Is believing in the sovereignty of God the same as fatalism?

Fatalism teaches that fate will arrive no matter what you do. And Christians believe that God is in Heaven and does what he wants. Are the two different? How?

2 Answers 2


The short answer is "no. it's not fatalism" for most Christians. Most traditions believe and teach that God gave us free will. Without free will, there could be no such things as faith. Without free will, there could be no good or evil. Without free will, there'd have been no reason for Joshua 24:15, for example. We'dsimply be programmed, mindless automatons going through the motions of life. This would be fatalism.

The fact that God knows what we will do does not negate the fact that we have a choice. For example, I know right now that if I tell my kids to go clean their rooms, they will resist. I can predict with a high degree of accuracy what each will say, and exactly how they will resist. I'm not making them react a certain way, I just know from experience.

God, of course, knows with 100% accuracy what we will do. This still doesn't mean we don't choose to do it.

The idea of fatalism suggests that we throw up our hands and just let what happens happen, because it's going to happen anyway. If this were what God intended, entire swaths of Scripture would have to be removed. And command to obey, repent, any statement that God loves a humble heart and obedience would be rendered meaningless.

Joshua 24:15 (KJV) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

  • @SolaGratia I made a regular chat room where we can continue discussing this.
    – Cannabijoy
    Sep 29, 2017 at 21:09

The closest concept that would apply to fatalism would be predestination. A strict predestination ante previsa merita says that God has chosen who will be saved, even before the foundation of the world, without regard to what you will or will not do in your life.

Even the most strict adherents to unconditional election, however, would point out that you don't know if you were chosen by God to be saved or not. And, as such, we should live as if we already were saved.

  • "...we should live as if we already were saved" but get sent to hell anyway? I struggle much with this doctrine.
    – Jeff B
    Sep 24, 2014 at 16:05

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