Predestination (Calvinism)

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Predestination is one of the main Calvinist doctrines. It states that God already knows who will go to heaven and who will go to hell and that he has predestined these people for their fates.

Biblical Support for Predestination

Genesis 21:12-13, "And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed." In this passage, God promises Abraham that he will make his line of descendants into a great nation. God has predestined that this will occur.

1 Kings 20:42, “And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.” In this verse, a prophet is speaking to Ahab, king of the Israelites. He says that God has condemned King Ahab for letting go a man whom God had prearranged to die.

Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” This verse comes from a parable Jesus tells about the kingdom of heaven being like a wedding. Many were invited, but most were found unworthy and “few were chosen” to enter the wedding/heaven.

Mark 13:20, "And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days."

Problems with Predestination

Predestination carries with it a lot of problems. For one, a person's actions and beliefs during life have no effect on their fate. Under predestination a person who led a completely calvinist life will still go to hell if that's what God predestined for him.

Is a person's fate completely arbitrary? If not, then how does God determine it? If so, then how does this not remove the person's free will?

A further problem with Predestination is the hermeneutics of scripture regarding Predestination. Several people hold to Romans 9-11 speaking strongly about predestination, it being one of the proof texts for Calvinism, however, this is exegetical malpractice. Romans 9-11 is part of the greater argument in Romans, namely that all are under sin and needs God's mercy and for that reason, God has imprisoned them all so that he can show mercy to them all (cf. Romans 11:32). In the Biblical Corpus it is seen that God predestines, people groups and allows individuals to choose their path (e.x. Israel being predestined to carry redemptive history and then, for example, Rahab [cf. Judges 1,2] Recognizing Yahweh and joining the Israelite nation). There are individuals who seem to be predestined as part of God's plan (e.x. Judas Iscariot), however the thought of double predestination (God choosing people to go to heaven as well as choosing them to go to hell) seems to be something interpreted from scripture but not actually there. Many scholars, such as Dr. Steven Hunt of Gordon College, hold this view.

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