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Calvin, among his other points includes the point that we are Unconditionally Elected and chosen by God alone and nothing we can do can help or hurt this fact. What is the Biblical basis for this?

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2 Answers 2

Unconditional Election refers to God's choosing of people to be the object of his grace or otherwise fulfill his purpose.

There are a couple of versus specifically that are associated with this.

Romans 8:29:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

and 1 Peter 1:1-2

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

The idea is that God knew these people beforehand and chose these people to be saved. It's a similar concept to predestination.

The Calvinist argument can be found here

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As an alternative viewpoint, it is interesting to consider that in both of the passages here the wording seems to convey that there is election and predestination, not for salvation, but "to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29) and "for obedience in Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:1-2). That is, we were predestined to obey him and go through the process of being transformed, that is the purpose for which we were chosen. –  Jeff Bridgman Nov 3 '11 at 21:39
Interestingly, this article claims that is heresy in IV.A.3.c, which indeed seems reasonable if the claim is God chose use for salvation because he knew we'd chose Him. If however, the claim is that knowing we would repent from our ways and turn to him, he chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives (as a daily process), then I think the term heresy no longer really applies. –  Jeff Bridgman Nov 3 '11 at 21:39
@JeffBridgman: The verse following Romans 8:29 seems to make it more explicit that the predestination is w/r/t the calling to salvation which includes a justification which leads to glorification: Romans 8:30 (ESV) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. –  Steven Nov 7 '11 at 15:46
I think that the most obvious passages, which have not been mentioned here are Eph 1:3-6 and Romans 9:10-24. The Roman's passage seems especially to the point as Paul even answers the most common objection to this doctrine! Also, it is certain that God had a purpose in electing sinners, He did not just do it on a whim. If that is so that those could be conformed to the image of Christ for the glory of God then so be it. –  Nathan Bunney Mar 22 '12 at 3:02

Richard's answer doesn't address the primary issue of Unconditional Election, which is that God's election of people to salvation is based entirely on himself, not on any criteria about the person.

e.g. Many people ask me if God didn't simply elect the people that he knew would accept salvation.

The Doctrine of Total Depravity implies that there is no merit to base any criteria or condition on.

More directly, in Romans 3:27-30 Paul makes it very clear that there can be no boasting in our salvation. If God had any preference for one type of person over another, then we could use our salvation to boast as evidence of that. But since there can be no boasting, then God must not prefer one type of person over another.

Similarly, in Romans 9:10-18, Paul argues that God makes his decision with no dependence on the man or woman, but entirely on himself. He references God's choosing Jacob over Esau in verse 11, "though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue". This makes it clear that God's reasons for choosing Jacob were for "God's purpose of election", not in Jacob's worth or actions.

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excellent addendum to Richard's answer. –  wax eagle Jan 10 '12 at 17:36
Thanks! I'm pretty new here. –  Bryan Rosander Jan 10 '12 at 18:50
Welcome to Christianity.SE! –  Caleb Jan 10 '12 at 20:26
I would probably go back to verses 11-13 in Romans 9 mentioning election "not by works but by him who calls" (NIV). –  Paul A. Clayton Aug 24 '13 at 17:14
Sorry Paul, just noticed that. I've expanded my entry a little to include your suggestion. –  Bryan Rosander Nov 27 '13 at 20:21

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