Question Number 628:

Why does the Orthodox church reject predestination?

ANSWER:

The Orthodox Church does not reject "predestination" which is a Biblical concept, found for example in Romans 8:29-30:

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified."

What the Orthodox tradition has historically rejected is the Calvinist view of predestination, which is that in the distant past, God made a decree that would predestine some to be saved and others to be lost, without reference to the person's being or actions but simply by sovereign choice. Calvinists then disagree on the order of the decrees, which shows that this anthropomorphic view is not satisfactory.

The Orthodox view would be that there is a foreordained destiny based on one's eternal state of being, and God foreknows everyone completely, according to 1 Co 13:12. In this sense, there is predestination to a glorious destiny for those whom God foreknows.

Answered on 10/06/2010 by Fr Laurent

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Comments

  • laura said on July 6, 2013:

    Well stated.

  • Ben Lovelace said on December 8, 2013:

    Ok, so I am becoming more and more intrigued with Eastern Orthodoxy, but I am a Calvinist and for good reason. I could come at this issue of predestination from a few angles, so I have tried to boil this issue down in a way that reconciles both traditions. God is eternal and all knowing and the creator of all things; of this we all agree. How can it be said first; that he did not know the exact trajectory of the world he created in advance and second; knowing this why did he create the world? Answer; he did know and he had good reasons for creating it knowing what would happen. It is our responsibility to trust and obey him, knowing that all things work according to his sovereign will in a way we do not, and cannot fully grasp. No Christian can possibly deny this without undermining the faith. This should be where the Reformed and Eastern Churches should be able to meet. Blessings!

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