The Calvinistic Doctrine of Predestination
How the world is perceived by humans is unique to each mind. However, how all the events of history are classified and written down depends on how the collective world powers decide history should be recorded. On the other spectrum, there is an idea that before these events happen, there is a being that already prescribed them. This term is called predestination. Predestination is what the Christians call fate. However, when people who are not Christians, say the same thing, that all things have already been planned they call it fate.
Fate is a very historic term that was used very readily by many ancient and medieval thinkers and writers. Predestination, however, is a very biblical term and it is what many modern, medieval, and ancient peoples. The history of the word fate comes from the original Italian fato. Then it was adopted by the Romans and fate was fari and fatum. These words combine and then the result is the modern day fate.
When it comes to the topic of predestination, most Christians will readily agree that it plays some role in their life. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of whether predestination, in the Christian sense, is the same as fate. Whereas some are convinced that the two are the same, others maintain that there is a great difference between Christian predestination and regular fate. The correct view, however, is clear: The Calvinist view of Predestination is the same as Atheistic Fatalism because of the definition of predestination, the correct view of Biblical predestination, and the comparison of the two views: Fatalism and Predestination.
Firstly, the reason that the Calvinist view of Predestination is the same as atheistic Fatalism is because of the exact definition for the word Predestination. During the course of many language classes and word studies, there is a very distinct similarity between them all. They all require a word study to show where they came from. Predestination comes from a very biblical background. There are three main Bible verses that come to mind when talking about predestination. First, Acts 4:28; second, Romans 8:29-30; and 1 Corinthians 2:7. All three of these verses show that God actively and has in the past predestined man. Acts says, “and Your purpose predestined to occur.”; Romans says, “ He also predestined [to become] conformed,” and “whom He predestined”; and 1 Corinthians says, “ God predestined before…”
Within certain groups, predestination has several ideas that . One of those forms is how God ordains all events, like salvation of the elect (Calvinists), and what events He allows to happen. The second of the forms is how Gods knows all things, but lets humans decide through all the solutions that are presented to them.
God has foreseen and had knowledge of what humans were going to ultimately be capable of. Since humans are created in the likeness of the creator, humans also then create – not with the same precision and perfection, but in the likeness of themselves, and in the likeness of their creator. In the beginning of his book, Chosen But Free, Dr. Norman Geisler lists the criteria for God being God. He first states that God was before all things; God created all things; God upholds all things; God is above all things; and God knows all things. Because of all these criteria, there is no possible way that there is any being above God, and that there is no other being that can be before Him. If something, however, is from Him, and that thing is imitated, there is a clear and distinct appreciation that is being shown. This tells us that when God created all things, He knew that humans were going to end up trying to create many things that, if not in imitation of their creator, they would stand for nothing other than sin. There is an innate desire in all humans to be the best and to be ‘on top.” Only the best of those people look to God to see and understand how He has shown things are to be. When thinking about how those things are meant to be, there are terms that distinctly show through what God plans. One of those is Predestination. The other is Fatalism. Though it may seem that these two terms have no connection, listen further to understand the reasoning behind why this statement is incorrect.
Predestination is being compared to Fatalism and there is a strong connection between the two. Fate says that everything happens and there is no changing what actually happens. There is a story called the Odyssey, and Odysseus is the main character. Odysseus is a Greek warrior that after the war of Troy, does not return home for twenty years because of fate. Fate is a very prevalent theme within the Odyssey. Although the word fate is not particularly mentioned, some of the Gods in this story practice actions that fate would normally decide.
What does this have to do regarding the definition of fate? In this case, the greek Gods are acting like fate. According to dictionary.com fate is an act of predestination; or predestining; the state of being predestinated; or predestined fate; destiny. For many reasons this definition is very inadequate. Firstly because it has the word fate being used within the definition. What a definition is, is an accurate description of a word without making the definition circular. Making the definition circular means that the definition of a word uses the word that is being defined within the definition.
When trying to reword the definition, a different approach needs to be taken to describe fate. Fate is the working out of all possibilities, through time, to conclude at an appropriate end. The ability to believe in the true eternal unfolding plan of God, through fate, is merely an adaptation to spread the understanding through Christianity. Many people will say that fate is not ok within the definition, because fate is apart from God. What the problem really is, is that those who disagree with this type of definition do not really believe that everything stems from God. God created everything, the heavens and the earth, the sun, the moon, all the beasts of the land. Excluding fate shows that there is a being apart from God, and something or someone greater than Him. If there is a being greater than God, God is not really God at all; He is not all powerful and omniscient. In this case, God would be just another deity.
Through this idea of fate and predestination, there is an issue that arises when some say that there is no God. They instead believe that everything is already planned, like a program running on a machine. If this was true, even if the world was already built and runs like a computer, how would you explain all of the people that disrupt the balance? There are people who, throughout history, have stood up for what they believed and have actually changed the way the world works. A great example of one of these people is Martin Luther King, Jr. He said a magnificent speech that changed the course of History. “One day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers” (King). King was able to show the world how wrong they were in treating people differently simply because they were born with different colored skin. If there is no such thing as predestination and fate being the same, how was Martin Luther King, Jr. able to change the way the world views colored people without the help and persuasion of God? If any universe is simply a machine, who or what makes the machine run? Better yet, who built and programmed this machine so that it can make predictions the way that it does? Even some of the simplest programs require several thousand lines of code. Who exactly would have written all of the lines of code for this fatalistic universe? The answer is simple. God did, of course, because that machine can make predictions with extreme precision and perfection.
How did the earth become so perfectly situated within the universe? The Miller Urey Experiment shows that life is unable to be created by chance because of all the possibilities within the proteins of humans and animals. This experiment showed how many proteins that are actually needed to be synthesized correctly – even to produce a live single-celled organism. Through all of the experiment, trials measuring in lengths of one week, the Miller Urey experiment was only able to show roughly half of the required amino acids for life. This is solid evidence that not only is chance an inconsistent method to prove theories, it shows that there is precision and accuracy within the generation and creation of life, and that chance is unable to achieve that. Also through these experiments, it is clearly shown that there is a creator that has motive for perfection. Since He is perfect, only perfection is the best for Him. God decided that Miller and Urey were not going to be able to make life in their experiment. He decided that humans were unable to create life other than through natural means.
Secondly, the reason that the Calvinist view of predestination is the same as atheistic Fatalism, is because of the correct view of Biblical predestination based on the context given in the Bible. There are people who say that the Bible has a different context whenever two different people read it, or the verses are taken out of context very crudely. In his book, Chosen but Free, Norman Geisler is explaining throughout his book the reasons why some extreme Calvinists use some verses to support their beliefs. Dr. Geisler starts out by going over the Calvinist ideas TULIP. Total Depravity, Unconditional Atonement, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints. Dr. Geisler says that when the extreme Calvinists go through these ideas, they make everyone of them fit their ideas. When they talk about predestination, they take all the verses out of context. Most Christians believe that Christ Died for absolutely everyone on the face of this planet. According to 1 Peter 3:18, “ For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”(NKJV). When reading this passage, through the lens of an extreme Calvinist, and using Dr. Geisler’s interpretation, he says that they take this message to say that only a part of all Christians get to experience this substitution from Christ. With that being said, there is a passage in Romans, 8:29-30 that states, “29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified”(NKJV). Through the understanding of the extreme Calvinists, one would say that they believe in an elect group that God has ordained, but no one knows who is actually chosen until the day that they die, whether they are part of that elect. Through the lense that Dr. Geisler bring forth, this passage, according to the extreme Calvinists, that When God foreknew, what He saw was all the deeds one single person made throughout their life. From that He decided that certain people would go to heaven.
Calvinists also believed that they knew the authors of the Bible better than they knew themselves, and could interpret the words of these authors, almost bend their words, to form the conclusion that the Calvinists wanted. Any person who wrote any of the books within the Bible, in any reference, whether it be Moses, John, Peter, Paul, Luke, etc., all had social and political ideals, but they showed first hand knowledge in their writings, and they wrote their own truths from their own experience, and what they wrote is what they meant.
The only entity who knows more about you is God. God predetermines all things, yet people say that they have the ability to choose differently and still they do not know that all they do, and will do is, and has already been determined by God, whom is outside of time. Theoretically, since God is outside of time, He could experience tragedies such as 9/11 everyday on a loop. Furthermore, God could possibly experience every other event that He has ordained, for all of eternity.
Lastly, the reason that the Calvinistic view of Predestination is the same as atheistic Fatalism is that when the two views are compared side by side, they both line up with more similarities than differences. There are many places throughout history to show that, quite literally, there is no changing fate. Predestination and fate share a list of commonalities, one being the fact that they both show a prescribed decree of events. Within the Predestination assembly, there are those who say that everything is planned exactly from God and that is how everything is and will be. If God has foreseen it, then it has to be, otherwise the universe would collapse on itself.
Fatalism on the other hand, may seem like it has no planned events, but those events are very precise and accurate. Fate shows a very centralized ideal that says that God is not apart of fate. Fate is one of those ideas that shows the place of everything. God has designed everything from His perfect and sinless mind. If God has no say in the events of any universe ever, then that is saying that He is not in control.
As humans, there is always going to be some way that sin is in every act that is done, ever. When an event plays out that is not in favor of the person who received it, they often say that is was out of God’s control. However, in the word of God, there is a passage that states something to this effect. Jesus was tempted greatly by sin, yet He never gave in. So as Christians, there is no temptation that is beyond what anyone can handle. With this is mind, as humans, as primal imitators, there is always going to be a man-made version of what God created. God predestined everything, and as the primal imitators, man created, centralized and placed in the spot of God, Fate. Even if it seems outside of God, fate is an idea that humans have made a reality in order to imitate the Creator. In summary, atheistic fatalism is man’s attempt to remove God from the Christian term predestination.
Predestination, like any good painting, is imitated, whether through those who know nothing of God – perhaps on some remote islands where no Bible has ever been read – or in the middle of a bustling city where many people believe in no God but have heard of the idea of God. Fate shows the way the world will end up, the same way that predestination does. God has placed everyone in the universe exactly where they need to be to spread the one True Faith. Fate may seem spontaneous in its actions, but those who agree with the fact that fate and predestination are the same thing can see that in every society, there is an imitation that is always a copy of the Master’s work.
Any issue concerning the fact that something may be close to the maker, something perfect, something that seems conspicuously designed, maybe something potentially created by a higher power, it is questioned under a microscope by the masses. Things like the perfection of the earth’s position in the universe. This topic has every every intention of trying to fool the person doing the research. The reason this topic is going to try to fool the researcher is because Fate is atheistic, and when the two become linked, God is being introduced where He should not be. Fatalism cannot be the same as predestination because everytime something that could possibly go wrong, it will potentially be set up and blamed on Predestination. If the two are linked, this perfected idea of fate and predestination can be turned on its head and all of the bad events that have happened throughout human history, can be blamed on God. God chooses what is going to happen before it happens. If He wanted someone to blaspheme and show how they are incorrect by proving the true power of God, He has the power.
First, the reason that the Calvinistic view of Predestination is not the same as atheistic Fatalism is because Predestination is from the mind of God. Looking into the Odyssey and Odysseus, there is a distinct contrast from other sources where the authors had different beliefs. The Odyssey is written by Homer, during the end of the Trojan war, and tells the story of what happened to Odysseus on his way home. In the true Greek fashion, there are many gods that the heroes pay tribute too. One of the biggest issues here is that they do not actually believe that all of their gods work against each other, nor with each other to further mankind.
Those same gods, the ones who fight each other at whim, are playing more than one part in each heroes life. After the end of the Trojan War, Odysseus is sailing home, and hits land that is not his own. The land belongs to Polyphemus, the Cyclops. Odysseus blinds the Cyclops and leaves him to stumble around for the rest of his life. After this event, Poseidon, Polyphemus’ dad, becomes angry with Odysseus for blinding his son. Poseidon then curses Odysseus to sail all the seas for twenty years. This sounds like Poseidon is playing the role of a fate. The Greeks had no idea that there was a real and one and only God, and a trinity, and they survived for thousands of years. Then came along Christians who understand and believe the trinity, and now also believe that there is no link between Predestination and Fate.
From the definitions of predestination and fate from dictionary.com, it seems to denote that the idea of predestination is above fate, and not equal with it. Fate is an atheistic thought and from the thought of polytheistic religions, it is said that there definitely is more than one god. From this idea, there stems a problem. The problem being whether the real and untainted mind of Christ is born into all Christians. As Christians, there is a very central idea that since humans are an imitation of God, that there is some essence of imitation from predestination to fate, where fate is the imitation. Even if it is an imitation, as mentioned earlier, fate is a subsidiary to predestination, elusive to the fact that it is not on a level playing field with God – or even the great saints – as fate is a sin-riddled thought because it replaces God.
Secondly, the reason that the Calvinistic view of predestination is not the same as atheistic fatalism is because fate has no real external need for a God. The definition of fate according to dictionary.com says that fate is something that unavoidably befalls a person; fortune; lot. Fate is something that is described as very jumbled. Fate is something that was dropped out of a hat onto the floor and left to sit forever. Fate is unorganized, and Predestination is very orderly and from the imagination of God – perfect and always correct. It seems that one of the main issues that comes up during this discussion is that God has a perfect plan and fate has no plan. The reasons why the Calvinistic view of predestination is not the same as atheistic fatalism, is because predestination is from God, and Fate has no real external need for a god.
To conclude, Calvinist Predestination is the same as Atheistic Fatalism for three reasons, because of the definition of predestination, the correct view of Biblical predestination, and the comparison of the two views: Fatalism and Predestination. Fate and Predestination are both similar terms, but they are more similar than one my think.