What Predestination Means

Vickie Collins By Vickie Collins, 22nd Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Religion>Christianity

Recently I watched and reviewed a movie based on the title Yes, that was pretty much what lured me to the movie. I am glad I saw it, it was great fun. Of course it didn't have anything to do with the reason I resonated to the title.

what is Predestination?

Actually there are two different ways of looking at this word. One is from a purely physical angle. In it, the future is going to be what happens in the future, period. Time travel is postulated as not being able to affect any sort of charge. This is called "determinism". That is the angle that the movie took.

The other theory, as related to the physical universe is that the future is mutable. So, If I go back in time, and somehow prevent my parents from meeting, that will change things, and I won't exist. Quite a paradox, since if I didn't exist I couldn't go back to affect the change.

There is another theory of predestination, however, and that has religious meaning. But like the physical theory, it means that things are immutable.

What is immutable

Looking at the religious version of predestination, our eternal future is immutable. The theory, first expressed by John Calvin in the 1500's in Geneva during the Protestant reformation was that God is all knowing. Being all knowing, he knows and has always known where each of us would end up eternally.

Another way of expressing this is that God is Soverign and his plan will win. It is backed up by maybe one or two verses in the Bible which talk about the elect and the chosen, and states that some are chosen for heaven and others are chosen for hell.

Since Predestination is an immutable theory, that means that nothing we can do, say, or believe can interfere with the will of God. So, some of us are going to Hell, because presumable God wants us there.

This flys totally in the face of the idea of free will, and the belief of some that we have to accept God and Jesus in order to be saved. Whether we accept or not, if we are on the naughty list, we are going to hell, period. One way around this is to say that maybe God knows what our decision will be, but that too, is anti-free will in a sense.

Where are the people that believe this

Well, this was a long time tenet of the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition of Christianity. Both of those bodies originated from John Calvin's teachings. Another group is some of the Baptist tradition.

I live in the South and the Southern Baptists are prevalant here. Many churches are called Missionary Baptists. I never knew what they were until doing some research I discovered that the baptist church was split. At one time, there was a very active baptist church that did NO missionary work under the understanding that "all that was already decided and the heathens were on their own..."

The Missionary Baptists came along and differed with that, and at some point, it seems that the Missionary group won out generally, but there are still Baptists who are Calvinists, just as some Presbyterians are. Many Presbyterians are not that sold on the concept however. I went to a Presbyterian church for 15 years, and very rarely was the subject even broached, and generally not in a way that implied belief on the part of the pastor.

Another way that people express Predestinational tendencies is the "God has a plan" maxim that many quote. I have written about that from the point of how unreassuing such quips are to me when I have lost a dear one. (see God Has a Plan)


Calvinism, Christianity, John Calvin, Predestination, Presbyterian, Reformed

Meet the author

author avatar Vickie Collins
I am a gay crossdresser who writes under my non-de-plume. I have a variety of interests, science fiction, religion, psychology. I recently moved from Nashville Tn to New Orleans.

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author avatar Carol Roach
23rd Jan 2015 (#)

yes I knew there were two types of baptists, the southern baptists who were the bible thumping baptists and the baptists like we have up here in Canada

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author avatar Vickie Collins
23rd Jan 2015 (#)

even in the south there were two types, but along these two theological stances. I am not sure of the Northern Baptists along this particular divide but know they are way different.

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