Understanding Predestination


We believe in the foreknowledge of God of everyone’s fate. However, we also believe that in order to be saved, one must freely accept God. Although God wills all men to be saved and gives sufficient grace to all, people have the power to reject grace. How can we understand this in light of Bible passages that say God has a role in people rejecting Him?

John 12:

37 Though they had been present when he gave so many signs, they did not believe in him;

38 this was to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah: Lord, who has given credence to what they have heard from us, and who has seen in it a revelation of the Lord’s arm?

39 Indeed, they were unable to believe because, as Isaiah says again:

40 He has blinded their eyes, he has hardened their heart, to prevent them from using their eyes to see, using their heart to understand, changing their ways and being healed by me.

41 Isaiah said this because he saw his glory, and his words referred to Jesus.


The Church does not teach strict predestination or determinism. From the Catechism:

600 To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace: "In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place."395 For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.396
"He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures"


He hardened Pharaoh’s heart and then punished him and his men. That was done after Pharaoh had hardened his own heart, though. There was a purpose for it; the purpose being that God wanted His name to be glorified throughout the earth, so He punished Pharaoh and rescued the Israelites. To this day, we glorify God for having saved the Israelites and destroying their persecutors. His plan to glorify Himself has been accomplished.

Man has a will, but it is tainted by evil. Man hates God and hardens his heart on a daily basis. They cannot please God until they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:8 says “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God”. No one freely comes to God, because they are spiritually dead. Only after you have been born again can you please Him.

Everyone is offered saving grace-- but man, in his obstinacy refuses it. It does no good to nudge a corpse. It is therefore by grace alone that one is brought to the knowledge of the Lord. If it is by works, you have some ground for boasting over and above those who aren’t saved, but we are only to boast in God, as it says in Jeremiah 9:24.


We also need to read this passage in the light of 1 Timothy 2:4: that God desires all to be saved. This does mean therefore that we must accept the doctrine of sufficient grace (and therefore, double-predestination is automatically out). And since predestination is also an active decree from God, it is Catholic teaching that God does provide certain graces to some and withholds from others, but all receive all the graces needed to secure their salvation, but some will use their free will to reject those graces and be damned, as others will freely cooperate and be saved.

How God’s decree of predestination and reprobation reconciles with free will is something the Church has not defined so multiple opinions are permitted.


As Flansen has pointed out, the CCC says " When therefore he [God] establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace."

Recommended reading: Grace, Predestination and the Salvific Will of God: New Answers to Old Questions by Fr. William Most. Link to book below:



Hi, James!

…we must take into account everything that is said… read Romans 9 through 11:32; specifically:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]28 The Jews are enemies of God only with regard to the Good News, and enemies only for your sake; but as the chosen people, they are still loved by God, loved for the sake of their ancestors. 29 God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice. 30 Just as you changed from being disobedient to God, and now enjoy mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so those who are disobedient now – and only because of the mercy shown to you – will also enjoy mercy eventually. 32 God has imprisoned all men in their own disobedience only to show mercy to all mankind.

(Romans 9:1 thru 11:32)
Maran atha!




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