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Assume

  • doctrine of predestination
  • Calvinism

Context

  • 10 Talents (Matthew 25):

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
His lord said unto him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Then he which had received the one talent came and said, "Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine."
His lord answered and said unto him, "Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury." "Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents."
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  • 1 Corinthians 3

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Question:

Given that salvation is predestined. Are heavenly rewards / crowns that one wins also pre-destined, or is that free will: i.e. God gives you a free ticket into heaven; but the rewards received in heaven is up to you.

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It sounds like this question also addresses the scope of God's providence -- that is, does God predetermine everything, and if so, how are humans not robots? That's a very complicated topic; here's a John Piper video that summarizes, very succinctly, one widely shared view. Cheers. –  Philip Schaff Aug 8 '12 at 21:01
    
@JBunyan: I like this point by John Piper. Can you provide more details + develop this into an answer? This reminds of me (1) watching Piper's TULIP lectures and (2) Piper's position paper on divorce -- somethign I found counter-intuitive at the time, but then came to realize he was right. –  user1694 Aug 8 '12 at 21:24
    
The intricacies of man's will and God's omniscience are among the most complex subjects in theology, and I'm not sure that any post could begin to summarize things appreciably -- though it would be great to see someone try. One smart and very challenging place to begin would be to study the 16th century exchange on the subject between Erasmus and Luther, and to read their books on the subject. Reading there would likely lead one towards a very comprehensive understanding of not only providence, but also many other issues of the entire Reformation. CCEL.org. –  Philip Schaff Aug 8 '12 at 21:43
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Calvinists generally believe that our works and resulting rewards are also predetermined from eternity.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV Ephesians 2:10)

However, the absence of our will is never included in the concept, either in receiving Christ or in doing good works; rather we are predestined to will all those things under God's influence.

To what level our will exists and in what sense we have 'a will', is a little more debatable and Calvinists can vary in this to some degree. In any case, it is usually understood that we are 'not robots' without a will, but that both our will and God's are united according to his eternal plan. In fact when he saves us he frees our will to do his.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (NIV Philippians 2:13)

There are books devoted on the subject, for example Martin Luther's The Bondage of Will.

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