predestination, in theology, doctrine that asserts that God predestines from eternity the salvation of certain souls. So-called double predestination, as in Calvinism, is the added assertion that God also foreordains certain souls to damnation. Predestination is posited on the basis of God's omniscience and omnipotence and is closely related to the doctrines of divine providence and grace. A predestinarian doctrine is suggested in St. Paul, but it is not developed (Rom. 8.28–30). St. Augustine's interpretation of the doctrine has been the fountainhead for most subsequent versions, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. Pelagianism argued against St. Augustine that by granting every individual freedom of choice, God wills the salvation of all souls equally, a view that became popular in liberal Protestant theology. The Roman Catholic view, as stated by St. Thomas Aquinas, maintains that God wills the salvation of all souls but that certain souls are granted special grace that in effect foreordains their salvation. The damned may be said to be reprobated to hell only in the sense that God foresees their resistance to the grace given them. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that predestination is consistent with free will since God moves the soul according to its nature. Calvinism, on the other hand, rejects the role of free will and teaches that grace is irresistible and that God by an absolute election saves the souls of some and abandons the souls of others. Jansenism (see under Jansen, Cornelis) was a corresponding predestinarian movement within the Roman Catholic Church. Traditional Jewish theology may be said to be predestinarian in the general sense that everything ultimately depends upon God. Islam teaches an absolute predestination, controlled by a God conceived of as absolute will. See atonement; sin.

See P. Maury, Predestination (1960); J. H. Rainbow, The Will of God and the Cross (1990).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Predestination: Selected full-text books and articles

Puritans and Predestination: Grace in English Protestant Theology, 1525-1695
Dewey D. Wallace Jr.
University of North Carolina Press, 1982
Predestination: The American Career of a Contentious Doctrine
Peter J. Thuesen.
Oxford University Press, 2009
Freewill or Predestination: The Battle over Saving Grace in Mid-Tudor England
Andrew Penny.
Boydell Press, 1990
The Christian's ABC: Catechisms and Catechizing in England C.1530-1740
Ian Green.
Clarendon Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Predestination"
A Matter of Fate: The Concept of Fate in the Arab World as Reflected in Modern Arabic Literature
Dalya Cohen-Mor.
Oxford University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "The Doctrine of Predestination" begins on p. 3
Thomas Aquinas; Robert W. Mulligan.
Hackett Pub., vol.1, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Question 6 "Predestination"
Luther's Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers, 1525-1556
Carl R. Trueman.
Clarendon Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "Election and Predestination" begins on p. 243, and "The Practical Nature of Predestination" begins on p. 267
Sovereign Grace: The Place and Significance of Christian Freedom in John Calvin's Political Thought
William R. Stevenson Jr.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Predestination and Freedom from Anxiety" begins on p. 64
A. D. R. Polman; Calvin D. Freeman.
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "Barth's Doctrine on Predestination"
Augustine: His Thought in Context
T. Kermit Scott.
Paulist Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: "The Doctrine of Predestination" begins on p. 169
Peter Martyr Vermigli and Predestination: The Augustinian Inheritance of an Italian Reformer
Frank A. James III.
Clarendon Press, 1998
The Colloquy of Montbeliard: Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century
Jill P. Raitt.
Oxford University Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Images, Baptism, and Predestination"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.