In the sixteenth century, John Calvin introduced the Protestant doctrine of predestination, claiming that before the world was created, God had already chosen who would be saved, and that everyone else was going to be lost forever. In Calvin’s opinion, without predestination no one would be saved; no one can ever be acceptable in the eyes of God no matter what they do, so predestination is necessary, or else all will go to hell. Nothing a person does can change his destiny, and faith and good works has no influence on whether or not a person can be saved. This blatantly contradicts both Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The idea that before He even created the world, God had already decided who would be saved simply does not make sense. This suggests that God Himself directly wills sin, rather than simply allowing it to happen (this is the difference between His perfect will and His permissive will). When God created Adam and Eve, they were holy and sinless; this was the way God directly willed them to be. If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, then all of us today would still be sinless, which is obviously not true. Hell exists because of sin, so to suggest that God created certain people just to send them to hell would suggest that God wanted us to sin.
Did God directly will for Adam and Eve to sin? Of course not! However, He allowed it happen because He respected the free will of the people He had created. When God creates something, He gives up a certain amount of power over it, and so He does not control everything that happens like a tyrant. Although sometimes it appears that God should simply take away our free will to prevent us from sinning, He knows that respecting our free will is more important because although abusing our free will can lead to sin, our free will is also what allows us to do good rather than evil, but only if we so choose.
If predestination were true, then free will would have no meaning, because predestination teaches that nothing we ever do can change our eternal destiny. If predestination were true, then there may be people who love God and put Him before everything and everyone else, but still face eternal punishment in spite of everything. If predestination were true, would we ever say God is merciful? A merciful God would not create certain people solely for the purpose of sending them to hell. And this simply doesn’t make sense, because God does not choose some of His creations over others: “God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35).
If “God shows no partiality”, then why, you may ask, are some people seemingly more “blessed” with gifts and talents than others? If our God is a just God, how can He choose some of his creations over others? But it doesn’t matter what one’s talents are, for these gifts were not given to us for our selfish intentions or our human desire for fame and recognition in the earthly world. No, God uses them for His divine plan, to glorify Him who is holy. There isn’t a single person who ever existed that had nothing good about him or her, so no, God does not prefer certain people over others in that sense.
And since God does not prefer certain people over others, it is only logical that He wants everyone to be saved. “The Lord…is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus came to earth and died on the cross to save everyone; He paid the price for all sins past, present, and future for everyone. Predestination, on the other hand, falsely teaches that the blood of Christ is not available for all men.
Besides, if God has already chosen who He is going to save, then sharing the faith with other people would be pointless. Predestination claims that nothing a person does in their life is a factor in determining whether or not they are saved. Then why are missionaries traveling around the world to share the gospel with other people, hoping that others can see the truth? After the Resurrection, Jesus came to the Apostles and told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). Why did Jesus tell the Apostles to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of the nations if it would all be pointless anyway? (As a side note: the fact that Jesus says that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him does not mean He controls everything like a tyrant does, as explained earlier.)
In conclusion, if predestination were true, then not only does this mean that free will has no meaning, it also means that God is not just and merciful and that the blood of Christ is not available for all men. If predestination were true, then evangelization would be utterly pointless and fruitless, which contradicts what Jesus told His Apostles after the Resurrection. This is clearly a false doctrine that contradicts both Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Predestination and other false doctrines do not reduce the credibility of the Catholic Church, but rather re-affirm the need for the Magisterium, and the necessity of the Church’s correct teachings and interpretations of Scripture.