Why is it just or merciful that God predetermines who is to be saved and who is to be damned, before they are even born? Does that not mean a murderer may be saved and a charity worker damned?

  • Hi David – I've updated your question to make it clear that you are looking for explanations from defenders of limited atonement. On this site, it's important to target doctrine questions like this at particular traditions, in order to stay focused on Q&A, rather than discussion. I hope you'll take the tour to learn more about us! – Nathaniel May 11 at 14:40
  • 1
    I’m confused by your question, or more specifically, the counter-argument you give. Calvinists believe salvation is by faith and not works. Thus, being a murderer or charity worker has no bearing on salvation for Calvinists. Was not Moses a murderer? Yet he was saved. Did not the Pharisees and teachers of the law work for a non-profit religious charity (such as they were in the first century)? Yet Christ condemned them. – Tim May 16 at 2:59

Jesus declares some simple realities. Unless you are born from on high you will not see God. All are doomed to judgement and destruction.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:27

A few who are predestined by God to be saved will be saved. But it is all framed in free will and free choice. Jesus emphasised everything is under Gods sovereign will, and those who respond respond to His grace and love. The how and why is a mystery, but plucked like coals from a fire are His chosen.

When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. Acts 13:48

So the message is preached, the seed sown and some turn, repent and believe.

What has value that which responds and gains life or that which rejects and keeps the life they have instead of walking into new life that Jesus holds out.

The spiritual dilemma is without revelation how can a heart respond to God, because a dead heart is dead. But praise the Lord some do respond to His calling. And the atonement is for those who are saved, because atonement only applies to those who by faith reach out to God. We see only a small part. So many in Israel saw Jesus, heard His words, yet rejected Him, just like the rich young ruler.

It is grace that any are saved, yet some believe man is capable of seeing what Jesus offers, without Him reaching out to give life. I have witnessed to people who even have gone to church their whole lives yet their hearts are cold and lock out the love Jesus offers.

In my theology, they go to be destroyed not tortured, to have their chaff burnt up, because all they possessed in their lives was the shell and not the essence. It is judgement on what they held more valuable than seeking His face, but it is the justice they themselves have passed on their own lives.

John Piper "“Christ died for everyone, but not everyone in the same way.”

Isn’t Unlimited Atonement More Glorious Than Limited Atonement?

  • 1
    Can you demonstrate that this is the view of Calvinism, perhaps by quoting some Calvinist theologians? – Nathaniel May 15 at 18:40

Your Answer


By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.