predestination

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predestination,

in theology, doctrine that asserts that God predestines from eternity the salvation of certain souls. So-called double predestination, as in CalvinismCalvinism,
term used in several different senses. It may indicate the teachings expressed by John Calvin himself; it may be extended to include all that developed from his doctrine and practice in Protestant countries in social, political, and ethical, as well as theological,
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, 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 gracegrace,
in Christian theology, the free favor of God toward humans, which is necessary for their salvation. A distinction is made between natural grace (e.g., the gift of life) and supernatural grace, by which God makes a person (born sinful because of original sin) capable of
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. 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. PelagianismPelagianism
, Christian heretical sect that rose in the 5th cent. challenging St. Augustine's conceptions of grace and predestination. The doctrine was advanced by the celebrated monk and theologian Pelagius (c.355–c.425). He was probably born in Britain.
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 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, CornelisJansen, Cornelis
, 1585–1638, Dutch Roman Catholic theologian. He studied at the Univ. of Louvain and became imbued with the idea of reforming Christian life along the lines of a return to St. Augustine.
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) 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 atonementatonement,
the reconciliation, or "at-one-ment," of sinful humanity with God. In Judaism both the Bible and rabbinical thought reflect the belief that God's chosen people must be pure to remain in communion with God.
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; sinsin,
in religion, unethical act. The term implies disobedience to a personal God, as in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and is not used so often in systems such as Buddhism where there is no personal divinity.
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.

Bibliography

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

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Predestination

 

the religious notion that god’s will determines man’s ethical behavior and thus man’s eternal “salvation” or “damnation.”

Predestination has acquired particular significance in monotheistic religions, since, from the standpoint of consistent monotheism, all that exists is ultimately determined by the will of god. Here, however, the concept of predestination comes into conflict with the teaching of free will and man’s responsibility for his guilt, without which the religious ethic proves impossible. This has led to arguments about predestination in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

Writing about the existence of three movements in Judea, the first-century historian Flavius Josephus characterized the Essenes as supporting the doctrine of predestination, the Sadducees as defending the teaching of free will, and the Pharisees as holding a compromise position. A bitter polemic was carried on in Islamic theology in the eighth and ninth centuries between the Jabarites, who taught absolute predestination, and the Qadarites, who defended free will. In Christianity, the concept of predestination was formulated by Augustine in his struggle against Pelagianism: grace cannot be earned and depends only on the free mercy of god. An increased interest in the problem of predestination was characteristic of the religious individualism of the Reformation—for example, Luther and especially Calvin, who developed the doctrine of absolute predestination, or Calvinism.

S. S. AVERINTSEV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

predestination

Theol
a. the act of God foreordaining every event from eternity
b. the doctrine or belief, esp associated with Calvin, that the final salvation of some of mankind is foreordained from eternity by God
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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