Predestination vs Free Will

Predestination vs Free Will

Predestination is a notion that certain life events and outcomes are predetermined by a higher power, like God’s will. This implies that a person’s fate has already been decided and can thus not be altered.

As opposed to this belief, free will posits that individuals possess the liberty to select their own paths, and that their decisions and actions can have effects on the ultimate outcome.

The complex issue of predestination versus free will has been extensively discussed throughout numerous religious circles. Specific faiths, for instance Calvinism in Christianity, strongly promote the concept of predestination whilst others, like Arminianism, adhere to the power of individual choice. It is worthy of consideration that multiple belief systems can hold assorted outlooks on this topic, and one denomination may possess a range of opinions.

Predestination vs Free Will

It is noteworthy to point out that predestination and free will are not incompatible, as some ideologies incorporate elements of both. Believing in predestination does not indicate the absence of free will, nor does free will preclude the notion of predestination. Several spiritual doctrines value both concepts and their respective ratio can be highly disputed among different circles.


It is widely accepted among some religions that a higher power determines events or outcomes in one’s life, typically referred to as God. This concept of predestination posits that the journey of a person’s life and their ultimate destiny has already been predetermined, and cannot be altered in any way.

These beliefs stem from the notion that God is all-knowing and omnipotent, with everything occurring according to His divine plan.

Examples of Religious Teachings That Support Predestination

In the monotheistic faith of Christianity, Calvinism is a theological school of thought that focuses on the concept of God’s absolute rule and the doctrine of predestination. According to this belief, God has predetermined who will be saved and damned; this decision is not based on someone’s own behavior or free will.

Islam also holds fate as an integral part of its divine plan for the universe and for humans alike. Muslims accept that all scenarios, even those generated by humans, are ordained by God, being rooted in His power and wisdom.

Counter-examples That Challenge the Idea of Predestination

The concept of repentance in Christianity and the idea of free will in Islam both focus on how individuals can shape their destiny. In Christianity, repentance is the act of turning away from sin towards God.

This suggests that people have the capacity to choose and change their life paths. In Islam, it is believed that humans have the power to make their own choices and that those decisions determine the outcomes for them. It’s important to note that predestination is not a commonly accepted view in any faith, and various interpretations exist on this subject.

Free Will

Individuals have the capacity to choose their own paths and bear the consequences of those choices. This concept of autonomy and self-governance is based on the notion that humans think, reason, and make decisions autonomously. Free will implies that individuals possess the ability to exercise power over their destiny, taking responsibility for their actions. In other words, free will affords people the opportunity to direct their lives according to their own agency.

Examples of Religious Teachings That Support Free Will

In Christianity, Arminianism stresses the sovereignty of human will. Rather than predetermining salvation or damnation, God has granted humans with the capacity to decide their own destiny through the exercising of free choice.

Comparably, Buddhism emphasizes the autonomy of the individual in controlling their fate, believing that by taking control of their actions, one can rise above suffering and attain enlightenment.

Counter-examples That Challenge the Idea of Free Will

In many religions, the idea of predestination and karma is debated. Predestination, a concept found in some Jewish teachings, promotes the notion that certain events or outcomes are preordained by God, putting into question the idea of free will for individuals.

Similarly, Hinduism’s concept of karma asserts that individuals bear responsibility for their own actions, with repercussions both in their present and future lives, thus questioning free will once more. Though both religious beliefs challenge free will, there does not exist a single, universally accepted stance on this topic, with differing interpretations among adherents.

The relationship between predestination and free will can be difficult to navigate, as various religious teachings have different perspectives on this topic. In Calvinism, part of the Christian tradition, predestination takes center stage and suggests that one’s life is predetermined and unchangeable.
Meanwhile, Arminianism, another Christian teaching, places a greater emphasis on free will, asserting that a person has control over their fate through their choices and decisions. Other belief systems,
such as Islamic theology, bridge both ideas and suggest that while certain aspects of existence are predetermined, the individual still maintains the freedom to make their own choices. Ultimately, understanding how predestination and free will interact within a particular faith requires an in-depth exploration of its doctrines and teachings.

Are Free Will and Predestination Mutually Exclusive?

Understanding the relationship between free will and predestination can be complex, as various religions offer their own take on this subject. Some think that these ideas are exclusive of one another, which means that if a higher power pre-ordains certain events, then humanity would not have any autonomy in dictating their own lives.
However, other faiths believe both components can work side-by-side. For instance, some incorporate both predestination and free will into their theology, positioning God as controlling some aspects while allowing people to make choices that affect their destinies. It is worth considering that predestination may not necessarily mean determinism, suggesting instead that humans can still choose even if outcomes are pre-determined.

Does the Bible Say we Have Free Will Or  Predestination?

The Bible, specifically the Christian Bible, contains passages that can be interpreted as advocating both concepts of free will and predestination. Deuteronomy 30:19 states that it is our choice to shape our destiny, proclaiming “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” Joshua 24:15 further reinforces this sentiment by asking us to pick whom we will serve.
On the other hand, Romans 8:29-30 suggests our fate may be predetermined by God, asserting “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Thus, interpretations of these passages vary based on one’s faith tradition (e.g. Calvinism or Arminianism) and particular biblical scholars’ views.

The concept of predestination and free will is intricate and multi-faceted, with much discourse stemming from various religious beliefs. It is essential to recognize that different faith practices possess distinct outlooks on this issue, and a single religion may contain multiple interpretations. Moreover, it is crucial to remember that predestination and free will are not necessarily antithetical; indeed, some faiths embrace facets of both.