30 April 2012
So Many Choices, Or Not?
Are people just God’s puppets for entertainment? Predestination vs. free will, has been and will be a hugely debated controversy in religious communities. It has been a contributing factor in separating denominations. This factor is not often addressed as the cause, but tends to play an important role in those divisions. Is it one or the other or can they co-exist? Ages old, this debate has been argued and re-argued in educated circles. In today’s society, the ideology that we have free will is not often addressed, but it is generally accepted that humanity operates under freewill. The debate waiting to unfold is to inform, and generate an interest in one’s belief and theology on the subject.
This issue was first addressed by Saint Augustine, who lived from 354-430 C.E. He identified its validity in theology and philosophy. Augustine’s early opinion on predestination and free will was that God’s foreknowledge includes the free will factor and therefore they co-exist. However, later in his life he stated, “The fact that we have any choice at all is entirely a product of unmerited grace, a grace that will be given to only a small number whom God has predestined to be saved out of the vast number who are eternally lost” (Mendelson). He stated, that it was God’s gift to man to allow some the grace of God to be predestined. This way no man can boast (Augustine). He said, “If God genuinely knows that x is going to happen, it is impossible for x not to take place” (Mendelson). This intended to mean that God only gave that grace to ones whom He wanted to save, leaving others to be condemned.
Relatively recent, in the early 16th Century, and widely accepted is John Calvin who addressed this issue. He believed that God from the beginning of time predestined men and angels to either everlasting punishment or everlasting death, and chose a select few to be with Him in heaven (Wolf). There is not much evidence that Calvin believed...