What is double predestination?
Question: "What is double predestination?"
Answer: Double predestination is the belief that God creates some people whose purpose in existence is to be sent to hell. Is this concept biblical? Let us look at the question from the book of Romans, which has two predominant themes throughout. The first theme is the righteousness of God. It is the gospel message itself that reveals God's righteousness (Romans 1:16-17). It is the truth contained within gospel message that by faith declares a man righteous before God (Romans 4-5). It is the central figure of the gospel message—Jesus Christ—that enables a man to be righteous (Romans 6-7). It is the gospel message that shows man the way to live in a righteous manner (Romans 12).
Another theme found in the book of Romans is that of wrath. God's wrath has been revealed—and is being revealed—against all sinful actions (Romans 1:18). Mankind knows about God, but rejects God in their thinking and in their actions (Romans 1:21-22). The wrath of God, therefore, is the giving over of man to live his life as he pleases (Romans 1:24, 26, 28), which apart from God leads to destruction (Romans 1:28-32). Man rejects the God of the universe, and God, in turn, forsakes man. Only a personal intervention from God can alter the destructive path on which man finds himself while he hardens himself in sin.
Now we read Romans 9:22, and it says, "What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?" Many people think this verse teaches that God has made certain vessels for His wrath. But this is not the point of the verse. Reading above, mankind has already experienced God's wrath. Mankind has fitted himself for destruction. It is God who endures these vessels—vessels who have prepared themselves for destruction because they would not leave their sin and turn to God.
Look at the next verse: Romans 9:23, "And he did so in order that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory." Notice that God elects certain people beforehand for His glory. In other words, before the foundation of the world God chose certain people to be His children in order that He would be glorified (see Ephesians 1:4). It does not say that God chose people to damnation or predestined people to wrath. The Bible never speaks about a double predestination where God elects or predestinates some to hell, others to heaven. Those who are under God's wrath are in that position because they have rejected God. Those that have the righteousness of God are in that position because God has chosen them to be His children.
Recommended Resources: Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer and Logos Bible Software.
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Questions about Theology
What is double predestination?