What is Orthodoxy's view on predestination and why is it correct?

vraph

Pigeon
I've recently been reading a lot of Calvinist literature and have become interested about the role of predestination in the process of salvation. What is Orthodoxy's view on the matter and why is it correct?
 

Blade Runner

Ostrich
Orthodox
There is no view on this. The reaction to the idea of "predestination" from an Orthodox point of view would be to call to remembrance that God has saved human beings from the last enemy, death. That is, He has created a path to resurrection into life with Him, as evidenced by the love and work of Jesus Christ. In that sense, and I have liked this term instead, he has pre-designated (fore-ordained) humans to participate in His life. Can they reject Him? Yes, because God does not force or coerce anyone to do anything, because these are His attributes. Predestination implies that free will ultimately does not exist, and in that sense a portion of people are in the same type of unreasonable situation as put forward by universalists, another heretical position.
 

MichaelWitcoff

Hummingbird
Orthodox
As far as I understand it - and I don’t believe there’s an Orthodox dogma on this - we have free will to choose whether to cooperate with God, and God knows ahead of time what we’re going to choose. His foreknowledge of our salvation does not negate our free will. But in the Calvinist doctrine we are all just robots with no say in the matter, which ironically makes their preaching pointless since they can’t change our preordained destiny anyway. The biggest danger of Calvinism is that, as you’ll notice, every single one you ever meet will be very convinced they’re “one of the Elect.” You’ll never meet a Calvinist who believes in predestination and also believes that they, themselves, are predestined to damnation. In short, it inflames pride and a feeling of “being special” that becomes very apparent the more you talk with them.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
I don't see what benefit there is to reading or preaching Calvinistic predestination. Telling people they were chosen before they were born for Heaven or Hell doesn't lead anyone to repent, most will just shrug and say "hope it's the former!" It's always struck me as a way to flatter the overly scholastic-minded and make certain people feel special. If someone can convince themselves they were predestined among the elect, that's dangerous as even if they continue going to church, their pride may be inflated.
 

tractor

Woodpecker
Orthodox
The concept of predestination makes Jesus Christ's death and resurrection look like the biggest prank ever committed. So IMHO, predestination implies that Jesus was a deceiver. I don't know what Calvin'S thoughts on Satan are but I know that Satan is the deceiver. Jesus said take your cross and follow Me, He said don't be like the Pharisees, love your enemies and so on. Why bother teaching all these things if the damned won't stop sinning and the "elect" are saved anyway?
 

DeusLuxMeaEst

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
Predestination seems like arrogance and even a form of divination regarding God's will.

Look at me God chose me!

It doesn't take into account any choice at all.

It's like saying that you can live your life an infinite amount of times and always get the same result.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
I randomly came across this passage in the Wisdom of Sirach 15 last night. It seems obviously incompatible with the idea of predestination and also dualism.

Do not say, "I fell away because of the Lord,"
For He will not do what He hates.
Do not say, "It was He who led me astray,"
For He has no need of a sinful man.
The Lord hates all abominations,
And they are not loved by those who fear Him.
He Himself created man in the beginning
And left him in the counsel of his will.
If you will, you will keep the commandments
And faithfully do His good pleasure.

He has set before you fire and water;
If you will, stretch forth your hand.
Life and death are before mankind,
And whichever he chooses, it will be given to him.

For great is the wisdom of the Lord;
He is mighty in power and sees all things.
His eyes are upon those who fear Him,
And He Himself knows every deed of man.
He has commanded no one to be ungodly,
And He has given no one license to sin.
 

Blade Runner

Ostrich
Orthodox
I think the bigger point, in addition, is that as sovereign over all, God knew when he created the world in the conditions that he set forth (which are according to his attributes) - that at the end of the story there would remain those who are His and know His voice, and others who rebel and don't want to be with Him. So the usage of the word and the idea of predestination or ordaining those whom He has called, is just stating what we already know from the scriptures: in the end, some are sheep, and some are goats. It's actually not even controversial, like most of these supposedly hot topics, when you actually consider it fully and in the larger context.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
I randomly came across this passage in the Wisdom of Sirach 15 last night. It seems obviously incompatible with the idea of predestination and also dualism.
Now you know partly why many Protestants don't consider the Wisdom of Sirach canonical. They removed books that were part of canon for over 1000 years seemingly because they didn't fit with their new philosophy, such as that and 2 Maccabees which includes prayer for the dead and explains the basis for it.
 

Prores

Pigeon
Orthodox
Now you know partly why many Protestants don't consider the Wisdom of Sirach canonical. They removed books that were part of canon for over 1000 years seemingly because they didn't fit with their new philosophy, such as that and 2 Maccabees which includes prayer for the dead and explains the basis for it.

Yes Wisdom of Sirach has wonderful passages that Protestants have been deprived of

29 A man may be known by his look, and one that hath understanding by his countenance, when thou meetest him. 30 A man’s attire, and excessive laughter, and gait, shew what he is.

Sorry to hi jack thread
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher

The argument is not over whether predestination exists, the Bible says that it does. The argument is on what basis does God predestine? His Will or man's will? The Bible gives us the answer to that too.

The classic Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic position is that God predestined based on foreknowledge that someone would accept the Gospel (Conditional Election).
 
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GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
But in the Calvinist doctrine we are all just robots with no say in the matter, which ironically makes their preaching pointless since they can’t change our preordained destiny anyway.
Most of the Elders in my church have done missionary work in foreign countries. The reason being is that God commanded us to evangelize. In no way does that negate God's decree on predestination. God has means to carry out His Will, namely the Church, but He does not rely only on His means to fulfill His Will as He can work without mediation.

In some circles, you see what is called Hyper-Calvinism (Frozen Chosen) where they neglect the command to evangelize because it's all predestined anway.
 

OrthoSerb

Pigeon
Orthodox
Now you know partly why many Protestants don't consider the Wisdom of Sirach canonical. They removed books that were part of canon for over 1000 years seemingly because they didn't fit with their new philosophy, such as that and 2 Maccabees which includes prayer for the dead and explains the basis for it.
Interesting, I didn't know that. It did cross my mind what the Protestant interpretation would be whilst I was reading the text.
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
The concept of predestination makes Jesus Christ's death and resurrection look like the biggest prank ever committed.
I'm going to bow out of this thread because it's not targeted at me but I would like to mention that the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ were predestined, perhaps the first and foremost things that were predestined.

I would encourage you to read the Book of Acts, chapter 4 specifically but I'll cite it here for posterity's sake:

Acts 4:27-28
English Standard Version

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

I would then cite more Scripture: Revelation which states that 'Christ was slain before the foundation of the world' and more from Acts.
My intention is not to cause more strife but I find it needless to speculate on maybes where the Bible has already elucidated so clearly for us.
If you would like to follow up on the natural questions and discuss them in a fair, open and honest way then we can talk more on the Protestantism vs Orthodoxy thread.
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
In addition to what's already been brought up, an important distinction that I think tends to get overlooked in these conversations is that of individual vs. collective predestination.

As individualist westerners we have the tendency to read the Bible (and especially St. Paul's epistles) as though they were written to us, as individuals sitting at home reading our Bibles, rather than to the Church at a given city. Most of the time (such as in Romans 8), St. Paul is offering encouragement to congregations beset by Judaizer influence, counteracting the propaganda they've heard and reassuring them that just because they are Gentiles their inclusion in Christ's Kingdom is not happenstance, nor are they second-class citizens, but the salvation of Gentiles is what God has always intended to accomplish by His plan of salvation. With this in mind, much, if not all, of the tension surrounding this subject which emerged in the theology of early-ish modern Western Europe melts away.

This could also explain why this debate never emerged in Orthodox lands, which have always inclined toward a more collectivist social orientation (along with most of the world, in general) compared to the historically anomalous individualism of Western Europe.
 

The Beast1

Peacock
Gold Member
I've recently been reading a lot of Calvinist literature and have become interested about the role of predestination in the process of salvation. What is Orthodoxy's view on the matter and why is it correct?
There was a puritan spiritualist, Anne Hutchinson who caused a comical schism in the colonies during the late 1630s. Her opinion on predestination is one that stuck with me. She said something to the effect of, "What's the point of living a holy life if you're path to heaven or hell is already predestined?"

In effect, you really don't have to do anything because you'll either end up in heaven or hell. Not arguing for this. The concept of predestination seems off to me and reeks of old fashioned Greek fatalism.
 
I'm a Calvinist. Many of the objections here are often addressed by one of the foremost modern Calvinists, James White. For example, we would also deny Greek fatalism, or the quasi antinomianism of Anne Hutchinson. Sola Scriptura doesn't mean we can believe whatever we want about "what scripture means to me" or whatever nonsense. Not accusations, but most of the arguments against Calvinism that I encounter are bashing strawmen from Geneva.
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
Considering that James White won't engage with Orthodox thinking at all and prone to making excuses about how it's supposedly impossible for westerners to understand, his opinion is worth very little to me.
 
Considering that James White won't engage with Orthodox thinking at all and prone to making excuses about how it's supposedly impossible for westerners to understand, his opinion is worth very little to me.
He would be a source when it comes to understanding Calvinism.

And I know what you're talking about when it comes to his engagement with Orthodoxy; I assure you it's a bit more nuanced than that.

Regardless, my point is that many have knocked down strawmen rather than engage Reformed theology.
 
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