Catholic Dictionary




The theory that denies that God has the will to save all mankind, since he wants only the elect to reach heaven. There is no place in this system for true internal freedom of the human will, but only for external freedom from coercion. The eternal decree of God alone predestines to glory or damnation. The elect receive irresistible grace; the others have an impulse of the will to sin and so are not given salvific grace. Predestinarianism is central to the Reformation doctrine of John Calvin. (Etym. Latin prae, before + destinare, to destine, ordain.)