Please demonstrate the doctrine of predestination in twelve (12) bullet points or less. I know it began at the beginning according to Ephesians 1:4, but how did it work or come about? I need some direction and clarification.


The Westminster Confession of Faith is a very helpful aid for understanding this doctrinal point in Scripture. In Chapter III is speaks about God's eternal decrees:

Of God's Eternal Decree

I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

As far as the challenge of understanding the doctrine of predestination in a few brief bullet points, we see it demonstrated in God's initial creation of the world and his perfect plan of redemption. One could state it something like this:

(1) God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (Gen. 1:26-28).

(2) All the elect were within the loins of Adam (cf. Heb. 7:9-10) when God gave his command. The non-elect or reprobate weren’t in his loins yet.

(3) Adam means "man." Eve was initially named Woman, meaning "wife, female" (Gen. 2:23).

(4) One people group was to come forth from Adam and the woman as they filled the earth. These are the chosen of God, his elect, his people, his church. No one else was supposed to fill the earth in Gen 1.

(5) Adam and the woman fell into sin (Gen. 3:1-7).

(6) At the Fall, the woman was renamed Eve, because she became "the mother of all living" and not just the elect (Gen. 3:20).

(7) The phrase "mother of all living" refers to both the elect and non-elect. Before the Fall, the woman would bear only the elect, but after the Fall, Eve would bear both the elect and the non-elect.

(8) So, after the Fall two people groups would fill the earth — the elect and non-elect, the sheep and goats (Matt. 25:31-46), the wheat and tares (Matt. 13:24-30), the saved and lost (John 3:15, 18, 36), etc.

(9) The non-elect are invaders into God’s world. They are the enemy. They are not rightful heirs of God’s creation.

(10) At the last day (Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20) only the elect, the predestined seed of Genesis 1:28, "from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9; 7:9) will fill the new heavens and new earth (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-3). The non-elect or reprobate "seed of the serpent" (Gen. 3:15) will be committed decisively and permanently to an eternal hell (Rev. 21:8, 27; cf. John 3:18).

(11) Although there is presently a divine pause (cf. 2 Pet. 3:8), the predestining will/plan of God in Genesis 1:26-28 will ultimately be fulfilled in the last day.

(12) As Isaiah 46:10 reads, God declares "the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'" (cf. Psa. 33:11; Isa 14:24; 40:8; 48:3; 55:11).

Of course, there are other examples of predestination recorded in Scripture as well (Gen. 50:20; Matt. 11:21, etc. ). I highly recommend reading Loraine Boettner’s, "The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” (P & R Publishing, 1932, 1992).

Related Topics

Calvinism in Genesis 1-3?
Calvinism and Joshua 24:15?
Calvinism and Psalms 69:28?
Calvinism and Isaiah 55:1-3?
Calvinism and Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11?
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Theological Flowerbeds - D.A.I.S.Y. vs. T.U.L.I.P.
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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).