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Ephesians 1:4-6
Friday, January 04 2013

Predestination...

We believers are chosen as the elect to be adopted by God the Father:

In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. –Ephesians 1:4-6, NAB

What is predestination?  God's foreknowledge of all that will happen - including our acceptance, or rejection, of His grace.  Before the beginning of the world, God knew which path each of us would eventually take.

So how does predestination affect each of us?  Does God choose to save some and send others to Hell?  No.  It is our free will that makes the decision, God simply knows what choice we will make beforehand.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

"God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end." -CCC #1037

Scholars dating back to some of the early Church fathers debate how predestination actually works.  If God wills that each of us goes to Heaven (and not Hell), why would anyone not go to Heaven?  Our own free will.  Yes, God wills that we go to Heaven, but He also wills that we have a choice.

Some are bothered by the idea that God knew our fate long before we were born, but that fate still relies on our choices.  You are given the choice to accept or reject salvation through Christ.  God already knows which path you will take, but the choice is yours, nonetheless.

Great theological minds have struggled with this very topic, so do not be upset if you do not grasp it fully (I sure don't).  What should matter to us is knowing that a) God wants you to be saved, and b) He gives you the freedom to choose to accept it.  Will you choose to accept God's grace and the path to salvation through Christ?

 

Note:  If you want to learn more about predestination, search for Thomist Predestination (based on St. Thomas Aquinas's teaching) through your favorite search engine.  It is recognized by many Catholic scholars as a correct view on the topic.  More can be learned here.

 

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