- I. Scriptural Doctrine.
- The Old Testament (§ 1).
- The Gospels (§ 2).
- The Pauline Epistles (§ 3).
- Other New-Testament Writings (§ 4).
- II. Church Doctrine.
- The Eastern Church (§ 1).
- The Western Church (§ 2).
- Augustine (§ 3).
- Post-Augustinian Views (§ 4).
- Scholastic Theology (§ 5).
- Later Roman Catholic View (§ 6).
- The Reformers (§ 7).
- Post-Reformation History (§ 8).
Predestination in the wider sense is the eternal predetermination of God's universal design or specific ends; and, in the most restricted sense, the foreordination in the inscrutable counsels of God by an eternal unchangeable decree of a certain number to eternal salvation, which is called election, and a certain number to eternal destruction, which is called reprobation. The doctrine, historically, results from the search for the certainty of salvation, which resolves itself in a conscious faith in the everlasting foundations of grace in God.
I. Scriptural Doctrine: (§ 1). The Old Testament. Fundamental in the Old Testament is the belief in the election of Israel as God's own people, revealed first to the patriarchs and finally illustrated in the covenant. God is the source of blessing and a safe refuge: Israel is the elect, the bearer of salvation (Isa. xlv. 4). Every event is determined in the divine will. God leads and inclines men, even hardens their hearts to bring to pass his higher purposes (Gen. xxv. 23; Ex. iv. 21, vii. 3, ix. 16; Josh. xi. 20); but his activity is not irresistible. The election of Israel rests upon divine grace and is the act of unqualified love. Not until the time of Ezekiel was this election regarded as applied to individuals, and then it was regarded as an act before time.
(§ 2). The Gospels. In the New Testament, Israel, by the rejection of the Messiah, has forfeited its distinction, and election has passed to the believers in Christ. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus is sent to all that were lost. He, as the risen one, sends forth his disciples and offers salvation to all the nations (Matt. xxviii. 19-20). Salvation is based solely on God's loving purpose conceived before the foundation of the world (Matt. xi. 26, xxv. 34). God does not coerce but leaves the acceptance of salvation to the free will of man (Matt. xxiii. 37). Meanwhile the idea of free will makes place for that of divine election, especially in Matthew. Many are called but few chosen (Matt. xx. 16, xxii.14); for the elects' sake the days of tribulation shall be shortened (Matt. xxiv. 22; Mark xiii. 20). But the elect are those found worthy among the called and embrace all the community of the New-Testament believers. Condemnation falls on those only who reject Christ. In the Fourth Gospel the Evangelist has in mind a certain metaphysical predisposition determining the receptivity of Christ's influence and accordingly dividing men into those who are "of the truth" and those who are children of evil (John vi. 44-45, x. 29, xvii. 2, 6, 9, xviii. 37). But the saving purpose of God's love embraces all men (John iii. 16), and whosoever comes will be accepted (vi. 37, vii. 37). The attainment of salvation is based on the inworking of God. Man may accept or reject Christ and is responsible. For all those who have attained salvation the work has been wrought entirely by God and they are proved to be "of the truth"; for those who are lost, the divine activity consists in punishment for the rejection of salvation.
(§ 3). Pauline Epistles. The doctrine of election received a closer definition by the Apostle Paul. The gentiles are also elected, in spite of the Jews having been the chosen race, and the Jews shall nevertheless be saved in spite of their apparent rejection and hardening of heart; for man is justified by faith, not works. In other words, the ultimate ground of salvation is not in man's effort, but in God the source of all good, and he chooses by his sovereign freedom as he will, out of love, the gift of which is his grace (cf. Rom. ix.-xi.). To make certain of the gift of grace through conscious faith and of eternal salvation in God, assurance is given by reference to divine election. Paul sets forth, principally in the Epistle to the Ephesians, that man, though involved in sin, yet remains an object of divine love. God has provided salvation in Christ and offers pardon and reconciliation. That which is realized in time was determined in the ever-existing, immutable divine counsel; namely, to send Christ and save all those joined by faith in him. This eternal purpose is that upon which the conscious salvation of those in Christ rests; as the self-determination of God to benevolence, it also appears as grace. This purpose recognized through grace involves the selection of those to be redeemed, the elect. Correlates of this are election and calling which are inseparable. Calling is, for Paul, the entrance into Christian unity; election, however, is a transcendental act in which the universal design is to be distinguished from a predetermination to a specific end. The word election in II Thess. ii. 13, refers to the primordial choosing; in I Cor. i. 27-28, to an election by which believers are to enter into a certain relation with the world. Election fulfils itself in the act of faith. If the calling makes certain who is chosen, the gift of salvation to the elect results on the ground of faith. In the consciousness of faith the individual is certain of his election, for the fact of his believing is a result of his election. But the negative deduction, that unbelief is likewise grounded in an act of the divine will, is not drawn by Paul. How the election of individual believers reconciles itself with the universal will of grace is to be made clear by the condition of the fulfilment of that will in time. How the experience of salvation conditioned upon human self-determination is reconciled with the fact that God while working faith fulfils election remains to be explained. Acts of self-determination are acts of obedience to God, the source of all good (Phil. ii. 12-13; Col. iii. 12-13). Of special importance is the question whether salvation is absolutely assured to the elect, or whether they may fall from grace. In this connection those passages are relevant which are supposed to support the doctrine of particular predestination. In Eph. i. 4-6, election is foreordained; but a pretemporal division of mankind is not expressed. In Rom. viii. 28-30, the phrase "the called according to his purpose" seems to justify particularism. The sense of the passage turns upon the term "foreknown," which may mean not an effective foreknowledge but a recognition beforehand of individual believers and their predetermination to become Christlike. In Rom. ix.-xi., Israel is to be saved in time in spite of its resistance, and in ix. 22-24 there seems to be present the idea of a predetermination to destruction as well as to glory. Different constructions have been made of the passage: (a) In Rom. ix. the absoluteness of God's will is assumed but later supplemented (Meyer); (b) Paul, in this discussion, has in mind God's part which has its causes as well as its effects in the historical development (Beyschlag); (c) there is an antinomy between a benevolent God and a hostile God, and Rom. ix. teaches a determinism which leaves in doubt whether a particular or a universal predestination is meant (Holtzmann, Pfleiderer); (d) in Rom. ix. election no less than reprobation presupposes belief no less than unbelief, which does not occur without free self-determination. The attitude of man somehow conditions the divine act, and there is no double counsel of election. Ripe for destruction are those who through their own guilt have brought it down upon themselves (Hofmann; B. Weiss). Paul has in mind the historical fate of a people, not the consideration of salvation and destruction. Again, when God hardens the hearts, this is a primitive judgment; necessity to sin is the penalty for yielding to sin. Free self-determination is emphasized as well as divine omnipotence. The Pastoral Epistles continue the same conception.
- (§ 4). Other New Testament Writings. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews starts with the postulate that the believer may fall from grace, and holds that God does no violence to the free will of man; but on the other hand, the impossibility of repentance on the part of those who have lapsed from their faith is represented as the consequence of the divine judgment. Self-hardening is suggested (iii. 7-8, xii. 17), and the passages indicate but a single period of probation for everyone. In Revelation the chosen are those who have accepted their election by faith (xvii. 14). The counsel of salvation is universal. Even the last judgment is intended to call the world to repentance (cf. ix. 20-21, xvi. 9, 11). The elect are those who partake of salvation (cf. I Peter ii. 9). Election pertains to the choosing of the individuals fulfilled in time and is synonymous with calling. The passage I Peter ii. 8 implies a predestinarian historical point of view, but does not teach a predetermination of unbelievers to reprobation. Christians owe their state to regeneration (James i. 18) and to election (ii. 5). In the Acts election of grace is implied (ix. 15, xiii. 48, vii. 42), which presupposes the free self-determination of individuals.
- (G. HOENNICKE.)
II. Church Doctrine: (§ 1). The Eastern Church. Previous to Augustine there was no serious development in Christianity of a theory of predestination. Until then the rich materials of the New Testament, especially of the writings of Paul, remained unutilized or were subject to exegetical discursiveness. That the Greek Fathers stopped short with merely superficial historical revelation and free personality is due to the necessity of asserting over against pagan and Gnostic naturalistic determinism the autonomy of man; and over against the evolutionary primal power, the transcendent personality of God. To them this autonomy was the distinguishing characteristic of human personality, the basis of moral responsibility, a divine gift whereby man might choose that which was well-pleasing to God (Justin, I Apol., x. 63, xliii. 10, II., vii. 3; Eng. transl., ANF, i. 165-66, 216, 177). Sin could not destroy this autonomy, could at most only weaken it and lead it intellectually astray (Origen, Contra Celsum, iii. 66-69; Eng. transl., ANF, iv. 490-492); and Irenæus (Hr., IV., xxxvii. 3; Eng. transl., ANF, i. 519) could place side by side "the autonomy of man and the counsel of God who constraineth not." None of the Greek Fathers conceived a revelation by the Spirit to the individual soul transcending a historical and intellectual presentment of the truth; and though there are vague allusions to the "synergism" of God in the mysteries, with the man of moral endeavor the human will always selects from those operations. God gives the power, man must furnish the will (Clement, Quis dives, xxi.; Strom., VI., xii. 37, VII., vii. 82; Chrysostom on Phil. ii. 13; Origen, De principiis, III., ii. 3; Eng. transl., ANF, iv. 331; and on Rom. iii. 19). There gradually arose, however, a concept of divine foreknowledge which prepared the way for the formal recognition, but also actual rejection, of the doctrine of predestination, based on such passages as II Tim. ii. 25 (cf. Justin, Apol., I, xxviii. 56; Eng. transl., ANF, i.172; Trypho, xlii. 78; Eng. transl., i. 216; Irenæus, Hr., IV., xxix. 2; Eng. transl., ANF, i. 502); and similar meanings were attributed even to Biblical passages of directly opposite tendency. According to Justin (I Apol., lxi. 71; Eng. transl., ANF, i. 183) birth differs from regeneration in that the former is a thing done to man, while the latter he voluntarily chooses. John of Damascus, first formulating the doctrine of predestination (De fide orthodoxa, II., xxix. 95; MPG, xciv. 968-969), distinguished the divine "will preceding," which conditionally aims at the salvation of all men, from the "will following," which restricts the number of the elect in particular to those whom foreknowledge perceives to be worthy. This is yet the orthodox doctrine of the Eastern Church. The Russian Catechism (i. 3) accordingly declares: "Since God foresaw that some would choose the good and others the evil, he predestined the former to glory and rejected the latter."
(§ 2). The Western Church. In the Western Church, up to the time of Augustine, the fixed principles of free will (Tertullian, Adv. Marcionem, ii. 6; Eng. transl., ANF, iii. 301-303; Ambrose, De Jacobo, i. 1) and of divine fore-knowledge (Tertullian, ut sup., ii. 23; Eng. transl., iii. 315; Ambrosiaster on Rom. viii. 29) underwent no essential revision, though so deep was the feeling of the working of grace on the individual that the statements of the Latin Fathers are far more in harmony with the Bible than those of the Greek Fathers. The development of the doctrine of original sin after Tertullian, and the emphasis which Cyprian laid on the Church and her means of grace deepened the concept of the operations of grace, transcending mere illumination of intellect. Cyprian ascribes all good to God (Epist., i. 4; Eng. transl., ANF, v. 276; De oratione Domini, xiv.; Eng. transl., ANF, v. 451); Tertullian, on the other hand, teaches a power of grace which modifies free will (De anima, xxi. 39; Eng. transl., ANF, iii. 202); and Ambrose in passages expresses himself synergistically (In Lucam, i. 10, ii. 84), and also almost in terms of predestination (vii. 27).
(§ 3). Augustine. The deeper Western doctrine of grace was carried to its logical conclusions by Augustine (see AUGUSTINE, SAINT, OF HIPPO), both as a result of personal experience and in consequence of his study of the Bible, especially of the writings of Paul. At first he wavered between the conviction that feeling and experience yielded to the working of grace but that reason clung to free will (cf. Soliloquia, I., i. 5). Even then his religious interest led him to distinguish clearly faith as the root from works as the fruit, thinking to have found the point, in the origin of faith, where free will is alone operative; election was based on the foreseeing of faith (Rom. ix. 11). In 397, however, he came to the conviction that faith itself is a divine gift, and henceforth this belief in a grace that is the source of all good in man underlies Augustine's entire theological system. This attitude of Augustine evoked the opposition of Pelagius (see PELAGIUS, PELAGIANISM), who sought to lead souls to a better life by reminding them of their innate, inalienable power. Man shall acknowledge to himself powers of will and "spiritual riches," "which he shall then be able to employ well when he shall have learned that he has them." The motive force in Augustine's development of the doctrine was not the theory or the practise of the Church, but his personal experience of sin and grace. According to his system, the decisive and inalienable characteristic of man is not abstract freedom of choice but loving union with God (Expositio Psalmorum, v.; Eng. transl., NPNF, 1 ser., viii. 11-15; Conf., I., i. 1, VII., x. 16; Eng. transl., viii. 45, 109-110). Without divine aid (enabling power, adjutorium), transcending natural moral powers, even Adam could not remain good, though this aid gives only the possibility, not the realization, of fellowship with God (De natura et gratia, xlviii. 56; Eng. transl., v. 140; De correptione et gratia, xi. 32; cf. x. 27; xii. 34, 38; Eng. transl., v. 482-487). God gave first a good will to man, in which, however, he could not continue without the gift of enabling power; and that man should be willing to continue God left to his free will. This free will is inherent in human personality, nor can man, from the point of view of love, be considered as acting under compulsion, so that the guilt of sin falls on him alone (De gratia et libero arbitrio, ii. 4, xviii. 37; Eng. transl., v. 445, 459). This delivers his idea of free will from pantheistic naturalism; on the other hand, his religious interest will not permit him to emancipate free will from God. Hence, initial will is rather a divine content for its further development, by which it wins its freedom in a higher sense as an autonomous agent in the sphere of life. The lower form of freedom was but a transition point to true freedom (xi. 32, xii. 33; cf. x. 28; Eng. transl., v. 484-485; De prdestinatione sanctorum, xv. 30; Eng. transl., v. 505-506). From the sin of Adam, in virtue of the unity of the human race, arose the necessity for the condemnation of all mankind ("mass of perdition"), salvation being possible only through the second Adam, Christ, for all united with him (Contra duas epistolas Pelagianorum, IV., iv. 7; Eng. transl., v. 419; De correptione et gratia, x. 26, 28; Eng. transl., v. 183; De natura et gratia, v. 5; Eng. transl., v. 123). This historic dispensation of salvation is carried out so rigidly that even the patriarchs were saved only by the sight of the risen Christ on whom they believed (De peccato originali, xxvi. 30-31; Eng. transl., v. 248). The Church of all ages, historically founded on Christ, hides the elect within itself, unlike the lost world (De civitate Dei, xv. 1; Eng. transl., ii. 284). In the empiric admission to "the body of Christ," set forth already in the reception of infant baptism (De natura et gratia, viii. 9; Eng. transl., v. 124), God's free dispensation to his elect discloses itself (De correptione et gratia, viii. 42; Eng. transl., v. 489). In his writings on predestination Augustine considers, for the most part, only those whom the grace of God leads to his kingdom of their own free will; and even the Church is the body of the elect only in a general sense, since it contains "vessels to honor" and "vessels to dishonor," the latter not belonging fully to the Church (De baptismo, VII., li. 99). The basis of the idea that election is not accomplished merely by external incorporation into the Church, but fulfils itself finally by the personal operation of grace, was afforded by the experience of "grace free but not freed" (De correptione et gratia, xiii. 41-42; Eng. transl., v. 488-489), and the formally free will must, therefore, be filled with good (De gratia et libero arbitrio, xv. 31; Eng. transl., v. 456-457). By his experience of conversion Augustine found his free will instantly, whereby he submitted absolutely in divine service (Conf., ix. 1; Eng. transl., i. 129). From which the conclusion follows that "the human will does not attain grace by freedom, but rather freedom by grace" (De Correptione et gratia, viii. 17; Eng. transl., v. 478). Faith is especially, from first to last, the work of God in man, so that "the elect are not elected because they believe, but they are elected that they may believe" (De prdestinatione sanctorum, viii. 16, xvii. 34; cf. ii. 3-4, xx. 40; Eng. transl., v. 506, 514-515, 499, 517-518). God chose a "certain number" from the "mass of perdition" (De correptione et gratia, x. 26, xiii. 39; cf. vii. 12; Eng. transl., v. 482, 487-488, 476; De dono perseveranti, xiv. 35; Eng. transl., v. 539; De prdestinatione sanctorum, xii. 23; Eng. transl., v. 509). For Augustine there is thus a division only on the whole, never with reference to individual persons. The former sense of foreknowledge continues, but now comes to be applied to God's own operations of grace, not to human resolves (xiv. 31, xix. 38), and, so far as the elect are concerned, foreknowledge is thus identical with predestination (De dono perseveranti, xix. 47-48; Eng. transl., v. 545). As to the others, emphasis on the elect relieved the necessity of mentioning the non-elect. "Predestination can not exist without foreknowledge, although foreknowledge may exist without predestination" (De prdestinatione sanctorum, x. 19; Eng. transl., v. 507). This distinction steers clear of supralapsarianism even as to the fall; for God foreknew the fall of Adam, but did not compel it (De correptione et gratia, xii; 37; Eng. transl., v. 487). After the fall, the non-elect were simply left in the "mass of perdition," from which no one had any claim to be saved (De gratia et libero arbitrio, xxi. 42-43, xxiii. 45; cf. De correptione et gratia, xiii. 42; De dono perseveranti, xiii. 33; Eng. transl., v. 462-463, 489, 538). These variants of emphasis spring from Augustine's fundamental postulate that all good is of God and all evil of free will, a view aided by his Platonic notion that evil is essentially a defect, the "not-being" (De libero arbitrio, II., xx. 54). Later in the development of Augustine's thought he was able to postulate predestination to destruction, even if not to sin (Enchiridion, c.; Eng. transl., iii. 269; cf. De civitate Dei, XXII., xxiv. 5; Eng. transl., ii. 504). I Tim. ii. 4 means that God does not will that every man be saved, but that no man is saved apart from his will, and "all men" refers to the whole race in its varieties (Enchiridion, ciii.; Eng. transl., iii. 269). The carrying-out of the counsel of grace to the elect is secured by admonitory preaching (De correptione et gratia, vii. 13; Eng. transl., v. 477). This entire treatise aims to prove that the general historical and the individual operations of grace are not mutually exclusive (xiv. 43; Eng. transl., v. 489); hence room is left for free moral activity to such an extent that Augustine repeatedly speaks of "merits" though these rest, in the last analysis, on divine activity (e.g., De gratia et libero arbitrio, vi. 15; Eng. transl., v. 450). The "grace" of Augustine is a divine power to which man owes moral "vivification" or "infusion of love," of which remission of sins appears to be a natural concomitant (cf. De gratia et libero arbitrio, xi. 23-24; Eng. transl., v. 453-454). Behind human preaching God's secret instruction works on the elect (De prdestinatione sanctorum, viii. 13; Eng. transl., v. 504-505). In view of the guidance in experience of the elect, Augustine distinguishes various degrees of grace (De gratia et libero arbitrio, xvii. 33; Eng. transl., v. 457-458); the aid to those in divine communion exceeds the first enabling power as actuality surpasses possibility. Not only can human will resist the divine will (De correptione et gratia, xiv. 45; Eng. transl., v. 489-490), but God alone grants the gift of perseverance to his elect (De dono perseveranti, i. 1; Eng. transl., v. 526), who, without this gift, are not truly elect (De correptione et gratia, vii. 14, ix. 20-21, xii. 36; De prdestinatione sanctorum, xvi. 32; Eng. transl., v. 477, 479-480, 486, 513).
(§ 4). Post-Augustinian Views. While the authority of Augustine, combined with the deeper character of the Western doctrine of grace, easily overthrew Pelagianism, so that even the Semipelagians (see SEMIPELAGIANISM) disowned the anathematized heresies of Pelagius, Augustine's doctrine of predestination fell far short of acceptance. Jerome, Hilary, and Faustus of Riez (qq.v.) adhered to free will, nor did the Semi-Pelagians make it clear that admission to Christianity through baptism, regarded as necessary to salvation, signified predestination. Later followers of Augustine seem to have reduced the operation of grace as based on divine election to this point, for the Synod of Orange (q.v.) in 529 (Mansi, Concilia, viii. 735 sqq.), in effect, denied a predestined reprobation in connection with its commitment on the grace of baptism, affirming that the divine election had designed no division among the baptized. Although an essential thought of Augustine was thus sacrificed, yet the way was opened to reunite on the middle ground represented by the old theory of foreknowledge which was facilitated for the followers of Augustine in that he had never formally assailed the traditional teaching of foreknowledge. The new content he had given the older doctrine was by no means firmly established, so that later it could be affirmed much more emphatically than by Augustine himself that foreknowledge of' evil was not a predestination "imposed by necessity upon the human will" (Fulgentius of Ruspe, Ad Monimum, i. 7; MPL, lxv. 157). Except for a number of obscure deviations, no new concepts were developed during the succeeding centuries. On the Augustinian side the only event of interest was the attempt of the unknown author of the fifth century De vocatione omnium gentium (cf. MPL, li. 664 sqq.) to reconcile the particularism of election with a serious universalism of the will to save, and by faith he rose superior to the paradox that God alone works salvation and gives it to all men, though all are not saved. On the opposing side certain passages of Liber prdestinatus (iii. 1; MPL, liii. 629-632; see PRÆDESTINATUS, LIBER) mark the first attempt to refer predestination from human persons to the general plan of salvation. A new factor first entered into the controversy in the ninth century with Gottschalk (see GOTTSCHALK, 1). His formula of a twofold predestination applying equally to those who had thus far been distinguished as "foreordained" and "foreknown," however disturbing to theologians who officially recognized Augustine but were far from sharing his views, was, nevertheless, a reproduction of Augustine's own theory. Even for his supralapsarianism he could appeal not only to Augustine (ut sup.) "but also to Fulgentius (De veritate prdestinationis, iii. 5) and to the declaration of Isidore of Seville (Sent. II., vi. 1; MPL, lxxxiii. 606): "there is a twofold predestination, of the elect to blessedness, and of the reprobate to death." Gottschalk's theological views, however, would scarcely have brought condemnation upon him had he not employed the doctrine of predestination, in connection with his own experience, to assert the independence of the inner man from the Church. The numerous followers of Augustine who gave Gottschalk literary support, did not accept the doctrine of the assurance of salvation, so that Ratramnus (q.v.), like Augustine, maintained that no man might presume to consider himself one of the elect (De prdestinatione, ii.). In the mass of writings produced at this period the sole new element is the multiplication of ambiguous formulas with which each one sought to make his own divergent opinions pass as Augustinian. A master of this type was Hincmar of Reims (q.v.), who emphasized, in the theses of the Synod of Chiersey (853), the universality of salvation, but as regards free will and predestination advanced Semipelagian views in Augustinian terminology, affirming that "God elects from the mass of perdition after his foreknowledge those whom through grace he predestined to life; others, moreover, whom he abandons in the mass of perdition, by a just judgment, he foreknew would perish but did not predestine that they should perish" (cf. Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, iv., 217-218). Rabanus Maurus (q.v.) declared that "God does not predestine all that he foreknows; for he only foreknows evil, he does not predestine it; but good he both foreknows and predestines" (Epist. ad. Notingum, MPL, cxii. 1532-33). At the same time he openly expressed Semipelagian views on free will (ut sup., pp. 1541, 1553; Epist. ad. Hincmarum, p. 1524). In the controversy only resolute Augustinians spoke in unmistakable terms, although the most of them had changed the Augustinian point of view. The interest is no longer in the anthropomorphic problem, admitting of various irreconcilable views, but in the construction of a simple, speculative formula of God. Gottschalk manifests a decided tendency to determinism, wishing to avoid foreknowledge in the formulation of a conception of God immutable, a trend found in milder form in Ratramnus (De prdestinatione, ii.), who applies the twofold predestination of God simply to his all-embracing government of the world. On this scheme, which now appeared to receive a pantheistic application, Scotus Erigena (q.v.) based his De prdestinatione, though in fact he agreed far more with Gottschalk's determinism than with the current Semipelagianism.
(§ 5). Scholastic Theology. The Gottschalk controversy ended with the transformation of a vital problem into a scholastic theory, a character which was retained throughout the Middle Ages. During the following centuries the prevailing doctrine, while carefully avoiding both Semipelagian terms and the extreme deductions of Augustinianism (irresistible grace and perseverance), exalted the operation of grace alone and constantly repeated the formulas of Augustine on foreknowledge and predestination to good, but mere foreknowledge of evil (Anselm, De concordia prscienti prdestinationis cum libero arbitrio, i. 7; MPL, clviii. 517; Peter Lombard, Sent. I., xl. 1, 4; MPL, cxcii. 631; Thomas Aquinas, Summa, I., xxiii. 5). At the same time it was held, with Augustine, that the will of fallen man remained free, but was made and maintained good only by grace, the gift of God (Anselm, ut sup., iii. 3-4; Bernard of Clairvaux, De gratia et libero arbitrio, xiv. 46-47, MPL, clxxxii. 1026-27; Peter Lombard, ut sup., II., xxviii. 4; Thomas Aquinas, ut sup., I., cv. 4). This would indicate thoroughgoing predestinarianism, were it not for a sentence of Bernard (ut sup., x. 35) according to which those fallen in this life by their free will may be saved by divine aid, but not after the resurrection. Since, however, perseverance was now placed in the future life, it became possible not only for Adam but for the elect even to fall from grace; and the Augustinian doctrine of two forms of divine aid (possibility and actuality; ut sup.) was disregarded. From this view only Thomas Aquinas is to be excepted, and his more deterministic position (cf. Summa, I., xxiii. 7) henceforth was the pillar of genuine Augustinianism. A complete change was inaugurated by Duns Scotus (q.v.) whose widely divergent expressions on predestination can be explained only on the assumption of an equally justifiable twofold point of view. The will is by nature the sole cause of its own acts, so that even God does not work immediately on the human will (Sent., II., xxv. 2, xxxvii. 2, 8, III., iii. 21); therefore, the will of God, being determined by nothing beyond itself, is the ultimate cause of everything that happens in the universe and of human fortunes. Duns Scotus gave the first impulse to the undisguised "Pelagianism" of the late Middle Ages with his doctrines of "merit of the fit" and "act of love," which would tend to shift all back to foreknowledge. By his emphasis on the absolute freedom of the divine will he furnished weapons for the uncompromising opponents of this entire development. During the centuries immediately preceding the Reformation the status of the doctrine of grace was but superficial, except where the profounder view was guarded by the Augustinian friars. Early in the fourteenth century, the Thomist Thomas Bradwardine (q.v.) assailed Pelagianism, and was followed by John Wyclif (q.v.), an Augustinian of the most deterministic type, who identified the "true Church" with the "number of the predestined" (De ecclesia, i.) and denied that the pope could be the head of such a body since "without special revelation" he could not even know whether he was a member of it.
(§ 6). Later Roman Catholic View. The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on predestination was unchanged by the Reformation. In its doctrine of grace the Council of Trent returned to the position of earlier scholasticism (vi. 5, 16), but as regards predestination contented itself with warding off deductions perilous to the Church (vi. 9 sqq.). The doctrine itself remained fundamentally undecided, so that toward the end of the sixteenth century a controversy could break out between the Thomistic Dominicans and the Semipelagian Jesuits. A Congregatio de auxiliis gratiæ sat for nine years without being able to condemn either party as heretical. When, however, in the following century Jansenism renewed the unabridged teachings of Augustine, the papal condemnations of Jansen (see JANSEN, CORNELIUS, JANSENISM) and Pasquier Quesnel (q.v.) not only rejected the doctrine of possible salvation independent of the Church, but also a series of genuine Augustinian concepts, such as irresistible grace. In recent years there has been an unmistakable tendency toward the Semipelagian Jesuit position. It is held, with tacit recommendation of the theory of foreknowledge, that "the Church never wishes to resolve that controversy; each one, therefore, may without impairing the faith hold that opinion which appears more probable and seems to aid the better in resolving the difficulties of unbelievers and heretics" (G. Perrone, Prlectiones theologic, 47th ed., Turin, 1896.)
(§ 7). The Reformers. In the early days of Protestantism, predestination, as the expression of the power of grace from personal experience, opposed individual certainty of salvation to the claims of the Church, and formed the one central dogma common to all the Reformers. Before beginning his career as a Reformer, Luther had expressed an Augustinianism which theoretically opposed the rigid deductions of the system; but later he passed far beyond the position of Augustine to an actual supralapsarianism which regarded even the fall of Adam as divinely decreed. He included in the nature of man, or the enabling grace of Augustine, not only possible but actual union with God. For the theoretic maintenance of this position there was at hand the doctrine of the absoluteness of the divine will, as posited not only by Duns Scotus and the nominalists who followed him, but also by Laurentius Valla and (for Zwingli) by the mystic pantheist Pico della Mirandola (see PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA, GIOVANNI). The argument was, accordingly, carried not only from the empirical servitude of the sinful will to the all-efficient grace of God, but also from the all-comprehending activity of God to the inconceivability of free will. All the Reformers proceeded from the assumption that this doctrine alone was in harmony with a truly living faith. Luther was led to make a systematic presentation of his doctrine of predestination by the De libero arbitrio of Erasmus (Basel, 1524), to which he replied in his De servo arbitrio (Wittenberg, 1525). Without these predecessors, Zwingli would scarcely have advanced extreme views in his Anamnema de providentia Dei (1530). Starting from the postulates that God, as the unchangeable good and infinite power, reigns by his providence throughout all that transpires in the universe, he affirmed that man is not different from nature by having an undetermined will, but by a capability of knowing God and entering into fellowship with him. Such knowledge is realized in the irrevocable law which is the expression of the divine will. The law, however, can not overcome the conflict of spirit and flesh, because of which man had to fall, but only discloses it. It follows that the fall was necessary to the complete divine revelation. God did not merely foresee but caused it. This act was not revolting to God's ethical being; for he is above law. God's goodness manifested itself first in the fall but especially in salvation. Should election be based on foreknowledge (which is excluded) God would be degraded into man. Luther's later views display the fact that the newly acquired faith did not explain the qualities of the regenerate by the almighty working of divine grace but realized the grace of God, through the preaching of the words of promise. As a matter of fact, however, Luther's type of faith, based on the Scriptures and the sacraments, often emphasized the objective efficiency of the means of grace in such a way as would ultimately undermine the dogma of predestination. Zwingli, on the other hand, derived the assurance of salvation not merely through the preaching of the Word, but also through the efficacious Word; that is, through the personal life of faith awakened by God. Though he was thus led to depreciate the means of grace, the doctrine of predestination with him and his successors remained more permanently associated with the consciousness of faith. The divergent estimate at- tached to the external means of grace, moreover, caused Zwingli to weaken the bounds of the Church, so that he could teach the salvation of certain heathen and of unbaptized children dying in infancy; while the identification of the "invisible Church" with the elect, only occasionally made by Luther, formed an important element of his theology. Luther's doctrine of predestination underlies his Catechism (ii. 3) and the Augsburg Confession (arts. v., xix.); but the Confessio variata of 1540 effaced these traces, and after 1532 Melanchthon taught a synergistic and universalistic system, with special endeavor to save the seriousness of preaching unto salvation. Of the more important theologians of the century, however, he was followed only by the Reformed Johannes à Lasco (q.v.), who, however, adopted Zwingli's views on the salvation of unbaptized children. Meanwhile the man had appeared who was to make predestination the necessary basis of belief for those who should follow him. The teachings of John Calvin (q.v.) on election are only what may be found scattered in Martin Butzer's commentaries, but his systematic ability enabled him to weave these elements into a doctrine, and to connect them indissolubly with the foundations of Protestantism. His very avoidance of paradoxical speculation and his rigid determination to adhere strictly to the Bible made his doctrine an immovable pillar of the system. Presented skilfully as a support of the doctrine of justification, yet it rests securely in his fundamental premise of the divine glory. Calvin is far removed from Zwingli who, somewhat close to the pantheists, postulates an a priori necessity to sin for the glory of God; but he finds that to set forth God's glory rejection must follow no less than election. Though nearer to Augustine than Luther on the original state, yet he maintains supralapsarianism (Institutes, I., xv. 8, III., xxiii. 8). The absolute decree, irresistible grace, and the gift of perseverance are prominent (III., xxi. 5). He shares with Zwingli the need of the certainty of salvation in the personal life which dispenses with an objectivity of the means of grace in the Lutheran sense of the term. God operates through them "in an orderly way," their efficacy being due to the working of the divine spirit, with the resulting formula that the means of salvation are efficacious only to the elect. The Christian who would be assured of his salvation must, therefore, test the operation of the Word in himself (III., xxiv. 4), so that both practically and theoretically belief in election serves to awaken living faith and to elevate the moral nature (III., xxiii. 12, xxiv. 5) The actual members of the Church are, of course, only the elect.
- (§ 8). Post-Reformation History. In the Reformed confessions of the sixteenth century the doctrine of election was set forth both in harsh (Confession de foi, 1559) and in mild form (E. Bullinger's Confessio Helvetica posterior, art. x., 1562), or presupposed in their practical consequences (Heidelberg Catechism, 53-54, 86). For several decades there were no controversies with the Lutherans, nor was it until the struggle between Johann Marbach and Hieronymus Zanchi (qq.v.) at Strasburg in 1561 that the Gnesio-Lutherans were found to have deviated from Luther. Two years later the Formula of Concord (q.v.) was drawn up, positing the universality of the divine promises, the necessity of moral endeavor, and election as the foundation of faith, betraying only by a single word that the doctrine of the perseverance of the elect had been abandoned. On these affirmations is constructed the eleventh article of the Formula of Concord, which, aiming to set limits to various tendencies, declares that election is not based on the foreknowledge of faith, and, on the other side, that the earnestness of the "universal promise" admits of no hidden will of God at variance with his revealed will. At the same time no universal purpose of salvation to include every individual is implied; the heathen are doomed to just judgment, and only where God causes his Word to be preached is it intended for all. The elect are all those placed by baptism in the state of grace, though it is possible afterward to lapse. Real predestination doctrine vanishes and the objectivity of the means of grace only serves to cloak a refined synergism. In the Reformed Church, the synergism of the Arminians (q.v.) led to a reaffirmation of the doctrine at the Synod of Dort (q.v.), where it also became evident how indissolubly the historical Reformed mode of faith had become one with this fundamental element. The harshness of its deductions, however, called for modifications, not only in Germany, but also on genuinely Calvinistic soil. While Theodore Beza (q.v.) had far overleaped Calvin by declaring (Qustiones theologic, i. 108, 1580) that "predestination is an eternal and immutable decree whereby he [God] determined to be glorified by saving some in Christ by mere grace, and by damning others in Adam and by his own just judgment," the school of Saumur, on the other hand, began to develop the ethical side of Calvinism, the "hypothetical universalism" of Moïse Amyraut (q.v.; see also PAJON, CLAUDE), which had absolutely no connection with the theory of foreknowledge, at least leaving the foundations of religious experience entirely unassailed. The harsh antithesis of the Helvetic Consensus Formula (q.v.) in 1675 was shortlived. In England the Thirty-Nine Articles (q.v.) set forth the doctrine of election clearly and mildly, without allusion to reprobation; nor was the attempt to give official sanction to the harsh Calvinism of the Lambeth Articles (q.v.) of 1595 successful. The latter, however, were practically incorporated in the Westminster Confession of 1647; but even in Calvinistic circles the logical deductions of the system have been felt oppressive, so that in 1903 the Presbyterians of the United States introduced certain modifications of statement into the Westminster Confession, which left that document essentially unaltered, yet declared the faith of the Church in the all-embracing love of God, the election of children dying in infancy, and the duty of missionary activity (cf. Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A., 1903, pp. 124 sqq., where the changes and additions are given in official form). See CALVINISM.
- (E. F. KARL MÜLLER.)