What is the concept of predestination? Are there different denominations that believe in predestination but have differences in what they believe about it? If so, what are the differences?

  • Good question, the mention of predestined saints is pretty clearly in the Bible and in the works of St. Augustine. But we've all got totally different takes on it.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 18:59
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    For reference christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/66/…
    – wax eagle
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 19:10
  • Are you looking for the concept in terms of predestination of the elect or of all things that will happen?
    – wax eagle
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 19:11
  • Would it being both make the question too broad?
    – compman
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 19:13
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    Pondering: Will we ever understand predestination? Is it something that we'll never grasp fully because we're not God? Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 1:18

4 Answers 4


Single Predestination or Double Predestination?

Now before you start thinking "Aw, man! There are two of them?!?" Let me explain the difference:

Single Predestination:

God chooses us, solely by his grace, to go to Heaven. God does not choose people for Hell. If we go to Hell it is because of our own sinfullness.

Double Predestination:

God has chosen some people to go to Heaven, and some people to go to Hell.

Now that we know what they are, what does the Bible teach?

John 5:21 (ESV)

21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

John 10:28 (ESV)

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Romans 8:29-30 (ESV)

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.

30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Ok, that seems to indicate that we are Predestined to Heaven, now what about Hell?

Ezekial 33:11 (ESV)

11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Matthew 18:14 (ESV)

14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)

3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The Verdict:

Based off these verses, it seems clear to me that the Bible teaches Single Predestination and not Double Predestination.

  • How does this reconcile with Rev 3:20?
    – RCIX
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:32
  • @RCIX What's not to be reconciled? He's saying that he will accept anyone, and that's what my answer says he said.
    – John
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:39
  • The way I understand your wording of "God chooses us, solely by his grace, to go to Heaven" under Single Predestination, it implies that we have no control over the matter. Taken that way, my referenced verse would conflict.
    – RCIX
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:44
  • @RCIX He has given us the free will to reject him. Of course if we do so, we would go to Hell and it would be because of our own sinfulness (like I said).
    – John
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:46
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    @laovultai Well, Ephesians 2:8-9 says "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (emphasis mine) These verses are most commonly applied to works-righteousness, but I think they're relevant in discussion of whether or not one must accept God, as well.
    – John
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 21:14

The concept of Predestination in so much as it speaks to the concept of Election is rooted in a couple of different passages in scripture. Romans 8:29-30 being the foremost. It basically says that he knew from the beginning who he was going to choose and he "Predestined" or choose them. There are many other passages that support this concept, outlined in this answer.

The question of whether he has predestined every event that will happen in the world is a slightly more contentious one. However, I believe quite strongly that he has indeed predestined every event that will happen. This does not mean that our actions are meaningless or that we should simply drift through life. Romans 8:28 (NIV) gets to the heart of this

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

As for denominations that believe in predestination to one degree or another. I know that Reformed traditions (Presbyterian, URC, CRC, Reformed Baptists and countless other "reformed churches") ascribe to some tenet of this belief.

I cannot speak to other traditions right off hand, but those who know of them are welcome to add them.


Predestination means different things to different people. I saw that one answer on here accurately described the difference between single predestination and double predestination. An alternative would come from what you can call the Arminian perspective (rooted from the ideas of Jacobus Arminius who had a different perspective on how salvation works than John Calvin did). If you believe that God is all-knowing, then you accept the fact that God knows our decisions before we do. If because God is all-knowing, does that mean He put a series of events into motion that eventually caused us to make one decision over another? That is a difficult question to answer because Calvinism and Arminianism both have their problems. It is not necessarily true that because God knows something will happen, He must have caused it. Adam and Eve chose to sin in the garden, but God knew that they would and He created them anyway. The problem that Calvinists face is whether God created sin. How can a perfect and holy God also be the author of sin? On the other hand, those of Arminius' persuasion can lessen God's sovereignty, His all-powerfulness by overemphasizing the human's role in the plan of salvation. God predestined the way in which humans could come back to Him. Therefore, those that accept Him are "predestined" to be saved. In other words, God chose which people would be saved, those that responded by confessing their sins and believing that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. A basic page to highlight a few of the differences between the two views can be found here: http://www.gotquestions.org/Calvinism-vs-Arminianism.html

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! For a quick overview of what this site is all about, please take the Site Tour. This site is really about what groups of Christians believe rather than about the personal views of individual Christians. See: How we are different than other sites. Your answer has the potential to be a workable answer here, but in needs to focus more on the beliefs of the different groups you mention. Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 4:22
  • For some tips on writing good answers here, please see: What makes a good supported answer? Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 4:22
  • I see what you mean. I tried to make it reflect more of the theology than by saying this is my interpretation of it. Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 4:38

God has predestined everything. Here's a simple explanation:

A man was put before two doors, and given the free will to choose a door. He chose one and opened it. Behind the door, it said, "Chosen from the beginning of time".

See, God knows what we will do and yet we are given the free choice. It's hard for our finite minds to understand this concept, as we are limited to what we perceive here and now.

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    Can you improve this with a reference or two?
    – wax eagle
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 0:10
  • Yes, I will....
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 1:59
  • @wax I don't have the time now, but when I do, I will.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 2:00
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    It is very hard for our finite understanding to accommodate the idea of a God for whom all eternity is "now"... "I am" is more than just a moniker.
    – user32
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 8:02
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    -1 This isn't an explanation, it's a partial analogy.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 19:54

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