I was just perusing the wikipedia article on predestination, and came across an interesting blip on "Temporal Predestination":

Temporal predestination is the view that God only determines temporal matters, and not eternal ones. This Christian view is analogous to the traditional Jewish view, which distinguishes between preordination and predestination. Temporal matters are pre-ordained by God, but eternal matters, being supra-temporal, are subject to absolute freedom of choice.

Can someone knowledgeable elaborate on this view for me?

  • Would a scholar from this camp reject the idea of God preparing a place for the elect in Heaven, or would they just say that while God does know those who will end up in Heaven, and does prepare a place for them, ultimately it is their choice?

  • Are there any major Christian denominations or scholars who hold this view?

  • EXTRA CREDIT: If this was the traditional Jewish view, why was it abandoned by Christians?


2 Answers 2


Bullet Points

  • The "elect" in this view is the same as Arminianism - God knows all who will freely choose Him ("those He foreknew... he also glorified") and He elects to save all who believe in Jesus Christ.
  • Ken Grider (one of the translators for the NIV Bible) is the only major/well-known theologian I know of that holds this view. I would bet many in Arminian churches hold this view without realizing it (assuming there is a real difference between the two; Arminianism allows but does not require libertarian free will).

Temporal Predestination

Temporal predestination attempts to reconcile the facts of both God's foreknowledge and His eternal plan with our free will (limited in this view) - while He predestines our actions in time and what happens in the world, He allows each of us full freedom in choosing whether to follow or reject Him. For example, God determined that Judas would hand Jesus over to the chief priests (Luke 22:22), but Judas freely chose to reject Christ.

Proponents of temporal predestination sometimes claim that in every place that the Greek word proorizo ("to predestinate") is found in the New Testament (as well as other terms signifying His knowledge, actions, and decrees), not one of them refers to God predetermining our eternal destiny1; a better term for this view might be temporal-only predestination, as I have seen people use "temporal predestination" when they specifically want to refer to the predestination of events, regardless of whether or not our destinies are predestinated.

J. Kenneth Grider explains the concept via commentary on Scripture:

Take the Romans 8:29, 30 instances of proorisen. There we read, "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." Here, "predestined," is probably not used with reference to eternal destiny-although perhaps a better possible case could be made for such reference in v. 30, than can be made for such a reference in any of the other predestination passages. This passage states that "those God foreknew," meaning surely those He foreknew would believe, "he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son." That is, He pre-determined that the ones who would believe would be conformed to Christ's likeness... The point here, however, is that eternal destiny does not enter into the picture at all.

The obvious problem with his reasoning is that Paul draws a clear link from God's predestination to our glorification. He answers this objection by claiming the glorification of the predestined is almost a side-effect rather than the intended result (that is, Paul is explaining a chain of causality rather than the process by which God works):

It is also to be noted that in the next verse the same kind of non-destiny meaning probably obtains. There, "those he predestined" (based on His foreknowledge according to the previous verse), he "called," and the ones He called He "justified," and the ones He justified He "glorified." Here, unlike what obtains in the previous verse, the writer does get around, finally, to a word that has to do with destiny: glorification. So it could conceivably be interpreted that the predestination has to do with destiny-and it does, finally. But the passage states that, having predestined or predetermined for believers, through His foreknowledge (v. 29), that they would freely believe, He called them and justified them-and, perhaps because of His foreknowledge of their continuing as believers, He "glorified them." As mentioned, destiny does get referred to in this passage; but the reference is so much disjoined from what is itself said to be predestinated that this glorification destiny can hardly be said to be what is itself predestinated.

Temporal predestination is probably closest to an Arminian (conditional predestination) view than to other major views (sublapsarian, supralapsarian, etc). In fact, the only people I have seen who distinguish between them are those who hold to temporal-only predestination2.


1: I find this unconvincing. This claim concerning some passages is dependent upon the interpretation of the text, which is the very point in question.

2: My personal opinion is that temporal-only predestination is merely a subpar method of explaining an Arminian view that denies full libertarian free will.

*: Concerning temporal predestination being the traditional Jewish view, see Tomáš Frydrych, Living Under the Sun: Examination of Proverbs and Qoheleth, Volume 90 of Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, in which he argues that the author of Ecclesiastes did not hold such a view because of the statement "why should you die before your time?"


Temporal Predestination is a theory which began back when the Bible became commonly available to the general public. It was begun as a counter theory to a belief which sprang up sometime during the 17th Century, known as Predestinationism. It was espoused by some groups that due to God having predestined who would and who would not go to Heaven that it was not a free choice of the individual to attain salvation since God had already determined that.

Two events in History took the interpretation of the Bible out of the hands of the Clergy and into every home in which there was a Bible;

The Gutenberg Bible is the first substantial book printed in the West with moveable
metal type. Before its printing in 1454 or 1455, books were either copied by hand
or printed from engraved wooden blocks—processes that could take months or years
to complete. Johann Gutenberg invented a printing press that revolutionized the 
distribution of knowledge by making it possible to produce many copies of a work 
in a relatively short amount of time.

The second major contributing factor was the King James translation of the Bible.
In 1604, King James I of England authorized that a new translation of the Bible 
into English be started. It was finished in 1611, just 85 years after the first
translation of the New Testament into English appeared (Tyndale, 1526).

When the common man began to read the Bible for himself this passage caused quite a stir:

Ephesians 1:11 KJV

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

These three other Scripture were often quoted as further evidence to back up their theory:

Jude 1:4 KJV

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 1:5 KJV

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Revelation 17:8 KJV

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Surprisingly enough that concept is still espoused by some today even though many have shown that predestination is cased in the fact that God being omniscient knew before creation who would or would not accept Christ's sacrifice as their salvation.

In order to satisfactorily answer your question on Temporal predestination, we must first describe Predestination.

Predestination in its broadest conception is the doctrine that because God

is all-powerful, all-knowing, and completely sovereign, he "from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass," (Westminster Confession). "In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will" (Ephesians 1:11).

Basically Predestination is the belief that God has chosen exactly what will happen throughout time and decreed exactly how history would unfold including who would and who would not be saved. This concept was espoused by John Calvin, and adopted by several other denominations.

Predestination and salvation Calvinists and Arminians agree that only some are
chosen for salvation, and that those who are elect will come to faith and believe
until the end. Further, both viewpoints agree that those who turn from sin to follow
Christ are saved. The question is this: On what basis did God predestine people? 
Did God predestine some because He knew they would believe of their own free will, 
or did He predestine without regard to human choices? Was God's choice based on man's
choice, or is man's choice itself a result of God's choice?

According to John Calvin,

"Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined in     
Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they 
are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for     
some and eternal death for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one 
or the other of these ends, we say he is predestinated either to life or to death."

Not willing to accept John Calvin's concept that man had no choice in salvation, the concept of double predestination emerged.

Double predestination The term double predestination has been used to refer to the dual concepts of election and reprobation in Reformed theology. This is largely a pejorative term which leads to misconceptions of the Calvinist (or Reformed) doctrine. It has been used as a synonym for a "symmetrical" view of predestination which sees election and reprobation being worked out in an equally parallel mode of divine operation.

The distortion of double predestination suggests a parallelism of foreordination 
and predestination by means of a positive symmetry, which may be called a 
positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively 
intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation; and in the same way 
God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to

This distortion makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what
God monergistically and irresistibly moves man to do. This is not the Reformed view
of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a 
view may be identified with what is often loosely described as Hyper-Calvinism and
involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has 
been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

The classic position of Reformed theology views predestination as double in that 
it involves both election and reprobation but not symmetrical with respect to the
mode of divine activity. A strict parallelism of operation is denied. Rather
predestination is viewed in terms of a positive-negative relationship.

In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively
intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of
grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing 
them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or
unbelief in their lives. Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is
not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works
regeneration monergistically but never sin.

The above is an extracted excerpt from Double Predestination by R. C. Sproul

So what does Reprobation mean? Reprobation is a state of being beyond salvage or salvation. It is the source of the word reprobate.

Reprobation, in Christian theology, is a corollary to the Calvinist doctrine of
unconditional election which derives that since (in this view) some of mankind 
(the elect) are predestined by God for salvation, the remainder are necessarily 
pre-ordained to condemnation, i.e. reprobation. In Calvinist terminology, the 
non-elect are often referred to as the reprobate. Similarly, when a sinner is so
hardened as to feel no remorse or misgiving of conscience, it is considered as a
sign of reprobation.

The word "reprobation" comes from the Latin reprobatus (reproved or condemned),
which is the opposite of approbatus (commended or approved).

The term Hyper-Calvinism refers primarily to a theological position that 
historically arose from within the Calvinist tradition among the early English
Particular Baptists in the mid 1700's. It can be seen in the teachings of men 
like Joseph Hussey (d. 1726), Lewis Wayman (d. 1764), John Brine (d. 1765), 
and to some extent in John Gill (d. 1771).

It is called Hyper-Calvinism by its critics, who maintain that it deviates from 
the biblical gospel by:

    (1) denying that the call of the gospel to repent and believe is universal,
    i.e. for all alike, and 

    (2) denying that the unregenerate (natural) man has a duty to repent and 
    believe in Christ for salvation.

"Supralapsarianism is the view that God, contemplating man as yet unfallen, chose
some to receive eternal life and rejected all others. So a supralapsarian would 
say that the reprobate (non-elect) vessels of wrath fitted for destruction
(Rom. 9:22) were first ordained to that role, and then the means by which they 
fell into sin was ordained.

In other words, supralapsarianism suggests that God's decree of election logically
preceded His decree to permit Adam's fallso that their damnation is first of all 
an act of divine sovereignty, and only secondarily an act of divine justice." 

This view is most often contrasted with Infralapsarianism (also known sometimes
as "sublapsarianism") which suggests that God's decree to permit the fall logically
preceded His decree of election. So when God chose the elect and passed over the 
non-elect, He was contemplating them all as fallen creatures.

So to what is temporal predestination.

A predestination paradox is a temporal anomaly which is said to be possible under fixed time theory.  It is also known as a causal loop or uncaused cause.

Fixed time maintains that the past and the future all exist already in static form, and that time is not more than our perception or experience of events within it. Thus for something to move from the future to the past is not different in kind from something moving from the living room to the bedroom; it is simply in a different position within four-dimensional space, and it happens that the value of the dimension we call time has moved in the direction in which it does not usually move. Since this is possible, it would also be possible for that object to initiate a chain of events which ultimately is the cause of its own motion from the future to the past.

Temporal predestination is a term coined to designate that since there is actually no such thing as time and it is only our imagination that dictates things being sequential rather than static, we have the ability to overcome predestination by moving our salvation from the future back to the creation

That is a simplified definition, but it covers the main concept.

I apologize for the long winded answer but it is in response to a request by curiousdanni

  • Can you clarify the difference between Predestinationism and Temporal Predestination more? And even traditional (reformed) Predestination if you don't think that's too offtopic?
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 4, 2013 at 10:34
  • @ curiousdanni you might be better served to begin at this website and research the concept of predestination yourself theopedia.com/Predestination
    – BYE
    Dec 4, 2013 at 13:52
  • I was asking because I don't think you answered this question very clearly. In particular, your sentence starting with "It was espoused" isn't very clear - which theory are you describing? If you explained Predestinationism and Temporal Predestination then it would be much more clear. :)
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 5, 2013 at 7:02
  • @ curiousdanni In order to explain the entire predestination phenomena which in turn spawned several other responses besides temporal predestination would take pages and is not suitable here. One answer would only lead to another question that is why I referred you to the website.
    – BYE
    Dec 5, 2013 at 14:24
  • 1
    @ curiousdanni I have revised my answer to include some other excerpts. Should you have any more questions please ask them as a separate question and I will answer them to the best of my ability, and you will also get some other people to give you their input. Suffice it to say I am limited in my knowledge and others might give you better answers.
    – BYE
    Dec 5, 2013 at 16:45

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