Double vs Single Predestination

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Javilo, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. Javilo

    Javilo Puritan Board Freshman

    Can someone still call themselves a Calvinist if they only believe in single
    predestination? I just find it difficult to believe that God predestines
    people to hell before they are born. This would not be a loving God of mercy
    and certainly not one worthy of worship. The doctrine of election has much
    support in the bible. By contrast, the doctrine of reprobation has little
    support in the bible except for a few verses in Romans. So I only believe
    in single predestination but still consider myself a Calvinist. Is there a
    specific name for this kind of belief?
  2. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If one denies reprobation but affirms election they are closer to (classical) Lutheranism than they are to Reformed theology. Our Reformed forefathers certainly considered reprobation to be part and parcel of the proper understanding of predestination:

    Canons of Dordrecht, 1st Head of Doctrine, Article 15

    The Arminians taught
    (1st Head Rejection of Errors, Paragraph 8)

    Judging by these statements your position: 1) undermines the gracious character of election (as per the underlined portion above) and thus 2) leans in an Arminian direction (as per the second quote).
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  3. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Why is that? "What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?"
  4. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I love this paper by Sproul Sr.: (Rich turned me onto it)

    In a way, Sproul argues that 'double predestination' assumes a symmetry between election and reprobation that simply isn't there. God works in election and God works in reprobation, but not in the same way.

    Most people today, when they use the term 'double predestination' assume this symmetry.

    This is not the Reformed view, however. Sproul continues:

  5. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    That's why the whole 'lapsarian' debate seems ridiculous to me. God hath ordained all things. There is no e-'lapsing' of time or any other thing wherein God knew less 'before' or 'behind' than He did 'after' or 'ahead'. Sproul is just pushing the act of redemption past the act of creating fallen (or bound to fall) creatures in the interest of playing peek-a-boo with reality. The indictment that double predestination makes God the author of sin is incoherent. Authoring sin has to do with wicked intent. What Joseph's brothers did they intended for evil, but God intended - ordained - it for good. That God ordained their actions does not make Him the author of sin.

    Sproul is a wise and intelligent man, and I am just a foolish, uneducated layman, so it is weird that I can see that and he can't - but I know some pretty sharp atheists, arminians, and amyrauldians, so I take that with a grain of salt.
  6. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    To answer your points in order 3,1,2. You could call yourself a Calvinist and hold single predestination provided you hold to Calvin's system and could demonstrate that the denial of double predestination does not destroy the system. I think that's doable if not precisely biblical.

    However, you are missing a significant point about the nature of mercy. A holy and just God confronted with sinful men and women owes none of us anything other than damnation. If God had extended mercy to only one individual in human history and forgiven his sins and refrained from extending that to all others, He still could properly be called a merciful God since such an extension of mercy contrary to desert would demonstrate his possession of the quality of mercy. Even a man is held to be merciful if he displays mercy on some occasions and no one may deny that quality in him because he does not display that quality in action on other occasions.

    The support for God's freedom not to extend mercy is wider than a few verses in Romans.
    God himself tells us that your view of what makes "a loving God of mercy and ...worthy of worship" is wrong when he proclaims his prerogative to selectively distribute his mercy by telling Moses "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy."

    What makes God worthy of worship is not just his possession of the quality of mercy, but what makes Him worthy of "all glory laud and honour" is that he paid the cost of His Son's incarnation, 30 year growing up and perfect human life and then death on a cross to enable him to exercise mercy without compromising his perfect holiness and justice.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  7. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor


    First, our faith is not to be composed of what is easy to believe. The fact that you find something "difficult to believe" should not be a determining factor. Often I find that the things I find most difficult to believe are just because of my remaining corruption.

    Second, all one needs to believe something is one clear text. Your argument seems to assume that the number of clear texts is what makes something true or untrue. Eternal reprobation has more than one clear text, and also has many very solid inferences. If you would like more information on this subject, Dort is a good place, as Rev. Kok cited, and you may want to pick up John Gill's The Cause of God and Truth. Gill does an excellent job of discussing the relevant passages.

  8. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    I have a real problem with this statement.

    It is one thing to not understand how God can reconcile reprobation with love but trust that God in eternity has done so or even to believe that God does not reprobate because you believe it to not be in accordance with our recieved revelation it is however never OK to suggest that if God has behaved in a certain way he is not worthy of worship.

    How can a credature even think such a thing about its creator? It is a textbook definition of rebellion and reeks of Adams disobedience.

    I can remember Desmond Tutu being quoted in sermon as saying that if God does not accept Gay priests then he is not worthy of being worshipped, and a similiar argument based on reprobation is equally wrong.

    While we may disagree over theology I do not think that we should ever take a position that if a doctrine is true God would not be worthy of worship.
  9. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

  10. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    Wouldn't double predestination assume that all of mankind is in a neutral state as opposed to being created good and falling into evil and then being redeemed from that state back into right standing with God?
  11. TheFleshProfitethNothing

    TheFleshProfitethNothing Puritan Board Freshman

    By God ELECTING (Choosing) some, He in turn has shown that He has NOT Elected others. There is no need to mention the NOT electing others.

    By electing SOME, He has Chosen to NOT elect the others. Isn't that as simple a logic as you can get? He has in His decree CHOSEN to passover He ELECT in His coming (and even current) WRATH.

    If some were Elected to Grace, it is obviouse the others were by DEFAULT, purposed to be vessels of God's vengeance.

    The Question is...Did God Ordain the Fall of Adam or didn't He? And if God Elected those whom He desired to impute Christ's righteousness BEFORE the foundation of the world, does that not mean He DID Ordain the Fall, and that by not choosing ALL has left the rest to their reprobate hearts?

    The simple act of choosing NOT to do something, is still an act of choosing. Otherwise, God would have decreed some saved AFTER the foundation of the world. What in essence happened is God purposed the Fall, AND that He would Save some from that fall...that ALONE is double predestination...AND as one mentioned, just because God decrees something, does not necessitate that He somehow SUBJECTIVELY worked wickedness (sin) in someone.

    Here is one more thing to consider, Does not Scripture mention Elect Angels? How do you apply the same question of them? Did the Third Fall with Lucifer because God made them evil? Yet God must have declared He would keep some set-apart for Himself, to serve His purpose, Glorifying His Name. The same is to be said in our case, that though the Whole Prosperity of man became alienated from God, God in His mercy, to show His purpose elected some set-apart for himself and again for His glory...for which He would have to have decreed some (and I don't care for the term) Un-elect/ Non-elect...

    To reiterate, with an example, the idea of electing some meaning, one did not elect the other (not needing to be said). If you can make a FREE choice of having anything in creation, and you make that choice, you by default chose NOT to have anything else...kind of how one must think about a woman they want to marry...are you willing to choose NOT any other woman for as long as you live?

    Speaking of which, mine is calling me right now!:D
  12. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    Is there a difference between being predestined to hell and being passed by?
  13. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    This is an overwhelming concept, one of the large ones in Scripture that once understood, make a lot of other things about the sovereignty of God make sense. It must be handled with great care.

    Remember, it is not a case of God forcing people who want to go to Heaven to go to Hell.

    Romans 5:12, 3:23 and in many other places, the Holy Spirit speaking through Scripture tell us all men are sinners. As descendants of Adam, all men are by nature, sinners. No sinner truly "wants" God- he does what he really wants, which is controlled by his sin nature.

    The amazing thing is that God intervenes amongst guilty men and gives them something they do not deserve- heaven.

    So, in the case of one sinner, God lets him have what he wants and deserves. He wants sin, and he deserves judgment and God is just in judging that.

    In the case of another sinner, God gives him something he does *not* want and does *not* deserve. God gives him a new nature that is free to truly want Him, and because of Christ, righteousness that does not merit judgment.

    That's the "non-symmetry" that Dr Sproul, referred to by KMK and Rich above are referring to.

    Nothing is unjust about a sinner getting justice.

    Something is unjust about a sinner not getting punished but instead getting eternal reward. That's unjust. But as self-centered human beings, we view it from our standpoint that we are not that sinful, God is not that holy. We imagine everybody *deserves* pardon and reward. Not so.

    An even more difficult thing for us fallen, sin prone human beings, to accept is that--

    God has every right to do with us whatever He wants. Absolutely anything- and He is, in that, by definition just. We have no right to set ourselves up as if we were God and tell Him what is just. The clay does not have power over the potter (cf Romans 9:13-23).

    Javilo, I'm not asking you to agree with this, only that by faith, you accept it because it is what the Holy Spirit speaking through scripture teaches about God's sovereignty.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  14. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Here is an analogy of the situation:

    Two men commit an armed robbery and appear before the judge for sentencing.

    The first man, under the laws of the commonwealth, is sentenced to 10 years prison.

    The second man, appears before the judge and demands that the judge *not* punish him. Further, he asks the judge to send him to the penthouse suite at the Hilton Hotel for the rest of his life, all expenses paid.

    Did the first man get justice? Yes!

    Would the second man get justice if he got what he demanded? No! Is it "fair" if the second man got no prison time? Is it "fair" the second man got an all expenses paid luxury hotel stay forever? No! It's not even reasonable.

    Yet, we are so blinded by sin, we have the audacity to think that is what we deserve, and "imagine" we are just (and impugn God's character) in so demanding.

    Do you see why grace is indeed, so amazing and we have absolutely not claim on it?
  15. Mathetes

    Mathetes Puritan Board Freshman

    Besides, there's plenty of double predestination demonstrated in Scripture: Isa 6:9; Mal 1:2-3; Mt 11:25-26; Lk 2:34; Jn 3:19; 9:39; 12:39-40; Rom 9:11-13,17-22; 11:7; 2 Thes 2:11; 1 Pet 2:6-8, and Jude 4.

    As Geerhardus Vos puts it: “No more is necessary than to combine the two single truths, that all saving grace, inclusive of faith, is a supernatural gift of God, and that not all men are made recipients of this gift, to perceive immediately that the ultimate reason why some are saved and others passed by can lie in God alone.”
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