John Calvin on Predestination

Calvin on Predestination

John Calvin, Institutes of Christian ReligionJohn Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion
John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination has often been rejected as unjust. In this series of two articles I will explain why, according to John Calvin, this charge is misplaced. In this article, I will summarize Calvin’s doctrine of predestination.  My discussion of Calvin’s view will draw on excerpts from Book III, chapters 21-23, of his Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) in Hans J. Hillerbrand’s collection The Protestant Reformation (ordinary page references are to this work), and sections 3.24.4 and 3.24.5 of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion translated by Henry Beveridge (decimal references are to this work, pictured to the right).

Predestination According to Calvin

According to John Calvin, predestination is God’s unchangeable decree from before the creation of the world that he would freely save some people (the elect), foreordaining them to eternal life, while the others (the reprobate) would be “barred from access to” salvation and sentenced to “eternal death (180, 184).” Calvin was careful to distinguish the predestination of individuals from the corporate election of nations such as Israel (185). He argued that an explanation of predestination is only complete when it includes the election of individuals (187).

Calvin described the basis of predestination in several ways. In general he affirmed that there is no basis for election outside of God. Referring to Eph. 1.9, Calvin noted that God purposed election “in Himself,” basing his decree of predestination on “nothing outside Himself (192).” Calvin attributed the salvation of the elect to God’s free decision to favor them (188). He variously described this as God’s “mere generosity (180, 187),” his “freely given mercy (189, 195, 211),” and the “good pleasure of His will (191; cf. Eph. 1.5).” Moreover, Calvin based the damnation of the reprobate solely in God’s decision (189, 200).

Since God’s reasons for predestination are wholly internal to his being (190), they are opaque to humanity. Ultimately, then, the basis of God’s predestination is mysterious and “utterly incomprehensible” to people (209). This mystery points to one of God’s purposes in predestination, to inspire wonder and reverence in believers (181). The things hidden in God are not to be understood by people, but rather revered in their “wonderful depth (179).” Indeed, for John Calvin the overarching purpose of predestination is for God to be glorified, both in the praise of the elect for his grace (192), and in the terrible yet glorious judgment of the reprobate (199).

Despite the mysterious basis of predestination, it is possible for the elect to be certain of their status as children of God (187). The first and seemingly most important indicator of election is what Calvin referred to as “the calling of God (3.24.4, 189).”  His use of this term seems to refer to a subjective inward certainty that God has chosen a person for salvation. Elsewhere, Calvin suggested that having “knowledge of [God’s] name” and reflecting the process of sanctification are both indicators of election (189). Moreover, Calvin claimed that “communion with Christ” is sufficient proof of election (3.24.5): since we are elected in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1.4), we cannot seek the certainty of election “apart from the Son (3.24.5).” Calvin also seemed to obscurely suggest that the daily blessings received from the hand of God might rightly be perceived as an indication of election, “that secret adoption (3.24.4).” Together, these signs—the foremost being “the calling of God,”—yield certainty of salvation and tranquil peace with God (3.24.4).

John Calvin also defined his doctrine of predestination in opposition to differing views held by his contemporaries. First, Calvin took up the view that God predestines people according to his foreknowledge of their works. While Calvin affirmed the foreknowledge of God (184), he denied that God “adopts as sons those whom He foreknows will not be unworthy of His grace,” and damns those he knows will be inclined to “evil intention and ungodliness (190).” From Ephesians 1.4 he argued that one purpose of God’s election was to make his children holy. Since holiness is to be produced by election, it made no sense to Calvin to assert the reverse (191-2). Moreover, the whole point of teaching that election took place before creation (Eph. 1.4) is to demonstrate that election had nothing to do with meritorious works (191). Indeed, for Calvin another important purpose of predestination was to communicate that salvation is not based on individual merit but solely on God’s grace (191).

Second, Calvin took up the view that God elects some but condemns none (200). Calvin saw this view as “highly absurd” since it seemed to imply that the salvation received by the elect could also be attained by the non-elect as a result of “chance” or “their own effort (200).” Rejecting this inconsistent implication, Calvin asserted that the reprobate are those God intentionally neglects to choose (200). From Rom. 9.14ff, Calvin argued that the hardening of non-elect hearts is as much attributable to God as is mercy. Moreover, he noted that Paul did not shy away from this dreadful conclusion, but rather questioned the right of the clay to protest the Potter’s work (Rom. 9.20), and linked condemnation of the reprobate to God’s glory (Rom. 9.22-23). For John Calvin, election could not but stand “over against reprobation (200).”

In the next article in this series I will describe why and how Calvin chose to teach predestination, and I will articulate Calvin’s defense of predestination as just.


66 thoughts on “John Calvin on Predestination

  1. In proper context–Paul is speaking of the Israelites there and whether or not they are rejected. It is followed by the description of the hidden prophets in Elijah’s day–whereas–Paul is merely recounting the fact that the LORD had saved out a remnant of believers from Israel at that time and is still doing so presently.

    That scripture has nothing else to do with anyone else and this whole idea of some sort of predestination for anyone is a blatant outworking of deep seated pride and we should be ashamed of ourselves!

  2. What that doctirine is saying is wrong. God gives us a choice to choose him and love and accept him. God gave us our own right to choose him or not. God wants us all to be with him but knows that some won’t choose him. He doesn’t go and say you can’t be with him because you’re not “good enough”.

    • But none of us are “good enough” to be with Him. We all deserve damnation for the sin we have committed against Him. The reason some don’t “choose” to “accept” Him or to “believe” in Him is that we all start out blinded to the truth. No one is good, no one seeks after Him. Mankind is unable to see their need for God until He opens their eyes to the truth through the Holy Spirit. That He saves any of us is a pure act of mercy. He is not obligated to save any. None of us deserve to be saved. We try to look at it through mans eyes of what we perceive to be fair and just, but it is God who decides what is fair. He defines whatis fair without consulting us. I know this can be a hard doctrine to wrap one’s brain around and many seemingly cannot, but it is taught in scripture. I believe if one continually sees God as being on the throne and above our rationalizations for what He does, it is easier to accept. His ways are not our ways, andHis ways are higher than our ways.

      • Jay, NOT that I am an expert, BUT I find Calvinists VERY PRIDEFUL and Frustrating, due in large part to their Scriptural ARROGANCE AND IGNORANCE! In my limited study of Calvinism I have found OVER 100 Scriptures which PLAINLY CONTRADICT Calvinism, which PLAINLY indicates that CALVINism CanNOT Be TRUE!!!
        Add that to the FACT that Calvinism teaches it’s own version of what ‘BORN AGAIN’ means, and you are left with a RELIGION that PUFFs UP BUT Couldn’t SAVE a FRUIT FLY!!! (Presumably Easier to Save [than a Regular FLY] since they are Smaller!!)
        Calvin, in MURDERing Servetus, Clearly indicated that he (Calvin) was NOT a Christian! AND Calvin, in the way he had Servetus ROASTED Ever-So SLOWLY, to make SURE Servetus SUFFERED Horrendously for HOURS, indicates that while Paul Admonishes Christians NOT to label themselves: “I follow Paul”, or “I follow Cephas”, going AGAINST Scripture, followers of CALVIN PRIDEFULLY wear the title “CALVINIST” — so don’t be Surprised when you get to HEAVEN when you do NOT see CALVIN!! Actually, you should NOT even be surprised IF NO Dedicated CALVINist is even in Heaven!!!
        “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall Be SAVED.”
        Whoever calls on the name of CALVIN shall be DAMNED!!!

        • I feel your response is just a little prideful and off. Either way we as brothers in Christ approach the text, we must first uphold the command to love each other. Just because we feel a secondary doctrine disagrees with our position does not merit the verbal judgment of other professing Christians. “Whoever calls on the name of CALVIN shall be DAMNED” and other such statements are first illogical then brash. No Calvinist I know “calls on the name of Calvin” to be saved. In Christ alone our hope is found. Being a compatibilist I find both systems of thought intriguing, nourishing, and rooted in scripture. Another point, we must be careful never to base our opinions of scripture on our experience with people. For example you have noted most Calvinists are very prideful and arrogant. I am sure this is true, I myself have encountered such people and can agree with you. Nevertheless just because the cops who beat Rodney King were arguably bad officers does not merit me to lambast all police as racist and evil. My father is a cop and is extremely just and fair. The point is just because some Calvinists are arrogant never grants you as a believer to label all Calvinists so and say they are not going to heaven. Such reasoning is illogical and unkind. Lets us remember there have been many mighty men of faith from both sides of the theological paradox who have been used by God. Johnathan Edwards was used to star a great awakening and John Wesley was mightily used of by God to usher in souls to the kingdom. Lets first be sensitive and loving before we are opinionated. Just some food for thought.

        • I find those who Deny the implication of Predestination the heresy that the Reformers sought to beat down (Calvin was not the first) from before Calvinism ever existed. Those who deny it are the arrogant ones, thinking they know The Thoughts of God. It robs God of His Sovereignty. Jesus prayed fo ‘Those You have Given Me”…being called, chosen, elect, and predestined is all through Pauls writings and Peters. Why do people reject Him Did you save yourself? That’s absurd

        • If you truly studied, then you are very guilty of knowingly spewing falsehoods. Yes, sadly Calvin wanted Servetus to die for his heresy. But a tribunal convicted and condemned Servetus to burn at the stake. Calvin was not on the tribunal. He also pleaded to NOT burn but be merciful and give him a quick death. Also, Calvin completely believed that Whosoever called on the name of Jesus would be saved.

      • Ok, we need to bear in mind that there are three levels of revelation shown in Scripture for all mankind to see. 1) Creation 2) The Law of Moses 3) Revelation through the incarnate word of God and the inliving holy spirit.

        There is a measure of truth that we are incapable of deciding to love God without perceiving something of his existence, hence these three revelation levels.

        All mankind can perceive 1) and it is a common experience in every part of the world to question “who made all of this?”
        2) The law of God expressed suscintly in the Ten Commandments which show us what is expected and that we are incapable of complying with it without mercy and grace through the sacrificial system and a pure heart.
        3) Gods choice and fullest revelation of himself in his Son who is Gods perfect image. The Holy Spirit, as part of this revelation, works in us to bring the three levels of revelation to a climax of faith in which we hand our lives over to God. That is nothing to do with predestination, only God revealing himself to those who will have ears to hear and eyes to see. The mystery is why some do and why some don´t. Predestination tries to explain that but it is only a humanistic attempt to close the circle of knowledge and in my view, limited. Man´s free will is not panacea either as it is true man is wrought with sin and therefore cannot perceive God without the revelation aforementioned. So our job is to live and preach the Word. We will succeed if we live in the power of the Holy Spirit as Christinas are not designed/predestined to be anything other than Gods image restored in man in the New Creation.

      • The idea that God isn’t obligated to save any is counter to all of the logic in the Bible. What was God’s intent in creating man? Why did he save Noah’s family? Did he intend for all of us to go to hell? No – he created humans to worship and glorify him. That is not possible if all of humanity is in hell. Additionally, creating a creature that is programmed to love and worship you, is not genuine worship. Hence the valid and logical rationale for free will.

  3. I agree with the article, for if the person named Hope’s comment was to be seen as true, it would imply that God does not have complete knowledge of the future. God already knows who will believe in Him – those who he blesses with his Holy Spirit.

  4. Are we overlooking the obvious when we speak of predestination? The first thing we have to start with is the Word of God, not our preconceptions. We can’t define predestination by what we think it ought to be. We have to rely on what God says it is. How exactly does the Bible define it? Pre is before and destination is outcome. God determined, set the outcome before it happened. Isaiah tells us that God planned it that way and that is why it happened thus. As Christians we have to adjust our way of thinking to conform with what the Bible says, not adjust the Bible to our way of thinking. The answer to predestination is simple. God did something before it happened because that was the way He wanted it to happen. God created the world so that Christ could enter creation and eradicate the most remote possibility of the infestation of corruption. Our mistake has been to elevate our ability to make choices beyond its practical application. We were created in God’s image so that God could have a body; a human body subject to decay and death, so that He could express His nature and character through it. Every person in a military unit thinks and makes choices. However, all must follow orders and adhere to a standard of discipline. No matter how rebellious, that soldier will do what was chosen for him to do. He doesn’t do it because he wants to, although he could. But he does it because he has no choice. That was what was predetermined for him.

  5. I find it curious that the apostle Paul, lamenting the rejection of God’s chosen people, of what God has made available to them. Paul is discussing, both at the beginning and the conclusion of chapter 9, the selection of a people for him to bless; a royal lineage; the selection of the Israelites. When they continued to “do what was pleasing in their own minds” the potter remolded the clay; dividing Israel into 10 tribes and selecting one to create the lineage that would lead us to the Messiah. The continued rejection (and yes the Israelites have always been offered to accept or reject Him), the cutting off of nine tribes and the adoption of the Gentiles into fellowship was made available to all man kind when the curtain was torn open into the holy of holies. 2 Peter 3:9 says that He is not willing that any should perish. This is referring to the salvation or restored fellowship with the creator. All mankind.
    So what is predestined or chosen has changed; the potter has changed it (Jeremiah 18:1-4). To consider that the ideas presented here by Paul are related to salvation or damnation of an individual is an extrapolation that loses the context of Romans 9 as a whole. Even more so, it is contrary to the very nature of a holy and just God.

  6. Omniscience does not determine an outcome. The bible is replete with failed heroes, such as King Saul, who is replaced by King David. Before the earth is formed God knows Saul will fail, but it is based on God choosing him. How Calvin could lose sight of free will is a reflection of man’s need for grace. Self reliance is a downfall.

  7. Evidently there are many people who believe that they are robots. But those who know God is just and has not predestined people to Hell understand we all have a freewill to choose whether we want to accept the offer of the cross or not.

    Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?(Ezekiel 18:23)

    Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, (Ezekiel 33:11).

    My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.(1 John 2:1-2)

    For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16)

    • How can one exercise “freewill” if they are dead in trespasses and sins? There is a big difference between the freedom to exercise one’s will and FREE Will. Only God’s Will is FREE. An imprisoned dead person can choose ‘things’ but not THAT which they nothing about . UNLESS it is GIVEN of GOD, a person is utterly without God. One cannot be born again by FREE WILL and He answers to no one.

  8. I do not agree John Calvin’s Predestination theology. Because it is in contrast with John 3:16 “….whosoever believed in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If John Calvin’s Predestination theology like “God created some people to have eternal life and some people to be damned for eternal condemnations is true, what is the point of believing Jesus Christ as our personal savior?”
    Thanhlira, Mizoram, India

  9. He is not willing that any should perish, but all come to repentance! 2 Peter 3:9

    Jesus came not to condemn the world, but the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17

    Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Joshua 24:15

    • YES, people just ‘love’ to overlook the rest of the verse, and warp other verses. My observation is they have not experienced being Chosen FIRST, and THEN Responding to The Call. WHy would Paul writte about ensuring your election is Sure, and to ensure one is of The Faith, if it did not require God enabling a person to come to The Son. No one comes to the Son unless they are enabled by the Father. That scratches any attempt to imply the purely ‘free will’ ( which is lie) lets a person choose what they want. God’s not going to have happen in heaven with the angels and Satan happen again with his Whom He Has Chosen for Good Reason. Can you be sure of your Election? Absolutely! Maybe the one’s who argue are the one’s who don’t know because they ‘chose by their own free will’ which takes the power from God and puts it into their own hands. Jesus stated elsewhere: I never Knew You. Therefore, it’s His Action…

  10. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Let’s say for argument’s sake that Christ knocks on the door of an elected person. If that person then decides to not let Him in, then what was the point of predestination. I’d Christ gonna kick the door in. This just goes to show that you have to let him in for Him to start doing His work. God isn’t like a thief in this sense, where he just sneaks in without you saying yes with your heart. That’s the fundamental part of faith, YOU first have to believe with your heart and accept that His your Lord and saviour. Then you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit and be a new creation. That is the purpose of the Gospel. The doctrine of predestination goes as far as God knowing before hand that you will accept Him, not that He forces His will on you. Period.

  11. For me Calvinist predestination falls down on one sole point which discredits the complete theology. If people are elect without being able to chose freely, why does God bother to go to all the trouble of crucifying his Son? Surely it won´t make any difference? I take from God´s work on the cross that we needed an object of adoration and salvation, we needed convincing that God loves us (God showed His love that whilst yet sinners Christ died on the cross). In Calvin´s theology this would not be needed. But of course, his answer would then be “that´s an unrevealed mistery”. I´m sorry but what I see is that Calvinism and Armenianism both fail on their extremes, what God does not reveal to us is why you are saved by hearing the gospel and why I am not by hearing the same gospel. Both Calvinism and Armenianism try to address the reason using human logic dressed up as religious thought and both are therefore presumptuous in trying to explain what is not revealed. Should a Calvinist argue that Christ had to die for the elect then this invalidates scripture in that “Christ died for all”.

    • The reason the Father sent the Son to die on the cross is revealed in John 6:37-39.”All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day”.The reason that Jesus came down from heaven and died on the cross is to save all that the Father gives him and raise them up at the last day.God already reveal to us why others believe the gospel & other do not believe. 1Cor 1:23-24. “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God”.Why others do not believe is because God did not called them, and others believe because God called them. The difference is the calling of God.This is predestination as revealed in the bible.

      • Jomas, that explanation does not provide an answer to the question of WHY did Christ have to die at all. If God predestined before creation, there is no need for Christ to appear on Earth whatsoever.

        • Christ died because the sins of His people had to be punished. God is holy and just. The wages of sin is death.

          Romans 6:23 NASB
          For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          Romans 5:7-9 (NASB)

          7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
          8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

    • A thoughtful post but not thoughtful enough. God knows everything from the beginning to the end. God knew your end before he created you. That does not mean that you do not have free will. What it means is that God knows his creation’s choices before He creates them (those that He gives free will). God exists outside of our concept of time, He created time and its rules only apply to Him as He chooses.
      It may not make sense to us how God can choose us for salvation before we are even born and we have free will at the same time, but God pulls on us our entire life, with His Word and His Spirit, and the conscience that He gave us. If we are not chosen it is not because we didn’t have free will but because we rejected the Father’s calling; and because He is outside of time He knew it before He ever even created time. Most importantly! This means God is always there for you, right up until the day you die God is hoping you gain enough wisdom to choose life with Him….with the exception of those that He gives over to a depraved mind possibly.

      PS. I am not a Calvinist and reading this today was my first exposure to the concept of Calvinism. But I do read my bible and scripture is pretty clear that God choose you before you were born, or didn’t because He knows everything about you.

      Psalm 139 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

      2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

      3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

      4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

      5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

      6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

  12. To deny predestination is ignoring God’s sovereignty and totally disregards the total depravity of man. Man is born into this world a sinner nothing that man does is good. Man is corrupt. In mans natural wicked life he doesn’t even look to God unless the Holy Spirit is in him. To say a person choses God puts the glory in man not God. Free will is the worlds way of saying “I chose God” it’s what I’ve done nothing in that points to Chirst but to ourselves instead. 1Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God, and rightouesness and sanctification, and redemption. If man had free will he would choose sin because living in sin is mans nature. Ephesians 1:11 In [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.

    • Do not lean on your own understanding but God’s. If God says so then so be it. The best answers are gathered from the entire Bible. Not just a single verse. Taking verses out of context will mislead. God says He gave us a free will, then He has and I felt it too. Did you not?

      • Where does it say God gave us free will. Let us ask, what good is a ‘free will’ for a dead person. We are all in Trespasses and Sins. A ‘dead person’ can’t ‘decide anything. People are confusing God’s Will with the free will of self. The will of self is free to make choices, but that is not Free Will. God’s Will is Free and if The Son sets you Free you are Free Indeed! I’m not sure this blog post understands Cavlin correctly so would have to go back and read again, but after having read some of Owens’ works I have found no problem with the Essence of what is implied by what he wrote. It was not as portrayed in this post. The bigger problem is that in God’s View we do not have Free Will for is so Christ died in vain. “I came to set the prisoners’ free”…the earlier kind of free will says: “I have my hands tied behind my back but I have free will for it not to be there so I’ll think my way out of it” Issue is, no matter what one things, the bag remains. They might in another situation have escaped the prison cell and walking all around only to find it’s within the walls of a penitentiary. Gods’ Sovereignty is also at play. God Predestined that those who would believe would be saved and it is HE that enabled to Truely ‘Believe” as The Faith is a gift from God? No matter what one ‘believes’ if it is not of the Faith of God that is in Christ Jesus it is not ‘saving Faith”. No man is born with saving faith and therefore can’t possibly have free will.

        • Im afraid dead people can’t sin either they are dead. We were dead to the things of God until enlightened by the Gospel. Faith comes by hearing and that by the Word of God. “You who were dead hasa He quickened (Made alive) How? by the preaching of the gospel and by belief of that truth. see 2 Thess 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God at the beginning chose you for salvation (How) through sanctification by the Spirit (God’s Part Drawing Men to Himself) and belief in the truth (Man’s part) accepting the truth of the Gospel. see v. 14 for further clarification. Also check out verse 10 as to why some perich “Because they did not recieve the love of the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness–they chose their sin over the Grace of God. Also if they were predestined to be lost why does God have to send strong delusion that they might be damned if they were on their way to hell anyhow? In Love brethren!!

  13. I can´t disagree more. Man may be in total depravity but this does not mean that he has no inkling of a God above as we are created in His own image.

    What is more. We see distortionately and need the quickening of the Spirit but it is this quickening which gives us sufficient light to make a decision. What cannot be explained either by Calvinism or Armenianism is why two people hearing the same message take different decisions. This is what Calvin tries to address by cloing the circle of interpretation but for me this is something not revelaed and therefore it is a human idea and not an inspired one.

  14. One more point. Can a calvinista explains Why God Would have allowed the creatión of ángels that Would later fall, if He did not defend freedom of choice

  15. Hello i am a young christian…and as far as i have read the Bible i think i understood what God wants us to see…. Predestination is not wrong all throughout…it’s just that they were into the literal interpretation of the Bible and that’s where they lost track… listen to this…



    thanks for reading…

    • and by the way…predestination applies only to those who had already accepted God’s grace, which is salvation…Whether you are saved or not is something only God would know…If there truly are predestined christians or elected ones then it does not only go against FREE WILL but also against GOD’s GRACE for only by grace are we saved…God does not force us to believe…

      • I do not believe the predestination for the salvation, then why does God have to judge people at the end of the world when He made determination already and we, human beings did not do any in making decision??

        • This is the same argument that Paul knew would be raised against the truth of predestination. listen at just how similar you argument is as Paul said would be raised by those who oppose this truth in Romans 9:18-24 “18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

          19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[a] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

          22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

          • Ok Ángel. Yours is the classic argument about God and his Sovereignty and I won’t dispute that because it is true but it clashes heavily with the character He reveals about himself when we consider bible passages such as 1 Timothy 2: 1-6. God WANTS all men to be saved. So it stands to reason that we have to conclude that His express will is to chose salvation for ALL mankind even when He knows who will accept or not. HIS OFFER is UNIVERSAL. Our acceptance is not.

    • Hey Rain on. As a novice(at least when you wrote this) I can understand why you would believe as such. but to say that God “DOES NOT KNOW WHAT CHOICE YOU’LL PICK” denies the omniscience of the God of the bible and in essence says that God is not God. He clearly declares…Isaiah 46:8-10 “Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this you guilty ones. Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God. I am God and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish”. God is in control, and history is His story. If God does not know then God is not all knowing and thereby is not God. But the bible clearly declares that He is all knowing.

  16. one extra point to make. Total depravity does NOT mean that man is totally incapable of chosing to do good as this is total nonsense and we see examples of people “doing the right thing” every day. What it means is that every sphere of our moral nature is “tainted” with and prone to sin. Therefore we do have a free will but it is limited. We need to hear the Word of God so that we can even begin to see the light. Faith comes from hearing and this the Word of God, can´t be much clearer. Predestination is that those who freely believe are destined beforehand to become like Jesus and his Holy Spirit is sent to us precisely to work out (quicken) that Christlike character. As you see there is some truth in predestination but it is certainly NOT in the hiperCalvinistic sphere.

  17. If God already determined our destiny, to be saved or dammed to go hell, then why do we have to put it up with judgement at the end of the world??

    • YC Kim, whatever the view one takes its not a case of you having to put up with anything but God who calls the chips, our free will does not mean we determine God´s will. You believe or you reject, that´s your choice. What you believe or reject will not change your real need to be right with Jesus.

  18. My question is why do we need to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be peace with God when our destiny has been already determined by Him. Why does Holy Spirit have to convict us to remind us being sinner and ask us to repent and trust Jesus to be saved when we are already elected to be one way or the other by sovereign God??

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  20. Okay granted for those who believe God being called in advance.

    What about God’s judgement to send some to heaven and some to hell based on God’callings?

    What a nice God that we have!!

    No one did any thing to make decision by their free will, yet they are judged based on What?

    • YC Kim,
      I would like to try to help you and others on this board. There are at least 2 definitions of predestination. What you are describing here is called double predestination. Please do not panic or lose faith in God.

      Calvin believed in predestination, and not double predestination.

      (as a doctrine in Christian theology) the divine foreordaining of all that will happen, especially with regard to the salvation of some and not others. It has been particularly associated with the teachings of St. Augustine of Hippo and of Calvin.

      Definition of double predestination. : the theological doctrine that God has chosen some to be saved and some to be lost

  21. John and Ironmistress .. forget completely about this Cosmic Calvinist Trickster who decides arbitrarily . Come away from discussion with people like Dr. Robert ;
    He wants only to promulgate his position. You deserve a better ‘God’ than his, but sadly there isn’t one. Purge the Christian Faith from your mind . It’s not worth it . Ken Cameron.

    • Ken, if you haven´t anything else better than this to say you are wasting your time, this is a discussion for believing christians and you don´t appear to be one at this moment in time. You should forget about discussing things which you cannot begin to understand as you don´t harbour faith in your heart. Remember God loves sinners which we Christians all admit to be, we cannot be saved if we don´t start and continue at that point. But do you understand that? Do you understand that God calls you to repentance and faith in Him and asking for His Spirit to show you who God is? He can be found and He will be found if you search with an open heart but you seem to have discarded God at the present. Remember that God says that the unwise says in his heart “there is no God”. You will discover one day that there is and I hope and pray that this is before you leave this world. Discussion about Calvinism is pointless. Believing christians disagree on the issue. It isn´t a make or break issue. Just opinions based on our understanding of God´s revealed Word.

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  23. man may not be totally free as he is in chains and under sentence of death, that does not mean he cannot perceive the various stages of Gods revelation, such as ordinary revelation (Psalm 19 The heavens declare) and special revelation (His Word and Jesus). After all, that is why God reveals himself. But to take it as far as to say that God choses some for eternal rest and some for eternal damnation is to go further than the revealed. The basic problem of extreme Calvinism and extreme Armenianism is that both try to close the interpretation loop and they cannot without violating Scripture. God has not revealed why one responds to God´s revelation and another does not. That is His sole knowledge. We will know one day so lets stop bickering and be a little bit more humble here accepting differences but not going to extremes.

  24. It has been my individual salvation that Christ finds you in His timing and for His purpose. I have known Jesus since about three years old. He found me. I did as many go to church, do good, be good and serve. It was not until I was forty-nine that God made me to understand His will, His controlled of all matters in my life, and that I am saved by Him for Him. I came to understand it is His plan and His choice for my salvation. I love Him for this certainty. His love and His redemption is His choice. He gave me guidance to ask for this understanding over a three year period. There in my humble experience more than our will. Seek Him and ask Him to make clear your salvation. I believe He will. Amen.

  25. Daniel Wickham,
    You mentioned that “God has not revealed why one responds to God’s revelation and another does not. See if this is helpful” And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil .

    • This in no way gives any inference to Calvins view. What I think it points to is that man generally has come short of the glory of God and needs salvation but God has revealed Himself through Nature, The Word and lastly The Son. It isn´t necessary to have anyone “chosen” as God has “chosen” all mankind for salvation as we see in 1 Tim 2_1-6

      • 1 Tim v4 “all men” pantas anthropous is the same as 1 Tim v2 panton anthropon in essentials. Therefore v2 being about types of men e.g. kings and those in high positions goes to v4 as God desires all types of men to be saved. Even if you are a tax collector or fisherman don’t just pray for those, pray for leaders as well.

  26. Calvinism is to be regarded as the particular doctrine of a single person describing the the total misinterpretation of the Word of God!
    Allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide you by prayerfully reading John 3 versus 16 – 21!

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  32. The one verse in the Bible that is most emblematic of the Gospel, should never be a “problem verse,” and yet for Calvinism, that is exactly what it is.

    John 3:16

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  34. I am not a Calvinist and John Calvin did not write the bible. When you read the word predestined in God’s word it is written to us due to the good pleasure of God’s will which He purposed in Himself.
    Since God’s reasons for predestination are wholly internal to His being, they are opaque to humanity. Ultimately, then, the basis of God’s predestination is mysterious and “utterly incomprehensible” to people. The things hidden in God are not to be understood by people, but rather revered in their “wonderful depth.” Indeed, for all of us the overarching purpose of predestination is for God to be glorified and for us to be thankful that he provided it.

    • I find the phrase “God did not predestine people for salvation but rather He predestined salvation for all whom should believe” as being very helpful. Calvin is far too literalistic in his biblical interpretations and the basic problem I see is that he tries to explain what God does not. He states that God chooses some for salvation and some for damnation by effectively calling some and passing over others. However, the majority of the Scriptures point toward man’s free will. Man is not dead in his sins like a dead body, he is condemned for his sins and only salvation can change this.

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