This subject is a source of controversy for people of Abrahamic faith. Let us explore the various different beliefs that are widely held.
- Catholic – The Catholic Catechism says, “To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace.” Thomas Aquinas’ views concerning predestination are largely in agreement with Augustine. “..as predestination is a part of providence, in regard to those ordained to eternal salvation, so reprobation is a part of providence in regard to those who turn aside from that end .. as predestination includes the will to confer grace and glory; so also reprobation includes the will to permit a person to fall into sin, and to impose the punishment of damnation on account of that sin.”
- Protestant – Due to the nature of the Reformation, beliefs differ. Conditional election is the belief that God chooses for eternal salvation those whom he foresees will have faith in Christ. This belief emphasizes the importance of a person’s free will. The counter-view is known as unconditional election, and is the belief that God chooses whomever he will, based solely on his purposes and apart from an individual’s free will. Generally speaking Lutherans and Calvinists believe in unconditional election while Arminians believe in conditional election.
- Judaism – According to Josephus, who desired to present the Jewish parties as so many philosophical schools, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes were divided on this question. The Pharisees held that not all things are divinely predestined, but that some are dependent on the will of man; the Sadducees denied any interference of God in human affairs; while the Essenes ascribed everything to divine predestination.
- Islam – Muslims use the term Qadr (Divine Decree). According to this belief, a person’s action is not caused by what is decreed, but rather the action is decreed because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time. People are not predestined by Allah to enter Hell. On the other hand, it is made clear that no person has the power to benefit or harm himself or others, and that guidance is only given by Allah, no one else has the power to give guidance.
I hope this clears up any confusion on the subject. If anybody has any questions, feel free to bring it up in the community forum.