/pri des'teuh nay"sheuhn, pree'des-/, n.
1. an act of predestinating or predestining.
2. the state of being predestinated or predestined.
3. fate; destiny.
4. Theol.
a. the action of God in foreordaining from eternity whatever comes to pass.
b. the decree of God by which certain souls are foreordained to salvation. Cf. election (def. 4), double predestination.
[1300-50; ME predestinacioun < LL praedestination- (s. of praedestinatio). See PREDESTINATE, -ION]

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In Christianity, the doctrine that God has long ago determined who will be saved and who will be damned.

Three types of predestination doctrine have developed. One doctrine holds that God singled out the saved because he foresaw their future merits. A second doctrine (often identified with John Calvin) states that from eternity God has determined the saved and the damned, regardless of their merit or lack thereof. A third doctrine, set forth by Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther, ascribes salvation to the unmerited grace of God but links the lack of grace to sin. In Islam, issues of predestination and free will were argued extensively. The Mutazila held that God would be unjust if he predestined all human actions; the Ashariya advocated a strict predestination that became the mainstream Islamic view.

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▪ religious doctrine
      in Christianity, the doctrine that God has eternally chosen those whom he intends to save (salvation). In modern usage, predestination is distinct from both determinism and fatalism and is subject to the free decision of the human moral will; but the doctrine also teaches that salvation is due entirely to the eternal decree of God. In its fundamentals, the problem of predestination is as universal as religion itself, but the emphasis of the New Testament on the divine plan of salvation has made the issue especially prominent in Christian theology. Predestination has been especially associated with John Calvin and the Reformed tradition.

      Christian doctrines of predestination may be considered explanations of the words of the Apostle Paul (Paul, the Apostle, Saint),

For those whom he [God] foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified (Rom. 8:29–30).

      Three types of predestination doctrine, with many variations, have developed. One notion (associated with semi-Pelagianism, some forms of nominalism, and Arminianism) makes foreknowledge the ground of predestination and teaches that God predestined to salvation those whose future faith and merits he foreknew.

      At the opposite extreme is the notion of double predestination, commonly identified with John (Calvin, John) Calvin (Calvinism) and especially associated with the Synod of Dort (Dort, Synod of) and appearing also in some of the writings of St. Augustine (Augustine, Saint) and Martin Luther and in the thought of the Jansenists. According to this notion, God has determined from eternity whom he will save and whom he will damn, regardless of their faith, love, or merit, or lack thereof.

      A third notion was set forth in other writings of St. Augustine and Luther (Luther, Martin), in the decrees of the second Council of Orange (Orange, councils of) (529), and in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas (Aquinas, Thomas, Saint). It ascribes the salvation of man to the unmerited grace of God and thus to predestination, but it attributes divine reprobation to man's sin and guilt.

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Universalium. 2010.

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