That dog don’t hunt.



Predestination is not the same thing as fate at all, not by any manner of means. Predestination has to do with the action of a personal God, the God revealed to us in Jesus Christ - & it is to do with God’s knowledge, His wisdom, His ruling of creatures, & our salvation.

IOW - it is the sort of thing that is so intimately God’s, that it can be admired, but not sounded to the bottom. It is also another reason for us to glorify God, because it shows forth the greatness of His Wisdom; which as St. Paul says, is Christ: the Wisdom of God is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

It’s like the ground that Moses stood on when he approached the burning bush: “Put off your shoes from your feet, for the ground on which you stand is holy ground” (Exodus 3). It too is “holy ground”. That was when God revealed His Name to Moses - & predestination is very similar to God’s Name, because it is equally intimately God’s. It is exceedingly sublime, & we can no more understand it than we can look into the heart of the sun with unaided sight, & for the same reason.

IMO, Karl Barth was on the right track, when he said that Christ was the Elected One, in whom election is found; that to be elected at all, is to be elected in Christ - IOW, he did not consider election (which is an effect of predestination) in the abstract, but as it affected Christ. And this suggests that He is to be thought of as the Predestinated One; with the same effect for others.

IOW it seems that predestination is really about Christ, is a Christological doctrine; & it cannot be known or exprienced otherwise.


Well, once we’re born we are predestined to die… and pay taxes
Other than that it is all circumstances and choices.


Someday if you have the time, read Fr. William Most’s book on predestination. It’s quite long, but IMO is one of the best recent treatments on the subject. You can find the full text online here:

Also, Jimmy Akin’s book The Salvation Controversy is a good overview.


Here’s an article from the Catholic Encyclopedia on Catholic Predestination.


God foreknew (foreloved) and, based on that, predestined!!

Foreknowledge comes first.

Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?


Also, it’s not a matter of sequential events to God since He is outside time.


Wow! :slight_smile:

This is so exciting! Your enthusiastic response is almost overwhelming. I am going to follow both the links and have a goodly read. I have read so much over the years that my little brain resembles watery jello…so this is really, really exciting.

I have my own idea about ‘Predestination’ (as with most things), made up from years of brain stretching, (perhaps too much) so please feel free, to attack any apparent holes in my theory.

Here we go…

'In some cultures ‘fate’ is almost a religion (if you know what I mean). ‘Oh, it was fate that I should meet that person, get drunk, get funky and then drive my car over a bridge at 90 mph and kill the sweet little old lady crossing the road and her doggy.’

However with the idea of ‘predestination’ one does not pathetically dissasociate oneself from the consequences of one’s actions in this life and therefore live carelessly and without due consideration for one’s actions etc.

Though the future destination in the afterlife is determined by the will of GOD alone, one cannot use such a state of confidence or despair to live irresponsibly in this life. In other words a person who is born into this world is graciously given life and one can do a lot with that regardless of which eternal destination awaits one in the afterlife.

Regardless of whether one has been predestined to either one of the two biblical destinations in the afterlife, one is obliged based on the very kindness and mercy of God, to live responsibly, even though such a lifestyle cannot force the hand of God.

In reality, not one single person can muster enough of anything to gaurantee passage to either of the two desitnations in the afterlife, and so it is that out of the kindness of God’s heart that He has considered to save some. This state of man, is what is often then questioned. What is man ? and also… What is God ? One’s answers to these two questions will determine how one understands predestination. Words like Sovereignty of God, and the myth of free-will all come into it, but it requires much thought and consideration.’



Actually - the golden chain of salvation does give a sequence…

**Foreknew…predestined…called…justified…and, finally…glorified. **

The chain cannot be broken…

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.


Reformed theology teaches that people are free to choose what they desire. It’s just unregenerate man, dead in his sins as he is, isn’t goin to choose God.

Free will is a phrase that has as many definitions as people who hear it. A better term, IMHO at least, is a “bonded will”. I don’t see how anyone who believes in original sin and the effects thereof can possibly believe that anybody’s will is completely free or un-bonded.


Does anybody know and care to explain the difference between a Molinist and a Thomist? It is my understanding that both views are permitted in the RCC.


and so it is that out of the kindness of God’s heart that He has considered to save some.

So you’re a Calvinist.


Yes we know

We just don’t agree :wink:

Well obviously no one is completely free
We are all bound to some extent by circumstances
BUT I believe that just limits your options rather than force you lockstep down a certain path
and God is always one of the options regards of circumstance


We have to believe in free will. We have no choice.


When one believes in the total Depravity of men because of original sin like the Calvinists do then yes one would logicialy conclude that we are Bound.

If one believes the Catholic view that original sin is only a lack of sanctifying grace and that it inclines us to sin one does not have to believe that we are bound.

I’m inclined to eat food–that doesn’t mean that I will therefore be fat.

Similiarily if one is inclined towards sin by original sin that does not therefore mean that one will necessarily sin.

Predestination is in the bible and Catholics do believe in it.

Catholics do not believe that God predestines anyone to Hell like the Calvinists do.

God predestines the Elect to Heaven but not everyone else toHell–all who go there go not by God’s choice but only by their own.

Catholics believe in the Elect but that only God knows who they are. In other words all the OSAS and Blessed Assurance Lies are completely false!

That’s why Catholics do as Paul commands–“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”.

The difference between the Molinists and the Thomists is He creates the universe in such a fashion to where people will be put into situations where He knows that the Elect that He has chosen will use their free will and respond to His grace.

The Thomists think that gives man’s freedom of will or choice more power than God’s sovereignty–in other words if God chooses the Elect then He does so and doesn’t have to consult foreknowledge.

Father Most took a position in between and said that man doesn’t have a choice to choose God or choose against God but only to either be neutral and do nothing and then God would completely work grace in the individual or choose against God–in other words man only has a Negative choice that will damn him or a cooperating neutral choice where he does nothing so in that way not only does he cooperate but God does all the saving!

That is closest to my view but the real truth is probably closer to the Thomists than the Molinists.

Catholics are free to believe either way or elements of both ways.

I believe the Church is following God in allowing both because there are elements of truth in both and maybe it is not God’s will for us to know all that is involved in how He judges and how He Predestines without also not violating our free will.

The problem with Calvinism is that it violates the scripture that says that it is God’s will that all might be saved–even though all don’t accept God’s grace.

If God really wills that all be saved then He can’t as the Calvinsits say Predestine anyone to Hell!

But the Thomists are certainly right when they remind us that Jesus said “Without me you can do nothing”.

So Catholics believe in predestination, the Elect, and that man’s free will never violates God’s sovereignty.

I would guess that most Protestants and most Calvinists do not know that about Catholics–they’ve probably been taught that they only believe that man can save himself by the works that he does.

Catholics never have and never will believe that!

As for the question of Foreknowledge it is my view that since God is pure act then he could Simultaneously Foreknow and Predestine at the same time!

Just remember folks–most times when you think the answer is either/or–the answer is probably both.

That’s what the Catholic Church believes concerning Predestination and freedom of the will.

Will we of limited intellect ever be able to reconcile the Apparent contradcition between the two–No–but that doesn’t mean that God’s sovereignty in Predestining men and their freedom of will are not both true.

The Catholic faith realizes that and doesn’t abandon admonishing us to “Work out our salvation with fear and trembling”.

That’s the Bible–why do Calvinists disregard it?!





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