It seems that from all of John Calvin’s teachings, it’s quite possible that this debate over his doctrine of predestination has been argued more than any other in history. In this essay I will explore Calvin’s view of predestination, giving special attention to the justice of predestination. Secondly, I will explain the purpose of election as understood by Calvin. Third, I will discuss the purpose of reprobation.
So what is the basis of Calvin’s view of predestination? It would be most simply stated that predestination is the doctrine that before God created humankind God chose some for eternal life and sentenced others to eternal damnation. At the core of the argument is Calvin’s view of predestination as completely unconditional in …show more content…
Calvin asks, “How can it be consistently said that things derived from election are the cause of election?”
It is important to point out that Calvin appears to be certain of the capability of God’s election. The Israelites, God’s elect people, could fall out of election because they don’t have a spirit of regeneration that would give perseverance in the covenant, until the end. Although individual elected persons will persevere. Those God has chosen for eternal life will certainly receive it, and those God has rejected will face destruction. What’s the reasoning behind God’s election of some and rejection of others? This explanation is simple, but may require some defending, which I intend to do. God elects and rejects so that he will be glorified. The challenge lies in the destruction of some, not in the grace that is demonstrated. Either way, Calvin affirms that God is just to the reprobate, that through them God’s glory may be revealed.
Throughout history many people have attributed Calvin of conceptualizing an arbitrary and unjust God. There are some that would suggest that God elects those whom, in his foreknowledge, he knows will choose to follow God through Jesus Christ. In doing so they try to clarify and reinforce the justice
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Moreover, Calvinism was highly ascetic. Whereas, Catholicism and Lutheranism maintained that believers could essentially “work” for God’s forgiveness through faith, good works, etc., Calvinism stressed “systematic self-control necessary, in every moment” (Weber  2011: p. 127) and the “intensification of good works into a system” (Weber  2011: p. 129). These qualities suggested to Weber that Calvinism was the epitome of rationalism (Weber  2011: p. 130). In the context of religion, rationalization refers to the process of systematically organizing one’s life according to a methodical approach, with an intense orientation towards discipline, and the absence of “magic” or mystical elements (i.e., sacraments that can save the “damned”) (Kalberg 2011a: p. 422). This characteristic is what distinguishes Lutheranism from Calvinism. As opposed to Lutheranism, Weber ( 2011) argues that “Calvinism forced [a] methodical organization of life upon the believer” (p. 135). This is due to the fact that salvation could always be won back in Lutheranism through penance. In contrast, Calvinism offered no means to acquire salvation, only hints or signs which were based on “uninterrupted self-control” and the “planned regulation of one’s own life” (Weber  2011: p. 136). Lutheranism was also characterized by less asceticism due to its teaching that salvation could be acquired. Therefore, Weber ( 2011) also maintains that “Lutheranism lacks the psychological
What does it mean for God to be “sovereign?” This is the question that has perhaps caused more controversy than any other. For John Calvin, God was completely sovereign. Nothing outside the will of God could take place, because everything that has taken place, is taking place, or will take place has been divinely ordained before time began. God is the source of all good, and evil cannot take place without His permission. According to Calvin, all of humankind are lost in their sins, and so depraved that they are incapable of finding salvation without God performing an inner-miracle within them. This being said, God has elected to Himself a chosen people from the beginning of time, not off of merit, but sola gratia.
The Protestant Reformation of the Catholic Church devastated the religious unity of Christian Europe, resulting in a great deal of antagonism, which in turn led to the persecutions, denial of civil rights, expulsion, and ultimately the torture and death of many men, women and children. The ongoing conflict was not consigned to one distinct European nation, but was experienced in every European nation that the Catholic Church ruled and reigned. There was no worldview in Europe at that time that allowed for the religious differences of men to coexist peaceably.
Calvin answered these objections in two ways. First, he conserved that God’s will was the “highest rule of righteousness,” and therefore anything that God wills—such as predestination—“must be considered righteous,” or just, irrespective of how it appeared to us. For Calvin, God’s will had “its own equity. Here Calvin upheld the justice of God but asserted that it was simply “unknown” to us on some level. Thus, God’s justice was eventually hidden and mysterious. With Paul (Rom. 9.20), Calvin affirmed that it was simply not our place to question God. He rejected that God was lawless, and also rejected that God had must given us an account of his justice, or that we were fit to “pronounce judgment [on God]…according to our own understanding. It was absurd to accuse God because of our own lack of understanding. Since predestination yields the glory of God, it must be just: “whatever deserves praise must be just. Calvin’s second response was that since all people, including the sinner, are “vitiated by sin,” and so
Under these assumptions Candide says, “There can be no effect without a cause […] The whole is necessarily concatenated and arranged for the best” (6). This philosophy that everything is fated to be good omits the validity of free will that Candide later claims to have since he is man and therefore above the animal world, because no matter what man does in part to shape the entirety of his future, Candide was taught that the outcome is predestined to yield an optimistic and hopeful reality. The belief that everything happens for a reason and where the reason is good is incompatible with the act of free will. Therefore, any efforts of free will are futile because they cannot change the predetermined outcome, making its concept essentially nonexistent. This logical cycle strengthens and endorses readers’ ideas that free will is incongruous with faith.
Third, the two-will concept is not explicit in Scripture; whereas, as cited by Piper, the express will for “all persons to be saved” is (1 Timothy 2:4; see also 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11). Both terms thél? (1 Timothy 2:4) and boúlomai (2 Peter 3:9) are used regarding God’s express desire, will, for all to be saved. Additionally, Calvinism’s reliance upon various distinctions that may matter in Extensivist soteriological approaches are distinctions without a difference in light of Calvinism commitment to compatibilism.
After a century had passed in the colonies of America, religious piety had diminished. Some churchgoers felt like the sermon being preached were old and over-used. Some ministers, felt like the parishioners had lost zeal of their original belief in Calvinism. Many conflicts and opinions arose challenging the old religion. Some said that individuals might be able to save themselves from predetermined damnation by good works. Others, specifically the Arminians, said individual free will and not divine predestination determined a person’s eternal fate. Due to these challenging concepts, dubbed heresies, the clergy decided it wasn’t completely necessary for members of the church to be converted. However, this plan, known as the Half-Way Covenant,
When Huck in his ignorance tumbles together a discussion about “faith, and good works, and free grace, and preforeordestination,” he cut to the heart of one of the great doctrinal battles of American Protestantism, the question of human agency in salvation. Methodists by definition believed that grace was universal, that the “saving remnant” could be quite large if people would simply accept grace. But even with this one sect's stretch away from the Westminster Covenant, for all sects the question of justification by faith alone loomed large in doctrinal discussions, much as it had from the inception of Calvinism. As the Great Awakening aged, relatively liberal Christians, primarily from the cultural centers of the east, argued that the book of James, with its admonition that faith without works is a dead faith, had to be at the center of Christian practice. They developed from this basic precept more figurative interpretations of the Bible, seeing the soul's progress not so much as a strict
i) The doctrines of Calvinism said that the elect were the people who were going to heaven
The Baptists and Evangelical methods were becoming fast-growing religions in the country. The Evangelical instinct favored average people over privileged and high classed people. The reason to this was their belief that deliverance was more important at the moment. Evangelical churches were determined by the idea of travelling from place to place. It also included the Calvinist tradition, which emphasized upon the thought of shallow corruption of the nation. Their idea was that a single could only be rescued through the assistance of God. Otherwise, the new evangelical settled their belief that an individual could claim their “free will” in determining to be relieved. By that suggestion, the salvation was wide-open to
That God decreed to leave some in the common misery and not to bestow on them living faith and the grace of conversion. Calvin also believes that God predestined everything for everything that it does, such that God predestined me to be writing this report right now for my religion class, so that this isn't my own free will but it was God's set plan for me. Zanchius, a Reform Theologian, writes that there is most certainly a double predestination and gives passages to prove through God's Word that there is no other way. II Cor. 4:3 "If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing." I Peter 2:8 "They stumble because they disobey the message-which is also what they were destined for." II Peter 2:12b "…They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish." Jude 1:4a "For certain men who were marked out for condemnation long ago have secretly slipped among you." He concludes his arguments by saying that God could not erase a name that has been placed in the book of life or add a name because it was from eternity. He quotes Luther with, "This is the very thing that razes the doctrine of free-will from its foundation, to wit, that God's eternal love of some men and hatred of others is immutable and cannot be reversed."
He believes that God's act of creation did not stop after He created man, but continues all throughout the past, present and future. Calvin not only believes that God cares for all of man and animals, but directs the weather and excersises His power over inanimate objects. Calvin even goes so far as to argue that the movement of the sun, moon, stars, and planets is continued by God's power and not by some energy that was given to them at the beginning of creation, which "carnal sense" would tell us (Calvin 197). He does not believe that God sits back and watches or allows things in nature to happen, but actually causes them to happen. For example, if there was a drought one summer it was caused by God, possibly part of His vengeance or wrath. Or, if the crops flourished the next summer it was also His plan. Likewise, let us say per chance (no pun intended) a man is walking along a mountain pass and some rocks fall and kill him. For Calvin this was not an accident, but a determination and the Will of God. Calvin's ideology of God's Providence in nature is summed up in this quote:
Although Martin Luther impacts history greatly, people must remember what role John Calvin has to offer as well. Born in France in 1509, John Calvin is raised as a Roman Catholic by his family. His family is so devoted to the Roman Catholic Church that his dad aspires for his son to become a priest (John Calvin- Calvin College 1). John Calvin later reads Luther’s works and converts to the ‘faith of the Reformation.’ He strongly believes that salvation is achieved through faith and predestination (Cowie 44). In 1537, John Calvin publishes, Institutes of the Christian Religion. In this book, John Calvin states his beliefs on Christianity. He proposes that God has been veiled by the devotion of the people to the Virgin Mary and the saints. He also insists in his book that predestination is how God determines who goes to hell and who goes to heaven. John Calvin writes, “We call predestination, God’s eternal degree, by which He determined that He willed to become of each man.
John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination is arguably one of the most important results of the Protestant reformation. Predestination is the belief that “salvation[entrance into heaven] is given to only those whom god has chosen”. The chosen people were called the elect. John Calvin wrote this important belief during the era of the Protestant Reformation. People often formed negative opinions on predestination or let it rule their lives. Some people who did not think like Calvin loathed predestination because they believed that